Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nokia Apptasting meet

There is a difference between an event organized for companies or for the general public and an event organized for bloggers. A significant difference which, when ignored, makes a mess of the intention of the organizers. Unfortunately, the Nokia Apptasting meet was organized without any cognizance of that difference and, thus, turned out to be a disappointment for bloggers like me.

The audience for a meet organized for a company knows each other and probably is only too happy to ignore the others around and concentrate on the stage. In an event organized for the public the audience may not know each other and could not care less if they never got to know each other. Thus, in either case, it is all right for the event to be organized with the entire period of the event being devoted to what is going on stage.

The same, however, cannot be held true of an event organized for bloggers. Bloggers know each other only through their blogs and get to spend little if any time in the company of each other. Thus, they are interested in spending more time with the bloggers they know, in meeting new bloggers and in introducing their blogs to new bloggers. Any event that fails to understand this essential need of bloggers is bound to be less than a success.

The very fact that any such event is called a 'Bloggers Meet' means to the bloggers that they will get to meet each other. If the idea were only to get the bloggers to meet Nokia Apps - wine, food, prizes and T-shirts notwithstanding - one would have found a very sparse attendance of bloggers. Any sponsor needs to understand that most bloggers will not spare the time and the trouble to come over to a meet merely because they are being wined and dined - most of them probably get enough occasions to be wined and dined in the course of their regular routine. The single most important attraction for bloggers to attend a blogger's meet is to meet other bloggers - and any interest of the sponsors can only be served if it is worked around satisfying that need.

The Nokia APPtasting meet failed totally to take into account this need. There was not a single minute of time allowed to the bloggers to interact with each other, other than by ignoring what the organizers were doing on stage. In the event, polite people though we normally are, most of us ended up ignoring what was going on stage totally. Considering that the dinner time was the only time available for interactions and considering that the meet ran late into the night, it was not possible to actually get to know new people at all  - other than those at your table - since people were in a hurry to get home.

Further, what was considered as an audience interactive part of the program was also less than captivating because the same ignorance was evident in the construct of the program. Since every blogger knows only a few other bloggers, having contests with a handful of participants is unlikely to have the audience on the edge of their seats praying for any one of them to win. When you are indifferent to the success or failure of any given participant, you are unlikely to be too interested in the proceedings. The Surf people showed better judgment when they made four teams - since when a participant from each of the teams was contesting, the rest of them were all agog about who was going to win.

If you do not satisfy your audience you do not convey your message. Which is why advertisements are interspersed between other programs that is of interest to the audience. This event, unfortunately, seemed to be based on the idea that you could rivet the audience with a continuous stream of advertisements. Needless to say, the audience was less than amused.

The sponsors need to ask themselves whether they are interested in hogging all the air time or giving out their message in a fourth of the time but to a far more receptive audience.

P.S: Forgot to mention the one bright spot! The dinner was excellent.

62 comments:

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    1. Had you come I might not even had the opportunity to say 'Hi' to you :)

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    2. We had a better meet on FB Suresh :)

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    1. Now you know where I blog :) Could not even let you know at the meet:)

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  3. I saw you sitting right in front of me. But still we didn't speak. This was my first meet and I thought meets were supposed to be like this. Thanks a ton for making me expect even more from the next time. :)

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    1. There is a lot more to it than merely looking at each other :)

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    2. @Samik, Read the experience of Surf Excel Matic Meet at Bangalore!

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    3. There is a post on that in my blog as well - Meet the Bangalore Indibloggers - and Vinesh of course wrote the winning post :)

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  4. Well, Suresh. This statement - "If the idea were only to get the bloggers to meet Nokia Apps - wine, food, prizes and T-shirts notwithstanding - one would have found a very sparse attendance of bloggers" - I have doubts about the veracity of this statement. There would be lot of bloggers who do enjoy the good ambiance, dinner, wine, freebies, interaction with companies and famous folks and prefer that over interaction with fellow bloggers. You would find yourself in the minority in calling this meet a failure. You will find hordes of bloggers calling this meet a great success. Even the Mumbai meet was hailed as a great success but I was able to cut through the clutter and figure what really happened and that I would not enjoy such a meet.

