A perspective on the WordPress community in India

27th May is an important date for all WordPress enthusiasts. It’s the 10th anniversary of the most widely used CMS in the world. From a simple blogging platform to a pretty flexible CMS that drives many complex applications, WordPress, the application has evolved, tremendously.

I think of it as an apt occasion to present to you a story. It is the story of the evolution of the WordPress community in India. It is just my perspective and a point of view.

A brief history of WordPress in India

I’m one of those users that hopped on to the WordPress bandwagon, quite early in the 2.x series. This is the time when WordPress was still a blog and the dashboard menus were horizontal. I know of a lot of users who were fiddling with WordPress, around then, but there weren’t many. These were days when everybody wanted to open a portal (like Yahoo, Indiatimes, Rediff, etc). That’s why Joomla was the most peddled platform, everywhere.

The bloggers and the entrepreneurs: the Users

Somewhere down the line, blogging started becoming the “in” thing and the focus started shifting from portal like information centric sites to content centric, magazine/blog style sites. Blogger had just become a hit.

Further ahead, blogging started becoming a business. People who were professionally serious and/or passionate about blogging wanted more control on how their sites looked and behaved.

At the same times, elite small businesses were looking for better and cheaper ways of building their microsites. Coupled with better internet access, everyone was looking for a solution that was not as overwhelming as Joomla or Drupal. And I guess, logically and naturally, all these people gravitated towards WordPress.

The Developers and the Designers: the providers

There was another scene developing gradually, in the background. A lot of new developers, designers and small agencies were discovering freelance marketplaces. The global demand for WordPress development was flooding the job posts on these sites. A lot of these were low-priced simple tasks that anyone could google the solution for and fix.

This system of SMEs outsourcing to SMEs propagated the ease with which WordPress sites could be designed, developed and deployed. These agencies then started proposing WordPress to the local customers, as well.

Popularity means a lot of people

Beyond that, the reasons that made WordPress the most popular CMS in the world, also worked in India. Maybe, it was just a global trend and India just joined it.

This is a heady concoction: entrepreneurs, passionate bloggers, DIY developers (with no formal qualifications), designers and tinkerers. When a large number of such people start working with a single platform, they are bound to have opinions, views and insights. That gives birth to a need to share: give and take. To share, one must communicate. And, a lot of people spread across geographical areas, talking to each other, sharing knowledge and resources, is exactly what makes a community.

The seeds of the community: WordCamp Delhi ’09

The best communication is face to face communication. In spite of virtual communication, unless a community gathers together, the energy and the buzz of the community is never felt by its members. That’s why we have festivals, celebrations and other social events. In the case of WordPress, the shrewd business logic already had a system of meetups and most importantly, WordCamps.

wcindia

A WordCamp had to happen in India, sooner or later and so it happened. The first WordCamp in India was called WordCamp India and was an important affair. Held in the national capital, it boasted of sponsors like Adobe and Automattic and was organised by the Delhi Bloggers’ group. The highlight of the event was the presence of none other than Matt Mullenweg.

Beyond that, I personally know nothing about this event. This was before Indians had taken to Twitter or Facebook, as enthusiastically, as now. Besides, googling did not yield much about the event.

 

WordCamp Jabalpur ’11

wcjabalpurCompared to the previous WordCamp, this one was more widely publicised and talked about. With participation from across India, WordCamp Jabalpur featured, for the first time, some of the current WordCamp regulars like Rahul Banker, Gaurav Singh (the organiser), Amit Singh, King Sidharth, Aniket Pant, Puneet Sahalot and Jaydip Parikh. Devil’s Workshop had interviewed Gaurav Singh, post the WordCamp.

If you compare the sessions and the speakers, WordCamp Jabalpur was a definite progression on WordCamp Delhi. The topics were more advanced and varied, the speakers differed in professions and the range of talks was wider. I wasn’t there for even this one (I had just begun freelancing). However, my friend and colleague, Rakshit Thakker attended as a speaker. This was a good event, but the community was still struggling to find its baby steps.

