Thursday, October 30, 2014

#Celebrateblogging: THE LESSONS THAT CAME BY

“I had made my inner vow to teach self rather than group reliance.” –Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, I Can See Clearly Now
Image Courtesy: Indu Manoj © all rights reserved
One early September evening I received a call from Blogadda.com. Blogadda is an Indian organization who successfully monetized blogging by providing a network for individual bloggers in order to share their blog posts. Blogadda also provides opportunity for bloggers to receive free books from new and successful Indian authors for book reviews. I have been associating with Blogadda for a long period now through book reviews. Over the years, they have advanced into other product reviews and blog contests, offering bloggers a chance to try at what they love doing and win prizes.

When the correspondent from Blogadda rang me up, I wasn’t in a situation to respond. It was a busy, early September evening with lots of grocery shopping on my mind. Somehow, the call seemed important.

I took it.

I was attentive to the person on the other side. My initial reaction to the realization that the call was from Blogadda was to tell the caller to call me back as I was busy shopping groceries. Perhaps, the person on the other side was experienced enough to see that “call you later” was a euphemism for “leave me alone”.

She did not hang up. Experience teaches us a lot, doesn’t it? This turns out to be true in the case of the correspondent who called me.

“I am currently busy with another project,” I explained to her.

The Blogadda correspondent then made it clear that she and her team at Blogadda understand that we, bloggers, are busy beings.

That seems nice, I thought.

At last, she persuaded me by saying that I may not be required to do blog posts weeklong, as this was a four-week contest. The only requirement was to blog once a week with a one-liner at the bottom of the post saying, this was for blogadda and that we are participating in “celebrateblogging” with a hashtag prefix to it.
Image Courtesy: Google

I thought… no big deal. So I agreed and registered for the #CelebrateBlogging Contest in the Blogadda website.

Within a week, an email arrived in my inbox with email ids and blog URLs, revealing who would be my team members, assigned by Blogadda.

We could mail each other or share group mails as part of the game in order to discuss matters. The team members should adhere to a set of conditions if the team should be retained in the contest.

I feared group activity ever since I was a child. I never was good at playing it cool when a lot of people are around to pass their opinions.

However, my reality has changed considerably once I started living a “mission-accomplished life” to use the terminology from Steven K. Scott’s book The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived: Secrets for Unparalleled Success from the Life of Jesus. Rather than continuing the dream to become an author, I have experienced the shift into being an author the previous year. The difference was staggeringly enormous. I started participating in activities and using social events in order to gain more understanding of how the world functioned. As an author, I take a very different perspective when taking part in group-activities now. I use group activities in order to attain insight into human behavior and find new ideas. Of course, the blogging contest in front of me seemed very attractive due to these reasons.

Image Courtesy: Google
The bloggers were supposed to “compose” a story based on the characters Blogadda provided. This was the contest.

You can see below who those characters are. [Perhaps, now you can understand what the whole deal was in publishing the three earlier blog posts, three chapters with seemingly disconnected content.]
Characters :
  1. Shekhar Dutta - Stay home Dad, freelance writer, Hindu, Stays in Mumbai
    Description - French beard, bald, average height, fair, thin specs, lean, wears t-shirt & track pants generally, ever smiling.
  2. Tara Dutta – Shekhar’s wife, Media professional , career oriented woman.
    Description - Fair, short hair, tall, prim & proper dressed, wear formals & high heels.
  3. Roohi Dutta – 9 years girl, Shekhar and Tara’s daughter.
    Description - Fair, healthy, notorious, 2 ponytail, wear frill frocks.
  4. Jennifer Joseph –  Photographer, Christian, Stays in Kochi (Kerala)
    Description - Dusky, average height, tattoo on right hand, wears casual shorts and tees, lots of accessories, always carries a camera.
  5. Cyrus Daruwala – A law student, Stays in Delhi
    Description - Tall,  extremely fair, big specs, curly hair, stern face, beard on the  chin. [Courtesy: Blogadda.com]

I am very glad that you still came back to my blog, even after going through these seemingly unconnected and confusing pieces. They were actually part of the long story my team and I had put together. One can go to the previous and next chapters through the links posted along with the previous three posts on my blog.

Blogadda proposed a set of rules for playing the “Game of Blogs”.
Rules of the Game:
  1. There are 3 rounds in this activity
  2. Every blogger has to write a minimum of one blog post per round i.e One blog post per week. The team has to have one blogpost per day.
  3.  A point of Contact/Team Leader from the Team will have to discuss and decide the order for the bloggers in which the blogs will be written and the link will be submitted to the Point of Contact/Team Leader and in the form here.
  4. There should be a minimum of 7 blog posts from 7 different bloggers for a team to qualify for the next round. Any team submitting less than 7 blog posts will be DISQUALIFIED.
  5. Bloggers cannot kill any main character and can create only upto a maximum of 3 sub characters.
  6. The team has to submit all the entries before the last day through the given form or the team will be disqualified.
  7. You can check your team’s score at the leader board here to know the status.
  8. The first round ends on 17th September 2014. [Courtesy: Blogadda.com]
Image Courtesy: Indu Manoj © all rights reserved

The next important step for our team was to find a ‘Point Of Contact’ from the members of the team, and to find a name for the group. From this point onwards, much as I feared as a young boy about all sorts of group activity, “freedom of expression” and “group interest” came into a course of head-on collision. The names suggested by some members for the group did not rhyme right for me. In my view, we must stick with fresh names for titles that every one of us could connect with. I tried to give an example in one of the group mails that was being sent back and forth.

To my endless surprise, one of the team members said she would like keep the title given by me as the name of the team. I was surprised because the name I suggested was only to provide an example, a working model so to speak, in order to find a better name. 
                                                    Will continue in the next post. 
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