    Also the term blogger is too generic and is being used to club all together different animals here. Frankly I find no common ground between bloggers like you and me and the tech, product review and cookery bloggers.

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    1. Ah! TF! I have had that 'great meet' reaction too from a lot - some who did not know what to expect, some who are being polite and quite a few, maybe, who actually felt it was a great meet.

      The one thing that I do not believe is that there is a blogger - of whatever sort - who does not want to plug his blog. So, if it comes to that, yes, the intensity of the need to interact with others may vary from blogger to blogger but it is there in every blogger. To the extent the intensity exists, the meet fell short. And, I believe, that a significant proportion of the people there were as or more disappointed as I was.

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  5. I guess you echoed most of our thoughts...the essence of any blogger meet is audience engagement, at which the Nokia team miserably failed...

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    1. And if the audience is not engaged, their message is not getting listened to - so, it is a lose-lose situation :)

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  6. Yes, there were lack of interactive programs as much it was required, and there was no meet time at all i guess!

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  7. I am not complaining just because once I had spent two hours watching a movie called 'Mere Khawbon Mein Jo Aaye', this was an evening spent in much better way. I went there not expecting a bloggers meet but an Nokia event with two wonderful men to present it.
    Let us Bangalore bloggers catch up sometime.
    I kind of loved the fun and entertainment of this meet, after being stuck up with cancer awareness programs for a whole month.

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    1. I concentrated on the 'Bloggers Meet' part of the invite and you concentrated on the 'Nokia' part, Farida! :) So expectations were radically different :)

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  8. Very well-written sir perhaps you should forward this post to rene and anoop.

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    1. I am sure they will, Mahesh! It is there in the relevant thread as well.

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  9. Missed some pictures here, you guys are having so many meets, it is not good for your appetite :p

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    1. The only part that I was satisfied about was in the appetite :)

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  10. Suresh Chandrasekaran, Hello yeah its sad that we are saying hello here and we dint get a chance at then event :D all I could do is smile to everyone I saw to make sure I remember there face to come back and meet them online :D Anyways I loved the event :D with 2 nokia phones :D to go home with what more can I ask for :D

    More over reaching out many by any other ways of advertising would cost a lot for Nokia and this was a brilliant event they organized to spread by word of mouth :D either positive or negative remember they are benefited :D

    Happy to have met you all...

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    1. If only the people who won prizes enjoy the meet, that leaves out the majority of the participants, does it not Ramya? :)

      Also, negative opinions in a meet are not necessarily good publicity unless it is expressed. I expressed it only to let the organizers know that there is scope for improvement. How many may have merely refrained from writing a post at all simply because they find nothing positive to write?

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  11. I do not disagree with your point here but I still believe its all about our perspective and expectations. Its like going for a movie like Dabangg - may not serve any intellectual purpose, but its entertaining none the less, and everyone praises it. For an event already named Nokia Apptasting - I did lay certain expectations on the kind of promotions they would do there. To tell the truth, I felt they gave 100% of the time to entertain the audience rather than selling "Brand Nokia". Also came to know about a lot of bloggers through the introduction session - this being my first meet. I am with you on the point that interactivity was lacking between on-stage and off-stage participants, but then I had my share of app as well as food tasting too. A great write-up from you nonetheless. Btw, I also believe I saw you there, and have finally interacted with you as well through your post ;). Will surely touch base next time. Cheers !

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    1. Precisely my point, Vaibhav! Any meet is about managing expectations. We know that the sponsors want to pass on their messages to you. But, in a 'Bloggers meet' we also expect that there is time set aside for bloggers to meet each other. I do not quite agree that time spent on 'entertaining' the audience is necessarily what I was looking for in a 'Blogger's meet' - that is more apt when you are invited to a stage show or something. As for the introduction session, I am afraid that introducing some 15 odd bloggers out of nearly 300 just does not cut the mustard for me - particularly since I was exposed to the Surf meet where everyone introduced themselves.

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  12. Very interesting read, Suresh. And particularly when all posts I have read about various blogger meets in the past and this one have always been in fulsome praise of the event.

