Logistically speaking..

I had recently written a post on my personal blog about how it was to be on this side of IndiBlogger. However, it did not include anything about what I did here. (Sometimes I wonder about exactly what I do here and invariably it leads me to watching cute baby videos on Youtube so I could take my mind off it!)

When I joined this company as a PR freelancer, I was fresh out of college with zero experience. The very generous team at IndiBlogger let me work for them, travel with them, be part of team discussions; even allowed me to make mistakes and believe it or not, paid me to simply learn on the job. I got away with a lot of PR goof-ups in the early days and it was merely because the team, at that time, didn’t understand what PR is (Nihal still doesn’t). The bad thing was, at that point, I didn’t understand PR either. Working for IndiBlogger gave me the hands-on experience in the field and for that, I will always be grateful!

Then one day, Renie called me. It was a casual chat when he mentioned to me that he thought I could handle some more work (other than goofing off in the name of PR) in the company. His exact words were, “Just help us a little with responding to a few support tickets that we get sometimes.”

It obviously seemed easy!

And hence, (I would like to believe because of my ‘public relation skills’), I was also made responsible for attending to logistical issues with regards to prizes, vouchers, hampers, coupons, t shirts, pen drives, toothpaste, toothbrush, and whathaveyou.

Let me be honest. When I was growing up, I never once thought or imagined or dreamed to work as that girl who would respond to issues pertaining to a courier lost on its way to a village in Kerala, problems with redeeming a prize by a blogger who is currently in Kenya or a blogger in a little town outside Banaras who did not receive a shopping voucher!

When it dawned on me what I had gotten myself into, all I could think was, “Holy mother of god!”

In the last two years, I have had to respond to so many queries regarding loss (of couriers) that sometimes it’s hard to go to bed with a calm mind. I often imagine myself as Amy Adams’ character, Julie, in the film Julie and Julia; the part where Julie is in a job which entails that she respond to phone calls from people complaining about the government and its public development schemes.

A distraught Amy Adams in the film Julie & Julia

A distraught Amy Adams in the film Julie & Julia

 

At first it was confusing and frustrating and annoying and endless. I had no idea why WeSuck courier service would not deliver to a certain location or why WeAreThieves courier service tends to lose couriers without a trace!

With time I got better at managing these issues and then it wasn’t that ba… err someone just received a damaged shampoo bottle and I am now wondering what I can possibly do to make up for spilled shampoo!

So it doesn’t quite end. The problems are sometimes funny, sometimes manageable, sometimes out of control and mostly not-my-fault.

But bloggers have been really cooperative through all of this. And sometimes, when one of them says thank you or a word of appreciation, I am not sure how, but it all seems worth the entire ordeal.

And then there are times when I have upset some bloggers by my inability to provide a satisfactory solution to a logistical issue. Frustrated with my response, they write to Renie! I take this opportunity to clarify that those mails get forwarded to me again; and eventually it’s me who will still be your point of contact for all things logistics (Bwahahah).

Look forward to talking to you soon (hopefully not through a support ticket!)

 

We Dream Business

This is a guest post by Shilpa Dureja Puri, on the #MeetOffice365 IndiBlogger campaign.

I love to talk to people who adore what they do for a living and it’s fascinating to learn how they got there. And I get awe-struck by dreamers, who believe in putting their future in good hands – their own!

Intrigued by the varied set of dream business ideas that got churned out of a simple contest put together by Microsoft India at an event partnered with IndiBlogger, an Indian bloggers community for an Office 365 blogger meet at New Delhi, I began penning this down with a hope to have this reach out to all those dreamy eyes!

It was remarkable to find so many young bloggers with diverse interests, many technology geeks, some ‘home bloggers’ and a few celebrity bloggers! Many of them travelling from satellite towns of Mathura, Nainital, Muzafarnagar and a couple of them from Chandigarh.

In common was the drive to learn more, make their presence felt (30 seconds of fame landed well) and build connections with fellow bloggers. The event did what Office 365, your complete office in the cloud does best, makes it easier to communicate and collaborate and helps you stay connected. Completely connected!

