He may not have the financial muscle of Bill Gates, but Bill Thompson commands considerable respect and following among Netizens, that includes bloggers too. While most bloggers prefer to remain anonymous, they were only too happy to come out in the open when Thompson came calling at the 11th Delhi Bloggers Meet, or the XIth DBM, as they love to put it.
These bloggers have been meeting at irregular intervals without seeking the attention of the MSM (Main Stream Media). However, Sunday was a special occasion as in attendance was Thompson, one of world’s foremost net activists.
Thompson is a new media pioneer, who regularly writes for BBC’s website on digital media as well as in The Guardian, The Register and The New Statesman. “Blogging is all about making a difference to the world we live in, in our own small way,” he told a very informally scattered audience around him. He also listened to the enthusiastic audience who were eager to share their views on the issues facing Indian blogging, from its impact on MSM, credibility crisis, plagiarism incidences and its way ahead, at times giving global perspective to the local incidence.
Thompson was accompanied by Julian Gareth from BBC Radio, who interviewed some active bloggers for a special programme. Amit Agarwal, a professional blogger from Agra, was the centre of attraction. Agarwal worked as a software engineer for six years before he left his job two years back to start full time blogging at http://labnol.blogspot.com. Now Agarwal claims his income runs into thousands of dollars per month without disclosing any particular figures.
“Almost 60 per cent of my visitors come from the US. I get some ads from US software companies, which are both click and impression based, but 90 per cent of my income comes from Google Adsense,” Agarwal told exchange4media, whose blog is ranked 400 on BlogPlus and 1000 at Technorati.
“I get 25,000 to 30,000 hits per day,” he informed. Agarwal is active at blogging communities and has been attending such bloggers’ forums in Chennai and Hyderabad too. “But I have not found another person who has left his job for blogging and making a good living out of it,” said a proud Agarwal.
“The DBM has so far attracted more than 100 members,” informed Twilight Fairy, who started the informal get together in January 2004 and is the moderator of the Yahoo Group. On the purpose of such a unique forum, she said, “When we first met, we all were strangers and were different in our own ways. But soon we realised that we are quite comfortable with each other and started meeting at irregular intervals.”
But it was not all active bloggers who were present there. Some were there purely out of curiosity to know, may be how a blogger looks like! Some like Swagat Sen, an executive producer with Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication – who organises a unique film festival every year at Puri on February 15, called ‘Bring Your Own Film Festival’ – was there to know how to tap the potential of blogging to attract more like minded creative people to the film festival. There were lawyers, engineering students, advertising professionals, software engineers and people from all walks of lives.