    I agree with what you have written here. A bloggers meet is not only about getting a bunch of bloggers under one roof. It is also about getting a bunch of bloggers under one roof to interact with one another.

    I have not had the opportunity to attend even a single blogger meet for various reasons and I wonder what it will be like when I do get the chance to attend one. :-)

    I have shared this on my twitter feed.

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    1. Part of the reason for the disappointment was that the Surf Excel meet that happened earlier was great in terms of blogger interaction.

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  13. I am sure you know my thoughts on the meet. Need I repeat here now CS? :)

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    1. How can you repeat a post in one comment, Leo :)

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  14. I have attended 3 earlier meets of Indiblogger and generally agree to your take on the meet. But the fact remains that these meets are sponsored by corporates and therefore focus will be on the sponsorer and their products along with usual routine of compering of the meet by Indiblogger team. In this context, i would like to state that if bloggers know how meeting is organised, than some of us report early to catch up with each other, that is the only way to mingle. Here i believe with dinner and cocktails post the meet one should have had time to catch up. I feel that the style of conducting the meets has been very informal and that is how the crowd like it. Many of the fellow bloggers who wanted to catch up have started meeting informally at their own cost.

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    1. I do not know what your experience is of meets - mine is only one prior to this and that meet had ample opportunity for bloggers to mingle. If experience in attending meets would make one tolerant to this meet then I am afraid such has not been the case. You can check out Leo's post on this same meet and he has attended far more meets than you.

      I am sure you would have found it convenient to meet up and mingle after 10.30 PM in the night on Sunday with work to go to on Monday but most of us did not find it as convenient.

      It is clear that you have no idea about this meet. The compering was not done by Indiblogger team nor was the style of conducting informal. The problem in mingling was precisely because it was too formal allowing no way for the attendees to be informal.

      I have enough exposure to the real world to know that sponsors have their own reasons to sponsor such meets and also to know that a sponsor tries to make it interesting to the attendees - which is the lack I am pointing out here. I am aware that we can meet ourselves. But this suggestion here is only for the organizers to know what we look forward to in the meet.

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  15. I found your post very valid on the points of blogger interaction. This was my first meet, and I just met the people at my table :(. I would have definitely preferred more interactions. I think all the freebies etc. are actually making people say and do desperate things, some very tacky and disgraceful. The sponsors get what they want and loads of good online buzz created by winners and those wanting to win more gifts. I feel dangle a freebie and many will reach out to grab. The same is happening with blogger meets I guess. A good valid post!

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    1. Actually it is not this way in every meet, Rachna! Yes, Sponsors have a right to have time spent on their products but other meets have also ensured time for blogger interaction.

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  16. Oye you have chance to win Nokia Lumia now !! as they asked people to write review and you have written such a critical review I am damn sure Poonam going to give you one Nokia Lumia 900 ;) :D

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  17. It was good to meet you in the beginning, Suresh. Wish we had connected afterwards too!

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  18. where do I begin, I have just attended one indiblogger meet in mumbai, and to be honest I was apprehensive before going, but yes they did give some time for us to mingle with each other, know the people in person whom we only knew in the virtual world and I would be lying to myself if I didnt mention Lewis hamilton..:)
    reading about your bangalore meet is making me thank my stars that mumbai meet was better. But yes, when it comes to blogger-meets there is a lot of room for amendments.

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    1. Never mind, Ratika! At least I was with Leo and Naba at the same table.

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  19. I met you Suresh but unable to speak for a minute at least. However, we will meet once again in any other IndiBlogger meet in the near future.

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    1. When I left you guys I did not expect that I would never get a chance to meet you again in the meet. I was looking for an opportunity all along but you do know that the entire period was tied to the stage. And, unfortunately, we did not see each other during dinner :)

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  20. Suresh,I attended the meeting in Mumbai and enjoyed it, because we had done some planning before the event and ended up meeting the people we planned to. To be honest, I did not sign up at first because I didn't think it would interest me. It's only when I realized I might meet some bloggers that I was interacting with, did I go.

    I agree that this was very different from the other meetings conducted by Indiblogger, where I have experienced a lot more interaction among the bloggers. Perhaps what was really wrong was to call it a Bloggers' Meeting, don't you think?