The interactions with Microsoft team were lively, feature presentation, live demo followed by Q&A session kept the audiences engaged while Twitter feeds were running wild with tags #MeetOffice365 #Office365 #Indiblogger and others! Twitter contests and surprise gifts kept the audience buzzing with excitement. Most interesting were some of the participant bloggers conversations where they began concluding about how they’d want to use Office365 even as the event carried on.

To keep the interactions with young bloggers going, a contest inviting bloggers to use story-telling to talk about a dream business they’d like to run and how’d they use Office 365 to transform their business was announced.

In a week or so, what Microsoft received was hundreds of dream business ideas – some bizarre, many real – but most of all written with passion, filled with conviction and an absolutely remarkable description of their application of Office 365 in making their dream come true!

Every successful dream business starts with a great idea. And there were ideas galore! Online Tutoring Business to a College in the Cloud, Online book portal to Coffee Shops, Travel agency to Trading Agency, Automobile Design Studio to Architecture business, Gaming business to Movie-making, Fashion designing to HR consultancy, Blogger’s platform to co-authoring books to online publishing, Dream of a beggar-free nation to Cancer Support Facility, Build a News Channel to Building a portal to help people overcoming their personal loss…

Some focused on Office365 adding power to their ideas, making it easier to communicate and collaborate with others. Others reflected well on Office 365 operating their businesses from virtually with anywhere access to the Microsoft Office tools we’ve always used and rely on, plus business-class IT services that are easy to administer. Many built their businesses on the sole premise of Office365 capabilities of allowing teams to work in a new collaborative way.

Some spoke of sleepless nights they had deciding upon their dream businesses, many worked round the clock to complete their entries and stayed focused how Office 365 would help them build the blogosphere they live and breathe in!

Interestingly each narrative made a compelling description and why, what, when, where and how they would want their dream business to take shape with Office 365 undeniably promises a solution to fit their needs.

The power to change lies in your hands, be it small business owners to transform how they run their business or young entrepreneurs to build their dream businesses. In all, Office 365 empowers you to work ‘like a boss’! Completely boss!

Creative writings made such a convincing read that judging entries became a herculean task! Picking very best from the best wasn’t going to be easy. So, Top 7 were cherry picked for their creativity, product understanding and above all alignment of business needs with Office365. Completely synchronized!

And, understanding the difference between those who set up their own business and those who talk about it, Team Microsoft decided to support the dreamers in building their businesses and rewarded Top 25 entries with Office365 NFR License – Home Premium! Completely rewarded!

I urge to you go ahead, read some top blogs and immerse yourself in young blogger’s dream business ideas! Click here to read winning entries.

In the end, a note to all those dreamy eyes go ahead and do, whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it boss! Your boldness only needs passion, some genius, a bit of magic and power of Office 365 with it!

I would be happy to hear from you! Write to me at:

Twitter: @shilpapuri
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/shilpadurejapuri

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog writing. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.

We are 4. We blog, therefore we are!

Four years of IndiBlogger.in

Plagiarism, the scourge of bloggers everywhere

Remember Milli Vanilli, the pop band that won a Grammy award 21 years ago, only to have it revoked soon after it was found that they used someone else’s voices? It’s recently come to our attention that a fairly well known “blogger” has done the same, taking content that doesn’t belong to him, claiming it as his own, entering into competitions, garnering votes and winning prizes.

Sourav Pandey, we’re talking about you.

Thanks to the sharp eyes of Lakshmi Rajan (who first told us about it) and Eon Heath (who first blogged about it), we’ve been able to uncover a shocking betrayal of the trust placed upon him by the blogging community and his readers. The evidence speaks for itself:

Exhibit #1

Original: http://spottedjaguar.deviantart.com/art/Animal-Farm-55608516
Plagiarized: http://www.souravpandey.in/2011/04/contretemps.html

Original author‘s reaction: Yeah, that’s actually my piece. I wrote that my Sophomore year in high school for an English class I was taking. Let me know what I can do to help you remove my artwork. I’ve never experienced someone plagiarizing me before.
Thank you for informing me.

Exhibit #2

Original: http://octoberazriel.deviantart.com/art/Barefoot-127709686
Plagiarized: The plagiarized post was removed after being warned by Eon Heath. We have a backup copy here thanks to Lakshmi’s early warning.

