August 30, 2015

Are Indian bloggers so much worse than American and European bloggers?

In our earlier posts in this series on Indian blogosphere, we have shared our observations about Indian bloggers in English, including some comparisons with global bloggers. In the present post, let's concentrate exclusively on the weaknesses of Indian bloggers vis-a-vis bloggers of the western world. So comes the question, are Indian bloggers bad? If yes, how bad, and why so bad?

Long back, we carried an article "5 things most Indian bloggers tend to ignore" and we find that those of our observations still hold true. You may like to visit that post and come back.


7 big weaknesses of most Indian bloggers

(with lots of overlap)

A. Indian bloggers want everything for free.

Indians are known as the most active community of internet users who download free stuff while  they are least active when it comes to buying goods and services. The trend is changing, but as of now the free mentality is very predominant.

When it comes to blogging, Indians won't even buy independent domain names for themselves, not to speak of buying appealing themes, hiring expert for technological improvements or paying somebody to improve grammar of their posts.

In other words, Indian bloggers would not pay a penny but would dream to make their blog a legend; majority of bloggers of the western world start the blog with at least some investment and try to earn on that. Since it does not hurt to discard a free thing, this also explains why Indians open a number of blogs and then let them lie in coma (point F below).

B. Indian bloggers like to do everything themselves.

Multi-tasking is great, also when it comes to blogging. But it should not lead to losing on prioritisation. 

If a blogger spends a disproportionately big time on learning SEO and html, creating a new design (while better ones are available on the web), etc while ignoring core blogging, it will lead the blog nowhere, isn't it? This happens quite a lot in the Indian blogosphere. We have found many-many Indian bloggers just doing that: They would do everything themselves either because they won't invest their hard-earned money in the blog (point A above) or are they too lazy to organise themselves?

Well, if you are one who loves creativity and considers this an end in itself, we salute you but then you must not rue that your blog is not popular or it is not earning you money. 

C. If you find a blog without focus, it might by by an Indian's.

A blogger known to us opened a blog with current affairs topics... when her anger dissipated, she started writing poems and showing her craft... then she felt the urge to show off her beauty products... then she felt like starting a fashion blog... In between, she turned mom and now her blog is full of motherhood talk and photos of her baby.

By the way, Indians' neighbours in South Asia, the Pakis and Bangladeshis, too exhibit similar traits when it comes to losing focus and being chaotic.

D. Indian bloggers don't have a long-term goal, or a vision, for the blog.

Here we are talking of lack of focus of a different type: in terms of vision. Most Indian bloggers just blog, blog and blog. They do not have a goal, forget vision. So, they don't have a disciplined approach to blogging. Even popular and established bloggers suffer from this.

Part of this lack of goal-setting and working to meet those goals can be explained looking at the way Indians live their lives. Indians love their (glorious) past. Some Indian communities do believe in living the day (Punjabis, for example) but not others. They do not plan for future; when that has to be done, they make a wish at a temple or dargah or gurdwara or church or a mountain or a big tree and pay 1 rupee 25 paise to the deity for granting the wish.

Past is always glorious, and Indian past has been too glorious. Indian social media, especially after Modi's government came to power in 2014, is gaga over this past. Hindi blogosphere has been smitten badly by it, but English blogosphere is luckily spared till now. But planning for the future, with an achievable goal in mind, is missing except in a minority of English blogs.

E. Indian bloggers don't engage constructively.

Blogging is social. Unless we engage, blogging remains an archiving process: a process that over a period builds a chest of hundreds of posts written for oneself.

Indian bloggers do engage with others, including through social networks such as Facebook. However, the quality of engagement is nowhere near that seen in western blogs. Indian commenters mostly praise each other without even reading the post. On global blogging scene, engagement is deeper and bloggers share their experiences, debate topics, seek specific help, solve problems collectively.

We have been observing a spate of spam comments from Indian origin. In fact, we receive numerous spammy comments on our posts on ITB. Last year we even got five notices (not requests) from spammers to remove those comments or they would get us blacklisted on Google! (We believe that these bloggers were penalised by Google for such comments and they then approached individual bloggers to remove their spammy comments.)

