A blogger shortage in India?

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on April 25, 2007

Writing in Foreign Policy, Preeti Aroon looks into the surprisingly small number of bloggers in India. Aroon cites (unspecified) research showing that there are only 1.2 million bloggers in the country, compared to some 30 million in China, and adds: “One northern India-based blog-hosting company, Ibibo, has even resorted to offering cash prizes to entice people to blog regularly.” She goes on to quote Ibibo executive Rahul Razdan saying that the problem is that Indians are too bashful, and finishes up by adding that another problem is that too many Indians are illiterate and so can’t blog.

I’m not sure I buy this explanation. Certainly there’s no shortage of opinionated Indians online who are not shy about sharing their thoughts with the rest of us. Just have a look at the comments sections for some of the posts I’ve made comparing India and China, for instance. So what gives? One problem is that many Indians are very new to the Net. When it comes to Internet access, India is a few years behind China. Internet usage in India is only now starting to take off: the country has 42 million Internet users, while China has three times that number. It’s not realistic to expect that millions of Indians will start blogging just minutes after they get their first broadband connection. Give them some time.

Reader Comments

Jonathan

April 25, 2007 3:52 PM

The problem is Indians can't decide on which language to blog in. Decision paralysis affects every aspect of Indian life.

India hardly qualifies as a united country. Comparing India with China is like comparing the EU with the United States.

RR

April 26, 2007 10:16 AM

Though the number of internet users are 1:3 ,but the number of bloggers is at no comparison this serioulsy questions the bloggers quest or the prevailing work culture

niti bhan

April 26, 2007 3:41 PM

I use typepad and sometimes blogger, MT or wordpress depending on whether i'm posting on my blog or somewhere else.

when in india, here are the problem's I've faced - dial up connections, uncertainty of connection staying connected while posting, frustration of low speeds etc as the applications and softwares are all set up to take advantage of higher bandwidth available elsewhere.

while broadband is available in india, i'd compare the number of internet connections in India [not internet cafes] and the number of blogs

while you can go to a cafe to update your existing blog, I doubt that it would provide the luxury of surfing, thinking, writing and linking that blogging needs in order to sustain itself.

if otoh there were blogging applications that allowed you to compose posts offline and then upload, that may help with many more bloggers getting online that there are currently.

Balaji Viswanathan

April 26, 2007 11:15 PM

I dont trust the research, wherever it came from. If it just looks India based blog provider's data, it could be way off mark. And dont forget the millions of expat Indians blogging.

Raghu

April 27, 2007 11:00 AM

When there is discussion what is the use of blog, i dont see any reason for this blogging except that some one in US started and want to make it populer.

Ravi Khondke

May 3, 2007 10:26 PM

Maloy

May 7, 2007 5:22 PM


Giving India more time to play catch-up is not the answer. It is ironic that Bruce is forgetting the lesson that MNCs learnt the hard way - to think global, but act local. Blogging or hanging around alone in Starbucks with a latte and iPod and blogging on your Mac is a lifestyle typical of high affluence first world economies which value the individual over the society. In India, it is the other way round, and even though the youth do end up shopping in malls or chatting in Barista cafes, the social nature of it is much different from that in the individualistic I-need-my-space culture of the US.

India also has an acute shortage of hideously obese people. If you compare the ratio of bloggers to obese people in India to that in the United States, there may not be much of a difference. It is a well known way to compare ratios rather than absolute numbers when comparing markets.

Buck

May 28, 2007 1:01 PM

The original blog piece is at the same time accurate and deceptive.

The number of Indians who blog is definitely larger than the number cited by Preeti Aroon, though not as large as in China. The reason is obvious - the use of the internet has thus far spread to the English speaking intelligentsia only - vernacular blogging is still in its infancy if at all.

The reason blogging in the vernacular, notably Hindi which is the most widely spoken Indian language, is not common is that the software and keyboards to enable typing in these languages are hard to come by in India.

Usage of the Internet and of mobile technologies is growing surprisingly rapidly. It is a matter of time before the floodgates open and more Indians blog.

Moreover, there is a lot of research work underway both in academia and in corporate research establishments such as Microsoft Research, to find ways of popularizing the use of Indian languages in computing. This more than anything else will lead to a surge in the numbers of Internet users - and bloggers.

- Buck

Jayadrathsingh

June 13, 2007 11:38 PM

I think the main reason is that very few Indians know about blogging. People don't even know what is a BLOG. When I started a blog an invited my friends to hav a look at it and the said to me '' hey you made a ne WEBSITE'' I told them its a blog not a website. But no body knows about what a blog is?

Amit

June 15, 2007 4:24 AM

I am an Indian and have lived for a couple of years in Shanghai. My observation is that China is still a closed society and people do not readily share opinions with their very small circle of family and friends let alone with strangers - hence, they BLOGG. On the other hand, India is a free society and people give their opinions readily even without being asked for ! And then, in India but unlike in China, there are socially entertaining demands from our large extended families, equally large number of friends and the nonsensical poetic soirees that prevent Indians from finding time to BLOGG and venture in similar activities. The difference is indeed a cultural reason - all you have to do is stay for a period of time in India and you will have your priorities right - BLOGG versus GROG ! People in China WANT to express themselves FREELY, Indians CAN.

Doc

June 17, 2007 7:58 AM

Notion of India being so diversified in culture ,doesn't affect anyway in Blogging.Unlike chinese Most Indians learn in english medium Schools.
But the real fact Is that country is extremely dense especially in cities,this leads to lack in individuality .The information happening around us is mindboggling and difficult to detail in blogs.

chatservices

July 15, 2008 7:55 AM

The main region of not writing blogs of Indian's is the less knowledge of computer and English.They have low information of current affairs and their impact on the life.The low density of Internet is also a big factor of it.People don't want to ask any question about why is this happning

Azhar Ahamed

July 8, 2009 11:28 PM

I am an Indian and I think people likes to share the experience with the dear and near, and most of them dont want to spent on computer, but want to spend with humans.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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