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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.

Comments

MaDube's picture

I often ask myself the same

I often ask myself the same question “is what I write important" when I write an article on a subject I consider important but very few people pay it any attention. It may be disheartening but I have told myself never to give up and to contiue writing even if I am the only one who reads my work. I am sure in his time people thought William Shakespeare was a mad man but look what became of his work after he died. When you put words down on paper you leave a legacy that no one can take away so dont be discouraged. Keep writing.

VC's picture

perspective

"When you put words down on paper you leave a legacy that no one can take away so dont be discouraged." WOW! Thanks a bunch for this, MaDube, I will always remember it when I'm in doubt.

Vaishalli Chandra

“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Stella Paul's picture

Saying it again

I think I have said it before and here I say it again; you have a lot of fire in you and guts too, to make it on your own. The difficulties will be there, but take peace in the fact that not all freelancers die of starvation (I am still alive) and you won't either. Give it your best and it will work wonders. As for VOF, you got all my luck and best wishes.

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

VC's picture

And again

I ask - when did you see all that, Stella? But, then again thank you for sharing your observation and bringing a smile. I'm at the crossroads of life (at least career-wise) and I am so glad to be writing here, because WP has helped me connect with friends like you and then added new ones ... It is an overwhelming experience.

:)

Vaishalli Chandra

“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

RosemaryC's picture

That is a very profound

That is a very profound question your boss asked - why do we work? And so rarely do we have the gift of time to think about it, as you have had.
I remember feeling, when I came back from Bosnia in 1996 after working as an election observer, that being back at home felt like being encased in a whole lot of 'clothes' - roles and responsibilities that came from how others saw me. I found myself putting them on without thinking about it. This may sound a little strange but it is the best way I can describe it.
I was a journalist early in my working life but had to start doing other forms of writing when my daughters were born, and so I thought - for many years - that I didn't have a 'proper career'. I seemed to jump around from one thing to another - from journalism to public affairs to freelancing, to writing and editing, and then through that, into election administration and observation. A friend who learned the power of Appreciative Inquiry - about the kind of questions we ask - helped me see that my life did have a pattern - that I got curious, learned things, worked at those things, and then shared those skills with others. So I did have a career - just not a conventional one.
He wrote a book a few years ago and I was thinking that it might give you an example of how you could use story in the way you want to. See www.whatkindofworld.com
Best wishes with your exploration of how the new media can help you share the important stories you want to write about!
Kind regards,
Rosemary

Chantelle Hollenbach's picture

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and vision with us...

Attitude and intent is everything isn't it...I really hope that you continue on your path here with VOF and elsewhere...no matter where you go...you can and are making a difference...

Chanti

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