There are another type of spurious comments from bloggers who want to be rich overnight on the strength of backlinks. In such comments, the commenter makes a useless remark and then puts his own URL so as to get a link back to his blog. Young Indian bloggers wanting to earn big from blogging often succumb to this tactic.

F. Open a blog only to close it: Indian bloggers excel at it.

Indians are masters at making a number of blogs, on a number of platforms, and then closing all or most of them. This is a universal trend but more prevalent in the Indian blogosphere, and the issues we've discussed above broadly explain that: It does not cost a dime as big blogging platforms are free (point A above), Indians do everything themselves and that sucks up their energy without perceptible gains and then they feel frustrated with the blog (point B), they wander aimlessly and do not grow and in turn get discouraged (points C, D), and they do not engage purposefully and consistently, which does not help in expansion of the blog's readership and authority, again leading to loss of spirit (point E).

G. When it comes to praising and promoting others, Indian bloggers are miserly.

Indian bloggers suffer from a sense of jealously. So, if they find a good content, they keep it to themselves. They don't share it with friends, or on Facebook / Twitter etc, or bookmark it through Digg / Stumble.

Well, in some instances, they could be lazy or unconcerned.

Overall, most Indian bloggers suffer from a professional approach to blogging. Do you agree?

Articles in this series:
1. How active and influential are Indian bloggers?
2. What is the future of Indian English blogging?
3. Are Indian bloggers so much worse than American and European bloggers? 
 (present one)
4. Are Indian English bloggers relevant for brands and advertisers?

5. Indian bloggers don't want money; brands say, small blogs of no significance

August 26, 2015

What is the future of Indian English blogging?

What will Indian English blogosphere look like in 2020, 2025, 2030?

Can we really answer this? No. Because information and communication technologies (ICT) have been taking unexpected turns now and then, making almost all predictions wrong. Yes. Because what we are doing is analysing trends of the past and present, and constructing a possible scenario if no 'disruptive' developments take place.

We'd start with a bit of bragging, and you must forgive ITB team for this. We at Indiantopblogs have looked broadly at no less than 60,000 Indian blogs and a few thousand non-Indian blogs. We have also minutely seen the working of over 5,000 blogs year after year. To top it all, we have reviewed over a thousand blogs in detail and done a quick review of another 300 blogs. So, without doing a survey based on responses or that based on Alexa ranks, Google PageRank and page views, we can claim to know the pulse of Indian blogosphere more than others. Bragging ends here.------>|
A likely scenario of social media growth
over the next 10 years

Let's present our take on the future of Indian blogosphere in brief points here. You'll find logic behind these in our other posts in this series (linked at the bottom of this post).

  • Indian English blogosphere will keep growing for at least a decade, unless a new form of self-expression evolves in the meantime which is equally versatile and has long-term value (as compared to instant media and social networking platforms). This, even if we consider blogging in its narrow meaning. (Please see the next point on who is a blogger.)
  • The growth of blogging will be marginal in quantitative terms. It might be almost flat in terms of percentage growth because of availability of more instant and short-form media. Yet, many more blogs will keep taking birth than those die or lie in coma. 
  • New growth will come mostly from new young entrants, many of whom will experiment with earning money from blogging. Rising internet penetration through mobile phones will boost social networking, some blogging and a small bit English blogging.
  • The trend of opening one or more blogs and closing a few or all of them after a short period will continue as long as free blogging platforms are available.
  • The concept of who is a blogger is also changing. When the mainstream media and general public talk of bloggers these days, they include users of Facebook, personal websites and possibly collaborative and anonymous blogging platforms such as Medium, i.e. any webspace that allows you to share your long-form writing.
  • Indian blogging is becoming individualized rather than collaborative. Bloggers' engagement has not increased over the years and they feel more and more confident without clutches of forums and communities (other than those useful for getting help and advice).
  • While the trend stated in the point above strengthens, most personal blogs by Indians will continue to have lots of mutual appreciation by way of comments and blogrolls. We believe that this is not because of lack of confidence in blogging as a medium but the human hunger for approbation as Dale Carnegie discovered a century back.
  • As new bloggers will be more technology-savvy than their earlier generations, experiments with new blogging techniques will increase and that would lead to better technical quality of blogs.
  • Indians will remain 'the talkative Indian' (as described by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen), and the preponderance of personal blogs and blogs with comments on current political and social affairs will stay forever.
  • Efforts towards monetisation will grow very fast in the coming years as brands see the potential of bloggers as influencers. Young, tech-savvy, entrants will be the main drivers of this trend.
  • All these trends will go haywire if Google or Wordpress.com were to stop their free services. Even charging a dollar (or Rs. 60) a year will decimate the Indian blogosphere while it may only marginally impact the western blogospheres.

