MUMBAI -- Popular narratives about India typically divide the country into two neat halves. An aspirational urban middle class, whose command of English has seen the country surge as an IT superpower, and a wretched underclass, living in poverty, in remote rural expanses, cut-off from the very technologies that has India making the headlines from Bangalore to the Bay Area.
You might have already heard of Crowdfunding - the phenomenon by which an idea for a project or invention is relayed to the public, usually via the internet, in order to attract funds and become a reality. This year it has hit the mainstream with a bang - with celebrities such as Zach Braff and James Franco using it as a way to attain revenue for their own movie projects.
The revolutionary impact of fast spreading digital and mobile phone technologies underpin an on-going conversation, yet to reach its conclusion. From the perspectives of non-violence and social development, optimists argue that a mass communication infrastructure enables campaigners to challenge the conditions of injustice and oppression.
The anti-government protests in Turkey have made one thing clear: Erdogan, the Prime Minister, is not listening to his focus group. As any business owner knows, the thing about focus groups is that you don't always get to choose them. And with new media, you certainly don't get to choose who rates and criticises you in the public sphere.
In fact it's always timely to be reminded of the fact that journalists are a vital pillar of any properly functioning democratic society. And this is notwithstanding the recent hammering that some parts of the profession have taken in this country over phone-hacking and other illegal activity. The fall-out from Leveson shouldn't distract us from the extremely serious work that journalists regularly do.
Following the Boston bombings, anyone following the relevant feeds and hashtags would have seen a surge of contradictory stories and speculation, some important and true, others later exposed as nonsense. Twitter is both an enormous rumour mill, and invaluable source of valuable information. I could end this article here, but academics have been studying this question in detail since at least 2010, so I'm about to get a little technical.
We've all got TV cameras in our pockets these days and television sucks up the material with glee. From filming a knife-wielding man tasered by police outside Buckingham Palace to the helicopter crash in London ordinary people are newsgathering extraordinary events everyday. Everyone's a journalist now: bearing witness and reporting it on Twitter and YouTube.
Just the other day, I was attending an event, and a friendly and I think genuinely interested Fashion Editor asked me about my background and how I ended up as a blogger. Had she not been that pleasant, I would have given the usual "we come from Mars where we were made in a big machine". Instead, I gave her a brief summary of the past 10 years of my life. It seemed to answer her question, but it made me feel uneasy, like I had to justify myself.