June 22, 2018

Blogging, social media updates: Tanzanian law, Pak blogger getting threats, offers from social networks...

Tanzanian law kills blogging

The Tanzanian law asking for a hefty registration fee equaling $900 a year for online publishing has come into force [we talked about it earlier too], effectively killing blogging. That includes other forms of online publishing such as websites, forum engagements and posting on YouTube. Bloggers also have to produce a tax clearance certificate. 

Those not abiding by the law incur a penalty of approximately $2500 fine with or without imprisonment!

The rule had in fact come into being in March itself, but it was challenged in the Mtwara high court. Now the high court has turned down the appeal against the rule, and the rule is in force from 15th June.

Many bloggers have quit in protest, quit as they cannot pay registration fee, or have offered their blogs to be run from outside Tanzania. 

Pakistani blogger says, family getting threats from ISI

Pakistani blogger and activist, Ahmad Waqass Goray, who now lives in the Netherlands, has through a series of tweets, stated that his elderly parents living in Pakistan are getting threats so as to silence him. 

His tweets show the threat he is to live with and depict his sense of persecution, so we are adding no editorial comment:
""Thread : Men from Pakistani intelligence agency ISI visited my elderly parents in Pakistan yesterday 20th June. They said loud and clear that they have orders to abduct and torture my father and attack my family to teach me a lesson. This is not the first incident.""
""ISI officials and men in Army uniform along with the FIA have been threatening the families of other activists as well. Many people can not report it due to fear.""
""If my family is harmed any way directly or indirectly the world should know that General Faiz DG ISI internal wing, Brigadier Adil Sector Commander Lahore and their staff is responsible.""
""It should have been clear by now that I will not be blackmailed by blasphemy campaigns and guns pointed at my family... Pakistan is my country and I will keep fighting to free my country from this terror. Abductions, killings, dumping political activists and terrorizing families has to end. ""

Extortionist blogger or a case of defamation?

Kenyan blogger, Robert Alai, has slapped a defamation notice on publishers of Weekly Citizen, a weekly publication, for an article against him, asking for 'immediate withdrawal of the defamatory words and an unqualified apology'

The article claims that the blogger has been threatening his victims with damning exposes if they fail to pay him money demanded by him. 

It is also reported that after the defamatory article appeared, Alai stormed the editorial department of the paper and damaged property. Alai has faced many charges of rowdy behavior, scuffles with police etc earlier and also been jailed for a short period.

'Linking tax' from EU regulators?

It is reported on Forbes website that EU Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs has approved copyright proposals that require, according to the report, """"any site linking to a third-party site with a snippet to adhere to an astonishing 28 separate copyright laws, or else pay for a license to provide the link.""""

Critics say, the law, if it comes into force (it still needs approval of EU Parliament), will lead to a copyright tyranny, distortions in the flow of information on the web and political repercussions.
You can visit the report here.

Facebook to come up with 3D pictures on newsfeed

Facebook is to soon have 3D posts on newsfeed, as announced in its F8 Conference in May. We tried to find how it will improve viewers' experience of viewing photos taken from mobile phones.

When you tilt your phone, touch the photo or scroll it, the photo will respond to the movement, giving a feeling of depth. 

Humans get 3D sense of objects in real world because of two eyes which simultaneously process the object from two angles. In addition, we get to see objects from different angles when we slightly move ourselves while looking at the object. 

Though by taking many pictures with a single camera while panning it (as it happens in 360 degree photography) and then stitching them through a software is how 3D imagery works, Facebook is reported to be giving us this small 3D effect on photos taken with dual camera mobile phones. The images taken by the two cameras will be processed through depth measuring and other features of the back-end software.

The feature is likely to be rolled out in August.

Paid group content on Facebook

Facebook has launched a pilot for allowing group administrators to offer additional content on paid subscription. 

The regular features of groups will remain available to other members, but the new option will let group makers earn a few bucks for their time and energy spent on maintaining the group.

Facebook explains on its blog: ""We hear from group admins that they’re looking for ways to help them earn money to deepen engagement with their members and continue to support their communities. Many admins do this today by creating an additional subscribers-only group that sits alongside their existing group, and rely on additional tools to track and collect payments. Subscription groups were created to make it easier for admins to provide these experiences with built-in tools, and to save them time so they can focus on offering members-only content. For members, they’re now able to sign-up and manage their subscription through the Facebook app for iOS and Android.""

A report says, the fee could range from $4.99 to $29.99 per month.

Instagram introduces long-form videos with IGTV

Instagram has rolled out long videos, of up to one hour duration, on this popular platform known for small video flicks. The platform already allows streaming of videos up to this duration. 

The IGTV video is in vertical format (i.e. the way we normally hold and view the mobile phone). It can be streamed live or can have a recorded video that lasts one full hour. Besides it being available on Instagram, a standalone IGTV app has also been issued. 

It is anticipated that some YouTube video creators will shift to Instagram, maybe for the novelty sake or getting incentives from Instagram or having faced issues with YouTube. It might also impact other video providers such as NetFlix.

June 19, 2018

Showcasing a reference book on blogging

The Manual of Blogging

This is the first book that ITB has showcased in the last 8 years, but we could not resist showcasing it because it is perhaps the first and only such work on blogging.
Produced below is the book blurb. 

"Starting as a simple online diary two decades ago, the blog is now a versatile and full-featured website. It now encompasses all social media and is used for information sharing, expressing thoughts, publishing research, doing business and more. And the future of blogging looks even brighter!
The Manual of Blogging covers different aspects of blogging and related social media activities. A compendium with latest information, theoretical concepts and practical advice, the Manual is a must for libraries, media institutions and those interested in blogging, media and social media."
-Manoj Pandey

We found the book slightly pricey for individual readers. However, the author has sent us the Kindle ebook version of the book, which is fairly priced. We'd review it in detail sometime later. On the face of it, the Manual looks to be of value.

June 16, 2018

Category-wise version of the best Indian blogs' directory 2018

The eighth edition of the Directory of Best Indian Blogs was released on 1st June, 2018. We are glad to announce that the category-wise version of the blog directory is now out.

This year, as discussed in the directory release post last year, we have added lifestyle as a new category. A large number of bloggers, mostly women bloggers, have come to this field. Considering that 'lifestyle' is now in vogue in blogging, we had earlier talked about lifestyle blogging in this post:  Lifestyle blogs are highly professional. We would be grateful if lifestyle blogger friends engage in discussion around this theme so that those attracted by this niche have a clear understanding of where they stand.

We have another new category, hyperlocal, that lists blogs that talk about the life and culture of a small geographical area, e.g. a city.

A blog with good resources in different categories is likely to be included in more than one category.

If your blog figures in the Directory and you would like to change the category in which it is included, please write an email, telling why the blog is better placed in a different category.