September 26, 2014

Hindi blogosphere: what is happening here?

We have completed three rounds of surfing the Hindi blogosphere for discovering the best blogs there, and have observed a few notable trends. Before that, let’s briefly recall what we’d found during our earlier blogosphere surveys while compiling the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs.

Many things have remained the same over the years...

Our detailed observations two year back still hold good and these can be seen here: part I ... part II

As we observed last year and before, Hindi bloggers still tend to be full of energy, commitment to their blogs and a feeling of community. Hindi blogs still are what they have been: leaning towards literature, nostalgia and religion… promoting one another… quarreling over issues and non-issues… preaching… And the blogosphere is dominated by only a few blogs. There are many blog aggregators.

But when it comes to the 'look and feel' of the blog, the taste of a few otherwise good bloggers looks extremely unrefined. When you compare the design and overall looks of other blogs and these ones, you find the same difference as you see between an advertisement by Unilever (e.g. Lux, Surf) and that by a local vendor in a village fair. 

Please don’t misunderstand us. We are not saying that Indian folk / rural taste is inferior to the modern urban taste. What we are emphasizing is that some prominent Hindi bloggers ignore the design elements so much that they look too gaudy, childish, even vulgar. The following link illustrates our point: common design issues in Hindi blogs

Making money out of blogs is not seen at all: partly because the basic purpose of an Indian blogger is to communicate and partly because at this juncture Hindi blog readers are not expected to be exploring / buying things online in a big way. 

Some things have changed for the worse...

Let’s share what new we have observed this time.

There appears a palpable sense of frustration among a large number of bloggers. Bloggers (mostly young techies) who open blogs with the sole purpose of monetizing keep losing interest as there is not much money here. However, what is a bad omen is that many erstwhile trail-blazers have either become dormant or have stopped blogging. 

Is Facebook to blame for this? Perhaps not. You can blame Facebook for people not coming to blogging in as big numbers as they were coming earlier, but not for serious and established bloggers losing interest. Part of this could be growing groupism and quarrel among Hindi bloggers. The tendency to prove superior by showing a bigger and more committed readership than others could be marring healthy blogging in Hindi. This internecine feud is accentuated by the fact that most blogging in Hindi is in literary and social-political arena, and not in scientific and technical fields, finance and economy, hobbies, commerce etc. So, instead of devoting time on creative hobbies, social cause and professions, bloggers tend to be obsessive about their little turfs.

In the last one year or so, two major aggregators have also gone dead.

Tiredness has set in too early among pioneering blogs, and that feels sad.

But some for the better too...

This does not mean, good blogging is not happening in Hindi or the total number of bloggers is going down. Some good bloggers stay on – as you will find when the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs comes out at the end of this month – and a good number of new bloggers join the blogosphere. 

It is now easier to write Hindi in Devnagri script, many new features have come up on Blogger and Wordpress platforms, and it is possible to integrate all social media accounts (blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc). Some bloggers are making good use of such new developments. Some blogs that we didn't include in the Directory last year due to numerous matra issues have improved a lot. Some blogs have matured and are much more professionally maintained. Some bloggers who were wasting their energy in berating others have started concentrating on their writing. Though huge tag lists and blogrolls still appear on blogs, these are less common. Irritating self promotion also has come down. A few blogs have grown so big, they have become full-blown websites and even blog magazines. We are yet to see the type of maturity here that is seen among English blogs, but Hindi blogsosphere is getting richer by the day: richer in content, features, variety. We hope and wish, it grows faster in the years to come.