WordCamp Cuttack ’12

cuttackUpdate: This wasn’t there in the original article.Amit brought it to my notice in the comments. The text below is almost verbatim.

This WordCamp was smaller in scale than the others. Held over just a day, it was organised by Soumya Pratihari. In first half there were user focused talks. The last two hours were focused on a workshop for creating plugins. This ended up being a two hour long discussion on WordPress development, plugins, themes, security and how to troubleshoot issues.

Compared to all other WordCamps in India, turnout was lesser. However, this resulted in better interaction between attendees and speakers.

WordCamp Mumbai ’12

wcmumbaiOrganised by a group of students, in the financial capital of India, this WordCamp courted some disasters. A couple of speakers were sponsors who talked about irrelevant stuff. A sponsor spoke in detail about the intricacies of off-page SEO and pay-per-click advertising to WordPress developers.

It was a sound meetup for marketing, developing Android apps, Windows 8, apart from a few important things about Google. Primarily, it was about the business of search engine optimisation and marketing on social networks. Except for a couple of talks, the event didn’t add any value to the community.

Attendees (including, yours truly) who felt let down, registered their protest, but were ignored for a decent amount of time. Eventually, apologies were issued.

The organisers had in fact, done a huge service to the community. Observing the fiasco in the background were two people who  understood that WordCamp Mumbai was a lesson in ‘How not to organise a WordCamp’.

WordCamp Baroda ’13

wcbarodaOne of the two people I indicated above is Rahul Banker, a young professional blogger from Baroda. Picking up the thread from Jabalpur and passing over Mumbai, he organised a WordCamp in Baroda.

This WordCamp had a higher relevance to WordPress and excellent speakers presented some complex topics in simple, easy to understand details. Being held in Gujarat, the hotbed of SEO/Social Media and other forms of digital marketing, the marketing influence was there but not at the cost of relevance.

Attention was paid to minute details like numerous charging points everywhere, fast and reliable internet connections, etc. Everything was well orchestrated and the event was held without any hiccups. This was a prime example of event management.

Also, there were ample occasions for attendees and speakers to mingle informally and discuss things: the true aim of a community event. In the backdrop of Mumbai, WordCamp Baroda was a greater success and according to the regulars, the best WordCamp they had attended till then.

There is a post on Devil’s Workshop that pretty much sums up the mood, post WordCamp Baroda.

WordCamp Pune ’13

wcpuneThe second person who was quietly taking notes and preparing his own event was Amit Singh. With a bare minimum of sponsors (compared to Baroda and especially Mumbai), his team, according to a lot of people who attended the event, delivered India’s best WordCamp yet.

The event wasn’t as fluid as Baroda was. It lacked a bit in event management. However, that is excusable in favour of its content, enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the actual reason for a WordCamp. This one had something for everyone. From absolute novices to experts, there were more than one session that were useful. Bloggers, developers, marketers and entrepreneurs, all benefited from the event and were all praises.

This WordCamp was also unique for the Workshops that were conducted. These ran parallel to the speaker sessions. Workshops were practical training sessions on using WordPress. They were meant for the benefit of students and novices, and were well received.

Another factor that went in favour of WordCamp Pune was that by then, there were some veterans of previous WordCamps. They were great mentors to the newbies. Questions flew thick and answers were aplenty. Doubts were raised and solved. People disagreed and fought. People agreed to each other too. It was a warm and exciting event.

Speakers were more interactive, drawing more participation from the listeners. In all, a proper community buzz had begun shaping up.

The scenario now

wphub.inPost WordCamp Pune, there is a definite community that interacts regularly on various online platforms. A facebook page and a site from an initiative called WPHub have sprung up to coordinate and boost the growth of the WordPress community in India.

Meetups have started happening more often. More Indian organisations are building products around WordPress. Still, the only time the community truly comes together is in a WordCamp. By far, the only yardstick that I could find to measure the growth and evolution, is a WordCamp. Although, more WordCamps are being planned, until the next one actually happens, it’d be too early to pass a judgement on the maturity of the community.

