Blogging to build your personal brand

 

 

Blogging to build your personal brand

This article appeared in Life 365, 13th March 2013.

Announcing the Samsung Mobiler Campaign

Come the 10th of August, Samsung officially launches the Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 in India – and IndiBloggers everywhere are invited to participate!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 Launch

So aside from the Samsung Galaxy Tab Blogger meet at Bangalore on the 20th of August which promises to be loads of fun, Samsung is also giving away spanking-new Galaxy Tab 750s to twenty bloggers deserving enough to become a “Samsung Mobiler”!

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750s

Learn more about the campaign here, and stay tuned for the IndiVine contest and the live webcast on the 10th of August.

It’s time to tab, and keep blogging!

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?

 

IndiBlogger V3 is out!

indiv3-preview

Merry Christmas everyone! What was meant to be our usual Xmas update to IndiBlogger took us much, much longer than we expected it to, thanks to more ideas getting added to the mix every day. Our quality control team having OCD didn’t help us very much with the deadline we set for ourselves, but they sure made a difference to IndiBlogger. We finally decided to forget Christmas, take the whole site apart, throw old parts out the window, and put it back together with gentle love and care. We’re finally done, and here’s what’s changed:

Global changes

  • IndiBlogger is now lighter and much faster (as already confirmed by the community), thanks to several changes to the user interface as well as the way things are handled behind the scenes.
  • We’ve built version 3 on a custom framework, which means we can bring in new features much faster and with less bugs.
  • IndiBlogger is now W3C valid, except for the pages which integrate with Facebook, Google maps and other third parties. Most sections can be used on smart handheld devices now, and for the not-so-smart devices, we still have the recently launched mobile version.
  • Email alerts are now sent via Google’s app engine – which means they are delivered faster, and are less likely to end up in your spam folder.
  • Consistent (and better looking!) user interface elements are now used all over.
  • Pagination has been numbered on all pages. A few users have reported that they’re missing the “last” button – we’re working on that right now.
  • Default gravatars are now much better looking. We wondered what we were tripping on when we made the old ones.
  • New IndiMail notifications are now displayed on the IndiMail link in the header. If you see a yellow alert icon, that means you have unread messages.
  • The footer section is more organized, and doubles up as a sitemap.
  • Improved browser compatibility. We’ve decided however, that IE6 is not a browser.

New Theme

  • Inspired by our most recent partner Cleartrip.com, we decided to see what IndiBlogger would look like in a lighter color scheme – and we liked what we saw.

The Home Page

  • New Jquery slider, showcasing everything that’s new on IndiBlogger. Tip – try using the arrow keys to navigate through the slides.
  • Popular posts from IndiVine are now showcased on the homepage as well. The new blogs on the network have been pushed to the sidebar.

Improved Search

  • IndiSearch now uses an Ajax interface to search for blogs by subject, as well as bloggers by name or location. Results are ordered by IndiRank. Blog content is also indexed, powered by the all-powerful Google search.
  • We’ve fixed a bug wherein the search results were inaccurate. For example, if you had searched for the word “rave”, you’d also see results for “travel”. Not too smart, that was.

Dashboard

  • Your dashboard now has a facebook-inspired activity feed, showing you stuff like network activity, blogger meets in your city, new IndiMail, replies to forum topics you’re tracking, and votes for your posts on IndiVine.

Blogger Meets

  • The main blogger meet page highlights upcoming blogger meets in your city.
  • Organizing your own blogger meet is now easier, with an updated suite of organizer tools and better customization so you can have your blogger meet like you mean it to be.
  • Now that we have over 200 bloggers attending our blogger meets, our attendee list was taking ages to load over slow connections. Gravatars are now turned off by default, and you can enable them if you want to.

Turn off gravatars

IndiBlogger Drives

  • We’ve decided that “contests” were not the right word the initiatives we have planned. We needed a term that was more generic, yet with greater purpose. The IndiBlogger Drives page showcases all our latest campaigns and the latest winners from the IndiBlogger of the Month archives.

The Directory

  • The directory is now gravatar enabled – so if you’re looking for someone you know elsewhere, let’s say on twitter, you’ll find it easier to find them on IndiBlogger.

IndiForum

  • IndiTalk, which was recently integrated with the forum, can be used on mobile devices.
  • Replies to a forum topic can now be sorted by time, so you can see the latest replies at the top without having to go to the last page.
  • Forum alerts were disabled months ago when we exceeded our hosting service limits. Moving to a dedicated server didn’t help much in that regard, and now, thanks to a little help from Google’s infrastructure, they’re back.
  • You can track topics faster, without having to reload the thread.
  • Forum pages have an on-page search filter similar to iTunes, so it’s easier to find relevant replies or subjects.

New & updated Pages

There are a more changes we’ve not mentioned – it’s better to leave a few surprises for you to discover. A HUGE thank you and hugs to all of you who have supported IndiBlogger – you have no idea what it means to us. IndiPolice – the time you spend making IndiBlogger a better place for thousands of bloggers is priceless.

