Tag Archives: Unconference

Opening WordCamp Mumbai 2014 With A Snapshot of Digitalia

I attended my first WordCamp over the weekend. I also had the privilege of opening the event with the first talk.


WordCamp is an informal conference that brings together the WordPress community – developers, designers, consultants and users. It is organised locally and happens in 172 cities around the world, each one with its own unique flavour. I’ve attended BarCamps and hosted & helped organise BlogCamps. So I was intrigued by an event centered around WordPress, a service that has been my companion through most of my journey from blogger to Content Specialist.

I have always been technology-agnostic. Technology has powered much of what I do and I enjoy the perks of a digitally enhanced life. But I don’t like to concern myself with the how and why it works as much as what it can do for me. WordPress has been one of those tools that have let me play in the content space without needing to know the nuts-and-bolts of coding and other digitalia. As a power user of WordPress, I figured that the ways I wielded the tools would be of interest to the people instrumental in building them. So I refuse to pick a side in the raging debate between developers and users. Both groups are creators, one of content, one of the technology that makes it possible. The developers’ work facilitates users; users’ needs define the developers’ existence. Thus, my talk revolves around looking at the bigger picture – Digitalia, this parallel universe that we all inhabit and help each other navigate. It was called ‘An Analog in a Digital world’. The presentation is up here and you can view the video here. Or see them both together below:


This session segued naturally into Rina Chaddwa‘s talk on ‘WordPress for dummies’  and Karthik Magapu‘s session on GPL Licenses. Post that, the sessions got progressively more technical, ranging from coding nitty-gritty to theme acceptance to plugin development. Annkur completed the two-day event with a talk that brought it out of the strictly technical again – ‘No SEO‘.

I felt at sea with many of the terms being thrown about here (GitHub? GPL? Anchor text spam wot???). But I think it was an important weekend for me, in order to understand better what goes on under the hood of this service that houses my digital presence and work. That I believe, is the purpose of community events such as this, for the different factions to better relate to each other. I had a great time and I hope to be a bigger part of the WordPress community from now on. I would also love to see more bloggers/content users participate in future WordCamps.

A big thank you to Aditya Kane and Alexander Gounder for organising the event and for guiding my talk!

You can find conversations around this event at  and join the Facebook community here.

Here are some other accounts of this session:

BlogCamp Mumbai Sept 2012 at MPSTME – REDUX!

Update 2: And the event is back! Called BlogCamp Redux, here’s their event page.

I didn’t have a chance to say this earlier but BlogCamp is a movement, not the sole property of a small group. It doesn’t matter who the organizers are, so long as the events happen. Everyone who expressed an interest in being there, make sure you make it to MPSTME tomorrow! It looks like it’ll be a great event!


Update 1: This event has been cancelled due to internal issues. BlogCamps will happen in the future, hopefully under better circumstances. Stay posted!


After a gap of 2 years, BlogCamp Mumbai is back! New and improved like the space, this time it’s not just about blogs. We’re going to be talking about online communities, social tools and all the ways that public conversations happen.

What’s BlogCamp?

For the uninitiated, BlogCamp is an unconference, along the lines of BarCamp. An unconference is an open forum, a space to discuss what’s happening and connect with other day people who’re playing with the social media. Unconferences really are about fun and people. This is a great place for interesting conversations and meeting people. You may see a few friends there and perhaps people you follow or read but have never spoken to.

The day will progress through 15-minute sessions, happening in parallel, in different rooms. These sessions will be timed strictly, to ensure everyone has a say.  Anybody can volunteer to take a session, so long as they have something interesting to say about this space. You can choose to attend any session. You can also interrupt, add to, argue with the speaker and the rest of the audience. And finally, you can walk out anytime you like.

What’s going to happen at BlogCamp (and not)?

Unconferences are traditionally free-flowing, unmoderated events. However, in order to keep the event interesting, we’re going to ask that speakers AVOID the following:

  • Commercial agendas
  • Professional networking talks
  • Sales pitches

But you can speak about anything related to:

  • Blogging
  • Use of other social media services
  • Social networks
  • Online communities
  • Anything else in the social space

Who can attend?

