Yeh Kahan aa gaye hum yunhi blog karte karte…

With all the ‘celebrity bloggers’ of India Uncut and Desipundit out there it was me who was giving a presentation as a Resource Person in a One day Faculty Development on “New Media Concept and Applications” conducted by Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC). I was there to speak on the topic “Blogging – Individual as a global publisher.” I had the honor of sharing the panel along with Director, SPIC MACAY, Navin CR Khilnani, Director, Educational Multimedia Research Center, IIT, Roorkee, Dr. R Sreedhar and Knowledge and Management Consultant, Sairee Chahal.

The program was attended by the faculty members of various Media, communication, tech and B-schools of Delhi and the NCR.

Dr. Sreedhar, a National Award winner for Science popularization through electronic media, have over 3 decades of experience in broadcasting. He has served with AIR, Doordarshan, IGNOU, Anna University etc. and is presently the director of Educational Multimedia Research Center, IIT, Roorkee. He spoke about ‘New Media : Radio and TV.’

His presentation started with the Radio and TV scenario we had in 1970s and how conventional interaction has evolved through the 90s, to the 21st century audio streaming, video streaming, audio on demand. Dr. Sreedhar expressed his discontent with the Government’s policy which has not been properly utilizing the power and resource of the EDUSAT launched in 2004. It has 7 transponders, 5 national beam and 5 regional beam. The national beam is being used only by IGNOU, UGC, NCERT, AICTE and ISRO. His presentation had a lot of hi funda tech talk, which I failed to follow that closely, I got the gist of it though. New and alternative media is happening big time these days with all sort of latest technology coming to India in reasonable prices. The most interesting of all these being, how interactive radio (convergence of satellite, terrestrial and IT modes) can help in disaster management and how the MS Swaminathan Reseach Foundation driven project “Information Village Research Project” in pondicherry have actually saved thousands of lives at the time of Tsunami in December 2004.

The lack of government’s initiative with new media specially in the field of education and awareness was a constant focus of Dr. Sreedhar’s speech, which was later addressed by me in my topic “Individual as a Global Publisher”. While we wait for the government to take initiative we have an individual blogger already doing all that we can.

Dr. Sreedhar’s presentation was followed by Sairee Chahal’s presentation on ‘New Media and Social Networking’. Sairee is a former journalist and a continuing academic with interest in leadership development, post soviet economies, media, social networking and knowledge Management. She has been nominated as the India representative for Central Eurasian Studies Review. Talking about social networking she runs and moderates a Network of 2000+ members on, namely NCR/Delhi Network.

Her presentation was quiet refreshing and informal. The participants were really interested to know more about social networking through internet. Sairee began by raising a very interesting question “how many of you here think social networking is bad?” There was a time when online networking and chatting was very tabooed and strictly prohibited for decent people. Today we have professionals who do their job earn a living through online social networking, we have professionals who don’t have a physical office and conduct their business entirely through communication on virtual world, their infrastructure, Laptop and GPRS/broadband.

The presentation mainly focused on how the way the various business network, social network sites work. There are about 200 of such networking sites, the most prominent being Ryze, LinkedIn, Orkut, Friendster, live journal, Yahoo Groups, etc. Interesting questions were raised like, a virtual community survives on the profile of its members or the content? How does the networking site owners make money, how can the moderator of the community make money, how do you control the spammers, why are the offline meets important when it’s an online community etc. The resource persons and Swagat Sen, Faculty member, AIMC who also was the coordinator of the program collectively answered all questions. “I owe my friendship with both Swagat and Sairee to one of the Ryze offline meets which we Ryzers call a ‘Mixer’, an important trivia on social networking which I immediately shared with everyone there.

When you talk about online social network how can blogging be far. Curious minds were already talking bout blogging in between Sairee’s speech making the perfect timing for me to begin my topic.

I too had a very refreshing and interactive presentation. The participants were as unaware as they were curious about blogging. The focus of my speech was individual’s power, role and freedom when it comes to publishing a little piece of his mind in the web. ‘Blogging’ an individual’s revolt against the fourth estate’s privilege, editor’s political monopoly, publisher’s economic convenience. Blogging a businessman’s platform to reach out to his customer, interact with them heart to heart, an artist’s platform to showcase his work, no more holding costly exhibitions, a non-techie’s answer to a software guy, “HTML isn’t the key dude, I have push button publishing”. Blogging an introvert’s paradise, an extrovert’s paradise too…coz he just can’t have enough of talking so is blogging, a loner’s ‘dear diary’, a community for net-workers….there is just no end to what you can do on a blog.

My speech was also followed by a live demonstration of my blogs, the Ryze network the Yahoo groups, blog service provider sites like, how to create a blog in 3 easy steps. Also featured were Tsunami blog by Peter griffin , personal blog of Encounter Specialist Pradster, Desipundit, Delhi Blogger’s community blog etc. Talking about individual’s stand in the web I started my demonstration by doing a google search of my name. My blog “This is my truth” was at # 1 in the search results. We have companies who work hard just to get that. And here I had my name at the # 1 position for almost no efforts of mine.

Some very interesting questions came up in the Q & A session. How much space is allowed to the blogger? Unlimited. What is the validity period for a blog? Infinity. Cost? Free. People were actually amazed by the answer, one of them just couldn’t believe it. “You mean once I open a blog its there till infinity unless I myself delete it? And you mean it could be as big as I want? Well yes unless your blog service provider goes bankrupt or their server crashes etc.

The Apple people were there to demonstrate the way pod-casting works, which was pretty cool. Its amazing what all you can do. Record an entire session of lecture and publish it. Record a presentation and publish the voice, the video and the power point file all at one go.

The finale was by Naveen Khilnani, the director of SPICMACAY talking about how SPICMACAY and other NGOs have been using the new media to promote their activities. Due to time constraint his speech was cut short a little and he mostly spoke about the Digital Heritage Laboratory (DHL) : Using Innovatvie Media Technology to Spread Cultural Awareness. DHL is a project undertaken by SPIC MACAY in association with IIT Delhi. It is meant to provide the first few steps in the cultural education system using the latest in technology. Under this project, an apple computer equipped media laboratory located in IIT Delhi has been made available to any and everybody willing to use it for any project related to the promotion of Indian culture and heritage.

With these wonderful thoughts of Naveen regarding our cultural music and art and heritage the weird jargons that we were listening since 9.30 in the morning were finally taking a backseat.

The day ended with distribution of certificate to the participants and souvenirs to the resource person. They gave me “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” I am a lawyer remember. This is the first time I gave away certificates. So far I have only received certificates. ‘Twas something special for me.

My heartfelt thanks to Swagat for making me a part of it of this wonderful event.

When I started I didn’t know where I was going…now I know it was one of the best ‘chance’ things that happened to me…Blogging.