Monday, November 2, 2015

#NaBloPoMo Day 2: #BNLF: My Review Of The Most Disruptive Blogging Event Of The Year

Blog Now Live Forever, the blogging event by Indiblogger was a 2 day mega fest with an impressive line up of Indian and international speakers. Learning, knowledge, networking, food, catching up - it was a great place to be a part of the blogger community this weekend. This was my second Indiblogger meet and third blogger meet in all.

The venue was close to where I live and there's nothing like a cool Mumbai morning to look forward to an event like this. 15 minutes and I was there. There were serpentine queues to register but the efficient Indiblogger crew took charge of the situation and the lines vanished in minutes.

Ready for Day 1 of BNLF, Mumbai
As I got in and registered, I instantly recognised Purba Ray chatting up with people. It was my fan girl moment! And I was surprised that she remembered me and many others from Twitter. Now that's called being down to earth! And it goes without saying that a selfie is mandatory!

Selfie with ace blogger, Purba Ray
After all this excitement, it was a damp squib to find out that not only was there no breakfast but we had to wait for 2 keynote speeches to be over before we even got coffee! It seemed like a repeat of Karva Chauth for many women who fasted the day before and had an early start even the next day. Pushing our hunger pangs away, my friend Ankita and I found seats for ourselves and started milling about. The rocking start to the day was with a live rock concert - just the kind of energy we wanted!

And then started the key note speeches by the impressive line up of speakers for the day. The first session by Purba Ray who spoke about the hilarious responses one gets on telling people that we are bloggers. And Purba brought in all her trademark humour and we were in splits by the end of it. Arnab Ray was next, talking about how blogging changed his life. He traced back his journey of blogging from a time when it was a lesser known concept. Anshul Tewari's speech, though uninspiring was relevant in driving home the power of blogging and the difference it can make to the society. On the other hand, Kanan Gill seemed to have forgotten that he was supposed to talk about content in videos. We all kept waiting but he never got to it. Jeff Bullas and Christoph Trappe were at their professional best with useful insights on social media and story telling, respectively. (Although Jeff's session seemed to drag along and people got a little tired since it was post lunch too). Preeti Shenoy's session seemed like her standard marketing presentation which dutifully ended with - ps: please buy my books (!) and did not add anything new to my knowledge of blogging. Or publishing after blogging. I think the highlight of the day was Bruce Dickinson, the former lead singer of the rock band Iron Maiden but then also a successful business man and commercial pilot. The sheer volume of things this guy has managed to pack into his life is beyond inspiring!
Selfie with Ankita (@LifestyleProBlog)
In between the sessions, we had our much awaited and looked forward to lunch. We caught up with people we knew on Twitter but now got to meet them in person. My friend, Ankita introduced me to bloggers she knew and was in touch with. I met a lot of new people and it was inspiring to know the their stories of blogging. We also stayed back for a quick peek into the back stage party. The speakers were all so down to earth that we caught up again with Purba, Arnab and Jeff. Day 2, likewise, had masterclasses from the best! Christoph had great points on how one could use story telling to make an impact on others and get a buy in. His session was particularly interesting since drove home most of his points through stories. So it was like actually looking at how stories work. It kept us all riveted to the session. It was also inspiring to hear him share personal stories of how he makes time to do all that he does and still ensures he has time with his kids. (I missed Jeff's session since I had to leave early)

Day 1: Backstage party - with Ankita, Sahana, Puneet and Arnab
The event was definitely a winner for networking and learning, which I will get to in a bit, from the brilliant minds of blogging and social media. However, I found glaring gaps that dented the impact of the great event this could have been. To begin with, there wasn't anything disruptive about it. There weren't any path breaking ideas that would disrupt our way of thinking about blogging. No talk about bending rules of blogging or a revolutionary, thought provoking insight of how blogging can be newly approached post the event. It was a series of experts offering insights into how blogging should be done, which is informative at best, definitely not 'disruptive'.

The event sorely missed an energetic MC/host/compere that could have kept the event together and the crown energised. The energy was flat right from the start. Not that we weren't excited but there's only so much energy we can muster during an 8 hour event without some boost from the hosts. We had a semblance of a compere who introduced a few speakers and then we were told that she hadn't prepared the introduction of the next speaker! That came across as so casual and unprepared on the part of Indiblogger. Technically too, the clicker kept getting stuck and the guests had to check for the slides to come on to continue speaking. The audience was seated such that people in the front had more chances of getting noticed and asking questions.

I may be overly critical but that's because an event that includes esteemed speakers from other countries is expected to be glitch free. It's the reputation of the organisers at stake. With the kind of speakers Indiblogger managed to get, this could have been the best and the biggest of the blogging events.

Not robbing Indiblogger of the credit for organising an event like this, I think all of us had something to learn and take home. And when you have the best brains on stage, I guess there are some personal meaningful lessons which speak only to you. Since I have been blogging and active on social media, it wasn't the basics that interested me. The valuable lessons for me were:

1. Jeff Bullas' "Done is better than perfect". And this applies to so many other aspects of my life. And also, as bloggers, we wait for that elusive bout of inspiration and creativity to hit us so that we can come up with that perfect post which we secretly wish will go viral. When that does not happen, we come out with half hearted posts we aren't happy about. So, getting things done as a goal is a valuable lesson for me. If we just went ahead and did things, we'd probably have much better results too.

2. Christoph's session was about story telling but I learnt valuable lessons on time management from him. During the masterclass, he shared his routine which involves waking up at 4.30 am so that he can hit the gym in then morning to be able to spend time with his girls in the evening after office. His story of how he has blogged typing with one hand while his other hand held his one year old while she slept on his shoulder left an indelible imprint on my mind. So, it's all about really making time for things you really want to do. And I was quick to apply this lesson too. I ran into a blog chat as I looked at Twitter first thing this morning. I found myself browsing through it along with making my bed and brushing my teeth. At other times, I would have just ignored that chat as being too early in the day!

3. Bruce Dickinson's prolific career as a musician, commercial pilot and businessman takes the cake in inspiration. While Christoph inspired me to use every minute and every opportunity to do what I love, Bruce showed how much we can pack in one life! We are never too short of time to pursue things we really want to do.

To sum it up, #BNLF was a power packed event with something for freshers and experienced bloggers alike. It did add to strengthening community bonds through meeting and learning from each other. More power to you guys and more support from the blogging community.


  1. Replies
    1. I agree! I have just tried to be balanced in my review. Thanks for reading and leaving your comments! :)

  2. For me BNLF was a learning experience. Came back inspired, energised and made so many friends.

    I think disruptive was not meant to be taken literally. And Indi events always have an air of informality. The stubborn clicker was an issue though.

  3. Thanks a ton, Purba, for reading my post and leaving your comments. It was definitely a learning experience. I only meant to be share what I observed, in my review. :)


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