Social media is on an upward growth trajectory, with the number of users growing each day. This growth is not particular to the English language, but has been seen equally in Indian vernacular languages, particularly Hindi.
As the deliberations on its impact grow, its reflection on other media gives rise to various intellectual debates which take place across the country.
This paper is an effort to analyse how social media tools like blogs, and Twitter, are being used by print media in the heart of India – Madhya Pradesh.
Dainik Bhaskar, one of the leading dailies of Madhya Pradesh, had started a column on its edit page named ‘World @best Bhaskar’ which has stories, features, odd news, and pictures taken from the internet from various global web sites –livescience.com,. mymodernmet.com, cbc.ca, vimeo, funchangetheory.com, jaunted.com, toptenz.com, wellhome.com,kotaku.com, english.cntv.com, sty.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, ubergizmo.com, japantimes.co , 123inspiration.com, and many others.
In addition, the Bhaskar city page has a column which prints a blog entry on a relevant topic from the web. It maybe on a particular news or it could be the musings of the writer. The blog entry is published with the name and the blog address. Blogs picked up in this column are written in Hindi.
Blogs are not only used by Dainik Bhaskar on its city pages, but also by a Hindi evening newspaper from Madhya Pradesh, named Pradesh Today. It used to have a daily column on its edit page as well. This column, however, was discontinued at the time of elections in the State, and we will have to wait and watch to see if it is started again.
The column used the entry from a blog written in Hindi, along with the blog address and the name of the writer. If one looked at a trend analysis of various blog entries within a random 30 day period, which in this case was between May and August, it could be seen that when the entries were published on the edit page, they used analytical blogs on current issues and gave space to different viewpoints.
It had picked up on social issues like breastfeeding, child sex ratio, violence against girls, and acid attacks. This column was started last October and was published every day of the week except on Sundays. Besides being published in Bhopal, the column was also printed in the Gwalior and Jabalpur editions.
People Samachar, another Hindi daily in Madhya Pradesh, publishes an occasional column titled ‘Blog speak.’ This column carries blog entries which are either lifted off a newspaper like Jansatta or a blog or site. Similarly Dainik Jagran’s city page also occasionally uses snippets of blog entries in a column titled ‘World of the Net.’
Tweets, especially those posted by celebrities and politicians, have made more news in media. This is true in the case of newspapers like Dainik Bhaskar, Pradesh Today, People Samachar, which carry tweets by celebrities and politicians on recent relevant issues. In addition to celebrity tweets, Dainik Bhaskar carries tweets by people on recent issues, and even film reviews, on its city page under the column ‘Best of Web’. Dainik Jagran too carries a column that publishes tweets on recent issues, under the column titled “Net ki Duniya.’
One common factor between all these published blog posts is that they all revolved around recent issues, ones that made headlines or created some kind of controversy. What we should take away from this is that it is not just celebrity tweets which are making headlines, but other mediums, like blogs, are also making their ways into print editions. Though the blogs and tweets of celebrities, politicians and senior journalists matter a lot, it is also important to take note of the blogs of regular people who are well known in the web world, or write aggressively on issues.