 

A hope for the future

The next WordCamp can only be better than the last. Everyone has higher expectations. People have tasted the benefits of community behaviour. More people who will share knowledge will be discovered. More people will hop on to the ride.

It is guaranteed — the shift is only progressive!

What happened on 27th May?

On the 10th anniversary of WordPress, meetups were organised across the world. I was at the Pune meetup, which had a moderate turnout. We cut a cake and generally chatted. How was your meetup? Do share with me in the comments.

Join Offical IPL group on Orkut

Many of us love the game of cricket and love Orkut. IPL matches are already being shown live on You Tube. Now could Orkut be far behind?

Now you can join the new Official IPL community on Orkut.

Official IPL community on Orkut

  • It has videos from YouTube and quite handy to catch up on the action everyday as the videos are posted everyday.
  • It also has a preview and poll of the next matches that are scheduled for the day.
  • The forum seems to be quite active and its forum discussing the first match had a incredible 200 plus discussions.

So if you want to discuss and follow IPL with other Cricket lovers join the Official IPL community on Orkut and have a blast.


Join New Orkut community and get invites

We have seen a phenomenol response to the New Orkut Invites give aways we announced on our blog. Most people who have used the New Orkut have not really complained about the format. We can safely say New Orkut is a hit. But there are still many comments and requests for invites. We have good news for you! 🙂

If you want New Orkut invite, all you have to do is join the official Get the New Orkut community. They have recently announced that anyone joining the community will get the invite to try the new Orkut.

The Community is run by Poppy and Shashi who are self confessed Orkut-Crazy Googlers. It is moderated and so you might have to wait a day for your application to become a member of the community.

New_orkut_community

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead be a part of this community and get invited to try the new Orkut.

Orkut’s first ever community

orkut-logoOn Orkut, we create new communites, or join any community randomly. But do you know which was the first community created on Orkut and by whom?

Before telling about that let’s see how can we find the first, second or any community we want. To do so just go to any community and copy the url from the adress bar. It should be like this,

http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Community?cmm=19587001

Now see the number cmm=19587001, that means this community is the 19587001th community created on Orkut. That means to find the 1st community it will be cmm=1

So the first community on Orkut is http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Community?cmm=1(Stanford University)which was created by Orkut Buyukkokten who is the creator of Orkut website too. This community was created on January 19, 2004.

If you create a community right now then you will get a cmm nearly equal to 94301438 (as on 22nd september 2009). 😉

Free international calls, Photo Sharing, Instant Messaging and more from your Phone!

logo_nimbuzz

Nimbuzz Mobile lets you call, chat, message, and send files on the go, for free. It combines all your buddies from  Skype, Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, GoogleTalk, AIM, GaduGadu, Jabber and Twitter, and social networks including Facebook and MySpace. One login, one contact list, all accounts.

See who´s online and where, call/group-call, chat/chatrooms, offline messaging, send photos/music/video, voice messaging.

NimbuZZ
NimbuZZ

Nimbuzz Mobile free to download and use. Nimbuzz will not charge or bill you for anything. However, since Nimbuzz uses your internet connection, incremental data charges from your provider will apply. It is, therefore strongly recommend to use the mobile client only with a flat-rate data plan or free Wifi connection.

Save Money

Instead of calling minutes, Nimbuzz uses the internet to let you make free international calls to your buddies. You can also register your VoIP account to call your friends on landlines and mobile phones.

Locate your Friends

Share your location and retrieve the location of your buddies on a map. Great for arranging face to face meetings.

Make yourself heard: If your buddies are offline, let them know you’re trying to get in touch by sending them a “Buzz”. It will start Nimbuzz Mobile on their mobile phone.

Never lose your Contacts

Use the Phonebook to back up and restore your contacts. Contacts will be backed up online. Comes in handy when you have lost your mobile phone.

So, why not Download Nimbuzz for your phone!

After you’ve made a few @Nimbuzz buddies, and you don’t want to lose connection with ’em even after you stop using Nimbuzz on your phone, You can also download Nimbuzz for windows.

