Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Brand India and the blogosphere

India, for long was relegated to the status of a third world nation. Try as you might, year after year it was the same perception. Poverty, pity, snakes, jungles, curry and what not.

Somewhere along the way, the IT revolution, outsourcing, offshoring, IT service providers, Y2K happened and India and Indians slowly moved from the "Wheres India..." to "India has good programmers...".

BRIC, (Brazil, Russia, India, China), the ultimate acronym has lifted India beyond the orbit of India being constantly being referred to as a suffix or prefix with its friendly neighbour. With the growth in outsourcing and its economy, India is touted as a growth engine, emerging economy and a must have in any companys strategy. From good programmers, India now has a "growth economy" as well.

Because of these two factors India is slowly moving up in the eyes of the India watcher and slowly showing up in the radars of businessmen, industry, researchers and universities for whom it was hitherto invisible (or with low visibility).

There is a third level which is contributing significantly to India moving up the proverbial value chain. This, imho, is thanks to the blogging space. Blogging and bloggers are the creators, if you will, of the zeitgeist of the web today which in turn shape the perceptions and world of tomorrow. Most serious bloggers are usually economists, professors, journalists, students, venture capitalists (who I call the "idea drivers of tomorrow") with opinions, insights, contributions, research all or some of which flow into shaping up tomorrow.

Indian bloggers today contribute significantly in determining the way India is perceived tomorrow. Indian bloggers are slowly reinforcing through the blogging community about the depth of India and how it is much more than an army of coders. Indian bloggers contribute and host many a carnival(Bharateeya Blog mela), many a colloborative blog and write on subjects ranging from education to science to brands to technology to management to analysis to writing and youth.

If Brand India emerges more as an intellectual superpower tomorrow, we Bloggers can claim our two cents of contribution to it.

Update: Updated as per Nitis comment, with all the links I could think of!

24 comments:

Kaps said...

Although the bloggers are shaping the India brand, I still feel that the impact is not much. With low internet penetration, the readership of blogs still very low. The Blogosphere as a whole needs to chalk up strategies of increasing blog readership (by improving content on the supply side and also by perking up the demand for their writing).

Mridula said...

I post a lot of photographs on my blog of hill stations in India that I travel to. I have been told more then once by readers that they never associate scenery like that with India. I often remind them we have the Himalayas.

But the low readreship point is also well taken, after all my effort is just a small drop in the ocean but I guess our collective efforts could amount to something?

Neelakantan said...

Thanks Mridula and Kaps. Individually, we may have low readerships, but collectively we are a good bunch. Perhaps we need to link more of each others, perhaps we need to contribute to various blog carnivals, host carnivals and over time Brand India will be established in the blogosphere. This is a big big advantage India has over China and there is no way it can be used. It has to happen and we are all a part of it.

Raj said...

Good to know that we are the torchbearers of a great movement to build Brand India. The low readership certainly dampens the spirits but, hopefully, blogging will acquire critical mass soon and take off. I had not heard of the blogosphere till a few months back and most of my friends/colleagues still are clueless. And I though we were net-savvy, informed guys. Maybe, we should add our URLs to our visiting cards..Or post stickers on our cars, "Don't honk. Blog."

Niti Bhan said...

Neelakantan,

You've hit the nail on the head. I've noticed the best blogs link to everything they possibly can, whereas, just take your own post for example, it links to very few urls and blogs. When, for eg. you were giving examples of Indians blogging on different topics, you could have used that opportunity to link to an Indian blogger on that topic. Thus, when somebody stumbles on this post, they can link through your post to others.

:)

Keep linking!

Niti

Neelakantan said...

Point taken Niti. The links are up :)
I think the key to bring the Indian blogosphere to critical mass is to keep linking!

Govar said...

Im with Kaps on this. The awareness levels of bllogs are really really low. I woould prolly peg it at sub-10%, and people who read are less, and those who write are lesser. Guess the technology lag is going to take sometime to catch up. We have 1TB disks in the Japanese market, and I see some 1GB machines still running in India! Some lag it is!

Jayesh said...

I have a question for this elite set of readers. Does 'Not allowing Anonymous comments' prevent popularity of blogs and readership by general surfers vis-a-vis non-bloggers?. Somewhere for blogging to be big in India we need the non-bloggers to read more of our blogs.

Neelakantan said...

Jayesh, if it were not for splogs, anonymous comments would be kept open!

Other than bringing the critical mass of Indians to blog, knowingly or unknowingly we contribute our two bits to the building of brand India for tomorrow.

Kaps said...

there are 2 sadagopan's in the blogosphere. the one you are referring to (123suds.blogspot.com) is not the Professor. I think the prof blogs at http://ss.emergic.org

Neelakantan said...

Thanks kaps, updated with the relevant link!

silverine said...

Indian blogs do give an honest perpsective about India and Indians. Followed the links. Real good reads

Gautam Ghosh said...

I feel that focussing on creating an image through blogs might deviate from the essence of blogging.

As long as the bloggers are authentic and not too worried about how others are going to percieve them and the country, it'll be great.

Once we start to attribute too much of power as to how the western English speaking countries percieve us - thanks to our blogs being written in English, we will be deluding ourselves.

There are Persian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean blogs that are not really bothered as to how they are percieved...so why should we ?

Neelakantan said...

Thats true! If we began to bother about how our blogs were perceived, well, we would not be writing anything!! In any case, the fact remains that Indias awareness increases through blogs and bloggers, even if only because they are in English.

smrtikp said...

I was in fact looking around for blogs from India as part of a research project and came across this claim about bloggers.
It is tempting to view blogging as an example of the liberation the new medium offers. I dont deny its qualities of self-censorship, easy publicity and distribution etc., but isnt it too much to imagine that we significantly determine the way India is perceived tomorrow? We are just a miniscule and not a force to determine what India is outside the computer screen.I have said more about this in my blog http://smrti.net.I'm with kaps and govar on this.

Michael Mace said...

I hope you won't mind a comment from outside India.

You are indeed helping people learn about your country, and I think that's good. I'm sure the things you're teacing will gradually seep out from the bloggers to the rest of the population. But that will be a slow process, at least for now, because bloggers are still a miniscule part of the population in any country.

Meanwhile, there is something else interesting going on: connections between blogers across countries. As a blogger myself, I'm fascinated by the patterns of traffic I get. Visitors come from the US, Europe, India, Australia -- basically anyplace that speaks English as a first or second language. I think we're creating a lot of opportunities for learning about each other, but we're also developing a shared community in which borders and nationality are less important, and often completely invisible.

So my thought for you is, I think you are indeed teaching the world about India. But you're also bringing yourselves into a new sort of community. I don't know which will be the more powerful trend in the long run.

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