July 29, 2014

Social media in conflict zones: Can you believe it?

The conflict between the Israelis and Hamas is on, with each side trying to breath down the neck of the other. Equally fierce is the war of hashtags in the social media world. 

With many western media organisations pulling their correspondents out of the war zone, not many bylined news stories are coming out of the Gaza strip. So, the Palestinian groups of various kinds are spreading rumours and half-truths about how the Israeli aggression is targeting civilians.  We are not saying that Israelis have been discreet about not hurting civilians. In fact, there have been numerous civilian casualties in the name of pounding the Hamas militia, and there must be bone-chilling, genuine, accounts of people suffering. But propagandists are not supposed to uncover the truth; they are there to spread untruth.

ISIS showed us how militia use social media to carry their tale. Hamas could not be an exception. On the other side, all governments use social media in a big way to garner support and sympathy to their cause. Israel is known to be using a huge army of social media users and professionals to bombard the social media with their messages and blunt the opposing view-points. But, being seen as brute, Israel is being outnumbered by Arab sympathizers, as of now.

Even journalists in today’s conflict zones do not seem to be discreet. There are many reports of journalists tweeting hearsays and unsubstantiated impressions of casualties, progress of conflict, damage etc.

Then there are a million social media propagators. They further disseminate whatever comes from the war zone, especially the Gaza side. Being agitated – and also believing that their actions will generate more support - they propagate the stories and statements far and wide. In social media, a message, especially when accompanied by a visual, gets instantly interpreted, commented upon, and disseminated. So, except for some peace-lovers and a bunch of cold analysts, every recipient of a message from the war zone participates in colouring and blowing it up. The more emotional a visual’s appeal, the more viral it gets. So, you can see many visuals of crying children, mutilated bodies and blood splattered clothes of the injured from both sides.

Twitter, as expected, is the main platform though activity is also seen on Facebook and minor social networks. There is a virtual war between hashtags such as #GazaUnderAttack,  #AJAGaza, #ICC4Israel and #FreeGaza on one side and #IsraelUnderFire on the other. These all have visuals showing how the other side is pounding homes and killing and seriously injuring innocents. 

The mainstream media is under pressure from the social media. In absence of enough verified reporting, it takes the course of using the social media route, sometimes using it in a crass manner and sometimes as a commentator on what social media is publishing.

There is a bloody war going on there, no doubt about that. Innocents are being killed and maimed - and you don't need proof for that. But we need to take with a pinch of salt, all that is being reported on the social media, even by supposed victims and journalists.

July 27, 2014

tell-a-tale

Tell a Tale


A contributory blog, it has collection of stories and poems built around earth/environment, society, feminism and technology. 
'The website is built on the principle “Education is imparted through books, Wisdom is imparted through stories”.'
- Arunima Shekhar

July 24, 2014

Hindi Best Blog Directory compilation

मित्रो,

हम पिछले दो वर्षों से हिन्दी के सर्वोत्तम ब्लॉगों की डाइरैक्टरी ला रहे हैं. इस बीच हमने इस वर्ष के सर्वोत्तम अंग्रेज़ी ब्लॉगों और प्लैटिनम रैंक के महान ब्लॉगों के संकलन प्रकाशित किए हैं. अब बारी है हिंदी के सर्वोत्तम ब्लॉगों को आपके सामने लाने की. इन दो सालों में हमें आपके बहुत सारे सुझाव भी मिले और उनमें से कुछ को हम लागू भी कर सके. हमारी कोशिश रही है कि बिना किसी लाग-लगाव के हम सर्वोत्तम और केवल सर्वोत्तम ब्लॉगों को अपनी डायरेक्टरी में सम्मिलित करें.

हमें आशा है कि हम डायरेक्टरी का 2013-14 संस्करण 30 सितम्बर को पेश कर पाएंगे. अगर आपको कोई ब्लॉग सुझाना हो तो ज़रूर इस ID पर 31 अगस्त तक मेल करें: kp.nd.2008@gmail.com (अगर कोई ब्लॉग आप ईमेल पर या किसी पोस्ट में टिप्पणी करके पहले सुझा चुके हों तो उसे कृपया न दुहराएं.)

शुभकामनाओं सहित,
ITB टीम

Friends,

We have brought out two editions of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs in the last two years. Now that we are free from compilation of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs and the Platinum Ranks (the highest ranking blogs in India), we are ready to compile the best Hindi blogs's directory.

