June 13, 2012

India's best celebrity blogs


A large number of bloggers with a sound grounding in polity and politics, business and economy, justice and security systems and the society do enrich the Indian blogosphere. It is heartening that many of their posts generate a good debate around various topics. Some important media organizations have their own blogging platforms, and their editors / reporters / columnists / experts contribute regularly on these blogs. Add to these other serious blogging platforms / aggregators and their bloggers.

Another category of bloggers who drive good traffic to their blogs and generate good level of discussion are celebrities in various fields, e.g. politics, television and cinema. Among celebrities, we noticed that many  start blogging but either stop it altogether or do so infrequently. It could be a coincidence, but we have found that usually the celebrities who are serious about their profession are usually serious bloggers too – it is a different matter that some of them might be engaging ghost-writers.

Now, we have had a problem in ranking this class of bloggers. After eliminating the non-serious ones, it was difficult to select the best 5. For example, how do you compare between the top columnists of a leading newspaper who use their newspaper’s blogging platform – there is absolutely no difference in their designs, and they all write good prose, are experts in their own areas, write regularly and get a good number of comments.

Another, and opposite, problem relates to comparing these blogs with other blogs. The columnist / political celebrity bloggers usually choose a very functional platform and do not have to bother about design, visual appeal, linking, sprucing up with relevant display elements and so on. Yet, their content is so compelling that these blogs can’t just be neglected.

With these constraints in hand, we had to devise a balanced approach – to select up to 5 blogs in these sub-categories: blogs by columnists / journalists on media platforms, blogs by columnists / experts on other platforms, blogs by celebrities. We are tooth-combing each of the selected blogs for many more parameters such as engagement with commenters, selection of topics and writing style.      

We also had problem with blogs whose posts were a replica of a columnist’s column elsewhere. Yet, we had to let such blogs in as these arguments outweighed other considerations. Look at this one: Good columnists write syndicated columns and once you let them in, how can you eliminate columnists who post the same content in their print column and their blog?  In addition, the content is their own, not copied from others’ writings, and the blog is just an extension of their regular writing, and it also allows for reader response.

We had to reject good blogs belonging to one popular organisation as its platform didn’t have good way to  categorize content and proper archives. Moreover, the blogs opened with a promotional audio. A big media-house does not give a proper identity to its bloggers and the posts become part of the platform itself – we were forced to filter out such blogs, though sometimes with great content.

So, here we are: a select few blogs from clelbrieites and colunists in the Indian Blog Ranks. Rich picking!

PS: It is the job of columnists and journalists to weigh others in their balance and it is the rare privilege of celebrities to say whatever they like and get away with it. Ranking them was, indeed, helluva job.