BlogCamp is an open forum and welcomes anybody who’d like to spend a Sunday walking  baround, talking to and listening to random people and ideas about the social space. You don’t have to be a blogger, tweeter or a social media professional. You don’t have to have attended a blogger meet or a tweet-up before. Honest, even if you think pins and pokes are painful things, you’re still welcome. If you read blogs, if you follow Twitter, if Youtube is your guru or if you just like conversations, come down and spend Sunday with a bunch of others who do.

I’m in! How do I participate?

Date: Sunday, 9 September 2012
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Place: Mukesh Patel School of Technology, Management and Engineering,
Along the Mithibai-NM college road, Vileparle West, Mumbai

BlogCamp is a free event. If however, you’d like to take a session, drop us a comment at the Facebook Event. We’ll get in touch to confirm the details. Or just turn up and take a chance at getting a free slot on the whiteboard at the venue.

The BarCamp Mumbai 8 Round-Up

I spent yesterday at Barcamp Mumbai 8. This has been my first unconference in nearly 2 years. My last Barcamp was over 4years ago, overrun by techie discussions and only drew me because it had a teensy segment for bloggers. BlogCamp evolved as an offshoot of that.

Yesterday was a pleasant return. For one, the event that usually struggles on time, breezed through the multiple sessions, speakers and classrooms easily. There were 4 classrooms in the ultra-posh Mukesh Patel ….. The wiki was flowing with colourful post-its even at 10:15 a.m., which is when I got there. And most delightfully, the subjects spanned a diverse range of intellectual tools, hobbies & interests & scientific applications in fun real life ways. One had to be truly ruthless to pick sessions to attend since there were so many good ones, several happening simultaneously.

Off the top of my head, these are the ones I attended:

Interesting titbits from the day:

I entered Rehab’s session late, having misread the wiki schedule. It was interesting and fun, though occasionally highjacked by someone who claimed that genocide made him happy. Quick tip – if you’re demonstrating or talking without a powerpoint, avoid the big conference room. The larger crowd is harder to maintain & engage. Rehab did a great job though and showed off a mind technique that will help anyone from an artist to an executive stuck in a business dilemma.

Harrish is always entertaining and touching in equal parts. His first talk was about the film AMEN being denied a certificate by the censor board and he did a superb job of bringing out the inconsistencies in their policies. His second talk though, was the one that really had people talking. He was speaking of how gay people are treated in India, when partway through, he was interrupted by a very fervent member of the audience who insisted that,

“According to Hinduism, you can only have sex with your wife, inside a closed room. Only after marriage and only for procreation, not for fun.”

The uproar that followed had to be taken out into the corridor to make way for the next speaker. The episode illustrated one of the reasons that unconferences are a great way to seed ideas, bring out thoughts and get people talking, sometimes about controversial and difficult topics.

My session on ‘Social Content’ happened on the fly. It’s been years since I spoke completely extempore, as I did yesterday and it was a great experience. I was actually hoping to create interest for my upcoming series of blogging workshops, beginning with ‘Unboggle The Blog‘. But instead, I found myself naturally touching on several related but disjointed thoughts about this space. My 20 minute, stream-of-consciousness ramble imitated the way we consume and add to social content, on our Facebook Walls, our Twitter timelines and all out other channels of social media. I touched on the artificiality of traditional media, social media as an extension of normal, human behaviour, how trolls are mirror daily social miscreants experimenting in their own ways and that we’re all creators & consumers of social content. Here’s the talk:

I missed the #TWSS talk by Aditya Sengupta since the room was so packed that even the door couldn’t be opened. From what I hear, it was a tongue-in-geek demonstration of an algorithm used to generate and viral #TWSS (That’s what she said). But the geek in me found a corner in Anubha Bhat’s talk on diagnosing bipolar disorders using algorithms.

I’m not going to dwell on how great it was to catch up with old friends again, since that’s a given in any gathering. Yesterday was more than just friends catching up and people networking. It really was a meeting of minds, a true sharing of ideas. A big thank you to the Barcamp team for pulling off such a great day!

