social media Hyderabad

Here’s what went down at ‘Born On Instagram’ in Hyderabad

Groupfie galore The event was energised by a mosaic of personalities

Groupfie galore The event was energised by a mosaic of personalities  

The event by the Facebook-owned platform saw budding creators and established influencers engaging with FB about the future of online storytelling

A midweek afternoon at Taj Krishna rarely sees hordes of influencers flooding into the fancy interiors, but in the case of Wednesday afternoon, a pilgrimage of popped collars, ball gowns, skinny jeans and blown-out hair made its way into the Emerald Hall for Hyderabad’s Born On Instagram initiative, a set of offline meet-ups for social media creators featuring reps from Facebook and Instagram under one roof. There are 15 cities in total planned for this initiative with Chandigarh being the inaugural site.

It seems appropriate that 2020 is the year Born On Instagram kicks off in the city, seeing as the platform was born 10 years ago.

By 1 pm, the room was packed with over 300 creators, some having travelled from Vijayawada and Bengaluru as they were not entirely sure when the event for their city would even be happening. Thank goodness, there were not a flood of ‘foodies’ but a range of artists, musicians, social activists and more — a direct reflection of Hyderabad’s creative community.

A public life

Jahnavi Dasetty and Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships at Facebook

Jahnavi Dasetty and Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships at Facebook   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Before all of this, though, the morning session for the media saw a chat between Jahnavi Dasetty — Mahathalli, for many of you readers — and Manish Chopra, Facebook’s head of partnerships. She steered away from glamorising the platform and gave a realistic portrayal Social media, she admits, has changed almost all aspects of her life. “My mother does not call to ask me about my day as much as she used to,” she laughs at one point, “she just has to see my story!”

Does the actor feel the need for validation? “Yes!” she responds, explaining she is just as vulnerable to the pressures of social media... but she tacks on, “However, when that gets to me, I just put my phone aside.”

Ask her about the need to engage with her large following about responsible creation and online justice and she says, “Following [the sexual assault and murder which happened in Hyderabad], I felt, as a female creator, that I needed to say something. For a time after that happened, I was scared to walk my dogs at night for even a few minutes. So in these cases, where I feel I know enough to talk about a certain topic, I will say something, and that’s great on social media.”

Jahnavi Dasetty aka Mahathalli

Jahnavi Dasetty aka Mahathalli   | Photo Credit: Anvesh mudhiraj

Later that day, a panel with travel blogger Shagun Segan, pencil micro-artist Dheeraj Kolla and India’s Zumba ambassador Sucheta Pal delved into the journeys of creators and how they found their voices in an online crowd. While this panel won many applauses and notes of understanding, many creators in the audience could be overheard saying that there could have been more unconventional yet popular creators as well.

Karthik Abhiram, who runs Daily Movie Sketch on the platform, was very happy with the event, “For an old-timer on Instagram like me, it was great to hear tips directly from Instagram on how to leverage all the different modes of interaction on the platform and I would definitely apply these going forward. I loved the fact that Instagram got so many creators from different genres (photography, art, etc) for the event. For a creator, it’s such an awesome feeling when the platform itself acknowledges and recognises you.” The artist and techie adds that he particularly enjoyed the session on Instagram held by Roxanne Chinoy, creator partnerships at Facebook and Instagram, but he points out it would have been better rounded-off with a more in-depth approach or even a detailed Q&A session.

Head of HydInstaMeet Sugandh Rakha says it was a productive day of learning for not just the creators but for Facebook too.

Known for his daily chai posts, Zuvamart was one of the more quiet creators there, often observing and taking information in, rather than going all-out social. In a previous interview with MetroPlus, the photographer admitted he is on the reserved side, but at the event, he was more than happy to meet the faces behind the names on his social media timeline.

According to Ankit Rihal, who works in entertainment partnerships at Facebook, Born On Instagram is not just a one-off event, but there will be considerable work with the creators after the event, to help them make the most out of the platform and eventually monetise.

The most common request made of Instagram at the event is that Born On Instagram includes creators from Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns and villages, where TikTok is more popular. The presence of these creators would not just serve the tag of ‘inclusivity’ but also show Facebook and Instagram the truly diverse creation community in each region, though they claim to know about it.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 4:44:26 PM |

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