It’s fun being a ‘har-topic-wali’ blogger!


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Come February, Cybernag would complete nine years, one shy of a decade. And just like that, I began thinking of the beginning….

I had started blogging at a time when blogging was still ‘web logging’ in practice, though the terms ‘blogging’ and ‘blogger’ had already been coined and in use. We bloggers were full of enthusiasm and fun. This was perhaps because it was a new medium of networking and reaching out to the world. Writing, reading, connecting and commenting on each other’s blogs, discovering new ones and making online and offline friends were all part of the exciting package. There were blog awards – not given by blogger platforms – but by one blogger to another. There were fun tags to be picked up and passed on and so much more!

Take bloggers’ meets, for instance. The few Indiblogger meets I had attended during the early years of my blogging were chockful of fun and camaraderie. There used to be a product presentation or product related activity all right, but the overall tone was one of bonhomie and boisterousness. We met our virtual friends, made new ones and found new blogs to follow, in a festive atmosphere. And I had this profile picture!

But not for long. Blogging became serious business. From being personal web logs, that people shared with the world, it turned to niche blogging, catering to specific audiences. Many blogs were monetized and went commercial. Sponsored posts and product reviews became the order of the day. Blogging could become an alternate career. Why, it could even become a full-time career if one so wished, with all kinds of perks thrown in!

Slowly, the initial enthusiasm which had seen hundreds of personal blogs coming up in 2010-11, began waning, with many blogs closing down, or not getting updated for months, even years. Many popular personal bloggers migrated to online magazines and the print media. Many other bloggers who started blogging to create an online presence as the first step to publishing their works, moved away from blogging activities, once they were published – on to other social media, to promote their books, and to make the right connections. And why not? I have heard that publishers list social media activity/presence among the top requirements for even considering a manuscript for assessment! Talk of the power of social media!

It can’t be denied that the number of people reading personal blogs has dwindled over the years, due to all the above reasons. Obviously, blogs are too slow to connect with friends, especially if it meant that one had to write a post or visit other blogs to comment. There are the instant chat apps and loads of social media options to do that without much as much effort.

As I said earlier, blogging has become a marketing tool, with bloggers having turned ‘influencers’. Sellers and manufacturers tap into their market potential, to spread the word about their products. Blogger meets organised by them are focused, product oriented, with site visits and all. The posts are sponsored of course. However, a few – of whom Rachna comes most readily to mind – have continued to maintain a warm personal touch even in their sponsored posts.

I was  idly wondering what kind of  influencer I would make, with the number of my followers remaining static for donkey’s number of years, when I head:

Forget it!

Where did she come from? Trust my alter-ego to pop up at the most crucial moment of my blog life! I tried to ignore her.

First of all, are you in tune with social media? she pressed,, ignoring my exaggerated eye-roll. I sighed.

‘You know that social media and I don’t see eye-to-eye. Twitter discussions pass me by in a blur and anything with ‘insta’ in it has me running in the opposite direction with the speed of an arrow released from the bow. I like to take  things slowly, at a sloth’s speed, if you please! So Instagram is out. And I don’t even know what other SM platforms exist or have sprouted up in the time it has taken me to type this para!’

So a career as an influencer is out for you. (As if I didn’t know it already!)

‘And I could never become a niche blogger. What would I ever be able to  ‘niche-blog’ about, eh?’  I sounded decidedly petulant.

Accept it, Cybernag! You are just a har-topic-wali* blogger! 

‘Huh? So where do I go from here?’ I was almost whining. But she did have a point.

Nowhere, silly! Remember how, back in 2010,  that dear boy Vineet had started this blog for you to write whatever seized your fancy? And didn’t you enjoy writing about the social issues that disturbed you, about relationships, about the inimitable L&M and the Brats, about your little Diya and more? Didn’t you have fun building up Cybernag, with the help of your loyal readers and the new ones coming in with every post? What about the addition of Culture and Spirituality to your repertoire? Aren’t you happy that you can just write on anything and everything under the sun?

