Looking Back – The Professional Chapter of 2015

Keeping the personal aside, there were a lot of things going on professionally on the Kolkata Bloggers front in 2015. I’ve tried talking about a few of the biggest events and incidents that have taken place in 2015. It has indeed been a busy year, a year that has seen a lot of growth and mostly happy times among the Kolkata Bloggers team.

The Literature Festivals

Bengal is famous for its major literature festivals. We have not one, not two, but three such festivals of international repute. Kolkata Bloggers was a part of two of these huge events. Firstly, we were partners in conducting the “Great Indian Blogging Contest” along with the Times of India for the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF). The initiative saw very enthusiastic participation well surpassing our expectations, and set the tone for the rest of the year. Founder Anirban Saha also spoke about the journey of the organization with his personal anecdotes at the subsequent “Great Indian Bloggers Meet”.

After AKLF, our next major assignment was Kolkata Literature Festival (KLF) – a part of the famous International Book Fair at the Milan Mela grounds. We tackled live blogging, live tweeting, social media promotions and online media management for all three days of this landmark event. 2016 again promises to be a fruitful year for us in terms of our associations with Lit Festivals across Kolkata.

WiFi Launch, Kolkata Bloggers, 2015
WiFi Launch in Kolkata. Photograph – Anirban Saha

Wi-Fi Launch in Kolkata

Ten of us from Kolkata Bloggers, including yours truly, will forever have the distinction of being the first ten people in history to use the free WiFi doled out for the public, during its inauguration at Park Street. Bengal is well on its way to becoming the nation’s first fully functional WiFi empowered smart-city. The first step to this move of digital empowerment was laid in February 2015, with Kolkata Bloggers being the first ones to use the WiFi facilities. Read more about the facilities, the process of using and other anecdotes here.

Working with the US Consulate

After the WiFi Launch at Park Street, the after-party at Flury’s was where we met Ipshita Nandi Banerjee – a Public Relations official at the US Consulate Kolkata. Over the year, she has been one of those people who have helped us in a big way, and also guided us as we set out with our fledgling organization. Anirban da, Sourav da and myself were invited to discuss social media and contemporary media over tea with the then US Consul General Ms. Helen LaFave. (More details given here) This was back in May. Again in September, we conducted an extensive blogging workshop at the American Center, spanning two days, for school and college students with the US Consulate. The workshop was a great experience to be part of, the engagement was fantastic and the feedback was pretty much overwhelmingly positive. Take a look at what happened at the Bloggers Workshop here.

Tales to Tell

One of the most significant achievements of the year was the success of Tales to Tell. For those of you who don’t already know, Tales to Tell is a one-of-a-kind anthology of short stories and illustrations given by new contributors from Bengal and other corners of the country. The book has been sold out on multiple occasions, has been replenished on Flipkart and Amazon and has prompted us to start working on a second edition. The wonderful journey of Tales to Tell has been extensively documented here.

Tales to Tell, Kolkata Bloggers, 2015
The Tales to Tell team after the Book Launch at the Oxford Bookstore.

 

Working with NASSCOM

Kolkata Bloggers, NASSCOM, Data Science, 2015
Volunteers for the NASSCOM Data Science Summit

Our association with the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) has been one to cherish. It was such a learning experience both to participate in the Product Conclave 2015, as well as work as the Blogging Partner for the Data Science Summit held later this year. Interacting with prominent start-ups, learning the tricks of the trade and understanding an entirely new scope in the field of Analytics were just some of the privileges I’ve had this year. There’s so much more to learn, of course, and for that I hope we continue to work with and benefit from organizations like NASSCOM.

Workshops and Bloggers Meets

I’ve been up on stage plenty of times to debate, quiz, play a part in dramas, host events or other such occasions, but I had never tried conducting a workshop up until August, when Anirban da and I did so at IIT Kharagpur, accompanied by Rupsha and Anamitra. It was a different experience, but I enjoyed it. Subsequently we conducted a similar but more extensive workshop at the American Center for school and college students too. Along with this, we’ve had one big bloggers’ meet this year in May, when 37 of us assembled at Au Bon Pain, Park Street, for an evening of discussion, ideation, conceptualization and knowledge sharing. Such meets keep allowing us to understand new things about blogging and beyond, and also serves as an important offline connect to our online friends. We had another bloggers meet, this time with Tollywood actor Dev, to mark the occasion of Vivel Pujo Love. (Read about it here)

Other events in 2015

Kolkata Bloggers has worked with various other brands as well during the course of this eventful year. We were part of the Edutainment Show, worked with Magnum Ice-Creams, Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsav (the first Literature Festival devoted completely to celebrating Bengali literature)along with Vivel and Realty Expo 2015, to name a few. Each experience has taught me something or the other. We have also been regularly conducting standalone events with the support of venue partners Oxford Bookstore. Some of these events conducted so far have been QnA sessions with Rangan Datta and Bongpen, and a discussion session on the widening generation gap.

News Coverage

In March 2015, Jaideep Mazumdar, Assistant Editor of the Times of India, published a full page story on some of the bloggers from our Kolkata Bloggers family. It was great to see blogging getting mainstream coverage in such magnitude. Bengali Daily Ei Samay covered the launch of Tales to Tell and the discussion that preceeded it. We hope we continue to do good work which will grab eyeballs eventually.

Tales to Tell, Kolkata BLoggers, 2015
Ei Samay reporting on the Tales to Tell Launch at Oxford Bookstore

Spreading Wings

Kolkata Bloggers has now got to a position where we can delegate different parts of the organization for different purposes.  We had a technical session by Saurav Modak titled “Ideas to App” which was the first session for our tech wing. A separate chunk has been delegated to conducting Discussion Forums on pertinent issues. We announced the launch of Kolkata Instagrammers in late September – another aspect that many people can identify with. As we gradually grow, we can cover more area with our operations.

Overview

This has been a very busy year – the first proper year of existence of Kolkata Bloggers. In this one year, we have had moments of dealing with pressure, moments of tension and moments of joy. We have met and collaborated with some wonderful people. I’ve personally learnt a lot about a life I was previously never exposed to – talking business and executing assignments. It has definitely contributed to a lot of personal growth as well. With your good wishes, we hope to keep performing and surpassing expectations. Stay connected to Kolkata Bloggers!

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