    I didn't go for the Lewis Hamilton event either because I realized it would centre around a celebrity and was not my cup of tea.

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    1. Quite possibly, Corinne! Had they said celebrity meet, I - and people like me - might not have enrolled at all. But again, I think they could have structured their program better.

      Instead of demonstrating all the apps themselves, had they split the group into teams and had participants from each team get familiar with each app and played a competition based on it - with the winning team getting prizes, it would have (a) ensured that quite a few bloggers got hands-on experience on using the apps (b) ensured interaction time for all those who were not getting familiarized with the apps at the time when the participants were getting hands-on with them and (c) involved the audience in the app demonstrations whether or not they were tech-inclined.

      If a program is planned with a knowledge of the audience and clear purpose, it is always possible to plan it in such a way that almost all the audience is satisfied along with the sponsors.

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  21. having never been part of a blogger meet, and thus having no experience whatsoever..i can still say...i thoroughly enjoyed reading not only the post but the entire comment section too!

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    1. Let the post not misguide you about indimeets in general! Most meets allow for ample time for blogger interactions.

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    2. thanks for saying that, I had almost thought, no blogger meets for me...

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  22. It does depend a whole lot on expectations. Like in my case, this was the first Indiblogger event I had been to. Having been in the US ever since I had started blogging, the whole blogosphere had always been virtual to me, so meeting them in the flesh was exciting. Though I didn't get to do that as much as I had thought I would, I had absolutely no baseline experiences to compare it to, so I personally enjoyed it! Before the event, a bunch of us had been part of a 'lets meet up' thread on Indiblogger, but there weren't too many in Mumbai who I knew - I could literally count them on my fingers. One hand. And I ended up landing there just to see how it would be. Since it was Nokia and apps and food, I did enjoy myself. But I skipped the Lewis Hamilton because I knew that there was nothing in common! The Surf Excelmatic must have been a real good one considering your comments on that one!

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    1. That was precisely my problem, maybe, and the problem of others at my table. Nokia and apps were prima facie not the interest - so interest had to be created :) And, food, well - that was the last item on the agenda and the only item I enjoyed :)

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    2. By food I meant Vikas Khanna and the questions revolving around food :) Unfortunately, my residence was about 2 hours away from the venue, so I couldn't even afford to stay for dinner. Just met up with the people I knew, said Goodbyes and chatted a little and left! Now you tell me the dinner was excellent and the only item you enjoyed!!! Drat!!!

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    3. Ah! I have had more interest in eating food rather than talking about it :)

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  23. I have never been to any blogger meet Suresh. So I have no clue. But expectations differ and there might be few who really enjoy the wining and dining and happenings on stage I guess. In fact the events get sponsored for the ads and stage events rt? Otherwise which company would pay for some group of bloggers to simply meet and interact?

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    1. Jaish, please don't make the mistake that others have made in assuming that I live in some cloud-cuckoo land where companies sponsor bloggers' meets out of the goodness of their hearts! The point I am trying to make is that you can sell your message only if you keep the audience interested and, in this case, a sizable proportion of the audience was actually bored!

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  24. I intentionally came here late to see the aftereffects of your post and the comments seem to have outgrown your actual post :) You deserve to win the Nokia 900 :)

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    1. I am sure I will win :)After all, everyone, except me, says they like criticism :)

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  25. I have never had the oppurtunity to be in a bloggers meet, although I would love to be a part of one someday .. Many of my friends have been to one and they have all told me wonderful experiences ..

    dont know about who is bored or not , I would personally have had a great time Meeting all the bloggers that is incentive enough for me to visit one , meeting you sir and others would actually be such an honour..

    Bikram's

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    1. Arre Bikramjit - apni problem tho yehi thi ki logonse milne ka mauka hi nahin tha. Aur kis baat ka dhukda ro raha tha post mein :)

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    2. Not a problem sir, next time I come , I will just come and SIT next to you and have a gup shup :) he he he

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    3. Most meets allow you better interaction time, Bikram! You should come to the next meet. If it is one like this - and I seriously hope not - then we can sit next to each other and gup shup as you say :)

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