BarCamp Mumbai On 19 Feb @ MPSTE, VileParle West

All of 2011 went by without my being able to be part of a single unconference. Which is why I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Sunday, 19th February 2012, will see the first BarCamp Mumbai of 2012.

Image via Wikipedia

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of unconferences, these are completely democratic gatherings of minds, coming together to share and discuss their ideas on various things. BarCamp in its early days, was an open forum on technology, especially the IT & networking end of it. BlogCamp emerged as a specialized community from within the BarCamp framework. This space has seen much discussion and evolution through the course of various BlogCamps.

I’m going to be attending a BarCamp after nearly 4 years. The agenda has evolved considerably, to keep up with what’s hot and new in thinking minds. A quick look at the sessions list promises that the day will touch on restaurant reviewing, origami, online communities, yoga, urban commuting and graphology among other things. These will continue to be added on, as more participants sign up.

Here are the things you can do at BarCamp:

  • Listen to speakers talk about their pet subjects
  • Interrupt with questions, opposition or related thoughts
  • Juggle between sessions, rooms & speakers, walking in and out whenever you like
  • Hear your favorite temperamental blogger speak
  • Talk about something that you like
  • Connect with other people with similar interests, tastes or opinions
  • Have a lot of fun!

And just in case you missed the bold, underlined hint above, I’m going to be addressing a session on something close to my heart these days – Social Content. 🙂

Here are the details:

BarCamp Mumbai February 2012

Date: Sunday, 19 February 2012
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Place: Mukesh Patel School of Technology, Management and Engineering,
Along the Mithibai-NM college road, Vileparle West, Mumbai
Facebook: Confirm your attendance and invite others.
Wiki: Register your session and check out the agenda so far.

BlogCamp Mumbai 2010

Announcing the first BlogCamp of 2010!

For those of you who don’t know, BlogCamp is an unconference, an open forum of social media users. BlogCamp began as a module of BarCamp (which looks at the wider net of technology and business) but has gained enough popularity to merit an event of its own.

The format is as follows: Participants register online. Speakers volunteer to take sessions and are allotted time-slots. Anybody can speak and on any topic so long as it is related to blogging, tweeting or social media in general. The event is an interactive one so expect to find the audience jumping right in and at times, even taking over the mic from the speaker.

BlogCamp is an excellent place to network with other social media users, hear about what other people are seeing and experiencing in this space and share your own ideas. If you are a blogger or tweeter, you already have an opinion and a voice. BlogCamp is just a wider offline platform to share this.

Previous BlogCamps (1, 2 and 3) have seen a wide response from the Twitter community as well as from technology bloggers. The focus has largely been on the commercial aspect of social media. Since this is a forum that aims to address all aspects of social media, it would be good to hear from the other factions i.e. people who generate and follow other kinds of content – personal blogs, topical blogs, celebrity blogs, science blogs, photo-blogs etc.

So if you’re reading this and will be in Mumbai next Saturday, sign up and drop in. We’re all really friendly (okay, some of us are not but we’re all interesting to say the very least!)

The details of BlogCamp Mumbai 2010 are as follows:

Date: Saturday, 20th February 2010
Time: 10:00 – 18:00 hrs.
Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management & Engineering (MPSTME),
Behind Homeopathy College, Bhakti VedantaSwami Marg,
JVPD Scheme, Near Irla Lane,
Vile-Parle (West), Mumbai – 400056

Since we don’t have the inimitable Mr.Shah to organize the Microsoft office as a venue anymore, this is a different place and here’s a map to help you get there.

Please register your participation here and carry a printout of your ticket to the venue. (Did the word ‘ticket’ scare you off? Come back, it’s free!)

Internet access will be provided through Wifi so feel free to carry your laptops to the event. If you would like to tweet about the event, please use the hashtag #blcm.

Afterwards, if you blog about the event (and yes, do! It’s good blogettiquette!), do drop me a link to the post here and I’ll list it in the after-event summing up.

The event is still looking for sponsorships so if you’d like to help out, please contact Annkur Agarwal or Moksh Juneja.

See you this Saturday!

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