Original author‘s reaction: Yes, this user has taken my work without permission and posted it as his own. As seen from my copyright information my poem was posted way back in 2009. His copy was posted just weeks ago. He did not credit me to the piece, rather he claimed ownership. I’ve also noticed several images that he has taken from deviantArt and used in his posts.

The post containing my poem has since been removed from his blog but I do happen to have a screen capture from before removal.

I’m not sure how else I can be of assistance but keep me posted. It isn’t fair to any of the parties involved that he takes credit for someone else hard work and creativity and hopefully the matter can be resolved soon.

Exhibit #3

Original: http://modnar-redrosid.deviantart.com/art/Homeless-and-Hungry-174166330
Plagiarized: http://www.souravpandey.in/2010/12/we-will-walk-hand-in-hand-we-are-not.html

Original author‘s reaction: I’m actually really surprised. I mean, one side, sort of annoyed because it is plagiarism, on the other, sort of honoured because of the comments of people (even though they presume it is him). But no, he didn’t get in contact with me. It’s quite sad that he didn’t just go to the effort of telling people he didn’t write it himself, and simply found inspiration there, but people do that. Thanks for messaging me about this.

The above post was submitted for the Akshaya Patra contest where more than a hundred bloggers came together for the greater cause of feeding India’s underprivileged children. Thankfully it did not win any prizes.

Exhibit #4

Original: http://andthenyou.deviantart.com/art/Real-186741075
Plagiarized copy removed by said plagiarizer, backup copy here.

Original author‘s reaction: I’m actually really surprised. I mean, one side, sort of annoyed because it is plagiarism, on the other, sort of honoured because of the comments of people (even though they presume it is him). But no, he didn’t get in contact with me. It’s quite sad that he didn’t just go to the effort of telling people he didn’t write it himself, and simply found inspiration there, but people do that. Thanks for messaging me about this.

Exhibit #5

Original: http://megumitierana.deviantart.com/art/4-am-147121119
Plagiarized: http://www.souravpandey.in/2010/10/just-call-away.html

Original author‘s reaction: Oh my god, I’m always so scared that this would happen. Thank you so much for spotting this. Yes, this is indeed mine. I hope this case is solved real soon.

Exhibit #6

Original: http://kjavinash.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html
Plagiarized: http://www.souravpandey.in/2009/04/kashmir-unedited-and-untextable.html

Original author‘s reaction: Damm !!! This is my original Post which i wrote in 2007 !!

Exhibit #7

Original: http://inpenguin.deviantart.com/art/A-Dream-of-Death-70267821
Plagiarized: http://www.souravpandey.in/2011/04/dream-or-nightmare-or-just-nothing.html

Original author‘s reaction (please read the comments): No, I wrote this and posted it in 2007, as you can see. Its old, representative of my early attempts at writing, but the writing is mine with no collaboration.

Note the line at the beginning of the post, which says “Please do not leave half-baked comments, as this is a very personal post!”.

Exhibits #8 – 9

Original: http://shadowgriffen.deviantart.com/art/Opposites-attract-Perfect-day-122715247
Plagiarized: http://www.souravpandey.in/2011/01/fire-and-ice-wishes-and-love-in-dreams.html

Original: http://gid.deviantart.com/art/Morning-Light-8666691
Plagiarized: http://www.souravpandey.in/2011/04/while-she-drifted-among-sleep-filled.html

We have similar exhibits for almost every post on Sourav’s blog.

Sourav Pandey, now is the time to do the right thing.

  • Apologize to all your readers via the same channels you used to gain them in the first place.
  • Put up a blog post with your apology so that all your feed subscribers will know.
  • Comment on every one of your plagiarized posts so that those who commented earlier will know who the real author is.
  • Inform all your facebook fans and twitter followers.
  • Return your prize winnings so it can be given to someone who truly deserves it.

At the very least, you owe this much to the community and hard-working authors you betrayed and robbed.

Plagiarism, the scourge of bloggers everywhere May04

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Is blogging on the wane?

Chip, the popular tech magazine ran a featured article on the present state of blogging in the face of the rising popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. We had our say on the issue, and gave them some stats to prove it. In the end, Chip concluded that blogging is definitely very much alive.

