Despite tall claims, the city’s blogosphere is still inhabited by few, as the recently held Delhi Blogger Meet revealed...
Despite all the noise about the coming of age of the blogging phenomenon in India, the active blogging community in India is a shockingly tiny group, comprising mostly of journalists and IT professionals. Their preoccupation nevertheless continues to be slamming and analysing a very wide variety of things in an attempt to display their intellectual might.
If anything was in dispute, the 3rd annual Delhi bloggers meet just proved how big (or small) is the Indian blogosphere. Just four bloggers attended it, counting the host. ‘‘It’s a flop,’’ concluded Tarun Pall, the host. ‘‘I have booked the entire section of the restaurant,’’ he added, pointing at the empty sofas reserved for an army of bloggers that he had expected. Luckily for him, Saket, owner of a blog tracker, turned up and gave company to the lonely host.
Like Tarun, half of the Indian bloggers are IT professionals, while three-fourths of them live in the metros, according to a survey. As a result, the focus of the Indian bloggers is fairly limited. Their favourite pastime remains MSM (blog speak for mainstream media) bashing, often without caring to provide substantiations and taking cover behind free speech platitude. As Sajan Venniyoor wrote in a media watchdog site, ‘‘If blogs are to be taken seriously as an alternative medium, they should measure up to the standards of accountability and reliability of the mainstream media that the bloggers so deplore. When the IT Act 2000 comes into force, bloggers will face bigger challenges.’’
Indian bloggers are quickly realising that there are legal hurdles ahead, so they are beginning to tread cautiously. ‘‘We are in the process of forming an association in Mumbai for the protection of our rights,’’ revealed 24-year-old Saket, who works as a recruiter.
The Indian blogosphere has a long way to go before it even comes near to achieving the influence of the American bloggers, whom they emulate. We are yet to see the Instapundit of India or an Andrew Sullivan. And this is not lost on them. ‘‘We are the elite bloggers of India,’’ announced Tarun, as Aanchal and Neha, who showed up later, nodded in agreement. No one posed the question, at least not yet: When can we have our own Dan Rather moment, where bloggers forced a prominent US journalist to resign by proving that his stories were false?