It will be our endeavour to include only the best blogs in the Directory, without any influence or outside consideration. We have received some suggestions from dear visitors, and we have tried to accommodate them to the extent possible.
If you have to suggest some blog to us, do so till 30th August at the folloowing email ID. However, if you have already suggested a blog earlier through email or by way of comment on any post, please do not suggest the blog again. The email ID is: kp.nd.2008@gmail.com

Best wishes.
ITB team

July 22, 2014

Blog post in the news: Justice Katju's exposés

Retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Markandey Katju, calls his blog Satyamev Jayate or ;truth alone triumphs'. He has been using this blog for sharing his judicial insights and also criticising government actions and policies.

What made us showcase his blog here is the way his latest post, alongwith this appearing as the front-page story in the leading newspaper of India, the Times of India, has shaken the higher judiciary. In this post, he has accused three former Chief Justices of India of favouring a corrupt judge: How a corrupt Judge continued in the Madras High Court


.

July 19, 2014

Social media updates

A number of notable things have taken place while we were busy compiling our Platinum Ranks – the topmost blogs in the Indian blogosphere. We were alive to these developments but could not share them with you. Thought, lets catch up. 


INDIAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICIANS EMBRACING SOCIAL MEDIA

Many government organisations and politicians have joined the social media, thanks to the push given and example set by Narendra Modi. 

Some Ministers have opened new accounts, mostly on Facebook, and some have oriented their content from political to ministry-related. You can now see Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani and even a low-profile Radha Mohan Singh regularly on Facebook.

Enforcement Directorate is also on Twitter!  The agency will give information on its activities including ‘notable actions taken against forex and money laundering offences’.

The President of India, who was already on Facebook, has opened a Twitter account. He (or his office) has been rather active on Twitter. Seeing the tweets, you feel that Indian President is one of the busiest heads of state on the earth.

July 15, 2014

Platinum ranked blogs for 2013-2014

UPDATE: The next edition of this list - for 2014-15 -  will come out on 31st July 2015

We are here with our Platinum Rankings for 2013-14. In our post of exactly a year back, we had described in detail why we call the blogs here as ‘platinum’ blogs, what type of blog we include in these rankings and what we can’t. So, we won’t repeat them here.

As in previous years, some blogs have lost and some others have entered the rankings. The listing contains about 40 blogs. In addition, there are 5 blogs from blogging platforms of Indian portals (rediff, timesofindia). These have been listed separately as in such platforms, the blogger does not have control over design and navigation aspects.

We don’t want to come between you the reader and our gems, partly because all these blogs happen to be better than this very blog / website, Indian Top Blogs. The platinum ranked Indian blogs for 2013-14 are:

abhijitbhaduri Abhijit Bhaduri
alkagurha Free Bird
anuradhagoyal Anuradha Goyal Travels
baradwajrangan Baradwaj Rangan
bhagwad Expressions - Bhagwad Jal Park
blogsdna Blogsdna
blogsolute Blogsolute
bongcookbook Bong Mom's CookBook
chandoowp Chandoo.org
chefsanjeevkapoor From My Kitchen
elixirofknowledge Elixir of Knowledge
fashion-bombay Fashion Bombay
freefincal Free Personal Finance Calculators
ftlofaot for the love of fashion and other things
jaiarjun Jabberwock
joshidaniel Joshi Daniel Photography
kafila Kafila
lakshmisharath A Travel Blog of an Indian Backpacker
lassiwithlavina Lassi with Lavina
lighthouseinsights Lighthouse Insights
onecentatatime How to be rich…
onehotstove One Hot Stove
preetishenoy Much Love!
readingonarainyday Reading on a Rainy Day
saffrontree Saffron Tree
sqlauthority Journey to SQL Authority with Pinal Dave
stylefashionetc Style Fashion etc
subramoney Subramoney
thasneencooking Cooking with Thas
thatandthisinmumbai My Favourite Things
the-shooting-star The Shooting Star
traveholic Itchy Feet
uspandey One Grain Amongst the Storm
varnam Varnam
veganricha Vegan Richa
whatsforlunchhoney What's For Lunch Honey?

portal blogs:

cursor Cursor
extraordinaryissue Extraordinary Issue
mkbhadrakumar Indian Punchline
randomaccess Random Access
Swaminomics Swaminomics

PS
We need to end with a disclaimer, however officious it may sound:

*Inclusion of a blog in this listing is no certificate from us. 
*We also do not take responsibility for content on these blogs, which may be inappropriate in any manner such as defamation, plagiarism, and use of inappropriate text and audio-visual material [though we try our best to see that blogs in the Platinum Rankings do not have inappropriate content]. Therefore we cannot be held responsible for any harm purported to be caused to anybody due to a blog’s inclusion in this list. 
*If your blog is in this list and you don’t want it here for any reason, do tell us and we will immediately unburden you of the listing.