‘Oh yes! I do!’ I was almost hopping with excitement. ‘I have worked/work on each post just as I would have, had it been  for the print media. And I am not blogging to become a published author. I already was,  when I started blogging! And you know, I have written some pretty decent stuff over the years for Cybernag, if I may say so myself I am smiling now.’ 😊

So what are you fretting about? Look, you might not be an ‘influencer’, or a premium blogger with millions of views and followers, or even a niche blogger doling out advice and how-to-tips, but you can continue to be a ‘har-topic-wali web logger’, that you had started out as. Just enjoy what you are doing and you are sorted!

And just like that, I was! Sorted, I mean.

Now, isn’t that a great way to start a new calendar year?

Happy 2019, Everyone!

*Inspired by the har-maal-wala street vendors of Jabalpur, who stock everything (har maal) you could think of, from pins to planes, all loaded in their hand-carts. A veritable mobile supermarket!

21 comments

  1. Oh, Aunty! I didn’t expect this post to take me down the memory lane. Remember I was the first one to tag you and you asked Vineet to help you out with it? 😀 And yes, I still have all those awards on my page. They represented love from our fellow bloggers, don’t they?
    A lot has changed and not all for the good. I too miss that personal touch we had with each other. We waited for others to publish and worried if there was a break. Our comment sections became discussions. Our blog was our space, our home.
    I remember our meeting well and am sorry that a lot of time has gone since we haven’t been in touch. Should rectify that. Meeting with other bloggers was and is always fun though. 🙂

    Like

    1. Oh yes, I do remember those early days and how Vinni plugged my blog with his friends! However, with blogging becoming competitive and then monetised, things were bound to change, like you said, not all for the good! I was advised by another blogger to learn to move with the changes 🙂 I sure have, but not too happy with it, so my decision to remain a blogger first, like the time I had begun!

      I sent you a couple of FB messages and my number too, but looks like you are too caught up in stuff, what with two growing kids and all!

      Like

  2. That was a nice trip down memory lane and 9 years is quite a stupendous achievement..love your inimitable style laced with humour and anecdotes that undoubtedly stand the test of time without the need of any social mktg tool..kudos on your lovely journey..and looking forward to wonderful posts that would keep the readers engaged

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    1. Thank you Sunita! Lovely to see you here again after a while! Oh, I am a novice compared to those who have been blogging for a decade and more. I have gone through lean times and months without a blog post, but Cybernag keeps beckoning me and I oblige with a post now and then 🙂 In general, blogging has somewhat lost its original charm for bloggers, hasn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I am brought myself back before the blog becomes extinct:)
        I could not agree you with you more on this…yes the influx of social media has dominated the very purpose, fabric and essence, but cannot complain as we have to change and adapt to the times we live in!

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        1. Adapting to change is good and all that, but giving up on something that is still good enough is a pity. Besides, blogs began as web logs, remember? That is why I am continuing still. Putting all my thoughts in my own space feels good, like having a collection of something precious inside one’s cupboard or safe, right? I am sorry I haven’t been visiting blogs for a while now. Will peep into yours soon!

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  3. Dear Zephyr, Sorry for the time it took for me to read this post. That nasty cough is still keeping me down. But first of all, happy 9th Anniversary! I am so glad to read this fun post from you. I miss those old days too when we wrote for the love of writing. Though I do continue to do that even now. Your posts are absolute gold! I love reading them. And thank you so much for the mention. I know you love me too much, and I am grateful for that. Though I have 2 blogs, I still come under har-topic-waali. 😊

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    1. Of course, it is fine that you took time read it. I would have been happier if you had recovered completely before reading it 🙂 And yes, I love you lots, but that doesn’t have anything to do with my liking your blog and the way you write, ok? I know you are also a har-blog-wali and a great one, at that! Someone who can turn a sponsored post into a personal one, infused with warmth 🙂 Hugs.