Articles in this series:
1. How active and influential are Indian bloggers?
2. What is the future of Indian English blogging? (present one)
3. Are Indian bloggers so much worse than American and European bloggers?
4. Are Indian English bloggers relevant for brands and advertisers?
5. Indian bloggers don't want money; brands say, small blogs of no significance

August 22, 2015

How active and influential are Indian bloggers?

It is four years since we last published Indian blogosphere survey, giving details of how Indian bloggers were faring. These four years have seen fast rise of Facebook and decay and death of Orkut, slow but steady rise of Google Plus and its integration with Blogger, meteoric rise of Twitter, people shifting to smartphones and tabs from desktops and laptops, growing internet penetration, advent and great popularity of chatting apps such as Whatsapp, and so on. These have had a considerable impact on blogging.

Let's now move to what we found this time (during compilation of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs) about Indian English blogs. We find that our earlier observations about Indian blogosphere though four year old remain valid even now (Trends in the Indian blogging sceneWhere do Indian bloggers stand?). A few months back, we carried the survey of Indian blogosphere brought out by Indiblogger in 2014, whose results validated some of our findings while disputing some others.

In 2015 too, the blogosphere is live and kicking though pundits were pronouncing way back in 2010 a quick death of blogging. Indian blogosphere is no exception. But we can't agree with Indiblogger that Indian blogs are highly influential, a source of 'majority of content', and 'the fastest-growing web medium.

Five-seven years back, blogging served as a platform to show off our web presence. Now that we have many more platforms for self-expression and digital communication, blogging seems to have become a matter of prestige. In the crowd of people constantly Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagraming, Pinteresting, Digging and Whatsapping, the blogger is seen as one with grey matter and substance.

Indian English bloggers continue to follow the pattern of starting blogs, posting like mad for a while, and then abandoning all or most of their blogs. That, as compilers of blog directories, we suffer year after year because we give a chance to new blogs that are good and regular for about a year, only to see them turn irregular the next year.

There are not many blogging communities and blog aggregators in Indian English blogosphere. On the other hand, language blogging, as we shared elsewhere, is ably supported by such collective action.

Overwhelmingly large number of Indian bloggers have their blogs on Blogger and some on Wordpress.com. Very few blogs are hosted independently.

Some portals of newspapers, television channels and other organisations have been providing a blogging platform to their own journalists. Though seldom good in terms of navigation and design, these blogs have a special place in the blogosphere as they professionally dissect current issues and are free of language infirmities. But some of these platforms are now either not maintained properly or have been closed. One such prominent platform was CNN-IBN's that had good blogs by its lead anchors.


BLOGGING REGULARITY


There must be a few million English blogs on India / by Indians, but only a few thousand are active. Out of these active blogs, not even two thousand could be seen regular enough to publish at least one post a month.

Some technology and gadget blogs post many posts a day; they have a logic - they want to give their loyal visitors all the current information before it is seen on other websites and blogs. However, their posts are short on fresh viewpoints and linguistic refinement. 

A good balance of regularity and quality can be seen in many food and travel blogs, blogs on newspaper portals and blogs by expatriates till they are in India.

You will seldom find a well maintained celebrity blog. Forget their investment in design, they do not write regularly and do not interact with their fans. Times of India keeps providing celebrities a platform to blog but most of celebrity blogs on this portal too are inactive. A great exception to this is Amitabh Bachchan's blog; he writes without fail and also allows readers' comments. 

