India's best celebrity blogs

A large number of bloggers with a sound grounding in polity and politics, business and economy, justice and security systems and the society do enrich the Indian blogosphere. It is heartening that many of their posts generate a good debate around various topics. Some important media organizations have their own blogging platforms, and their editors / reporters / columnists / experts contribute regularly on these blogs. Add to these other serious blogging platforms / aggregators and their bloggers.

Another category of bloggers who drive good traffic to their blogs and generate good level of discussion are celebrities in various fields, e.g. politics, television and cinema. Among celebrities, we noticed that many  start blogging but either stop it altogether or do so infrequently. It could be a coincidence, but we have found that usually the celebrities who are serious about their profession are usually serious bloggers too – it is a different matter that some of them might be engaging ghost-writers.

Now, we have had a problem in ranking this class of bloggers. After eliminating the non-serious ones, it was difficult to select the best 5. For example, how do you compare between the top columnists of a leading newspaper who use their newspaper’s blogging platform – there is absolutely no difference in their designs, and they all write good prose, are experts in their own areas, write regularly and get a good number of comments.

Another, and opposite, problem relates to comparing these blogs with other blogs. The columnist / political celebrity bloggers usually choose a very functional platform and do not have to bother about design, visual appeal, linking, sprucing up with relevant display elements and so on. Yet, their content is so compelling that these blogs can’t just be neglected.

With these constraints in hand, we had to devise a balanced approach – to select up to 5 blogs in these sub-categories: blogs by columnists / journalists on media platforms, blogs by columnists / experts on other platforms, blogs by celebrities. We are tooth-combing each of the selected blogs for many more parameters such as engagement with commenters, selection of topics and writing style.      

We also had problem with blogs whose posts were a replica of a columnist’s column elsewhere. Yet, we had to let such blogs in as these arguments outweighed other considerations. Look at this one: Good columnists write syndicated columns and once you let them in, how can you eliminate columnists who post the same content in their print column and their blog?  In addition, the content is their own, not copied from others’ writings, and the blog is just an extension of their regular writing, and it also allows for reader response.

We had to reject good blogs belonging to one popular organisation as its platform didn’t have good way to  categorize content and proper archives. Moreover, the blogs opened with a promotional audio. A big media-house does not give a proper identity to its bloggers and the posts become part of the platform itself – we were forced to filter out such blogs, though sometimes with great content.

So, here we are: a select few blogs from clelbrieites and colunists in the Indian Blog Ranks. Rich picking!

PS: It is the job of columnists and journalists to weigh others in their balance and it is the rare privilege of celebrities to say whatever they like and get away with it. Ranking them was, indeed, helluva job.

The best Indian IT blogs

 By now, we have thoroughly examined blogs on a number of niche areas such as food and cooking, finance and economy, travel, photography, movies and music, and current affairs. One important category of blogs happens to be those on Information Technology. This is special because most of IT bloggers are much more familiar with technology than other bloggers. They know not only coding, they have also often got education and training on other web matters. Leaving aside a few, all IT related blogs score high on design and navigation aspects. This has made our task quite difficult in selecting the best five blogs.

Too much familiarity with tools and technology can be a drag too. The adage ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ seems to apply to many IT blogs and websites. Their focus on web-design and content – and the hurry to monetize the content – often leaves the reader out of focus. Ironically, in the long run, this has started telling on the quality of content and design in some erstwhile excellent IT blogs. We were constrained to keep out many blogs that have overdone this from the Directory of Best Indian Blogs, leave alone the Platinum Ranks.

Well, you have been bearing with us for so long; so let us keep the final list of IT Rankers to ourselves till June 30th, when the Indian Blog Rankings for 2011-12 are published.

The Best Indian Food Blogs

The Indian Blog Ranking exercise is on for the last 45 days. After screening blogs on a number of paprameters, we are now examining blogs in different categories in detail. We started with food blogs, going by  the small number of such blogs. We’d thought that it would be the easiest section to finish. 

We are thoroughly stumped by the richness of these blogs, and the dedication of these bloggers to not only the craft of cooking but blogging too. A large number of food bloggers have taken care to keep their blogs regularly updated and to reply to readers’ comments, categorise recipes, give detailed cooking instructions, illustrate them with a series of photographs, and also keep their passion largely non-monetised. 
While we are deeply satisfied that the five food blogs that we have finally selected are the best-est-est of the food blogs available on the Indian blogosphere, we are also sad that we had to leave out some great blogs – with some aspects even better than some of the selected ones. The last stage competition – among the top dozen blogs – was so hard that we had to dissect each blog for no fewer than 30 attributes. The only things we didn’t check were the culinary skills of the blogger and the taste of the food presented. Well, none of us is a foodie or a chef or a grandma.

Allow us to keep the final list to ourselves till June 30th, when we’d come out with the Indian Blog Rankings for 2011-12.