The 10th year of the 'blogger'
A personal diary or a daily pulpit; a collaborative space or a universe of rumours — attempts to define the blog probably outnumbers its roll call
on the web. And 10 years down the line, it’s growing and mutating into different avatars.
Never mind the different definitions. The blogosphere is basically can be seen as a popular online venue for coffeehouse conversation in text. A decade ago, Peter Merholz jokingly split Jorn Barger’s nerdy term ‘weblog’ into ‘we blog’, which then simply became the ‘blog’ we know today. This happened with Evan Williams’ launch of ‘Blogger’, a web-publishing software exactly 10 years ago today. Later, Williams was to found Twitter.
But the blog has changed much from the early days. “The first blogs were text-based; there were no videos or pictures,’’ explains Ashish Chopra, director of communication and PR of the Indian Blog and New Media Society. “As the net bandwidth increased over the years, the content also became rich.”
Simple text has given way to photoblogs, vblogs (videos), moblogs (posts from mobiles), audio bogs, podcasts, microblogs and more. Blogs have gone from being personal diaries or opinions to first-hand accounts of breaking news stories and other matters. “The earliest bloggers wrote on technical stuff. Now the content is diverse - films, celebrity diaries, fashion, religion, cooking, marketing and politics,” adds Chopra.
India’s earliest blogs were probably posted in 2001, he says. The Indian capital’s first blogger group, Delhibloggersbloc.com, was founded by Priyanka Sachar who goes by the name of Twilight Fairy. She recalls, “When I started my blog in 2003, I did not tell colleagues, just close friends. Few knew the term ‘blog’. We had to spell it out.” It was a small community and everyone knew each other. “Now, blogging is the ‘in’ thing,” she says. Many of the original bloggers have stopped — it was a hobby and they simple gave it up. “Now, it’s different; people are making a livelihood from blogging,” says Sachar.
The profile of the blogger has changed as well. From 20-somethings with loads of free time on their hands, to senior citizens, housewives and even young children. The Indian blogger is on a par with the global trend, says Chopra and many feature among the world’s leading blogs now. Renie Ravin, founder of the 10,000-member Chennai-based blogger network Indiblogger.in, says the Indian blogger appears more mature now.
Blogging has also diversified into various Indian languages. This was borne out by a 2009 report on the state of the blogosphere by Ravin and Gaurav Mishra of 20:20 Web Tech. Based on a survey of 7,895 blogs, it showed that 92% of Indian bloggers use English; Hindi is the most popular Indian language (52%), followed by Tamil (19%), Marathi (9%), Telugu (7%) and Malayalam (5%).
But in the final analysis, the fate of a blog depends on the content. “If you don’t have good content, people will not come back to your blog,” says Chopra. “Have a blog with a specific focus,” advises Ravin. Sachar says it helps if there is audience interaction.
With improving bandwidth and widening net access, Indian blogs are sure to multiply. But will they improve in quality? “We will see more convergence of services. Friendfeed is already doing that by aggregating content and updates from blogs, social networking sites, etc,” says Chopra.
The newest trend is micro-blogging, but the downside, says Sachar, is that the “frequency of blogging has come down because we say everything in short messages.” But those who keep a sharp eye on the blogpulse will continue to twitter and chatter because, as Sachar says, “it’s like a cellphone. Soon, it will be strange not to have one.”
source: Times of India