Many public figures, on the other hand, have their rather active accounts / pages on Facebook and Twitter. Yes, blogs cannot offer them huge following and quick 'sweet nothings' that short form media can, and that explains why there are not many active blogs by public personalities.


MONETIZATION BY INDIAN BLOGGERS


Not many blogs are monetised, for various reasons discussed earlier on ITB. 

We also find that when Indian bloggers do try to monetise, they do it in the most sloppy manner: overuse of advertisements, random placement of ads, obtrusive use of pop-ups and text ads, and so on. (We'd discuss blogger-advertiser relationship in detail in another post soon.)

Out of the various ways of making money from blogging, bloggers choose AdSense followed by affiliation. Direct ads are seen only on prominent fashion, food, travel and IT blogs.


COMMENTING HABITS OF INDIAN BLOGGERS


Most comments on Indian blogs are niceties such as "Beautiful poem!", "You are looking gorgeous!", "The child is really cute!"... Even literary blogs have plain praise. 

Some types of blogs do receive more substantive comments, e.g. food blogs (where people often ask why a recipe did not work well, etc), tech blogs (where visitors are often keen to know more technical details) and current affairs blogs (where people freely give their views, sometimes of trolling nature).

Blogs not getting many serious comments is a big reason for sleepiness in the Indian (English) blogosphere (to be discussed in detail in another post in this series).

Indian bloggers who want to turn rich overnight through blogging seem to be suffering from lack of confidence. Compare their comments on big technology blogs by Americans with those on Indian blogs. Most Indians' comments on foreigners' blogs are in the nature of seeking advice and thanking them for great tips; on Indian blogs, they often ask how the blogger became so successful (purely in $ terms) or "Bro, you are lucky you made ...$s so fast!"

We find a distinct gender divide among bloggers: kid blogs, food blogs and fashion blogs are dominated by women while technology and current affairs / political comments are male-dominated niches.

These trends beg many questions and we'd deal with some questions in the following posts, such as: 
1. What is the future of Indian English blogging?
2. Are Indian bloggers so much worse than American and European bloggers? 
3. Are Indian English bloggers relevant for brands and advertisers?
4. Do brands and blogs care for each other at all?

August 20, 2015

kitchenofdebjani

Debjanir Rannaghar
Debjanir-food-blog

"A Food blog maintained by a Financial Analyst! I have started my blog “Debjanir Rannaghar” with an intention to keep records of my cooking ventures and life-stories related to food and obviously for sharing those with like-minded foodies/food bloggers and to be precise the blog Debjanir Rannaghar is a novice attempt for sharing Food thoughts….I don’t want to restrict myself to a typical cuisine; instead I love to experiment with each and every type of food as for me food has no barrier…"
- Debjani

August 18, 2015

talesoftravellingsisters

Tales of travelling sisters    
http://talesoftravellingsisters.com

tales-of-travelling-sisters-blog"We are two sisters sharing our travel experiences around the world. We provide detailed information about the places we go, through words and pictures. Being vegetarians, we also focus on highlighting the local vegetarians cuisine from different countries so that our readers know what to eat and where. Based on our experience we also share travel tips and reviews to ensure that we help others to make their travel easier. It is also our intention to motivate other girls to travel and explore in a safe way."

Hema Jain and Suma Jain

August 15, 2015

Hindi directory

This post is specially for Hindi bloggers and Hindi blog visitors. 

Friends,

Like last year, we would be bringing out the next (2014-15) edition of the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs on 30th September. 

The preliminary examination of blogs in our database has already been done and we are now in the process of shortlisting them according to various parameters. We have also discovered many good blogs through search and looking at blogrolls, and those suggested since last edition.


In short, we'd look for content quality, appropriateness of content, quality of language, design and look & feel, navigability, regularity, engagement, richness of archives and other aspects of blogging. 


Blogs that are not updated regularly (at least in 9 out of preceding 12 months) will be summarily rejected. We will not be able to accommodate more than one blog of the same author.


