So last week I was fortunate enough to attend Day 1 of IndiBlogger’s Blog Now, Live Forever [BNLF] event at The Lalit in Bombay. A lot of knowledge was shared, from the speakers, from my blogging bretheren, and various others, and I intend to document what I learned with this blog post.
BNLF was my first ever blogging event, in spite of me having had a blog since 2005. I didn’t want to miss it, and I was super glad to know that I didn’t have an examination on that day.
I bought myself a new shirt, and left the previous evening. The event was to start at 8am on 31st, and I didn’t want to risk taking the 5.15 Shivneri. I took a Hirkani at 2am the previous night, and landed up at Mumbai Central at 6am. I spent some time at a Starbucks prior to that, working on my Blog Post [The Laws of Waiting for Buses], before heading to Swargate Bus Station, where I whiled away my time reading newspapers, and watching some guys shoot a TV show with a Red Pro 5.0 camera. I learnt that MSRTC has a Weekly pass for ₹1600 that allows you travel anywhere in India in a non AC bus. Must use this for future blogging adventures.
Anyway, after spending 4 hours at Swargate Bus Station, I can now certify myself as a true Swargate-Keeda. I reached Bombay at 6am. I got out at Mumbai Central, did some loitering around the ST Depot, went up to the BEST depot, then came back to the Railway Station and took a slow train to Andheri. I wanted to go slowly so that I wouldn’t land up before time.
I landed up at Andheri Station at 7am, and spent the next twenty minutes loitering around Agarkar Chowk. I saw NMMT’s AC-122 and TMT’s AC-125 waiting there. I was appalled to see a sticker on the BEST bus stop saying that AS-422 was cancelled on Sundays. I ranted about it on Twitter, and felt bad, especially because my blog is dedicated to BEST buses, and AS-422 was the first AC bus I took in Bombay after the 2008 renumbering. I waited till the first AS-422 arrived because it struck me that I had no picture of AS-422 in my collection till date. I played around with the focus of my camera for a while, and patiently [tapping my foot impatiently though] waiting for people walking into my frame to walk out. At 7.45, I took the Metro to the Airport Road station and started walking towards The Lalit. I reached the Lalit at 8.10 and guess what? I was early. Like .every. other. single. time.
The event started an hour later. There was a live performance by the IndiBlogger band “Blunder in the Code”, along with Nadisha Thomas.
And now, for the keynote speakers.
I’ve been following Purba Ray’s writings online for a while now. My favourite writing of hers was a Political one that I had read in 2014 on The Unreal Times. I really enjoyed it for two reasons: Finding NaMo and The Clown Prince. I freelance as a humour/comedy script-writer and Purba Ray has been one of the sources of inspiration for me for the past year and a half. She brought up the age old question that we Bloggers face: What do we do? What do we do, apart from blogging? What do we do, to fill our stomachs? Having faced this question in the past, having to answer to various people, that my blog is indeed my main source of livelihood, I could comprehend. She encouraged us bloggers to keep blogging, something that only a true blogger can actually do, since the rest of the world looks at bloggers as people who do it as a hobby.
I’ve come across Arnab Ray earlier, under his Twitter handle although I didn’t know that it was him. A doctorate in Computer Science, Arnab has been blogging since 2004, just a year longer than me. He started out with reviews of Mithunda films [reviewing Gunda long before Kanan Gill and Sahil Shah did], and wrote about everyday stuff. He reminded us to feel free to take potshots at politicians, something you may see me doing in the near future. Arnab, however contradicted Purba by telling us to keep our blogging as far away as possible from our professional lives. So much for making blogging our living, but still.
Kanan Gill spoke about his experiences, his writings and how he became a blogger. He didn’t talk about Video Blogging, but he spoke a lot about getting motivated. He kept a slide titled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Monk Who Sold His Ferrari You Can Win – A motivational talk. Then came the slide with just ‘Boobs’ on it, and the slide with his final advice:
Just resolve to be happy
Inculcate positive thoughts
Zoom in to focus and find your
Zest in life
This, was also known as the JIZZ theory.
Christophe Trappe and Jeff Bullas
While these two were separate sessions, I’m going to talk about them together, since they were closely related. Among the important things I learnt was: The Best SEO is unique Content. Use Seductive Headings. Christophe stressed on Authentic Storytelling is Everything under the Sun, Blogposts that are 500-700 words in length are the best, but 1200-1300 word posts get shared more often. Jeff reiterated that one must make their content clear and genuine, That is the real art of catching traffic.