Biggest Drawbacks of Nimbuzz:

You must be wondering, when Nimbuzz is so useful and cool and all that, why isn’t it present in every Java-enabled phone? Okay, Now the bad news, Nimbuzz does a lot of data transfer(that means that if you aren’t usin’ some ‘Unlimited plan’, you’ll have to lighten your pocket much.

Now, the second negative point is the result of the first one, Because it transfers a lot of data, it consumes a lot of battery too(Well… I guess this is main the reason why it is not SO popular).

Did I miss something? Do tell me in comments! 🙂

Link: nimbuzz.com

(Image credits: nimbuzz.com)


[Editor’s Note: This post is submitted by our guest blogger Himanshu Kalra, alias TooYoungGeek. Himanshu is a young geek who believes in finding and sharing with others the best of the internet!

If you, too would  like to write for Devils Workshop , please check this. Details about our revenue sharing programs are here.]

Get more control over your Orkut Community!

Orkut’s “Shiv-Sena Hate Community” fiasco ended up creating a lot of chaos and insecurity amongst many community owners on Orkut. In order to maintain a civil and cohesive overall experience, and encourage active and engaged community online, Orkut has now introduced more controls for community owners.

More controls:

  1. Access to – only owner and moderators can create forum topics . This can be turned ON an OFF as desired from the “edit profile” page of your community.
  2. Access to – only owner and moderators can create polls . This can also be turned ON an OFF as desired from the “edit profile” page of your community.

orkut

According to the Orkut blog:

When passions run high, you can now make use of this feature within your community. You can also try creating a few new forum topics like “Rant Room” or “Suggest new forum topics,” where community members can continue their discussions without affecting everyone else’s experience.

Now, the world of Orkut can hopefully breathe a quiet sigh of relief!

(Source: Orkut blog)

Orkut’s “Shiv-Sena Hate Community” Busted!

What happened to the freedom of speech and expression, I wonder? Imagine running a community on Orkut, and being held accountable for every message posted. This is exactly what happened to Ajith D, a 19 year old computer student and an Orkut account holder, who apparently created a “Shiv Sena hate community” on Orkut. Mumbai cyber crime tracked him down and initiated criminal proceedings against him. Not just that, the site is being constantly supervised by the police after the Sena violently protested against Orkut for carrying anti-party remarks.

Ajith has denied posting any death threats against Sena’s Chief Bal Thackeray, however, has admitted on creating the anti-Shiv Sena online group.

orkut anti shiv sena community

Try running a simple search on Orkut, and you’d find hundreds of such “hate communities” online – “I hate Ekta Kapoor”, I hate George W. Bush” and so on, where people post all kinds of comments, share all kinds of personal views. I’m sure many Orkut users (and others) have already deleted their online communities after this incident blew up.

Share your thoughts on what you think about this case? Also, do you think that your online freedom of expression is being threatened?

After this incident, I personally feel very uncomfortable creating a community online. Being held accountable in the court of law, for statements made or opinions shared within the community, in my books, is a little too excessive!

(Source: The Telegraph)

Google Gears for Offline Orkut Communities?

Recently, one of our reader Jo has emailed us asking,

Is there anyway to save orkut topics or download topics/forums to view offline
later when there is no internet connection?

As a temporary and ugly workaround, I suggested him,

You can subscribe to RSS feed of individual topics and/or communities using our service Orkutfeeds.
Then using Google Reader’s offline mode or any desktop reader, you can view updates later when there is no internet connection.

But what really struck my mind was possibility of using Google Gears to access for Orkut communities offline. Something, which will look like below…

Google Gears for Orkut

Even though Orkut’s long list of bugs and broken features stole all the limelight, many Orkut communities are really useful for their members. Moreover some communities have high volume of information exchange, so it is obvious for guys like Jo to not have enough time to go through them online.

It would be really great, if you can read updates from your communities offline using Google Gears. Moreover, people can reply to topics offline and then everything get synced automatically once internet connection becomes available.

This is just a suggestion, we are passing to Orkut. Do not wonder about screenshot. It is mock up we have created! 😉

By the way, do you think is this a good idea? Will you use it?