Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where do Indian bloggers go from here?

So, we are in the 10th year of the blog. The Mint business newspaper has done a couple of nice stories on blogging in India and concludes "A decade on, Indian blogs remain mostly urban, niche". That is to say 9 out of 10 Indian users are not interested in blogging. The Mint story quotes the India Online 2008 report and I am using data from the comments:

Interactive blogging is the least popular social interactivity activity online with only 10% internet users commenting on blogs and only 8% internet users owning a blog site.

Where is my revolution that I was promised?

Yes, some people are blogging, but as the Mint article says and my experiences suggest the same, most of the top bloggers have writing/reporting backgrounds or they have paying gigs that doesn't involve writing.

What do these people write on? - Cricket, movies, humor, if it is not their latest culinary or travel adventure. Barring a few, a pretty mundane and bland offering.

I like to compare Indian blogging to the wave of 'Me, My family, My Ancestors and my Hometown' kind of books that Indian authors have grown famous for in the past 10 years.

Sure, there have been some fine momonts as well - the IIPM scandal, the Tsunami reportage... sadly, nothing like a disaster to wake the Indian blogging lion.

Blogging has given voice to the marginalized but by and large, the masses have yet to use its power to raise voices, channelize their collective force and bring much-needed change in their lives.

In the 5 years that I have been blogging, almost all of the people I knew who blogged have sort of given up on it and taken to other jobs.

Some Indian bloggers have had success in using blogging as a tool for getting better jobs. But, one can count these successes on one's fingers.

Not surprisingly, most Indian bloggers want to make money from blogging. So far, Amit Agarwal, who studied at the IIT and blogs about tips and tools, towers over everyone in minting money from digital words, but I am not sure how much IIT has got to do with it.

However, I am most disappointed by the approach of influential and powerful Indians. Barring your average bollywood type, who mostly writes for self-promotion purposes, most Indian teacher & professors, top lawyers, doctors, bureaucrats, cops and people in other responsible positions do not blog.

Which is a pity. One of the most popular blogs in the United States, Marginal Revolution is written by an Economist, Tyler Cowen.

I wish if we had blogs by good doctors. That would help demystify the Swine flu pandemic. Besides, blogging might help bring trasparency in the Indian government system, at the Center as well as at the local level.

Indian that I am, I could go on and on about where do Indian bloggers go from here - suffice to say I wish 'roti (food), kapdaa (clothing), makaan (house) and blogging' becomes a universal necessity.

Related Must Reads on the State of Indian Blogging

The top Indian bloggers across various categories - a subjective but useful list
A simple guide to the best moments in Indian Blogging History - the best and the worst moments in these 10 years
A simple guide to the satte of Indian blogosphere - about vested interests among bloggers
The State of Citizen Journalism in India - a story in three parts
The Indian Elections and the reality of India Online - On lack of quality inputs by digital citizens

Ending it with the legal fineprint
A simple guide to legal issues for Indian Journalist
A simple guide to the Internet and cyber laws in India

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