Ernest Dempsey Interviews Sanwali Sharma About Blogging in India

Blogging and Social Networking in India

India, the second most-populated country in the world after China, is also one of the leading cyber-active nation with millions of bloggers and social networking members. More blogs are opening from India with time. And not only web gurus but many budding Indian writers, including women, are also stepping into the world of blogging. One example is Sanwali Sharma from Shimla who has just launched her own technology blog Roundedoff. An ex-citizen journalist and editor at Instablogs, Sharma tells about her blog and blogging from India in this e-chat with me.

Ernest: Hello Sanwali! Thank you for taking time out on my request! Please tell a little about your educational background and how you came to start blogging?


Sanwali: Hi Ernest, the pleasure is all mine. I’d completed my graduation in Mathematics and Computer Science in 2004 from St. Bedes College, Shimla and I’m now pursuing Masters in Mass Communication from HPU.

For the past two years, I was working in the media company, Citizenmedia Pvt. Ltd, Shimla, as a news editor/moderator and that is where I got introduced to the blogging world. Even though I was not part of the core blogging there, I always had the curiosity to know and learn more about blogging. I had a liking towards technology and design so I used to surf the web to get more familiar with similar blogs.

Even after leaving my job at Citizenmedia, I deeply missed being a part of the blogging world. I continued to scan my favorite blogs every day. That is when the idea of RoundedOff occurred, a blog to accumulate my interests (technology, design and gadgets). Me and my husband, who is a web developer, decided to build a team of blogging enthusiasts. Thankfully many of our close friends have shown keen interests in RoundedOff.

Ernest: After Instablogs, you chose to start your own technology blog RoundedOff. Why a technology blog?

Sanwali: Technology is ever changing that is what makes it so interesting. It has become an integral part of every individual’s life in the new age. Technology has a huge impact on our day-to-day lives which we cannot ignore. The new inventions and concept innovations appeal us the most. Imagine a car driven by your tweet and a mobile app. or the futuristic concept of controlling your whole world with a touch. We try to share such information along with the regular buzz on technology with our readers and RoundedOff becomes our medium.

Other than technology, we also like to blog about the interesting designs and concepts. You can even find some interesting videos, pictures, and artwork as well which makes RoundedOff a multifarious blog that features the diverse range of topics.

Ernest: In your observation, is there a significant proportion of women bloggers who like to earn via online writing and blogging instead of taking more traditional jobs, like teaching and nursing?

Sanwali: I can’t comment for all women, but at RoundedOff, 90% of the team is comprised of girls. In fact many mothers are showing interest to write for us which helps them spend time with family along with earning their livelihood.

Ernest: What are some of the main difficulties you need to overcome while blogging from India?

Sanwali: Well it’s hard to imagine but I’ve have not had a single difficulty from blogging in India. See Ernest, I believe blogging is not country-specific and not certainly for RoundedOff which features subjects that cater to the global audience. RoundedOff presently gets more hits from outside of India. So blogging from India is not an issue till we have a stable Internet connection. 🙂

Ernest: RoundedOff seems very fond of social networking news. I am sure bloggers in India are very much into social networking. How do you use social networks to promote your blog?

Sanwali: If we talk about social networking, I remember I read yesterday that 40% of people who are on Internet are using facebook. You think we can ignore that? It’s a huge figure and if something comes up that we think people would like to know about their favorite social networking sites, we make sure to cover that on RoundedOff. I don’t do anything over the top to promote my articles but simply share them on my profile page for facebook and twitter. The like-minded people tend to visit the article and sometimes share it too. Well, I think Facebook is the most popular worldwide including India. I like Stumble Upon and Tumblr very much because you get subject-specific things to read than user-specific updates.

Ernest: With over one billion people in India, there may be many millions using blogs and social networks. Do you make RoundedOff somehow unique to stand out from the crowd?

Sanwali: The thing that makes RoundedOff stand out in India is that it is not an Indian site first of all. By saying this, I mean we are a subject-specific website than a country-specific one. We have readers from India and abroad who share similar interests with us. As I mentioned before, we are catering to audiences from abroad who are regularly visiting RO to read more about the topics of their interest.

Ernest: Right. And finally, what future do you plan for RoundedOff? Where do you see it by early next year?

Sanwali: The first and only motive to start RoundedOff is to put it into the lists of the most liked websites in the blogworld. The future plan is to improve the readability by introducing new features from time to time. Add user engagement tools which will help them to participate more on RO. We have just launched a new feature ‘Project Play’ where readers will get to read the articles in more stylish way. I hope they like it. It’s early still to predict anything but we are constantly working hard to take RO to the higher level. Since this is the second month of the website’s creation, we have gained a lot and hope to continue the growth manifolds.

Ernest: Many thanks Sanwali for taking time out for me. I hope your techno blog will take off in the coming months.

Sanwali: Thanks Ernest for the delightful interview. Hoping for the best.

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