By Vijay Shah
One of the greatest positives of being a blogger is that it not only feeds a person’s creativity, but also enables them to connect and bond with like-minded people all over the blogging world. There are millions of active bloggers out there, writing, musing, thinking and photographing their way through their lives and effortlessly accommodating every available niche and subject known to humanity. As any blogger can tell you, blogging gives bloggers a chance to display their talents. Part of the pleasure comes from seeing other fellow blogging enthusiasts read your work, check out your blog and show their appreciation. There is an soul-warming buzz of endorphins that comes rushing through your heart every time you see a new miniature icon appear underneath a recently published blog post. You have just gained a new fan, another pair of eyes that has seen, absorbed and been impressed by that post that you spent minutes, if not hours, putting together. It is a huge motivation to carry on blogging when you know that there are people out there who are really interested in what you are doing and really wanting to see more. A good blogger always writes for their audience, not just themselves, in my humble opinion and experience.
The IndiBlogger staff.
As blogging is about a sense of shared interests and a feeling of being part of a big, strong and mutually supportive community, bloggers have come together and united for a greater good, just as hobbyists of all hues have been doing so for as long as there were hobbies. Not surprisingly, many bloggers with a shared purpose or interests have been forming clubs since blogging began taking off in the 2000’s. As more and more blogging enthusiasts take their first steps into cyberspace, there has also been an explosion in blog directories, as bloggers make concerted efforts to get their sites advertised to the net-surfing public as well as compete to be the blog on everyone’s mind. Some like Technorati have become an industry within themselves as bloggers help reshape news agendas, political agendas and popular cultures. The blogging community has become so large that not even governments and traditional media outlets can afford to ignore their presence any longer.
A little-known (in this part of the world), but hugely influential example of this impact of many divergent bloggers becoming welded into one community is the very successful bloggers’ directory and network, IndiBlogger. Founded in India, where there is a massive population of bloggers drawn predominately from a tech-savvy middle class, IndiBlogger has helped establish a patriotic, civil-minded blogger’s club replete with not only great bloggers, but also society-changing ones. One of its slogans is “We Blog, Therefore We Are” – showing just how much blogging is the lifeblood of this online community from the world’s second-most peopled nation. Since its launch in August 2007, hundreds of blogs, mostly in English but also in local vernaculars, have joined the IndiBlogger club. It is free to join, but as it is regionally focussed, membership is aimed at bloggers residing in India, and enables members to meet, interact and promote their content. As more and more people became computer literate, the membership numbers began to skyrocket soon after IndiBlogger began cobbling together a once splintered and solitary Indian blogging community. Nowadays the IndiBlogger.in website receives seventy applications from hopeful IndiBloggers a day, and has been so profitable for its founders, web architect Renie Ravin and the IndiBuggers software team (the site’s brains and brawn), that they were able to resign from their day jobs and focus their high-spirited energies into nurturing this new – and somewhat revolutionary for the Asian subcontinent – phenomenon, a blogging network fit for the ‘world’s largest (cyber-)democracy”.
Google’s Blogger software is the brand of choice for India’s bloggers, and IndiBlogger has embraced that with gusto, employing plugins and other tools to help its community make the most of their experiences. Other blogging platforms like WordPress as well as self-hosted blogs are also made welcome in India’s largest blog network.
IndiBlogger’s wizardry does not just include the technical aspect of things. Like any club, members wanted a way to identify themselves as proud IndiBloggers. So the team, based across four cities in India and communicating mainly via Google Hangout, set to work creating a simple, yet playfully powerful means of helping their hundreds of members wear their IndiBlogger badges with pride. Their answer was to devise a colourful range of virtual badges for display as widgets on members’ blogs. With their contemporary sleek graphics infused with the uniquely Indian brand of patriotism and a little geeky humour, the current selection of IndiBlogger badges have won many admirers among the creme-de-la-creme of India’s bloggerhood.
IndiBlogger’s first foray into badgemaking were relatively simple affairs, with little individuality but were heavy on branding. They came in different colours with the network’s header logo and an silhouetted outline map of the Republic of India, as can be seen in the selection below. The ‘classic’ badges, which are still available for use, were designed to be suited to all major browsers and involved a painless transfer of an HTML code for a chosen logo into a blogger’s site template.
Images (c) IndiBlogger
However, Renie Ravin and team probably felt that these badges were generic and needed more personalisation.In short, some means of reflecting the multitudes of personas whose blogs helped build IndiBlogger’s rapidly elevating success. So the graphics team were set to work on their computer monitors. IndiBlogger soon unveiled Version 2.0 of their badge collection which now have been received with much fanfare by bloggers of specialist subjects and alternative backgrounds. The badges are meant to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, reflecting everything from careers and interests, to marking national pride and important events. Some support charitable initiatives, of which is a major part of IndiBlogger’s social responsibility ethos. Others mark news subjects which have had a particular resonance in the Indic blogosphere. New designs are constantly being added to the range as time goes on. The Half-Eaten Mind has featured the March 2013 range in its entirety below.
The badges are solely intended for IndiBlogger members, and offer a link directly to the venture’s website, where members can view hot front page news from other bloggers as well check their stats and IndiRank – a gauge of India’s most widely read and talked-about blogs.
Images (c) IndiBlogger
If you are a member of IndiBlogger and want to use one of these badges to commemorate your membership and/or to adorn your website – and you are using WordPress, there is a blog post by the Analyst, also known as Anshu Prateek, who is an IIT-educated service engineer working at Yahoo. His post gives instructions on how to find the badge HTML text widget on the IndiBlogger site itself and then add it to a WordPress blog. Although the instructions are given in grammatically-incorrect Indian English, they seem at first glance to be relatively easy-to-follow if you are technologically comfortable working ‘under the bonnet’ with your blog’s dashboard. Visit the anAlyst to find out more.
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SOURCES & IMAGE CREDITS
“IndiBlogger.in set to expand international influence” – CNBC-TV18 MoneyControl.com LINK
“Classic Badges” – IndiBlogger.in/Scissor Paper Stone (P) Ltd LINK
“Pick a badge, any badge.” – IndiBlogger.in/Scissor Paper Stone (P) Ltd LINK