This year marks a decade of my blogging. In the last ten years, I’ve been the stubborn kid who wanted his blog to be his mouthpiece and nothing else. My blog should showcase things that interest me, my journey as an individual with all the learnings and the findings of life.
I was introduced to the internet in 2000 but I did not have a personal computer. I had to travel half an hour to the nearest cyber café which offered a dial-up connection. I bought a computer and got an internet connection in 2006. The inquisitive kid that I always have been, I wanted to know what more could I do than just search for information. A small piece on “Unish Kuri”, the Bengali teenage magazine wrote about what a blog is. Voila, I became a blogger!
I was a blogger before I signed up with Orkut, the then social site.
It is interesting to note how the society now differently responds to the internet. There was a time when people advised the other to not reveal their identities. Over the Yahoo chatrooms, how many of us remember asking the other “ASL?”, an abbreviation asking for the age, sex and location but not the name of the person you are talking to. Now the Facebook or the LinkedIn profiles, if not their blogs, have become a person’s identity. Google is now a verb, Yahoo is bought by Verizon, The Social Network is a film made on the birth of Facebook – which primarily is but not restricted to being just a social networking site. The dot com bubble is busted; the definition of blogs has changed. It’s no more personal. And you know what? The “cool dude from Kolkata” went on to become the “BCET Blogger” and now is the proprietor of Kolkata Bloggers. 5 years down the line, I might want to integrate data science with everything related to blogging – personal, corporate or otherwise.
I started blogging because I refused to speak. I used to sleep during school hours and never felt that someone would be interested to listen to what I had to say. My blog then was a personal diary. I was the writer and I was the only reader. As the blogger representing my college, my work was to brand the institution, especially the entrepreneurship cell. During college, I made a lot of friends who were younger to me.
During college, I interned in Techshu where Aji Issac Mathew gifted me this domain name at the end of my internship. I started studying about personal branding then, made the email address “[email protected]” and even “[email protected]”, which if not anything else, amused people at that point in time. Now it is very mainstream.
After college, I made even younger friends who wanted to know more about photography. Since then, whenever I write, I ask myself – Would Surya or Saimantick listen to this bullshit after their entire day of school and tuitions?
Surya had a huge role to play here. He studies in one of the most reputed English medium schools in Kolkata and is very meticulous about everything. He calls me his elder brother and I did not want his friends to laugh at my English. My English had to improve. My research needed to be better.
The tone had to be softer. No one appreciates rudeness. The photographs had to be just above the average for them to try out, achieve, smile, feel motivated and get back to me for more. My knowledge of photography had to be more to answer their queries. The content of the blog post and my presentations had to be properly arranged so that an extremely young aspiring photographer remembered most of it. They gave me the first recognition as a photo-blogger.
Then something really magical happened. Saimantick was one of the winners in a photography exhibition (2013) and was the youngest. When asked to speak, he went on to call me “dada” publicly saying how I taught him photography. We anyway used to converse everyday about random things on earth. But that moment, I felt required and I knew that I have bigger responsibilities as an elder brother.
For the contest, he had to explore Bengal’s township of Bishnupur, which interested me. I came back home, searched the internet about folk, talked to a few people and then decided to collaborate with a cousin for the Tusu Festival.
Since 2014, I’ve taken my blog more seriously – the content, the presentation and the distribution. Not just photography, I’ve made sure I keep exploring newer places and cultures in Bengal, explore entrepreneurship, set targets and achieve it. Every post is written keeping my younger friends in mind. If the elders benifit, nothing like it. My friends have always been by my side.
I’ve read and have experimented on the digital marketing, personal branding and leadership basics. I’ve established “Kolkata Bloggers” more as a brand than a money making machine for now, bridging the gap between the traditional businesses and the internet world, making the best of the knowledge of the two worlds to take Bengal/India forward.
Last month I engaged more than 9500 unique users, 80% of them are new visitors. Delhi, Kolkata, Putney, Bangalore provide the most traffic.
In the next few months, I want to reach out to a greater number of younger people specially those interested in blogging, Bengal folk, Bengal wild life and birding. The other set of people I would like to get in touch with are people of my age in Mumbai who are into travel photography and writing.
Thank you for reading so much. If you have any questions about blogging or my blogging in particular, I encourage you to drop an email to [email protected] or a comment below this post.