If you have to suggest any blog even now, please do so. We will be able to include fine blogs suggested to us till the end of August. Though we do not rely on suggestions and look for blogs on our own, suggesting a blog - especially if the blog was irregular for some time and has again become regular - helps. 


Please send your suggestions to kpnd2008@gmail.com.


In the meantime, you may like to visit these popular posts relating to Hindi blogging, given at the end of this post?


मित्रो,

हम पिछले वर्ष की तरह हिन्दी के सर्वोत्तम ब्लॉगों की डाइरैक्टरी का अगला संस्करण 30 सितम्बर को प्रकाशित करेंगे. 

डाइरैक्टरी के संकलन का काम तेज़ी से चल रहा है लेकिन अगर आपको कोई उत्कृष्ट ब्लॉग दिखे तो हमें ज़रूर सुझाइएगा. हालांकि डायरेक्टरी में सम्मिलित होने के लिए किसी आवेदन की ज़रुरत नहीं है, लेकिन अगर आप कोई ब्लॉग सुझाएं तो उसे हम अवश्य देखेंगे क्योंकि यह संभव है कि कुछेक अच्छे ब्लॉग हमसे छूट गए होंगे. 31 अगस्त तक सुझाए गए अच्छे ब्लॉगों को हम डाइरैक्टरी के लिए स्वीकार कर पाएंगे. ब्लॉग URL इस ईमेल पर भेजें: kpnd2008@gmail.com

डायरेक्टरी के लिए ब्लॉग चुनते वक्त हम ब्लॉग की कई विशेषताओं पर गौर करते हैं, जिनमें मुख्य हैं वस्तु-विषय का स्तर, भाषा का स्तर, डिज़ाइन, ब्लॉग की खूबसूरती, नवीकरण, पोस्टों की कुल संख्या और ब्लॉग की उम्र, एवं पाठकों से संवाद. 

जिस ब्लॉग में पिछले 12 महीनों में अगर कम से कम 9 महीने निरंतर नई पोस्ट नहीं प्रकाशित हुई हो या फूहड़ तरीके से रंगों का प्रयोग हुआ हो, उसे डायरेक्टरी में स्थान देना मुश्किल होगा. एक ही ब्लॉगर के एक से ज़्यादा ब्लॉग लेना भी संभव नहीं होगा. 

शुभकामनायें.
ITB टीम 

क्या आप ITB पर हिंदी ब्लॉग-संसार के बारे में पाठकों द्वारा पसंद की गई कुछ पोस्ट देखना चाहेंगे? 

August 12, 2015

Disclose, disclaim and attribute to avoid lawsuits and readers' ire

Our purpose is not to scare you with legalese. But it IS our purpose to guide bloggers on legal and ethical aspects of blogging.


ATTRIBUTE THE SOURCE


When we copy a quotable passage from somebody else's website / blog / presentation / press release etc, we must give due credit to the source. Even more important is to give adequate attribution when using somebody's audio, graphic or audio-visual material. We have discussed it many times in the lat five years, so will leave it at that. Would like to add just this bit: giving credit does not mean you can use any material; we need to abide by copyright laws when using others' content.


DISCLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH A BRAND


When we, as bloggers, endorse a product or service, we are legally bound to disclose our relationship with the brand and benefits being derived through that association. 

Federal Trade Commission of the USA has issued comprehensive guidelines, with examples, on how to disclose promotion of a brand not only on blogs but short-form media such as Twitter. These apply mostly to blogs that review various products including fashion and beauty products, restaurants and hotels, gadgets, white goods, and books. Some other nations have advertising codes or guidelines on how a reviewer should disclose his/her association with the brand. 

However, we propose that bloggers go a step ahead when it comes to disclosure. We must disclose even if we are not being directly paid to endorse a product or service but are going to get indirect benefit. We must tell the viewers even when we got a gift during a press conference or received a free sample without an obligation to endorse the brand. 

Giving a generic disclosure somewhere on the blog does not compensate for not making a disclosure next to where the endorsement is written. The spirit is important: we need to tell the reader whether we were/ were not influenced by the brand / advertiser while giving our opinion about them. 