Anoop Johnson, Director-Marketing and Strategic partnerships at IndiBlogger, which is the largest community of Indian bloggers, feels that even though the number of bloggers has gone down, the quality has definitely improved. “Back in 2007-2008, we used to approve around 500 blogs every month, and reject around 700. Blogs are mainly rejected because they had duplicate content or did not have enough posts because the author ran out of things to say. In 2010, we approved roughly 600 blogs per month, while the number of spammy blogs came down to 500 per month. In other words, serious writers still continue to grow in number, while the half-baked attempts at blogging decrease since those authors have other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Blogging requires much more discipline and passion than maintaining a social network profile, and there really is no comparison between the two.”

Read the whole article and the stats here.

Is blogging dead?

 

Thank you again, dear blogger

It’s time for another special post, where we thank our bloggers for the support, encouragement and enthusiasm they have shown. At the time of writing this post, the IndiBlogger forum we launched 2 weeks ago has over a hundred topics and 400 replies.

As a techie, I’ve noticed that the average Indian who frequents various forums only does so to seek help – and does not do much to help others. I’m glad to say that Indian bloggers are different, cause the spririt shown on the forum is simply inspiring!

Special thanks goes to the most active bloggers on the forum: Sriharsha, Amitabh, Binaryday, Shanker, Ram, Ankit, Kabeeranban, Debajyoti, Pavan and Archit. Your ideas and suggestions which resulted in several new features to the forum will benefit the Indian blogging community for a long time to come.

Here are a few excerpts from the forum:

“We need to have a nice blog ranking system only for Indian Blogs. Then we can have beautiful badges to show off our rankings too!”

“The quality of discussion is the best I have ever found on any forum. But how do we bring in more people to participate here?”

“Renie, I would like an e-mail to be generated if someone responds to a thread that I am interested in. Basically, a small box appears at the bottom of each thread and I should be able to check it, if I want a trigger (similar to Xing, if you are aware of that platform).”

“For me, I love this forum because it is the only one that allows me to communicate with other bloggers. For a change I do not feel like an alien or rather as I said earlier, I feel like an alien in a land of aliens :)”

“But what I would really like to see is the time spent by each visitor as a factor in the popularity besides the ratio of comments to posts. Thus, popularity = function of (no. of hits, duration of stay per visit, ratio of comments to post).”

“Some Blog collection sites allow readers to ‘rate’ blogs (5-stars or Thumbs up & down). This does come with the risk of ballot-stuffing. Note that ranking of blogs is also subject to the power-law behaviour (i.e. the rich-get-richer). In other words, only the highly rated blogs get read and continue to be rated.”

“Well, I like this forum because, this is the first place I’m feeling “at home”. All other forums didnt appeal to me so much so as to post more than 2 or 3 threads.”

What more can I say? Go on and check out the forum!

Thank you, dear IndiBlogger!

Ranking of blogs on IndiBlogger

BinaryDay, one of the most active bloggers on the IndiBlogger Forum, has compiled some interesting stats using the blogs from IndiBlogger.in.

Here are the rankings based on Google PageRank:

Total Blogs studied : 6020
Maximum Pagerank : 6
Minimum Pagerank : 0

Pagerank # of blogs % of total blogs
PR 0 2749 46%
PR 1 731 12%
PR 2 1069 18%
PR 3 941 16%
PR 4 428 7%
PR 5 94 2%
PR 6 8 0%

428 blogs with PR4 – now that’s a pleasant surprise! Although blogger still seems to be the preferred choice over wordpress, with 3976 on blogger and only 741 on wordpress.

Read the complete report here, where you can see the list of PR 8 blogs and other interesting information.

Binardyday has compiled rankings based on Alexa here. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of either PR or Alexa, so I can’t wait for him to complete his analysis which is going to include backlinks, technorati rank, number of social bookmarks and feedburner subscribers. Post a comment on his blog and show your support for all the hard work he’s putting in!

A father’s point of view

Naveen Bachwani, one of the bloggers on the IndiBlogger network has published a book on fatherhood which contains many of his blog posts as well:

It’s a little 50-page adventure called “Bundle of Joy” and its jacket describes it thus:
This book reproduces many of my blog posts on the subject of “fatherhood”, in a book-friendly format. It traces the journey of my experience as a parent, from my first child’s birth to the time she reached about three years of age.
Naveen, best of luck to you from The IndiBlogger Team – and keep blogging!