July 13, 2014

abracabadra

Abracabadra
http://abracabadra.blogspot.com/


An inspirational blog with daily mantras, by Ruchira Khanna, an Indian blogger.

July 11, 2014

maverickbird

Maverickbird
http://maverickbird.com/




"Maverickbird is all about solo travels of an Indian woman backpacker and responsible, experiential trips. Colourful photos, amazing and intrepid experiences, helpful destination details and making friends all across the planet are the highlights of my travel memories so far."
- Svetlana Baghawan 

July 8, 2014

Blogging: from passion to dollars: Where do you stand?

Most bloggers the world over just blog. Their love for writing and/or clicking photos and sharing them on the blog keeps them going. They write about any topic that stokes their imagination - from ethereal matters to mundane daily life. They post photos, audio clips and videos of whatever they feel is worth sharing. They engage with other like-minded bloggers. Blogging is their love. Such bloggers make the bulk of the blogosphere.

The common bloggers often open a blog to satisfy the itch to share something more serious and permanent than posts on their Facebook or other social networking accounts. They feel they can write better than many others. They feel they have some special viewpoint on life-matters. They want to have a place where they can put their poems written over years or to share their views with the world whenever they are agitated with government's actions or something bad happening in the society. They keep the blogosphere buzzing, alive.

Then there are bloggers who confine fully or mostly to some selected themes such as their family, book reviews, fashion and food. Most of the times, these blogs are there because of passion of the blogger for the subject. 

Among category blogs, there are some that talk about a very narrow theme, e.g. a particular village, a species that needs conservation, a particular type of maths, a special software, ethnic cuisine of a tribal area... Their passion about the topic is amazing.

The other end of the spectrum: it's all money, honey!

A small section of bloggers maintain blogs to make money out of blogging. They use a blog to promote their merchandise or services. They write on food, review books, promote their own book, post travelogues, showcase photographs... There is an element of making money here, beyond the passion. 

The motive for having a blog goes to the other extreme when bloggers open blogs as means to make money, nothing else. No stupid passion here ;) This category of bloggers are much smarter when it comes to choosing the topic of the blog. Most often, they have turned blogging geeks; they have learnt how to get traffic on the blog, how to influence people to click on particular advertisements, how to monetise the blog. They do a lot of research on what topics and what keywords would beat competition and get them dollars. They also open blogs where they brag about their earnings so that more people get attracted to them, they get more traffic, they monetise another blog...

Where do you stand?

Do click here if you like to see what type of blogs we have on the Directory of Best Indian Blogs.

July 4, 2014

What to expect from Google domains?

Google has announced that it will start selling domains. What it means that it will let you buy domain names for a fee (around $10-12 per year) and also host them for you, of course for some more fee. Like other domain hosts, it will have tools and apps by which you will be able to manage your domains. By the announcement that Google has made, it is targeting small businesses.

Between the two major blogging platforms (Wordpress and Blogger), only Wordpress has an in-house hosting option. Blogger (blogging platform owned by Google) earlier had an arrangement, which it discontinued later on. There are many domain name registrars and hosts on the www, some reliable but many with poor track record.

We hope that this new introduction will help all site owners, especially bloggers, by creating new benchmark for service. Maybe, competition from this giant will also bring down prices.

Right now, the service is available by invitation only. (Remember, how they introduced gmail?) Good, because they will, in the meantime, fix problems and when they roll it out, it will be a stable and feature-rich service.

For those not familiar with purchase and hosting of domains, we have earlier published a 3-part series on ITB, starting with this post: Give your blog an independent domain name

July 2, 2014

Blog find: A-Musing by Purba Ray

Purba Ray, a gifted blogger, has brilliantly talked about blogging: in this post. Her blog A-Musing is being maintained well since 2010. On her blog, she describes herself as "Intensely vague, seriously funny, my moods swing both ways". Well, if that is true, we have discovered a recipe for creativity ;)

http://www.purba-ray.com/2014/06/is-it-time-to-rip-blogs.html#more