So, I’m feeling nostalgic about my online content creation experience for two reasons. First: a couple of days ago, I met the guy who facilitated online content creation for me and had a long discussion on new media – what was, is and will be – apart from what almost everyone is doing wrong now. Second: I’ve been named Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ (as have you, I hope)…and I read this. If you’re reading this, consider youself tagged and do post about how you started creating content online.
March 2000, I chanced upon a small paragraph in Mid Day, about a youth community called freshlimesoda.com. I went, I saw, I thought it was all hype. A few months later, I revisited, this time posting anonymously as Alter Ego, and was hooked within a few days. I posted my first column there, apart from articles and, of course, my first short story. From then on, till the site shut down, I must have visited it at least every day (sometimes four-five times a day, at a cybercafe). Till date, no community has measured up in terms of intellectual stimulation, level of debate and fun.
I created my own website, and someone found it, liked it and wrote about it on a little known community at Khwab, which is where I was introduced to blogging. This wont work,blogging is too small, said the skeptic in me after I had registered my own blogspot blog (and revived later). I designed a new site in 2003 and included a blog, which soon became the only part of the site to be updated. And I was hooked on to blogging. Now, my latest online home(s) are blogs – here and here.
(Update: Can’t believe I forgot to mention Motif, which Jay and I, alongwith Rahul and Aakanksha ran for a year and a half. For a while there, I was in a zone, writing a story a fortnight…sometimes more. We struggled with it, but got a lot of support from the friends we had, and the friends we made. Eventually, the lack of a business model killed it, which is why I remain skeptical about Web 2.0. The business model needs to be in place before you seek traction…)
That takes me back to what I had discussed with Parmesh about recent developments in Social Media in India:
– No community, none at all, gives young people the respect they deserve. That ‘What’s hot, what’s not’ idiocy has just been transferred from offline to online. To quite an extent, that is what is pushing them to join social networking and blogs. On all other media, all that they get is patronization by marketers who have forgotten what it was like for them when they were teenagers. Parmesh was way ahead of his time with that idea. I think FLS used to get 30,000 hits a week in 2000-2001…
– Not many Indian social media sites focus on the users, which is the biggest marketing mistake possible. Most focus entirely on the product and copy-paste a successful international idea. Some think users can be bribed or enticed by offering money, or pushing their product in their face.
– Almost all Indian social media websites ignore the offline aspect of user experience…of being faciliatators. (Update: ) …unless they’re an event site.
I’m going to elaborate on all of these points one by one, with personal examples…possibly at ContentSutra if we think it fits the mandate.
Also, if you’re a Limer – Parmesh and I talked about a Freshlimesoda.com reunion for when I’m in Bombay next month (for this very promising conference). Leave a message/send me a mail/SMS or call me at +91-98103-10053, if you’re game.
Update: Spoke to KC today, after almost a year, to tell him about the get-together. Realized then that it’s almost five years to the day that we had our Delhi offliner…thirteen people had attended. Pooja, Vikram and Zenwark had come down to Delhi from Gwalior, and Astleviz and deda1us from Jodhpur for the offliner. Photos from Delhi and Bombay offliners here.