Indian bloggers unite against terror

Calling all IndiBloggers!

As a blogger of this great nation, we know you have joined thousands of others in expressing your anger, and calling for action to be taken in order to prevent another attack on our national integrity.

We know this for a fact thanks to this collection of blog posts from Mumbai bloggers, who blogged during the attack, are still blogging today, and will surely be angry enough to be blogging about it tomorrow.

With requests from several bloggers asking us to lead an initiative, the IndiBlogger team realized that we had a moral responsibility and a unique advantage where we could bring a vastly influential community of bloggers together to make a difference. Thankfully, we found that there already was an initiative, an initiative that does not talk about signatures or candles. This is a mission with an agenda, timeline and an end result that this country desperately needs.

The “Rebuild India” Mission

We ask that you all get involved with this mission and help us spread the word by blogging about it. The world needs to know that Indian Bloggers come together when their country needs them.

Below, we have a personal invitation to the members of the IndiBlogger network from Ashutosh Didwania, on behalf of the “Rebuild India” mission.

————————————————————————

Late in the evening on the 26th of November, things seemed normal and peaceful. We all were busy with our night duty (read blogging) when all off a sudden the nation landed in dire straits. Some unknown intruders had penetrated our national territory with a motive of causing mass destruction. By the beginning of the next day, they had managed to do that and much more. Indians worldwide were left with only one thought – “enough is enough”. In the aftermath, the nation was left shattered, wounded and demoralized. We knew we had to build it all up again. We knew we had to initiate the ‘Rebuild India’ Mission – and that’s how it all started.

Step 1

Armed with a very small group of bloggers but ones with huge levels of motivation, we initiated a movement to publicize the voice of the citizen. Bloggers simply wanted to scream out their frustrations. We said we would provide them with a punching bag. Some were up with suggestions based on where things were going wrong and wanting their ideas to be heard. We said we would provide them the stage and the microphone. Gradually everyone starting from key business personalities to socialists were raising their voice. The gap between the elite and the ‘Aam Aadmi’ was erased and that’s how the ‘Rebuild India’ Article Repository was formed.

Step 2

With a huge content base in hand, we were contemplating our options when suddenly it occurred to us that these were the suggestions of bloggers. We needed the general citizens to approve these suggestions, for even a master plan fails without consensus. We got back to the drawing board and came up with a plan to separate the grain out of the chaff for public approval/disapproval.

That’s how the ‘Rebuild India’ Online Survey got going and this is where we are at the moment. At the end, we expect a full-proof case of stats and figures on how we rebuild the nation.

Step 3

This is where the game begins, as this is where everyone gets involved. We alone won’t decide what to do next, it’s the bloggers of the IndiBlogger network who need to guide and support us. In fact, you guys need to carry forward the rebuilding process, and we assure you that it’s not a small responsibility. It’s a responsibility of providing hope to over a billion Indians citizens and many more residing across shores. Tell us what to do and we would be all ears. Raise your hands in support and join us.

Let’s get together and make a difference! Let’s get together and rebuild the nation!

Regards,

Ashutosh Didwania
(On behalf of the ‘Rebuild India’ Mission)

—————————–

The “Rebuild India” Mission >

Terror attack in Mumbai – bloggers speak out

Mumbai bloggers speak out on the terror attacks >

Earlier this morning, we sent this email out to all bloggers from Mumbai –

“Dear Mumbai blogger,

Firstly, we sincerely hope you and and all your loved ones are safe and sound. The IndiBlogger team has been stuck to their televisions since last night, and we decided that instead of merely “condemning the attack”, we would rather find out what the Mumbai bloggers have to say about what’s going on, and more importantly – how to stop these attacks from happening.

We are putting up a page on IndiBlogger.in which will contain links to all your posts on the terror attack. Please do reply to this email and let us know if and when you do blog about the situation in Mumbai, so the rest of the world knows what you all have to say.”

And boy, what a response we got – Mumbai bloggers, hats off to you for shouting out, and reaching out. We have put up all the links to the posts you sent across. Please keep sending them in as you blog more on this attack.

Mumbai bloggers speak out on the terror attacks >