The blogging culture in Pakistan has come a long way. Beginning with less than a dozen blogs with very limited audience and influence, it has effectively exploded in the past two years, when people began to learn how to maintain blogs run them, and how to generate revenues out of them.
Since then, things have picked up pace quite rapidly and credit for this goes to multinational companies who grasped the potential in blogging. Thus, we began to hear of terms like bloggers’ meetups, seminars, workshops and competitions on blogging. The youth also took up this new technology enthusiastically not just as a vent to express themselves, but to earn some extra bucks as well.
The blogsphere, like other broadcast media, eventually brought fame to a number of faces and voices: people, whose opinion on different topics like technology, telecom, entertainment, politics, and activism became the voice at large.
Resultantly, these individuals became a credible source, trusted by many to deliver fresh, updated content for which netizens wait anxiously every day. So much so, that at one level, they even become sought-after analysts in their respective fields for print and electronic media. Frequent appearances on TV, radio and online webcasts prove that blogging in Pakistan has become an important emerging part of the media landscape.
To put it another way, blogging has turned out to be one of the best possible options available for alternative media in the country. In fact, it outclasses the mainstream media at times by highlighting some very crucial elements that are usually missed out by the conventional media.
May it be, the activism during the 2007 emergency imposed by then President Musharraf, or creating controversies in a celebrity’s life, or to break an inside story of a telco, or to ignite a thought in a common man, or to discuss the aspects of our national Policy, bloggers are playing their due part to shape and present a positive and proactive image of Pakistan in front of the global web audience.
Just to give an idea of how successful blogs are in Pakistan, one of the top blogs in the country covering news receives some 20,000 hits a day or around 600,000 hits a month. Not only that, blog posts go viral through emails, RSS, newsletters, social networks, Google/Yahoo groups and so on. Estimates also suggest that such a blog is read by over 1.5 million individuals in a month. This number comprehensively covers a niche/sector or the topic-related audience in the country, and actually suggests that blogs have as much audience and influence as any other type of conventional media.
The evolution in blogging has brought economic benefits for society as well. The industry has created countless jobs at multiple levels in all sectors. Today, almost every organization has a separate department for managing digital media along with a dedicated budget for advertising. And although, at this point the figures are not very lucrative, they are 300 per cent higher than the previous year, which depicts the size of growth and potential this industry has.
This article was first published in Dawn on Sunday – October 24th, 2010