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  4. Of course, the ‘Jabalpur’ mention made my ears disappear in the grin that was already on full-blast as I read your post. Wish you a very happy 9th-anniversary CyberNag. I can’t say what you mean to your other readers, though I do have a fair idea, to me your blog is the place where I find that fast disappearing commodity—common sense.

    Thank you for being so superbly balanced and reasonable in your views. Thank you for the delectably rib-tickling doses of humor. Here’s to the next none years!

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    1. I knew your ears and eyes too would disappear, which is why I tipped you off 😀 Thank you so much for such heartfelt, warm words of appreciation and encouragement. But then, you love and so love my writing too. No, no. That is not correct. You are too honest to let emotions cloud your judgment of people and things. So thank you even more for being such a lovely friend. You know, these days I have stopped ‘playing to the galleries’ so to speak, and just write to satisfy my instincts as a writer with something to say. And hopefully, I will have something to say, nag that I am, for years yet 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You will always have much to say… and all of it will find appreciative readers like me. You are one resounding voice of sanity in a world going mad. Reading you is more self-preservation than anything else.

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        1. You are good for my vanity and ego, dear Dagny! And all that praise will ensure that I will keep nagging 😀

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That is high praise Dagny! Hope I continue to live up to it 🙂

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  5. Happy ninth year anniversary Amma! When we started the blog, I knew it will stand the test of time and how! Proud of you to have lasted all these years when even we couldn’t!

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    1. Thanks Vinni, it was all due to your encouragement that had brought me out of hibernation all those years back. I myself never thought I’d still be blogging 🙂

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  6. What a fantastic journey you’ve had ma! Yes, blogging has come a rather long way from the time people first started doing it as a digital extension of expressing their thoughts. No longer is blogging about the love of writing, reading or camaraderie, it is a career like any other, fiercely competitive and demanding. Where I once wrote posts till all my emotions were totally satiated, now I restrict them to 700-800 words, eeshh no fun at all! Niche blogging, pah, no way I can fit into that mold. Can I share the har-topic wali podium with you? Absolutely loved this heartfelt post!

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    1. Of course, you are most welcome to share the podium. Bring on more and we will make a bigger podium 🙂 Know what, Kala? I think those of us who are har-topic-walis can revive the old charm of blogging, what say? My biggest problem is length too, which is why you will find some posts going on to 2 or even 3 parts. One went to 5 parts, the old age one, I think. You are still good to restrict it to 800 words. My average post limit if 1200 words 🙂 And thanks for liking the post. It has been ages since I wrote a humour post.

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  7. He he! Enjoyed this post!
    I think that you are just perfect as a her-topic-wali blogger.!
    And don’t put yourself down- you are more of an influencer than you think. Also a support-giver, and a thought-provoker too!

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    1. Oh, you are one of my ‘loyal’ readers, which is what makes you give me all those titles, which I am not sure I deserve at all. but thanks a lot, for making me feel good and happy and that is a wonderful way to start 2019, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh what a humour filled post this turned out to be. I loved how you have written with brutal honesty waht blogging was and what it has become.

    I am a tech retard and all the SEO garble goes over my head. I do use Twitter n Insta but no disucssions on either. Neither have I been able to catch on with the latest in each SM platform. So I am a virtual sloth too and happy to be one.

    I have made some really good friends over blogging and am happy to be connected to them – not into monetisation for I just cant get the hang of all the tech jargon one needs for it.

    You get bonus points for mentioning Rachna- one of my fav virtual peeps 🙂

    Wish you a very abundant and fulfilling 2019 dear Cybernag ( Love the name)

    Like

    1. Oh, thanks reading and liking the post, Shalzmojo. Thanks too for the bonus points! I love Rachna and her posts, which are honest and well written, even her product reviews. I guess I will never get the hang of SM 🙂 Welcome to the club! And oh, I love my name too 😀

      Like

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