As most of you know, Desi Pundit died at midnight last night. The website has been shut down, and though you can probably still find old posts on Google’s cache, there are no archives on the site itself.
Desi Pundit is not alone. Last week, Ultrabrown decided to close shop too. At this rate, I wonder which other group blog’s turn it will be next week. It’s not just group blogs even. Dozens of bloggers I follow have either decided to stop blogging, take a break from blogging, or are posting very infrequently. (Yes, I know, I am also guilty of mysteriously absenting myself from my blog every now and then).
Part of this perhaps has to do with the demographics of the early bloggers – many bloggers I read started blogging when they were in school and had some measure of free time. As they became older, the pressures on their time have increased – whether it’s because of work, longer commutes, marriage, children or a combination of all of this – and inevitably, blogging has taken a back seat.
Other bloggers have graduated from blogs to writing books and so update their blogs less frequently. Still others are perhaps disenchanted with the drop (in recent times) in blog readers and commenters. After all, although every blogger starts off with a need to voice his/ her opinion, comments from readers are the oxygen that keeps one going.
There is also the issue of having competing avenues to express yourself. Once upon a time, there were only blogs. Now you have Twitter and Facebook updates and any number of other means to comment about articles you’ve read or comment about news events. Too often, it isn’t necessary to write a long blog post because you’ve already said your piece in 140 characters or less.
As I see it, the desi / Indian blogosphere is at the crossroads. The old guard is now giving way to a new generation of bloggers. At DP, we have linked up posts in the past that were written by bloggers in their teens (and some who are barely older). Perhaps some of them will start a group blog (and perhaps they already have). These are the bloggers who are going to blog enthusiastically for the next few years. These are the blogs I should start reading now. If you know of any such blogs, please send me a link and I will add them to my feed reader.
Of course, there is the question on whether the nature of blogging itself will change over the next few years. I hope that doesn’t happen. While Twitter and Facebook are great for immediate responses, there is nothing like a thoughtful and well-analyzed blog post.
As for Desi Pundit, Patrix said it best:
Over at DesiPundit, people have moved on to other things and time & resources haven’t been as plentiful for those who have remained. The Indian blogosphere and presence on other social media networks has expanded greatly and in our experience, it is no longer possible for human-powered aggregators to keep up; at least on a part-time volunteer basis.
He’s right, of course. Still, my fondest memories are those of my early days as a blogger and a DP Contributor, when I used to trawl through hundreds of blogs, trying to discover a new blogger or an interesting post. What I discovered then was that the Indian blogosphere is still very much in its infancy – the number of high-quality blogs that can appeal to a general audience (i.e. not just family) is rather low considering the millions of Internet users in our cities. And yet, its amazing how much this small group of people have been able to achieve and the attention they have received from the mainstream media.
So while I am really sad to see group blogs die (and especially Desi Pundit, given my association as a Desi Pundit Contributor and Community Member), I wonder if it is just one more event in the growing up process of the Indian blogosphere.