I title it The Nokia Meet because what I was expecting to be a bloggers’ meet sponsored by Nokia ended up being a Nokia meet with minimal blogger interaction. This was my fifth Indiblogger meet, having attended the ones sponsored by HP, Akshayapatra, Samsung and Surf previously. So my idea and expectation of an Indiblogger organized meet would differ a lot from those attending the first time. And that expectation collapsed like a castle of cards an hour or maybe ninety minutes into the meet.
I don’t like comparison, but one of my best friends says that comparing two things is part of human nature, so that makes us human. So try as I did during the meet not to compare this to the previous ones, I had to. The sheer boredom forced my mind, and I did. I agree that when the meet is sponsored by a bigwig, that a certain amount of sponsor talk is warranted, but this was Nokia from the get-go. That killed the mood for those of us who were there at the meet, to actually meet and greet fellow bloggers.
Every single Indiblogger meet I have attended, Vineet Rajan has been the first to welcome me, along with other members of the Inditeam, greet me with their warm smiles and tell me who has already reached. Last time, it was quite nice to know someone had even asked if I had reached. This time, I’d not have known Vineet was at the venue if I hadn’t seen him go past me. I’d not have known my good friend Nabanita was there at the hall if she hadn’t come greeted me. I’d not have known Farida was there if she wasn’t standing closeby. I didn’t see anyone from the Inditeam till much after I had reached the venue.
The hall was split into smaller tables, with floating candles on each. It looked serene, quite nice. But the arrangement kind of hit hard when we couldn’t interact as easily as we did last time. Firstly because we were split across different tables; and secondly because the continuous talk of apps from the guest hosts kind of prevented that as well. I couldn’t even talk properly with those sitting at my table. It was that loud. I think this was the first time I’ve not seen Anoop hosting the meet. It lacked the flair that he brings to the table. There was no 30 seconds of fame introductory segment for the bloggers; rather it was few seconds of fame for a handful of selected bloggers. I wouldn’t have known Vidya was Vidya Sury if she hadn’t been part of that selected few. It saddens me that a blogger who I read since the haiku challenge of February was right there at the meet, and I couldn’t interact with her. I couldn’t meet a few people who are part of my twitter group either.
Coming to the meet itself, the previous time, there was fun questions that a blogger would know and can answer, to win goodies. Like which is the most used widget in Blogsville (the answer is Feedjit by the way) and which regional language other than Hindi is most used in Indian blogs (which would be Tamil). There were some fun games, which happened in four large teams. You had random teams, so you’d get to know some new bloggers like that too. The segment was so fun, that while it was happening, my friend and I had also played a game of run and catch, right in the hall. It was amazing. It was memorable. This time, there weren’t such events. There were two teams (Techies & Foodies) comprising of those who had earlier got their few seconds of introduction. There was a quiz session of food and tech questions where there were four teams of two people each. There was a session to cut onions. There was endless talk of Nokia, and of apps. There was everything and anything but talk of blogging or interaction between bloggers. I swear, I got so irritated, at one stage I had logged on to Twitter and tweeted the meet hashtag with a hashtag #YAWN.
I think it was a relief when I went out of the room with Naba, Navin and CS for a second glass of wine. Frankly, that was the second best part of the meet. It helped to somewhat calm my head (ironic that the one who usually never drinks wine or any alcohol would find wine calming, and look to drown boredom in four glasses of it. I seriously did consider that). It was followed by an excellent dinner. The desserts were heavenly, and that was the best part of this meet. I think the meet time being evening made a few of my blogger friends unregister for the meet. Travel is a pain-in-the-ass at 10:30pm, with buses being less frequent and autowallahs charging double the meter if not more. Since the event was for registered Indibloggers only, even those ladies who thought they can come with their husband, attend the meet and go back were forced to unregister. That also made the younger Indibloggers hesitate to come, even with an Indivan arrangement. I’m glad that Navin stays near my area, so the dependency on our BMTC bus service was quashed.
I remember telling Vineet after the Surf Indibloggers’ Meetup that please organize a meet where it is more of blogger interaction than sponsor talk. I guess that is still in the pipeline. This was mostly sponsor talk, and less of blogger interaction.
Sorry IB. I don’t mind not getting any goodies, but I mind not being able to interact with other bloggers. Those who are attending for the first time would be thrilled. To be absolutely, totally and brutally honest, wine and dinner aside, this meetup has probably been the worst of the five I’ve attended to date.
(’12, Nov 12)