By Tariq Majeed
In this modern era, almost everything seems to be done via internet—be it communication through social media websites or apps, shopping, business, studying, entertainment, payments and so on. The whole lot of things which once were done face to face, like talking to someone, marketing of products, teaching, studying, shopping etc, have been given a new platform called the internet. People prefer to search for the information of their queries on internet instead of asking someone. This is because on the internet, they can get information regarding a particular topic from different people from all over the world and not just from a single accessible geographical location. They can get detailed information from different sources on internet within seconds without even walking a step. It depends on the people what they are looking for and they can search accordingly. As culture, mindset, health standards of different regions differ, so do their researches on web. Different people visit different websites according to their needs. The analysis of websites being visited may provide us an insight of the minds of the visitors. The analysis may lead us to wrap up some things about overall digital development of a region collectively.
According to Alexa.com (A company of Amazon.com which ranks websites according to the number of visitors they get over three months, the number of page views per visitor and other parameters), it has been concluded that the topmost website of USA is google.com. As expected, people use it to search different content available on it and to get connected to other websites. The websites ranked from second to eleventh place and few others that follow, reflect the balanced lifestyle of people of USA digitally. The other developed nations like Norway, Australia and Switzerland and so on also follow the same trend of visiting websites with slight variations. The people of USA visit “YouTube” (Rank second) which is a video search engine. This clearly indicates that they watch videos in order to clear the doubts of what they surf on search engine and to get the better understanding of their answers to their questions.
One can’t rule out the possibility that they can use YouTube for entertainment, business, etc as well. Nonetheless, one can deduce that for whatsoever purpose they use YouTube, they clearly want expertise in their respective fields. For communication with the outside world, they use the social media giants like Facebook at number three and Twitter at number nine. This shows their communication with different people and their will to express themselves to the outside world. They use Amazon at number four and EBay at number eight for shopping online. Yahoo at number five and Reddit at number seven are used for different content like news, email etc. Using Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at number six to access almost five million articles in English and gain more and more knowledge. Netflix at number ten for entertainment and LinkedIn at number eleven for their professional life and to connect with employees, employers, colleagues, and to apply for jobs, provide jobs and so on. They use Chese.com at number twenty-one and PayPal at number twenty-six for online banking and payments. Quora at number fifty-six and Stackoverflow at number sixty-eight are the leading question –answer websites where one can ask any question and get different answers even from the experts. Collectively one can opine that knowledge, communication, shopping, entertainment, News, jobs, banking is what they use internet for. This signifies the way they have transformed themselves digitally. In short, the basic things which are needed for a balanced lifestyle, is what they search on internet. They are not inclined towards a particular segment. This saves their precious time as well.
In terms of Jammu and Kashmir, the trend of visiting websites is completely opposite. The inclination of the minds of people here in Kashmir is always towards day to day happenings in Kashmir. The fear of something happening bad here pushes our people to check news every now and then. As expected, Greater Kashmir.com tops the list of websites being visited by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Every visitor spends almost six minutes sixteen seconds daily on this website and every visitor checks this almost three times, meaning nineteen minutes daily on Greater Kashmir.com by a single visitor. It is really surprising to know that 7.99% of the total visitors of Greaterkashmir.com access the website, by writing keyword “Kashmir Curfew”. The people may be viewing the newspaper to remain updated to day to day happenings, looking for job advertisements and the rest as well. But the top ten websites in Jammu and Kashmir include two more newspaper websites daily excelsior at number three and Kashmir observer at number six. A newspaper website topping the list of the websites being visited is never a worry but what is saddening is that we have nothing in common with the developed nations of the world except news. Nor do we have any tendency of following them. We don’t have any social media website like Facebook, Twitter in the top ten. We don’t have any learning website like Quora or stackoverflow, no shopping websites like Amazon, Flipkart etc, no entertainment website, no search engine website, no banking website in the top ten. The other websites which are among the top ten are Mavaishnodevi.org at number two for information on temples and services and Koausa.org —a website for expatriate Pundits, at number five.Jkgad.nic.in at number nine, maps of JK at number seven, JK tourism at number eight, JKtrans.nic.in at number nine and JK high court at number ten. These websites include six government websites and three newspaper websites. So news and government websites; that is all what people of Jammu and Kashmir view. Not even a single education website, entertainment website, not even search engine “Google”. This means that most of our people who use internet are inclined towards a particular section.
Is news the only thing which we Kashmiris want? Should we always be known to the outside world by the way we are known to them now? Shouldn’t we be having our own businesses to be run on internet? Shouldn’t we be studying, entertaining, shopping, banking on internet? Yes, we do these things as well but not to that significant extent we should be doing it. This can be accomplished on larger extent only in conducive atmosphere not in the volatile situation Kashmir always remains in. This can’t happen if we are all the time entangled in the news only. We need an atmosphere to bloom, grow both practically and digitally and be fruitful for our society. The environment here should be such that our people too should use the other websites which will certainly reflect the possession of a balanced mindset. That atmosphere should be created by us all, common people, Government, etc so that our minds are forced to get out of this news only obsession and shift the attention to something else which will help our nation to grow and prosper by leaps and bounds. Only then we can think of other aspects of overall development of our personalities. That way only we can have a well-settled lifestyle digitally as well.
—The author can be reached at email@example.com