24th May 2008 was sort of a remarkable day in the blogging circle in New Delhi and National Capital Region as Indian Blog and New Media Society, in collaboration with its local partners Delhi Blog and New Media Society, organised Delhi's first BlogCamp. Months of planning and organising didn't go into this as is the case usually in such camps, rather it was put together with several weeks of hardwork. Microsoft Corp. readily sponsored the venue and all the soda, coffee etc. that campers could drink at their New Delhi premises while IBNMS itself sponsored the food!
Some campers showed up right on the time at 09:30AM and readily volunteered to man the registrations desk giving name badges and DBNMS sponsored stationary to the campers. Since Microsoft had provided their spacious training lab as one of the rooms, it was decided that the sessions will be done in that only and should it happen that more sessions were listed than time allowed then a conference room would be used to run parallel sessions.
It started a bit late around 10AM, with Ajay Jain, President of IBNMS, giving an introduction of the society to the present bloggers and blog enthusiasts and explaining to them the commandments on which society has been formed and what it intends to do for the bloggers and blogging community. After this brief intro, BlogCamp Delhi officially kicked off with me taking the first session on Blogging Beyond English. In the presentation I explained how blogging exists beyond the borders of English language by taking up examples of Hindi blogging. And I further showed and explained in brief details how one can easily write in Hindi for the web and how readers wouldn't have any font related problems which have haunted writers and readers alike in past when it came to websites in languages other than English, all thanks to unicode.
The second session was a presentation by Ajay Jain explaining the “4Ps of Marketing Your Blog” where he, a professional blogger and freelance writer, gave quick practical and easy to follow tips along with explanations on how one can market and advertise their blog effectively and reap profits from it as well. It was not about Search Engine Optimization but about simple ways of good old marketing, making one's blog visible to others. It was quite a good session with people listening attentively and asking questions after the presentation to which they found satisfactory replies.
After that session on practical information about marketing a blog came the next session from Abhishek Kant on Corporate Blogging Strategy. Kant, a communications manager with Microsoft India, presented thoughts on how corporate blogging can be effective and beneficial, both for the corporates and the clients. Citing their own experience from Microsoft's blogs, he shared the lessons they have learned and from which others can learn as well without having to go through the cycle. If knowledge is power then people from an array of various companies certainly gained quite a lot of power for their respective companies.
The clock ticked on and lunch was announced as Kant's presentation ended. The discussions amongst the campers continued even during lunch. People put time to good use and inter-mingled, taking up or participating in different discussions going on in small groups around the lounge or playing Xbox games as Microsoft had also set up an Xbox kiosk on which anyone could play. I also tried it out and my first time on an Xbox was quite good!! :D While people were involved in micro-discussions ranging on different topics, some mainstream media journalists, both from some reputed national dailies and national TV news channels, caught up with Abhishek Kant, Ajay Jain and Ashish Chopra, Director(Communications & PR) of IBNMS. It was nice to see that mainstream media in India is definitely taking notice and interest in blogs and acknowledging the power of blogs! :)
After lunch I gave another session but this time on Photo Blogging, explaining to campers how it can be beneficial if one is looking to gain something out of it and how it can easily be done. No sooner had I finished, I was kinda bombarded with various questions. The benefits of an unconference are that its very unlike a formal conference, everyone is a participant and they feel more at ease than in a formal conference. So it was very heartening to see that several campers came forward to answer those questions and pure knowledge was harvested in those discussions and this is what its all about – sharing with and learning from each other. :)
Next session was “Monetizing a blog effectively” on which Mohit Maheshwari, MD of new Indian online ad network TonicTag, gave a presentation giving facts and figures about how online advertising industry works and how bloggers can effectively monetize their blogs and how those who are already monetizing can enhance their earnings. One of the main points of his presentation was that when it comes to generating traffic to one's blog, which eventually decides on the kind of money that blog can make, its not a level playing field so not everyone gets the same kind of attention and hence not the same kind of love from advertisers.
Then there were other sessions after that like on Open Access – What it is and why it is required for scholarly community? by Sukhdev Singh, Micro-blogging: Life, and everything else… in 140 characters by Abhishek Baxi, Basic SEO Tips for Bloggers by Mayank.
One notable thing was that it was very much unlike other such camps that I've attended. All campers were participating in sessions peacefully and attentively, asking questions at the right times and all this without any hubbub or noise! Some campers who came in late peeked inside the lab doors and then almost returned as they thought some sort of official training session is going on, they couldn't believe that its a BlogCamp going on since the usual din was absent from it!! ;) Another noticeable thing was that hardly any campers left the room to skip any of the sessions as usually happens in BarCamps and BlogCamps etc. where campers get bored or something and go outside to skip some sessions; attendance was just about 100% for all the sessions! :)
What did the campers say afterwards? From what I heard, there were lots of nice things said and quite a good amount of positive feedback, campers enjoyed it and didn't feel their day went waste! Indeed, hindi blogger Jagdish Bhatia reckoned that the BlogCamp Delhi was enlightening. He came in late and hence missed first two sessions, but attended almost all of the others. In his own words:
मोहित महेश्वरी की ब्लॉग्स से कमाई पर प्रस्तुति How to monetize a blog effectively? How to enhance earnings from a Blog? से भारतीय संदर्भों में ब्लॉग्स से कमाई पर कुछ जानने की उम्मीद थी। मोहित ने आंकड़ों के साथ बताया की जिस गति से ऑनलाईन विज्ञापनों के लिये विज्ञापन दाता अपना बजट बढ़ा रहे हैं उस गति से इंटरनेट पर कांटेंट नहीं बढ़ रहा है। इसका अधिक से अधिक फायदा ब्लॉगर्स को मिलेगा।
Translated into English it means:
I was expecting to gain some knowledge from Mohit Maheshwari's presentation “How to monetize a blog effectively? How to enhance earnings from a Blog?” in context of Indian blogs. Mohit presented facts and figures and told us that the content on internet is not increasing at the same rate as the online advertising budgets of advertisers, so bloggers stand to gain from this.
With his experience of BlogCamp Delhi, he also has posted some photos which he clicked at the camp and ends his blog post with a remark that it was quite an interesting and enlightening experience for him. :)
Hindi Blog links courtesy: Narad