It is a great idea to disclose a non-association (e.g. I bought this product from the market. The views here are my own and based on my experience...). In such cases, we must make doubly sure that our review / endorsement / criticism are absolutely unbiased.


IF YOU'RE NOT WHAT YOU SEEM TO BE, ISSUE A DISCLAIMER 


There are occasions when we are likely to be misunderstood if we did not explain our limitations / lack of expertise / lack of legal authority / etc while giving an advice or making a claim. In some cases, such disclaimers are legally required but in other cases, these might look out of place, but we must give them to avoid counter-claims or controversies.

Disclaimers could be like this:

  • "Advice given is for healthy individuals. In case you have a .... problem, you must consult your doctor before ...."
  • "The legal position relating to adoption /... may be different in your country. So, please consult the adoption control authority / a legal expert/..."
  • "The data is of August 2015. Kindly check ....(source) for any changes that might have taken place subsequently."

As you might have noted in these examples, you need not write a big DISCLAIMER and put a legal notice after that. In most cases, explaining the context in which you give the information / advice is enough.

August 8, 2015

9/84 and counting! Blogger killings in Bangladesh

Niloy Neel is the ninth secular blogger to be killed in Bangladesh since 2013. He is one out of 84 whose names Islamist extremists gave to Bangladesh government with the threat that they all would be bumped off one by one. Niloy is the fourth to be killed this year.
Niloy-neel-facebook
Niloy's Facebook timeline

There is a clear pattern in these killings: The bloggers get death threats and then they are attacked. They keep getting attacked till it is all over. There is no perceptible check on extremists by the government / police. In some cases, even the killings have been similar: with machetes or axe-like knives. In some cases, police put the bloggers behind the bars for blasphemy instead of taking on attackers. 

Going by the nature of killings and the fact that even anonymously posting bloggers are attacked, it looks that the attacks are planned and executed by a common master though different groups keep taking responsibility for these murders.
Istishon.com, where Niloy contributed often.


It all started in 2013 when freethinkers and secular bloggers held successful rallies demanding death penalty for a war crime accused Jamat leader. These rallies caused huge backlash from Islamists who joined together to make Hefajat-e-Islam (protection of Islam). This grouping held two big rallies in Dhaka, and with communal appeal, was able to mobilise the public against the government. This very group issued the list of 84 bloggers and asked the government to punish them for acting against the God's teachings. In a sort of rapprochement between the group and the government, many bloggers have been tried for blasphemy. That perhaps explains why the government is not able to deal firmly with the group. 

The lives of the rest rationalist bloggers / social media activists are in danger from the blood-thirsty extremists as well as the government. Is the international community listening?

Just to recall the merciless killings of other Bangladeshi bloggers within one year!
Avijit Roy
Washiqur Rahman
Ananta Bijoy Das

Updates:
10th August, 2015: BDesh government is being strongly criticized by bloggers, liberal thinkers and their followers, international agencies and the social media. Government has rejected criticism about its inaction but has assured that the killers will be nabbed soon as intelligence agencies are after them. FBI has offered help in nabbing the killers and is said to be in talk with BDesh authorities.
18th November, 2015: Three attackers arrested, repots Al Jazeera. 

August 7, 2015

And then they banned porn!

Last week the Indian government banned porn on the web. And days later, it allowed ISPs (internet service providers, who give you internet) to un-ban porn sites.

We are at a loss to figure out why governments act so stupid. Is there nobody to tell them, banning porn – for that matter prostitution, liquor, even betting – are counter-productive. Instead of giving the claimed benefit to the society and individuals, bans harm the society in many more ways. But do governments listen?

In metropolitan cities of India, where porn CDs were selling for Rs. 50 (less than a dollar), these are reported to be selling for Rs.500.

Banning liquor in Gujarat, the state from which @Modi hails, has resulted in a huge parallel economy of smuggling and brewing spurious liquor. But without learning from such disasters, political parties last week launched a state-wide strike in another state, Tamil Nadu, in favour of prohibition.

