Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Simpleguide to the State of the Indian Blogosphere

Some Indian bloggers are trying out to create something called "State of the Indian Blogosphere". As part of this improbable task, they have parceled out the job of categorization among different bloggers.

Why improbable?
I don't think a group of 8-10 bloggers can really categorize a million Indian blogs.

Even DMOZ.org, the open source human-edited directory or Mahalo, the Human Edited Search Engine have trouble categorizing websites/links. In case of blogs, the problem is multiplied because for many users, a blog is a labor of love.

Pigeonholing blogs into neat categories is a mistake, big mistake.
Categorization is cruel. It is a job best left to MBA-types and guys who ran Enron, Satyam...
If you still want to do it, Ask Hitler for advice.

I read in the Indian Express a few days ago about blogger Amit Verma, profiled in the course of promotion of his upcoming fiction book. In the article, his blog is referred to as a Political Blog. I have never been a regular reader of his blog but in the course of writing this post, I jumped over. I think it is not a Political Blog, but more in the nature of "I will post what I like"/Jason Kottke type of Filter blog. Most blogs are like this one.

In case of my blog Mediavidea, I write what I think and like most bloggers I have an opinion about everything. Some of the most read posts have been on state of the nation and new media/journalism.

A blogger, Gautam Ghosh has been entrusted with the task of listing business blogs. He has Mediavidea listed under advertising (?), social media (I have written a post called "Social Media is dead in 2009", so this one is valid, you might say) and marketing (was it because I once wrote that "The Indian Government is the biggest Real Estate Agent in the World?)

Do the bloggers involved in the project even have the time or are in the habit of reading the blogs they are so hell-bent into categorizing?

Most such list-making and award type posts come under what they call 'Linkbait' in online writing parlance. I have made a couple of lists or two, but I try to make sure to inform the reader that those are subjective lists.

'Honored' by Gautam's label for my blog, I went ahead and posted the following comment on his blog a couple of days ago. Since, Gautam is busy reading all the blogs, he doesn't have the time to okay my comment.

Here's my unpublished comment:

While I thank you for including my name on this 'list' but I think we are not clear about the definition of a business blog.

Is it a blog run by businesses - small or big?

Is it a blog on business-related topic, which I assume you have done here?

Moreover, I think the categorization of all these fine fellow bloggers should have been much finer.

You have done a noble job but I think it is beyond one blogger to read all these blogs to be finally able to put labels on each - too much time, for an 'unpaid' job, wouldn't you say, Gautam?
The origins of this simple guide post are here.
Why call yourself a blog, when you have no comments?


Therein also lies problem#1 of the Indian Blogging is scene. It is very insular. It is very intolerant. It is too self-important.

In the west, many top bloggers are not journalists , Scoble, Arrington, Godin, Kottke and I guess they understand the ethos of the web better than their Indian Counterparts - Link Out. Be Honest. Be Open.

I hate to think that because many of the early bloggers in the Indian Scene are from the old media scene (they were the first to have access to the Internet in this country, my dear Watson), they tend to sport the bad habits of a profession undergoing turmoil and scathing public acrutiny around the world - laziness, insular-like, groupism and a suffocating sense of self-importance (there, I have this phrase twice in one article).

As a blogger and a founder of a small citizen journalism outfit Bighow, I am awed on a daily basis by the great things people are doing using online tools. Each day, I learn new ways of writing, reporting and using the web. Each day, I am working on building a group of online reporters.

Each day, I am student on the web.

The State of the Indian Blogosphere won't teach me a thing. At most, it would be an exercise in Personal Branding for a group of bloggers.

Everyone is trying hard to become a Brand nowadays, positioning themselves this way or other.

The state of 'groupism' in the Indian Blogosphere won't be in the curriculum of the reporters at Bighow except as a footnote about things not to do on the web.

Related:
A Simpleguide to the Biggest Moments in the Indian Blogging History

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7 Comments:

At 8:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shruti here,

Pramit, a post whose time had come.
You have written about something no other blogger dare to: write against the A-list.

See, even I am afraid to give my URL.

 
At 8:29 PM , Blogger Pramit Singh said...

Well, Shruti, I don't believe in A-list or whatever, strange, you have put it that way.

As someone who loves the online medium and how people use it for good, I saw something that I did not think was O.K. considering the job at hand.

 
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