How a shared passion for blogging, Chennai and having fun brought together over a 100 people…

The Chennai Bloggers Club or CBC as it is fondly called by its members, is an online Facebook (closed and moderated) group for all bloggers with a Chennai connection and is probably the first of its kind in India. At a cozy meet organised by Indiblogger (an online community for all Indian bloggers) in November 2011, the idea for an exclusive group for Chennai bloggers was born.

Common platform

Charan Saravana, a professional photographer, was the one who proposed this idea. He says, “It started as an afterthought, post the Indiblogger meet at Hyatt. Indiblogger made people get into groups and talk on specific themes. That’s where we (a bunch of random unknowns and little-knowns) formed a ‘Vetti Group’. We set the ground rules as ‘no theme’ and one could talk on absolutely anything under the sun.

At the end of the day, we finished as one of the joyous groups of the entire lot.” He couldn’t wait for another Indiblogger meet and wanted to have a get together with the famous “Vetti Group”. He shared these thoughts with Gitanjali Naidu, who responded positively and created a Facebook group for Chennai bloggers. What began as a humble association of 10 to 15 people, now has about 155 members.

CBC is unlike other blogging groups on social media, where interactions equate to mere marketing of one ’s own blog. At CBC, every member cherishes a passion for the written word and discusses the blog posts of the other members in the group. Visiting each other’s blogs, commenting on their posts and encouraging new bloggers is the USP of the CBC community.

The discussions at CBC are varied and not restricted to blogging alone. Anything from the Kudankulam Nuclear Project to innovative ways of finding a boyfriend on social media goes. However, like most Facebook groups, the CBC has two administrators, Susan Deborah and Gitanjali Naidu who moderate the interactions at CBC and keep an eye out for any vulgarity or plagiarism.

CBC’s members include college students from various disciplines, engineers, media experts, professors/lecturers, doctors, entrepreneurs, photographers and food stylists among many others, all bound by a passion for blogging and the city.

CBC members also meet as many as four times during a year. The admins of CBC scout for a perfect place in the city and plan the meets in advance. There is a core committee too, which pitches in with innovative plans for every meet. The thrill of meeting old buddies and welcoming new ones into the CBC family over food and mocktails are typical elements of every CBC meet.

Sowmya Sarag, a Chartered Accountant and a new member at CBC, says, “With like-minded friendly, active and enthusiastic people around, there is a sense of belonging with the group.” Ask her about her first CBC Meet and she quickly responds, “I was new to the forum and I haven’t interacted with any, barring a few whom I knew already. I’m a reserved person until I’m comfortable with the people around and as such my expectation was just to meet people whose blogs I've read & to see how they are, nothing more. But in the CBC Anniversary meet, with warm and spontaneous people around, those three hours were awesome.”

Last November, CBC completed a year. To celebrate this milestone, a first anniversary meet was organised comprising 37 bloggers, some of whom met for the first time. The entire restaurant was filled with laughter and chatter, with the bloggers digesting a magnificent European cuisine and catching up with their online buddies. Needless to say, the meet was a huge success and was a memorable day to both veterans and newbies.

Recently, CBC initiated a Blog tag where more than 35 bloggers wrote on the topic, “What Chennai means to me,” day after day for a month and a half. A contest was also organised where many CBCians participated and won prizes which were sponsored by Cuponation, an online portal for shopping. CBC has many plans for the forthcoming years which include a workshop on Social Media, Food Photography and Styling, a blogging mentor programme for beginner bloggers in Chennai and so on. The group also plans to take the plunge into social activism through their leadership and mentoring.

CBC certainly bears testimony to the power of social media and exchange of ideas within a community. So if you are in Chennai and you have a blog, seek out The Chennai Bloggers Club on Facebook and send a request.

The writer is a CBC member.