November 19, 2012

Hindi blog observations II: who, why, when...

This is the second post in the series on what we saw in Hindi blogosphere during compilation of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs. You can see the first part here: What’s there in the Hindi blog world?


Who is the Hindi blogger?

Hindi bloggers, as bloggers in other languages, represent the population to which they belong. So, they are of different ages and backgrounds, speak different dialects, have different customs... Both the sexes are represented almost equally, and we didn’t come across even one blog on/from the third sex.

Children have their first tryst with blogging when they are in post-primary school, but not many children take up blogging; they are even less attracted towards blogging in Hindi.

By education and profession, the majority of Hindi bloggers seem to have studied humanities [as against technical or science subjects]. Similarly, while many working and retired Hindi literary teachers/ practitioners have adopted blogging, not many scientists, technical professionals, experts and medicos have got attracted to blogging in Hindi.

There are numerous housewives adorning the Hindi blog world. Indian housewives are amazing cooks and have  also mastered folk art and craft, but that too is not reflected in Hindi blogs. Besides mainstream bloggers, Hindi bloggers come in some very striking shades: a lonely lovelorn soul, a village girl trying to adjust in a metropolis, a parent passionately blogging for his /her child, a grandpa narrating his lifelong experiences, a retired professor and a judge trying to help the society by sharing their worldly wisdom, an expatriate emotionally connecting himself to his ‘maati’…

We can group majority of Hindi bloggers into these four overlapping categories: i- housewives, ii- grown up males, iii- young adults, and iv- retired and aged persons.


Why does the Hindi blogger blog?

Blogging is the universal new platform for self-expression, and Hindi blogger are no exception in lapping it up. However, unlike their English counterpart, their main muse seem to be love [real or imagined], morals, religion and  nostalgia about a life that has changed fast.

In Hindi, blogging with literary tinge gets appreciation and encouragement. Many bloggers get awarded in public functions, quite a number get kudos on other blogs, and some get mention in the print medium. This seems to encourage others to join ‘blogger associations’, write about other bloggers, participate in blogger meets and do blogging.

Thinkers, dreamers and shouters are not expected to think of money, so there is hardly any effort to write blogs as a money-earning activity. Most Hindi bloggers also do not think much of popularity beyond the word-of-mouth type, perhaps because it involves a bit of mundane technical tweaking.


Where do Hindi bloggers blog? 

A significant proportion of Hindi bloggers run their blogs on Blogger - the free platform from Google stable. Only a handful bloggers choose WordPress, and hardly anyone goes to Live Journal, Typepad, etc.

A few blogging platforms – mostly provided by newspapers – exist in Hindi. A couple of them are very popular, both in terms of the number of people blogging on them and the number of comments received by such blogs. However, not all such platforms give the blogger an identity that he / she can relate to.

Not many Hindi blogs are stand-alone websites with their independent URL.

There are a number of community blogs and multi-author blogs. Contributors to these blogs have their own blogs too; hardly anybody seems to write exclusively for community blogs.


Where do Hindi bloggers live?

Hindi bloggers come from not only the ‘Hindi belt’ but all around the world. They come from metros, even more from small places.


How do Hindi bloggers blog? How much do Hindi bloggers blog?

Most Hindi bloggers leave blogging after an initial burst [It is universal: You can see this post on Indian bloggers’ behaviour], but majority of Hindi bloggers who do not fall into this state of inaction are very disciplined. Not only that, a number of bloggers maintain a good frequency for years.

As we shared earlier, the Indian blogosphere has a large number of blog aggregators, community blogs, multi-author blogs and web-magazines. The last genre is often a mix of portal, curative and blog formats.

Many bloggers have made their own little communities of bloggers who support one another’s blogs by way of friendly follow up, links, excerpts, blogroll, etc. It sometimes goes to the extent of ugly fights, and formation of coteries and associations.

Quite a number of Hindi bloggers have many blogs. Some of them are able to maintain all or some of their blogs well, but others seem to be squandering away their energy in more blogs than they can handle. In some cases, they have linked their sleeping / dead blogs on their main blog(s). A couple of bloggers have tried to promote their multiple blogs awkwardly, by listing all of them on top of each blog and repeating the same content in different blogs.

In brief, a large number of active bloggers write [or are seen even without writing] on other web spaces in addition to their own blogs.

The Hindi blogosphere is dominated by a handful of bloggers, who have a number  of web properties such as blogs and aggregating sites. New bloggers seem to be eager to get a pat from them. Some of them also run various types of ‘associations’.


When does the average Hindi blogger start blogging?

Blogging being a new platform, almost everybody has taken to blogging almost simultaneously. As such, it is difficult to say when people start blogging in Hindi. Yet, because blogging is more serious an activity than being active on Facebook and such other social networks, people who feel settled [even if in particular phase of life, e.g. getting employed] tend to take blogging seriously. The charm of technology, seeing the published word and easy typing in Unicode make people – especially students – experiment with blogging. The charm fades away when they realise that sustaining the craft needs hard work.  This results in one obvious trend: blogging is the first casualty when the blogger gets disturbed or occupied, whether physically or emotionally. We have seen that young ones seldom pick up the thread again once they lose it, while old ones often come back.


How big is the Hindi blogosphere?

There are likely around 4 lakh Hindi blogs,  out of them, 1.5 - 2 lakh blogs with varying degrees of blogging activity in the last two years.  Both these numbers are our guess, based on a number of postulates. Or are we off the mark?