Maxing web presence
At 29, I have worked for a decade – changing careers twice from corporate to print media and moving three organisations within my chosen media.
Today, I complete two months of the much-needed break from work. In these two months (eight weeks) I have oscillated from sheer joy of being ‘jobless’ to a nerve-wrecking panic at my workless state. In between, I have thought deep, about the if’s, but’s and the why’s of continuing as a journalist.
Over the weekend I met my ex-boss (he’s the best boss! EVER!). And after the initial exchange of, “Wow! You still look the same” we got talking about life, work and whatever remains in-between. Listening patiently, he dropped a bomb when he finally asked, “Why do you work?”
Hmm, I gave it a 5 second thought before I said, “Now I will be to earn.” But, that’s what also got me thinking harder, I remember quitting my first job because I wasn’t doing much, even though the pay was good. And while I did have cold feet thinking what would become of me, the break is the best decision I took about my work life. It’s given me time to just stop, look back, and I cherish the 10 working years. It has been a great learning experience.
My interactions on the field have made me a sensitive person, ‘internalising’ the change, I have tried to infuse those learnings, apply them to my daily living. I see this as a strength because I do not just ‘report’ I feel the pain, and I believe that one can learn from other people’s experiences (good or bad). Using this ability in my writing I have always tried to create ‘sensitivity’ in the reader.
Interacting with people, I want to continue to take their stories to a larger audience, whether they are garment factory workers, domestic workers, children facing abuse, or just those who have decided to live with dignity even as they battle with HIV/AIDS. And as I turn freelance journalist, at least for the time being, (here’s my first article as one - http://thealternative.in/articles/five-minutes-of-provocative-stillness), I want to understand how I can get an ‘online audience’ to read my stories on issues that are closer to my heart.
I want to use my defunct blog www.vcsthereforevis.blogspot.com to be a platform for all of that. Having a blog and twitter presence (http://twitter.com/#!/vaishallic) I am yet to realise and utilise their full potential.
Therefore, being a Voice of our Future correspondent, could help me understand the nuances of working in this “new media/medium”, create a ‘buzz’ around issues or topics and in that sense get the ‘net masses’ to ‘talk about’. Importantly, it can teach me to max the web presence to effectively and positively help those causes that I want to work on. Moreover, being a VOF correspondent, I could share learnings from here with the NGO’s, individuals such that they can themselves fully tap into the un-touched, un-conquered web territory. For I believe that as much as I want to write about issues, it isn’t a fixed topic, I want to write about everything from human rights to education to health to environment. Surely, the focus will be ‘people’ because they make each topic relevant, but in doing so, I want to pass on this knowledge to others who can utilise it as well to gain a larger following – not just at the ground level but also online.
Here, I would want to learn how to ‘connect’, ‘engage’ and ‘participate’, because as much as I am willing to help, often get bogged down with doubt – “is what I write important”. Also I would like to know how I can use news gathering and apply it in different forms – through videos and pictures. As a print media professional, I have always had to help ‘visualise’ for the reader, I am keen on learning how through pictures/video I can create the same or greater impact. The medium is fast becoming a crucial deciding factor among those who access web for news – pictures and videos often reach out to masses who aren’t literate and in a country like India that could make all the difference.