Whether it's their views on politics, or exhibiting their flair in fiction and poetry, many young Kolkatans are taking over the virtual world. All they want is a lap to top it up with a blog. With a limited number of publishing houses in the city, the cyberworld is a good avenue for these people to show off their literary skills and win over fans.
Team M3.tv speaks to a few bloggers to fish out reasons on why blogging and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are gradually gaining popularity among Gen Y.
Although a SAP Consultant by profession, Anirban is a popular figure on social media circles, specially among photography enthusiasts. He began blogging in 2006, when he first came across the term in a Bengali youth magazine. The blogosphere soon acted its charm on him and opened up a whole new avenue – it gave Anirban a platform to make himself heard.
“I blog to present myself as a person above the regular work that I do in the multinational company, the regular photo shoots that I do, or the music classes I attend. It is intensely personal experiences, coupled with photographs by me” says the ‘youth icon of Kolkata’ as some his fans fondly call Anirban.
Kolkata, and Bengal at large, has had a great influence on the budding photographer. The presence of the city can be felt in most of his works. However, Anirban feels the space for credible blogging is shrinking. “With the advent of social networking sites, the personal blogging has considerably reduced to Facebook statuses and notes. With too many bloggers vying for attention, spamming too has increased” he says.
Anirban, however, does not mind the growing trend of paid blogging, as far as the writer is aware of what he is getting into. People will judge you by the credibility and honesty with what you write, he feels.
Aurindam was intrigued by the world of blogging when he joined an online marketing company. “The idea of having my voice, my ideas reach to thousands and possibly millions of people from all over the globe and getting to know their culture and way of life intrigued me. And the rest was history” says the popular blogger on happiness.
Aurindam maintains two blogs to keep his professional and personal space distinct. Being an online reputation management consultant, he feels it is his duty to reach out to all the potential and existing clients out there to understand the complex world of online marketing.
There is a clear line that demarcates his personal blog from the professional blog. While his personal blog is about relationships and happiness, his professional blog is about search engine optimisation and social media integration into marketing initiative taken by a company.
Having been featured in a national daily for his outstanding contribution to the Blogosphere, Aurindam feels motivated to take up his passion to the next level. “I hope to make amateur bloggers with a lot of talent use my platform to highlight their talent. I have opened my blog for them. I hope to connect with as many bloggers from my domain and other to get ideas and opinions”, Aurindam tells Team M3.tv.
Living away from home, Raka Majumdar does not miss a single chance of making her feelings for the City of Joy go unnoticed. In fact, Kolkata has influenced her immensely. “I have been blogging for the last seven years and being a lifestyle blogger, my blog has recorded my life the way it has occurred. My blog is an expression of my formative years in the city and then the others I have lived in Bangalore, Hyderabad and now Delhi. Being a Bengali from Kolkata how can you not have the city being a part of who you are? You carry Kolkata everywhere you go”, quips Raka.
Raka, who maintains a strict line of separation between her personal and professional blog, feels that the Blogosphere is slowly becoming a commercial entity. With paid blogging, and blogging for a living coming into the picture the essence of blogging for the sake of it is lost. From being a natural expression it is now a platform to exploit and exhibit ideas and she thinks it will just get more commercial and lucrative with time. Known mostly for her book reviews, she feels that paid blogging takes away the personal touch and enforces one’s opinion on the masses, as the Gospel.
Apart from a platform for expression, Raka also feels blogs can affect public policy too. She cites the example of how a blog forced a popular pub to shut shop in Gurgaon, after a group were harassed over the service at the place. She feels that a blog needs the support of social media channels like Facebook or Twitter to make a post go viral and thus have implications on public policy.
Unlike the other three bloggers, Soumyasree does not own a blog anymore. In fact she has never owned a personal blog. However, she blogged in her professional capacity at a company she worked with and that has given her a position worth reckoning in Blogosphere.
A food blogger who endears anyone she converses with, Soumyasree uses her social media channels for sending her message across. She finds the medium as a platform for expression that can open up several avenues. “It was meant to share my thoughts and ideas to fellow beings and connect with the likeminded, or discuss with the ones with different view point” she says.
Predominantly a food blogger, Soumyasree agrees that the variety that Kolkata has to offer (in terms of food) has helped her to hone her palate and then talk about it. She discounts the idea of professional blogging, as often that leads to carrying somebody else’s opinion as your own. For the same reason she avoids paid blogging too.
As popular as she is on Facebook for sharing her culinary expeditions, Soumyasree was recently the guest of honour on a radio channel to share titbits on Durga Puja platter. Buoyed by the enthusiasm and support of her friends and well wishers, she wishes to re-enter the enticing world of blogging again.
Although the internet is still a niche commodity in Bengal, the number of users is increasing at a great pace. In fact for the year 2012, Kolkata has shown the highest increase in number of internet users among metros in India, according to Central Govt data.
Team M3.tv hopes that these inspiring tales from bloggers who have done the state proud will encourage many more to take to the medium.