May 27, 2015

Preview of 'the Directory of Best Indian Blogs' 2014-2015

The Directory of Best Indian Blogs is almost ready and will be out on 30th May. This will be the fifth edition of the Directory.

As always, do expect the best Indian English blogs in the Directory (We have a directory for best Hindi blogs; directories for blogs in other languages will follow in the coming years). We do not select ‘best’ blogs through an algorithm or by giving weightage to Alexa rank etc; each blog in the Directory has been visited by four of us at least ten times during the shortlisting process. We still might have left out many great such blogs but that likelihood is reducing year after year.

Visitors who know ITB need no introduction to the Directory, but new visitors may like to visit this link (the 'about us' page of ITB) to have a feel of our ethical commitment that includes utmost sense of fairness, and no extraneous considerations for blogs’ inclusion in the Directory.

Based on your feedback, we keep making a few progressive changes in the Directory every year. From the main list we have segregated blogs on blogging platforms (e.g. newspapers) by their own columnists and blogs maintained by blogging communities. We agree with visitors’ comments that individual bloggers cannot compete with such blogs in terms of resources. In the case of bloggers on platforms maintained by media houses, NGOs etc, they do not have any control over design and other aspects and so their blogs need to be judged only on the strength of content, engagement and regularity.

We have been more strict with blogs that have resorted to commercialization / monetization at the cost of quality of content and/or display of main content. However, we appreciate use of blogging for making money while retaining the quality of the blog.

The Directory will have a few hundred blogs. While we include only such blogs as meet our selection criteria, we do include blogs that may have ignored one or two aspects of blogging but are overall very good (e.g a blog with great content but not much engagement with visitors; a blog with posts solely on her growing child but these are written in an exceptionally beautiful language). As you would know as our esteemed visitor, in about a month’s time, we’d bring out another listing of Indian English blogs. This listing would be much shorter and would have the best-est-est blogs out of the blogs already judged as the best – we call them Platinum Blogs. (You can see the 2013-14 listing of platinum blogs here.)

Hey, won’t you like to thank us for bringing to you the cream of Indian blogosphere? Oh no, that’s not required. We thank you for visiting us. It is our (we are a team of four friends) pleasure to keep promoting good blogs, especially Indian, and sharing good points of blogging. Thanks indeed. Do visit the Directory when it comes out on 30th May.

May 22, 2015

@Modi, #Modi and #纳伦德拉莫迪#

Narendra Modi is one of the most social media savvy political leaders in the world, no doubt. And if we thought he would continue with that, we were proved wrong; he is doing it better and in more innovative ways!

Before his China visit, Modi opened an account with the Chinese microblogging site Weibo and the account now has got over 31 million hits.

Fond of taking selfies in iconic places and with people as well as world leaders, Modi took a selfie with Chinese premier Li. Western media is hailing it as one of the most power-packed selfie.
The power-packed selfie

But Modi and controversies go together. A great orator in Hindi, he addresses Indian diaspora whenever he goes abroad. He is able to immediately create an emotional bond with them, with his anecdotes and all. When talking of his achievements, he does not spare his opponents home. This time, when he addressed Indian-origin people in Seoul, he said, there was a time when Indians felt they’d committed a sin in their past life and so they had to take birth in India… and left it to settle abroad… now intelligent people from all walks of life are eager to come back and settle there for even lesser incomes.

This remark of Modi has rattled opposition parties in India, especially the Congress. On Twitter, a hashtag #ModiInsultsIndia is making rounds, blaming Modi for talking domestic politics abroad, insulting Indians and demeaning the position of Prime Minister.

@Modi is discreet too

Despite what his opponents say, Modi’s reach and influence keep growing on social media. We saw this observation on a paper and checked for ourselves: It is true that during his China, Mongolia and South Korea visit, Modi’s Twitter and Weibo accounts did not have the same tweets. On Weibo, the intention seems to be to connect with Chinese people and Indians knowing Chinese on an emotional platform; on Twitter, everything (social, political, financial-economic, diplomatic and emotional-personal) goes as the audience is global.

Extracts of Pal's study on Modi's tweets
Then, there is this study made by a Michigan University teacher, Joyojeet Pal, on tweeting by Modi. Pal analyses how Modi has managed to make his banal political tweets viral. He concludes that the strategies adopted by him for social media have helped him reach his audience directly and align with the modern Indian youth.

We keep discussing politicians' use of social media; you can visit our last take, which was on Modi and Shibu Soren.