Things get magical at the time of Twilight. I am born in Delhi, brought up all over India, Punjabi, I live and work in Gurgaon. I am a Telecom software person, blogger and a social media enthusiast. I am a photographer by obsession. I am Twilight Fairy for you. To know more about what I blog and what I feel about blogging, Read on…
Q: When and why did you start blogging? Was it out of curiosity or something else?
A:I started blogging in May 2003 (yeah, that long back!). I’d been toying with the idea of blogging since quite some time even then, but never really took the plunge because I thought I would not be able to manage it regularly with the kind of hectic schedules that office usually gives me. Then one fine day when a cubicle mate told me about a friend of his who blogged, I decided to take the plunge as well, thinking that if another person in a similar setup could take out the time, so could I.
I mainly wanted to share my creative writing and get feedback. Little did I realize that it would win me not just great feedback but also such an eclectic bunch of new friends who are like minded! I started my blog as a private blog coz I was not too sure about what to write..I was sure that I didn’t want this to be a personal diary thing. It stayed that way for some days and then I posted something finally and also made my blog public.
Q: What topics do you generally blog about?
A: I mainly wanted to share my creative stuff, articles, poems and stories via my blog. I was always a part of the school editorial board, then in college and then in office as well, so this was a natural extension of me. I was sure that I didn’t want this to be a personal diary thing. Now I do not get a lot of time to blog, but even then my blog can still be categorized into many categories. Mainly it would be – creative writing (which could include reviews of movies/books/plays, sci fi, poems, short stories etc), photography , geeky stuff , Delhi blogger meets, nostalgia, humour etc.
Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry?Â What do you do then?
A: Yes, everyone gets stuck with “bloggers block”. If I face it, I just let it be. I do not force myself for posting. If one does that, the whole point of sharing is lost as the result is something which is not a natural form of what was intended to be expressed.
Q: What promotional techniques work best for you and why?
A: I think the best promotional technique which has stood the test of time is to be active in the blogosphere, visit other blogs, leave interesting/intelligent comments which go beyond “great post”, “nice link” etc. That will definitely attract more readers to your site. At times I also leave my blog URL in my signature (mainly in blogging related forums) which automatically gives more info about me to the readers and also gets me traffic to my blog.
Q: Do you earn revenue through your blog? How does one go about it?
A: I do have ads on my blog, however I would not call it “revenue”. To generate a substantial revenue through ads, one has to be regular at blogging, promote ones blogs well enough and also give decent variation in posts so that context sensitive ads can show up. The placement of such ads within the post or on the page also makes a lot of difference.
Q: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?
A: I personally feel that it’s very important for a blog to be interactive. Yes, I try to respond to each and every comment I get on my blog, flickr stream or twitter. I have been told by so many people as feedback that this is what they like the best when they visit me online! I would also like to be treated the same when I visit someone’s blog and leave a comment. I like to think of this virtual entity as an extension of a person. Without any interactivity within the blog, it appears just like any other news website where strangers come, give their expert comments and leave. There is no one to tell them what they felt about those comments. It’s like talking to yourself.
Q: How, in general, would you rate the quality of Indian blogs? Share your favourite five blogs.
A: Indian blogs are so many and so varied. It is not even possible to have read all or even be aware about their existence. Hence, I am really not someone to pass a “rating” on the same. However as goes the saying (which applies in general to the blogosphere and not just the Indian one) – there’s so much trash out there! 🙂 There might be more trash than actual good content. Blogging has now become a fad and 1000’s of them sprout every day, only to die a quick death when the blog owner loses interest. It takes time and effort to sift out the real grain from the faff. For making that simple we can visit blog aggregators.
My 5 favourite blogs – I do not really play favourites :).
Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
A: The most gratifying aspect of blogging would be the thrill of the fact that someone actually bothers to read what you generate. This is what keeps bloggers going year after year after year.
Q: TwilightFairy, you are very active in organizing Blogcamps and the recently held India’s first Wordcamp! What goes in the backend while organizing such events?
A: Yes, I have been organizing several bloggers/blogging related events since 2004. It depends on the kind of meet that is being planned. A casual bloggers meet or a tweet up does not need more than an announcement and then followup of the attendees. A lot of planning goes into organizing an event like the Social Media & Blog camp we organized at Indiatimes in June’08 or India’s First WordPress camp we organized this February. Apart from the logistics, it is imperative that the content of the event is relevant, interesting and can sustain an interested audience. There are so many such camps organized all over India now, but at the risk of sounding pompous I might add that I have never seen the kind of enthusiasm we saw in the audience at any other event so far. It is all a mix of the content, the organization, the arrangement and of course the relevance of the target audience.
Q: Photography is your obsession! Can you give us some tips to take a good photo?
A: According to me a good photo is one that evokes a thought in you and you want to look at it rather than just glance past it. It does not have to be visually appealing or ground breaking in the “art” context. Art and beauty are so subjective that anything goes. As long as it engages the viewer, it’s done its work.
In any pictures that one takes, I would deem it essential for the picture to have such a quality. One way of doing that is to make sure that it is clear to the viewer what the photographer is trying to draw the attention to.
Q: What other passions does Twilight fairy have other than blogging and photography?
A: I try to do everything that I do, with a passion. I love music and have learnt to play some musical instruments. I am quite an activist and in the background, keep trying to teach unscrupulous people a lesson :). Recently I also tried my hand at a Women’s car rally because it sounded so interesting.
Q: You quote ”TOI believes Flickr is for Flicking’. Do you still come across such incidents and how do you help them?
A: Yes, unfortunately such incidents are still quite rampant. Since the time I got my demands fulfilled by TOI, I have been getting so many requests for help that I should ideally start a business of consulting :P.
Jokes apart, I tell all such “victims” what their rights are. Most of them are ready to give up after the first venting out of anger at the whole act. I also try to push them into pursuing their case. I give them tips on how to do and what to do with the offenders. I have also started an online group to tackle precisely this and anyone who is generating content or is consuming user generated content can join http://groups.google.com/group/say-no-to-plagiarism/
Q: You being a Social Media Enthusiast, What are your views about the Social networking sites in India?
A: I feel that Social media sites in India need to go a long way yet. They seem to be targeting teens and young net users whereas there’s a whole lot of audience out there. There’s so much one can do to make a successful social networking site. Facebook and its features can be a good case study as an example.
Q: Which tools/plugins do you use to efficiently manage your blog? Any widgets or tips you would like to share with our readers.
A: I am not very much into plugins, but yes, I do use the minimum set which is required for making someone’s visit to my site more pleasurable. I use Akismet for blocking spam, “All in one SEO” pack for SEO, “OZH better feed” to customise the footers in my RSS feed, “Sociable” for making the sharing of my posts easy, “Shantz – Prefix Suffix” for putting adsense ad blocks into my posts, “WordPress related posts” which shows related posts for every post, “subscribe to comments” etc. Recently I have also started using “Twitter tools” which I use to automatically generate a daily digest of my tweets into blogposts. This is because I end up tweeting more than blogging.
Q: What is your advice to someone who wants to start a blog?
A: Do not expect magic. If you want to have a good audience, you have to put in time and effort to cultivate a blog and its traffic. It goes without saying, good content is a necessity.
It was a pleasure to know the various facets of Twilightfairy. We look forward for more events to be organized by you and will be there to support you.
Twilightfairy can be contacted online:
Twilightfairy’s profile at BlogAdda
http://blog.twilightfairy.in/ is her blog
http://www.twitter.com/twilightfairy is her twitter handle
http://www.flickr.com/photos/twilightfairy is her Flickr Photostream