Anshul Tiwari, is the founder of YouthKiAwaaz [YKA], a platform that enables people to forth their opinions. His talk was about the importance of public opinions in modern day scenarios. He explained his time with bringing up YKA as a website, to the level it is at today.
Preeti Shenoy, is an award-winning, bestselling author. She has won numerous awards for her books, and the best part about her? She started out as a blogger too! She explained how she went from a Blogger to an Author, explained why anyone would prefer a publisher rather than self-publishing their works. She explained why Rejections shouldn’t demotivate you from writing. She then proceeded to explain the importance of various points related to writing, such as developing a specific skillset, doing proper research etc.
The key point of hers that I made a note of is: Never get a Writers Block, Keep Writing. Write atleast 500 words a Day.
I’ve resolved to buy all her books and read them all. I stopped reading Indian authors thanks to Chetan Bhagat but Ms. Shenoy has convinced me otherwise.
The last speaker of the day was Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of the rock band Iron Maiden. Bruce is also an accomplished pilot and fencing champion. He’s a brilliant guy, he still uses a Nokia 3310, albeit taped up. He spoke about many things, mostly about how to keep the consumers of your product loyal. He spoke about how Iron Maiden made use of Airline schedules to brand their own plane and how he managed to continue using it for branding even after their tour was done. He spoke about Trooper Beer that he had developed to promote the bands album. He mentioned his aircraft repair workshop in detail. He spent the greater part of the speech defining a Customer and a Fan and why a Fan is more important that the Customer: The customer may leave, a fan won’t. He then proceeded to explain his concept of 0+0=1, or ‘Take Something, Add Value to it’. Again, for someone who take Blogging very seriously, this is a super important concept. Value-addition drives the Service sector forward and now I think and ask myself: What value am I adding to the Blogosphere with BESTpedia? What value am I adding to the IndiBlogger network by blogging about Buses? His analogy of the Creative Mosquito; an Idea is like a Mosquito, always around but hard to see, made perfect sense to me. My drafts can attest to that.
Key takeaways from the day
- Keep headlines simple and short
- Keep content simple and get loyal readership
- Evergreen content can be shared multiple times
- Create content for skimming and scanning
- Think like a publisher
All this done, I was unable to attend the Backstage party as I had to leave and head back to Pune. I collected my IndiBlogger BNLF tee, a bright red one, which adds to my collection of primary colours, for I have a Yellow one. A green one would make me a walking Traffic Signal, so, I’m on the lookout for the perfect Green tee. I took the metro, reached Maitri park, where as I stated in a comment on my article ‘The Laws of Waiting for Buses’ [which I was working on the previous night and finished between Purba Ray and Arnab Ray’s talks], missed my MSRTC and took an NWKRTC Airavat. Of course, I did not know that NWKRTC was infinitely slower than KSRTC. I reached Aamchi Pune at midnight, [Chembur at 8pm, Hinjewadi at 12am, yes], cried, and headed back to my campus.
BNLF Day 1 was a brilliant experience. The exchange of knowledge was what really mattered. I got to speak to Christophe Trappe and Purba Ray and they gave me some brilliant ideas, the former on Marketing and Branding, the latter on writing Humour. The only two things that put me off were BEST cancelling AS-422 on Sundays and NWKRTC leaving Borivali at 5.30 pm and reaching Swargate at 12am.
I am now a Blogging Genius, hehe, imparting my awesome Gyaan on campus to other people, and having them bow down to me [of course not, if it were true, I’d be arrested for Slavery].
For those interested, I’m a Script and Screenplay writer in my normal life apart from being a Marketing and Media fellow. I freelance a lot and you know can ping me on bestpedia[at]gmail[dot]com if you ever wish to hire me.
A special thanks to the IndiBlogger team for their awesomeness. Thanks Renie, Vineeth, Anoop, and the rest of the IndiCrew. You guys made my day. Thanks to all the other bloggers who were there, we wouldn’t be anything without each other. You guys made it possible. Thanks all. Keep blogging, stay amazing. Blog Now, Live Forever!
Adios, folks! Till my next post, which will be in a day or two, go travel in a bus, smile at a conductor, be polite, collect tickets, and live the life of the Daily Bus Commuter.
P.S: Thank you guys, sponsors and all. I got to ride a Segway that day.
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