BlogCamp Mumbai: Traditional & Social Media, Knowledge-Power Systems, Identity & Anonymity

I’m just back from BlogCamp. It was held at the Microsoft office in Kalina and sponsored by

Going by last year’s BlogCamp-part-of-Barcamp, I figured it would be a series of important sounding sessions about SEO and monetization and techie tips. Such a pleasant surprise it was for my techno-greeky (Technology is Greek, Greek, Greek to me!) self to find myself sitting in on conversations about traditional media versus new media, personal blogging, live coverage during the terror attacks and sharing social media with our families!

I thoroughly enjoyed Thakkar‘s humorous talk tracing his early blogging experiences right down to what his relatives thought he did for a living. Techies do have a sense of humour (I stand corrected!) and some of them, like this one are bloody brilliant!

The talk on traditional media and social media turned confrontational (and fun!) when I interrupted to share this experience of being misquoted in a national daily, not completely realizing that there were journalists from that very newspaper in the room. I come away with a slightly improved impression of people in the profession now. :-)

Rohan started off a talk titled ‘Reflections on blogging’ which lead to an interesting discussion of truth and knowledge, the future of power structures and the world as we know it. We concluded that Knowledge isn’t going to mean Power for very long as we increasingly move into an age of completely democratic, easy-access-for-all knowledge sharing through social media.

It was a personally fulfilling experience for me to address a talk on ‘Anonymity is a game of identity’ where I shared my twisted path through different URLs, multiple blogs, many identities and the schizo/blogicidal impulses that finally brought me to being Ideasmith today. I was surprised (as with so many of my posts) that people were actually interested in hearing what I had to say, many identified with it and still many others were appreciative of my speaking up. Thank you so much, fellow-bloggers, listeners and readers!

I’d like to add a few snippets from my own talk, just to add to the scrapbook of my blogging memories. When I entered the venue in the morning, the security guard asked for a photo-id. “Tricky”, I thought to myself since I had registered as Ideasmith. For a brief moment, I contemplated showing him a printout of my blog. It does have my photograph in the header after all!!! After a much roundabout conversation, I did manage to make it into the blogcamp.

Right after my session, a fellow tweeter in another city set about to discover my identity. Now why that should be of interest to anyone at all is beyond me since I have a pretty ordinary, if not boring real world name and life. But I guess the more of a mystery there is, the more curiosity there is being built up, regardless of the fact that the mystery may be completely not worth it. He succeeded in finding my name and published it which resulted in my having a ‘Oh my god, I’m choking! I’m freaking out!’ few moments. A quick couple of calls and that got sorted out. My faith in the blogosphere not just as social media but a social community is really restored. I’m much indebted to everyone who listened and was sympathetic to my albeit melodramatic outburst and who just ‘took care of it’ for me.

In a very strange sort of way it was as if my before-talk and after-talk experiences both added to my talk itself. Anonymity is something that I and a lot of other personal bloggers are still struggling with. All I can say is we’re not alone here. As soppy as it sounds, I’m just glad I connected with the techies at blogcamp and for the first time saw them as facilitators, friends even instead of ‘the other kind of bloggers’.

I was also really happy that I had a chance to meet Aham even though I came in a little late and missed most of his talk. I carry back from him, one of the sweetest compliments that anyone has ever paid me, as a blogger. When I spoke of having a unisex handle so as to combat allegations of getting hits only because I was a woman, he grinned and said,

You’d get hits even if you were a guy!

:-) And then it is always fun to catch up with other people I know from my social media activities like Meetu and Aalaap.

We ended with a hullaballoo, quite befitting for an unconference, a photo-session right in the middle of a dusty road and then jetted off to fuel up. From BlogCamp to HoggyCamp, I think it was a Saturday really very well-spent. Thank you Netra, Moksh, Hardik and Sampad for organizing this. You guys truly rock!

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