Thursday, January 25, 2007

Enjoy Blogging! Otherwise Don't Do It


Amit Varma of India Uncut doesn't have a "comment" link on his blog and , to me is the top blogger in India. He feels that a blogger has the option to adopt a much more personal tone than a journalist can. Most print publications have a house style which journalists have to adhere to, but on a blog, one can express himself as one wishes, which, in turn, increases the degree of familiarity that readers feel towards him.. He also says, "Just figure out what makes you happy and go do that" He has taken the trouble of answering my following questions. Exclusive, as they say!

What motivated you to start India Uncut?
Amit:
I wanted to experiment with the format of blogging, as I saw possibilities in it that did not exist in the kind of traditional journalism I was doing, and I found those attractive. I've written about some of them in this post: http://indiauncut.blogspot.com/2005/01/blogs-new-journalism.html

IU is a top blog today. How has been the journey? Focus on the initial six months or so!
Amit:
It's been gratifying, and encouraging, to see so many people read India Uncut. It's what keeps me going: if my readership wasn't what it is, I doubt I'd feel motivated enough to continue. People ask me how I can blog so many times a day: the answer is guilt! When I wake up late and log on to my site meter and see that a couple of thousand people have come to my blog while I've sleeping, it makes me feel guilty that I've let them down. So I blog on.

That said, my traffic increase has been very gradual. I've had crazy spikes in traffic for different reasons, but conversion rates are low, and building a regular readership takes lots of time and hard work.

What have been the major influences that has shaped the person you've become?
Amit:I don't know! How does one list these things, even assuming one knows them

What are your educational qualifications? How do you apply what you learned to the business world
Amit:I'm just a graduate. I'm not part of the business world, but whatever I do know about dealing with the world around me is self-taught, learnt by experience.

What has been your exposure in the corporate environment? What has been the learnings there?
Amit: Well, I've been in a few jobs, and all I've learned is that I didn't want to do a job. So I don't anymore!

What would you say are the most valuable lessons you learned from your education and work experience that have helped you become successful since?
Amit:
The one lesson I've learned is that you need to be happy with who you are and what you do, and that you must stop measuring these by outside benchmarks, or by caring about what other people think of you. Comparing the money you make with what others do, or your accolades etc with those of others, is a futile waste of time. Just figure out what makes you happy and go do that.

What do you think about your own personal finance knowledge? Do you depend on a financial advisor? How do you compare investment options like mutual funds, stocks, derivatives, fixed income bonds, etc?
Amit:
Zero. I spend whatever I earn, mainly on buying books and eating out. I'm immensely irresponsible, and would urge sensible adults to not be like me. I'm a cautionary tale

Are there any tips you would like to share for bloggers?
Amit:
Yes. Respect your readers. They have loads of useful things to do with their time, and if they have chosen to come to your blog, you must respect their time and make it worthwhile. On the other hand, you may not want any readers, and may be blogging just for yourself. That's fair enough as well.

To top this all off, do you have one blogging tip you think everyone should know?
Amit:
Yes. Enjoy blogging! Otherwise don't do it.

Thanks Amit.
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