IndiBloggers, please post your feedback on Hemal’s thread and let us know what you think. :-)

What’s next?

You can expect upgrades to IndiVine, IndiRank, a few new initiatives and a new product that’s going to change the way you use IndiBlogger. For now though, our team is off to Kolkata for another blogger meet.

Keep blogging!

Bloggers Usher in Social Change with #AkshayaPatra

Welcome BloggersIt was the same pleasant weather in Bangalore; something we’ve always enjoyed everytime we stepped foot in the city. The entire team had grouped a day before the event in the Bangalore office to go through the meet agenda. But like every blogger meet we usually end up forgetting the agenda; so leaves us thinking why we have these brainstorming sessions. And we don’t even need an excuse to drink actually!

The meet was a culmination of more than a month of hardwork by all the stake holders prior to the meet. The video showcased at the meet was shot by Anoop; which was not just well received but received a lot of mentions on twitter as well.

IndiBus made a roaring debut with more than 60 bloggers using it to reach the venue and back. Many bloggers liked the fact that they could meet and talk blogs much before the meet and get to know each other better. The super fast ultra mega deluxe blogger meet luxury express  was however late by an hour for the blogger meet thanks to super-fast traffic in Bangalore on the Sunday afternoon.

Akshaya Patra after hosting a very successful contest on IndiBlogger where each blog post fed 50 children made a grand entry into the hearts of the blogosphere with a MASSIVE blogger meet aimed to improving awareness about the noble efforts of the NGO and the lakhs of children who are given nourishing food every day. The success of this endeavour cannot be emphasised enough; because when they started back in June 2000 they were feeling close to 1500 children. Now they are feeling more than 1.2 million children daily making them the world’s largest NGO to implement the mid-day meal programme.

The meet had more than 270 registrations with bloggers from all over the country coming down to Bangalore to meet and network. The meet had bloggers from all walks of life – from homemakers, software engineers, government officials, entrepreneurs to even school students.

Based on suggestions from Lakshmi Rajan, we changed the format of the blogger introductions which went off very smoothly thanks to the system built especially for Blogger Meets. 60 random bloggers were chosen and had 30 seconds to introduce themselves. The screen also showed their blog link for others to see and refer. The bloggers who took more than 30 seconds to introduce themselves were ceremoniously sent to jail. All bloggers who introduced themselves got a photobook specially printed for bloggers by the bloggers. The photographs were taken by Naveen and Sanjeeb.

Next up was the lunch served which was also the same food that children eat everyday. There was bise bela bath and sweet pongal served with some namkeen. Bloggers got to experience for themselves the quality and nutrition value of the food served.

The time tested activity of Live and Let comment then commenced. A few first timers also asked what the chart papers were for and we were only too happy to respond, “You shall soon find out!” Soon the bloggers were seen sketching some funny stuff on everyone’s back. Some were risqué too! Rashmi from IndiBlogger was even proposed to by two bloggers. Why they would want to marry the crazy sketch pen lady of course is a discussion that warrants an #IndiTweetMeet ASAP!

This was followed with a discussion by Akshaya Patra who shared their journey as an organization that is doing social good. A lot of bloggers also shared suggestions for incorporation into their activities. The good thing about the session was that it was yet again proven that the blogging community is always there to support noble causes and would welcome any initiative with open arms. Bloggers also emphasised that they would like to have a long term association with them.

The final session included group discussions moderated by bloggers themselves. Issues ranging from online harassment to technology were discussed by them; and some even taking notes on their iPads and tablets.

This was followed with a team introduction; as usual the person introducing others forgot to introduce himself. This time the victim was Renie, but he really needs no introduction. He is the guy with the porcupine hair; we all know that now don’t we?

After another successful blogger meet in Bangalore, the team headed to The Higher Taste, an exclusive restaurant in the ISKCON premises where vegetarian gourmet food is served. Some patrons of the restaurant later complained about the empty buffet counters.

We thank Bangalore bloggers for being as hospitable as ever and Akshaya Patra for the wonderful work they are doing making every blogger in India proud to be associated with them.

The blogging community is indeed committed to bringing social change in India!

IndiBlogger.in has been Bangalored!

The weekend of the Bangalore blogger meet has arrived and we’re very excited to play hosts again!

Last time we had 100 bloggers in a jam packed Kyra and this time we’ll have over 250 bloggers in an equally Jam packed Fortune hotel.

Bangalored!

The HP Imaging & Printing Division has an exciting contest in store for #indiblr – all you have to do is take pictures which represent the spirit of Bangalore on your way to the meet. Email the pictures to indiblr@indiblogger.in and they’ll be printed and stuck on a board by the time you reach.  Three winning entries will win a cool HP Printer at the blogger meet! :-)

If you haven’t registered as yet, here’s where you need to go:

http://www.indiblogger.in/bloggermeet.php?id=98

Please do reach the venue at least 15 minutes prior to its start. We’ll be there 2 days in advance and we’ll be getting quite bored! :-)

We can also steal a drink or two from Fortune’s pub “Nevada” after the meet. Yes, we will need to steal. :-)

Venue

Fortune Park JP Celestial,
No.5/43, Race Course Road,
Bangalore

IndiBlogger in the NDTV Metro Plus Show

Bloggers Block: In The Hindu Metro Plus

Thanks to Sudhish Kamath for writing this article about IndiBlogger, and publishing our blogging stats on Chennai. Click on the image below for the full scan. Online version here.

