Blogging could be on its way to becoming the ‘new fourth estate’, according to the findings of ‘Blogging India: An MSN and Windows Live Report’. Close to 45 per cent of the respondents believed that blog content was as trustworthy as traditional media.
Based on an online survey of more than 1,000 MSN portal visitors in India, the report was developed by the blogging site, Windows Live Spaces, as part of a pan-Asian research initiative.
The Indian research also highlighted that while growing in popularity in India, the blogging community is still at a nascent stage with only 14 per cent of India’s netizens actively blogging, while 39 per cent are aware of blogs.
India’s blogosphere is heavily dominated by men – 76 per cent of its bloggers are male while women accounted for 24 per cent. This goes against the trend in the region where blogging was fairly evenly matched between the sexes, although some markets such as Singapore were slightly more female dominated. India’s blogosphere is fueled by young adults with 54 per cent of bloggers between the ages of 25 years and 34 years, 32 per cent under 25 years, and 15 per cent over 35 years.
Fervour for self-improvement and personal development was found to be key drivers of India’s blogosphere with a large majority of online users reading blogs to stay informed about world events. When asked which subjects they enjoyed reading the most, majority of the respondents cited technology (32 per cent), followed closely by news and education (24 per cent), illustrating the impact of India’s booming technology sector on the society. This is in contrast with the region where technology was ranked by only 19 per cent as the most interesting, with travel being second most popular ranked by 17 per cent.
Blogs written by business leaders were found by half of all online users in India to be the most enjoyable to read. Twenty-four per cent of respondents found blogs by politicians to be of regular interest. This is in contrast to the region where the blogs by business leaders and politicians were far less popular.
The Report also revealed that majority of India’s online users found reading blogs to be an excellent source of entertainment, with those written by actors, popular music artists, and sports personalities rating as the most popular at a combined 77 per cent.
According to the Report, having a platform for self-expression factored heavily into the motivation to blog in India with 58 per cent of bloggers starting a blog because they wanted to express passionate views, while 40 per cent of India’s bloggers did so to entertain others through their writing. A majority (47 per cent) of blog owners indicated that writing about their views and commenting on the world around them was what they enjoyed the most about the activity.
Bloggers who are looking to improve their sites should take note as aesthetics play a huge role in attracting and retaining an audience in the blogosphere. Respondents indicated that a good blog should, firstly, be updated regularly and secondly, be well-written with eye catching pictures. Amongst the most annoying aspects of blogging, India’s netizens pointed listed badly written entries (42 per cent), self-centered blogs (36 per cent), and not knowing when a blog is updated (34 per cent), as things that turned them away from blog sites.
The survey also found that in India, almost 90 per cent of bloggers spent up to five hours per week reading blogs or updating their own blogs, revealing the impact the social network activity is having on Internet usage patterns and divulging the extent to which consumption of traditional media was changing.
“India’s nascent blogosphere is characterised by what all of India is striving to achieve today – to grow and learn whilst taking time from our busy lives to be entertained by role models in our communities,” said Jaspreet Bindra, Country Manager, MSN and Windows Live, India.
“The Internet is growing at a tremendous rate, driven by user created content and community based online services. These are both highly representative of the blogging phenomenon in India today,” he added.