Bloggers are people too!

11Nov05

I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable about all the “power of blogging” chest thumping going around. Look at our muscles, just look at how we bloggers have set the biggies to their heels. Atleast in India, bloggers are a very small, almost miniscule proprotion of internet users, who are a very small percentage of the population to begin with. Then, where is the question of making an impact. And on whom?

On the other hand, thinking about it, no denying that bloggers are making some difference. Take an uncontroversial situation, book reviews for instance. The Jabberwock’s piece in Business Standard says – Publishers and filmmakers are among those looking at web logs as tools of publicity — which could be the first step towards the mainstreaming of blogs. But limited connectivity is still an obstacle. Recently, publishing biggie Simon and Schuster approached a few Indian bloggers, including me – not the biggie lit bloggers – to have them read and review a couple of new titles on their own blogs.

Taking just the blogging world, such promotion is limited in its reach. Along with being cheap and effective. Then why does it make sense to use blogs for promotion and consider bloggers influential? Pardon me if I am stating the obvious here but bloggers are people too. We all have, well, most of us have lives beyond blogging (a fact that we seem to forget in this whole discussion about we the bloggers). And in that life, we meet other people who value our opinions and judgments, just as we do theirs. And what information I gain from reading other blogs, I pass on to people “offline”.

That is what the Power of Word of Mouth is all about. …that finds that consumers are “50% more likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations from their peers than by radio/TV ads. That was the idea behind this earlier post too – Shopping and advertising on blogs.

Taking a slightly more controversial situation, viz. the recent IIPM brouhaha, I see the issue as being larger than just we bloggers versus the rest of the world, specifically big bad IIPM. In the excitement of thinking about the impact that bloggers have made or can make with their blogs, there has been no mention of the power of negative word-of-mouth publicity that such an incident generates. One blogger tells ten other people (not necessarily bloggers) and each of the ten tells ten others… you get the drift.

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