Pepsi Youngistaan ka WOW!

The Pepsi Youngistaan ka WOW! IndiBlogger of the month is in its final phase of nomination. There have been over 80 nominations so far and quite a few of them aiming for the 30,000 rupee cash prize. The nominations will be revealed this week, and the contest will enter the voting phase.

Having read through some of the entries, we feel that these posts are some of the bloggers best work yet. There have been some very creative suggestions on the Pepsi game which is live on twitter with #pepsithegame and is promoted through all IndiBlogger.in channels.

We wish everyone the very best for the next crucial phase of this competition. A good tip for getting more votes is to participate actively within the online community. The winners of the previous IndiBlogger of the month contests have always been amazing in using multiple channels to bring the online community closer to their blogs. This enables them to get feedback on their blogging and also give that little inspiration to write a masterpiece next time around.

If you have not nominated yourselves yet, please do so at the contest page on IndiBlogger. Hopefully this contest would have helped some of you improve your creative writing, get some new followers but most of all we hope that you had a great time blogging!

Anoop Johnson & The IndiBlogger Team

Kingfisher IndiBlogger Meet at Kyra Bangalore – A roundup!

The fates of about a hundred bloggers were sealed the minute we put the details of the meeting up on the blog. Most didn’t know what to expect, which made it easier because we didn’t have a clue ourselves. To fit a blogger meet in 3 hours was going to take some doing. So we decided to do what we always do – remain clueless. We were banking on the organizational skills of the bloggers, and our friends didn’t disappoint! It was a controlled war zone out there. That’s what happens when you put together about 25 different professions and go one overboard by inviting a doctor. Everyone knew that they had help at hand if they got hurt!

We had Kyra, a nice venue. It was just right for the event. We had Kingfisher, they did not just bring the beer but they brought themselves as well! This was not just a head line meet with a sponsor tag for Kingfisher, they came there with enthusiasm and got the bloggers going. Refreshing! And finally the crowd of bloggers – the moment we saw the room being quickly filled, we knew we were halfway home! A very special thank you to many bloggers for whom this IndiBlogger meet was not their first one.

We got some feedback about the hall at the Kyra theatre being too warm. We think the local electricity department could be the culprit as several power cuts were scheduled all over Bangalore. The “beer is free” menu made a few bloggers ask us about juice, tea and coffee, and we just realised that we had forgotten what it was like to be teetotalers. I guess we were eight or nine at the time. But henceforth, we will remember to cater to all kinds of food/drink diversities. You might be able to get kosher! :-)

We had a good time introducing ourselves, and when our founder Renie Ravin (with alcohol levels dangerously low) introduced his blog that his own mother threw out, we had to laugh! Ha Ha!

The Live and Let Comment IndiChart activity was a lot of fun. Anwin had the first comment with “Fish Molester” on his IndiChart.  A while from there we saw his brother, Edin, walking around with “Fish Molester’s Brother” on his back. That set the tone, and we got to know as many bloggers as we could. Many of the bloggers were writing some hilarious comments like “Lovely fat Ass”, “I came for the snacks” and an accusation “You Just broke a glass!”. I remember talking to a blogger crazy about Manchester United and I shared that passion with gusto, only to write “Man U sucks” on his chart.

One of the topics during the final session was a discussion on finding out the all important question “Why the %#@* do we blog??” . All the bloggers let it rip – passion was a key motivator, money was another and so was sharing personal opinion. We think the answer can’t really be found, the very question, “why we blog?” can only have an opinion as the answer.  The best things in life are when you can make a living doing what you love, while at the same time we can’t expect to be rewarded just because we love to blog. For everything else, we hope there’s master card.

There was some talk about the IndiBlogger community writing our presently non-existent About Us page for us. That’s probably a good idea because we’re not quite sure who we are!

We had most of the members of the IndiBlogger core team in this IndiBlogger meet after a long time. Sitting this one out was stalwart Vineet Rajan (Aka Papu Pager) who agreed to do all our work while we partied.

We thank every one of you for your support. I think we understand each other just like one big family. Many of you ask how you can help at IndiBlogger and we’ll tell you from the bottom of our hearts – you already have!

P.S: If you guys found something funny on your charts, we’d love to hear it!

Pics from the meet:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=indiblr&w=all

Event page, attendees, reviews and comments:
http://www.indiblogger.in/bloggermeet.php?id=68

Fuhrer’s envy, IndiBlogger’s pride (Title inspired by Mr.R)

- Anoop Johnson & The IndiBlogger Team