Betting except horse-racing is banned in India, but it goes on without check. What the ban has resulted in is a hidden betting networks run by underworld dons and match-fixing.

IndianTopBlogs does not support alcoholism, vulgarity and other social deviations. We are aware that too much free and easy availability of inducement may lead to perversion. What we support is moderation, and ban is one of the worst mechanisms for achieving that.

Coming back to the web, which makes the topic relevant to us on this blog, the ban has been strongly criticised on the social media.

Papers are reporting that the ban has been lifted, because the IT Minister announced so in a press conference yesterday. When we checked it now, the ban was still on. Maybe, it is in the process.

The ban order was not public, but ISPs were asked to block 857 porn sites. However, the order is available here. Under public and media pressure, government allowed ISPs to un-ban sites except those purveying child porn.

The ban came in the wake of a Supreme Court observation that children have free access to porn sites. But the court itself did not pass an order to ban any porn site. Interestingly the government told the court, porn cannot be completely banned. The next hearing of the court is on 10th August.

We think, the ban is not very important for many reasons: it cannot be implemented; it will not last due to public pressure; it will not be supported by the court... But the ban is important as it resonates with the swift and excessive action that police has been taking against bloggers and other social media users for carrying even slightly critical posts against politicians. It is important as it comes after the ban by some states on beef eating and trade, and ban on Maggi noodles before fully establishing facts against it. It is important because the governments don’t even blink before imposing a ban on freedom of expression – that in the world’s largest democracy.


Update: On 10th August, the Supreme Court heard the case. Government's Attorney General had these pearls of wisdom to give, chastened by public ire against the ban: 
It’s question of a person’s right to speech and entertainment. State can't enter into people's bedrooms...Our government's commitment to freedom of speech and expression is total. We fully appreciate the great movement of the communication of ideas on social media...We cannot become a totalitarian state. Somebody wants to watch porn in the privacy of his room, can we prevent that?

August 4, 2015

Thank God, she has quit blogging.

A beautiful friend maintained an equally beautiful blog. Once she even asked us for blogging advice which we gave, but she did not intend to use that. She quit blogging last week. So this story is fresh from the oven. 

We'll talk about her beauty later; for now let's talk of the blog.

She wrote a couple of posts everyday, and did that religiously for three long years. At the end, she had a massively resourceful blog with over two thousand posts. Other than some technology / gadget / news blogs, we are yet to see blogs with those many posts. 

Her blog was a show-piece. She was there in every part of it, with photos in every conceivable pose. There were colourful widgets in two sidebars and the bottom. Almost all posts had she painting nails or combing hair or applying lipstick or patting her dog or posing before a monument.

What gave you the time and energy to carry on for such a long time with such regularity, we asked.
"Sheer passion," she said. "I put my heart into whatever I do." We know that. She has earlier put all her heart into gardening, then horse-riding, then yoga, then handicraft... Poor heart of hers!  

We have browsed a few dozen of her posts. They come direct from heart but have no meat. We had earlier discovered only English errors but now we looked at the content; it was all about herself, her 'sweet doggie', her nails, her saris and blouses, her sandals, her this, her that. Almost everyday, she rang up one of her friends to tell them how great she had written that day. Friends would comment with 'nice post' or 'you are looking exceptionally beautiful' or 'from where did you buy ...'.

But when she left blogging last week, we thought she had finally got bored of it all, or maybe she had seen the futility of talking only about herself. That was not the case, she said. "Blogging, you know, is after all such a slow medium. I have joined Facebook, and see how many friends I have made!"

One of us visited her Facebook timeline only yesterday (and that prompted this post). It is really impressive: she now posts at least half a dozen times a day and she has been doing so simultaneously with blogging, for the last six months. As well-wishers, we are going to suggest to her to switch over to Twitter before she discovers that Facebook is too slow for her. 

Are you one of such passionate bloggers who put their heart into blogging? Stop blogging before it is too late!

Blogging is not really for chatting, as there are much more instant platforms now available. Blogging is a 'serious' business, isn't it?