August 26, 2014

Quick blog reviews by ITB: an announcement

This post is for announcing a new blog review system we’d follow as long as we are able to sustain it.  We’ll call it ‘quick review’.
We are quite busy in compiling the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs, which will come out on 30th September. From that date, we’d welcome requests from our email subscribers for a quick take on their blog’s quality, design, navigation and other relevant aspects. It will not be a detailed review but will still give you a third-party opinion on what is not working fine with your blog.
As it happened with our earlier ‘detailed blog reviews’, our response may take some time if we get too many requests. So as to keep the number of requests in check, we won’t publicise it other than updating FAQ and submission guidelines.
The service will be entirely free and without any obligation. Since our quick review might often be critical, we’d request bloggers to treat the advice as constructive critique of the blog aimed at improving it. We wish you all good, and only good.
It will not be possible for us to entertain more than one request for one blog. When you receive our reply, you can once again seek clarification just on our reply, but we’d have to stop communicating if we feel that we are being taken for granted. You are free to send another query after a year.
HOW TO APPROACH Indian Top Blogs
Please be sure that you have a live subscription to ITB updates. You can use the email subscription widget is in the right sidebar to subscribe to ITB post updates.
Do send an email to with this subject: QUICK REVIEW. A filter is being used to screen emails by title, and so if you have put any other subject, the email will not be seen as a request for quick review of a blog.
In the body of the blog, write as follows:
  • Your email ID that you have used for subscribing to ITB
  • Name of the blog
  • If you want to seek specific advice about the blog, you can add one short sentence.
That’s all.

August 23, 2014

Huffington-India, the cold water challenge and a monkey's selfie

Huffington Post is among the top blog-turned news portals in the world. This week, it has entered into a partnership with Times Internet, with a view to launch the portal’s Indian edition. The Indian edition of this influential ‘digital first’ news biggie is expected to come up later this year. This will be HuffPost’s 12th edition.

Huffington Post boasts of over 85 million monthly unique visitors and the Times Internet maintains the topmost portal in India and news sites of its various print publications (notably indiatimes, the Times of India and the Economic Times), clocking over 100 million visitors a month.

By the way, the much loved and hated (for its taking stand against governments and celebrities and its slightly leftist bias) website began as a collective blog in 2005. Another association of Huffington Post with blogging is its blogging platform. HuffPost says, it will open blogging on its Indian edition when it starts. 

When social media helps chill celebrity heads

We have been seeing, again and again, how social media amplifies negative communication as it is easily and effectively exploited by drug pedlars, child porn industry, terrorists and other criminals and anti-social elements. A recent example of this is the abuse of social media by ISIS. In the last few months, however, we have seen social media helping spread a benign craze – to be seen pouring bucket-full of ice-cold water on one’s head. Called ‘ice bucket challenge’, this stunt has been very successfully used by the ALS Association  of the USA for raising funds for research into a debilitating disease called ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis).

The ALS Association says, it has raised over $53 million through this activity, mostly propagated by the social media. The ‘ice bucket challenge’ calls upon people to post videos showing them or someone else dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads. They must publicly name others to do the same within 24 hours and/or donate $100 to the ALS Association. Many international celebrities have helped spread the craze by accepting the challenge.

What seems to have made the charity stunt a great fundraising success is ease of doing it and the fun involved in it. It gives celebrities, always hungry for social attention, another occasion to promote themselves; and people love to follow celebrities besides generating some publicity for themselves. Less of charity and more of self-promotion and fun; but why care when it helps raise funds for charity?

Indians have not remained too far behind, with a few Bollywood celebrities leading in getting their heads chilled. 

This monkey clicked her selfie and had the last laugh, no joke!

monkey selfieNow this one, though a recycled old story, is a virtual monkey business! A selfie taken by a female macaque three years back and posted on Wikimedia has been challenged by the photographer whose camera she snatched and used to click photographs.

Wikimedia has maintained that since these pictures were taken by an animal, these are un-copyrightable. On such photographas (one shown here) it says, "This file is in the public domain, because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested." Interestingly, to clear the air, the US Copyright Office (USCO) has released fresh guidelines saying that animals or divine or supernatural beings cannot hold copyright over a picture.