As it appeared at blogadda.com. Thanks Harish. :)

Interview with Manuscrypts

‘Manu is a carbon based life form, quite similar to you, but he has a much tinier carbon footprint,  he claims, but then his consumption is usually his own words’. LOL. This is the trailer of the person whom we have interviewed this week for you.  A fultoo humorous person by heart, foodie, Manchester United fan (We need a party from you for their triumph :) ). We have none other than Manu Prasad aka Manuscripts with a Y interviewed for you. You are gonna have a rollicking time reading the interview.

Manuscrypts

Q: When and why did you start blogging? Was it out of curiosity or something else?

A: April 29, 2003- 6 years ago. In my defense, I was relatively young then and as many young people go, I was reckless and had the urge to attempt things that were utterly disproportionate to one’s potential. In fact, just a few days before that, I even got married! Now, judging by the content of the blog initially, you could be pardoned if you thought that I was in shock over that incident but as people in bliss (or denial) would tell you, its actually quite a pleasant experience. Notice that I went all over the place without answering the simple question so yes, I really just wanted to ramble. Still do and hey, its not good manners to laugh at other’s disabilities.

Rediff in those days was promoting blogs a lot on the homepage and that ‘Start your own blog’ link had this shining, winking, hypnotic effect on me. So I began with a verse and as you can see, from there, it just got worse.

Q: What topics do you generally blog about?

A: After the initial euphoria of writing and reading and then re reading my own words, I stumbled upon a curious, befuddling fact. On hindsight, there was obviously nothing curious or befuddling about it, nobody was really interested in me. So I moved from me to meme and wrote stuff about popular culture that captured public interest anyway. Thankfully many of these were of genuine interest to me too. Overall I’d say that I’ve come back to me and the descriptor of the blog – “manu scripts with a y“.

I chronicle my experiences and usually question and explore them. These experiences could be anything from the books I read to the movies I see, the character of people I come across to the places I go for a dine out.. Anything that gives me food.. for thought….Its my journey..a lifestream. So there is no content strategy per se, just some contentment for myself and those kind enough to read me. Oh, okay, I desperately attempt combinations of wit and profundity. :)

Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry?  What do you do then?

A: Ah, the blogger’s block. After years of meditative practices which included hours of sitting in a dark room and alternately crying and praying to God, I have attained a perfect state of detachment. So I shamelessly write on. :)

Q: Do you earn revenue through your blog? How does one go about it?

A: Like Twitter, Facebook and many other web 2.0 services, we’re still considering various revenue strategies. Its only been 6 years since we started, so its still an early stage start up, no cause for concern. I even tried those ‘Buy me, Google’ banners for a while. Now I just keep hoping that just around the corner are a few VCs who’ll appear and tell me “V C Potential”.

Manuscrypts quotes

Ok, seriously, I did try to add cents to my account through Ad Sense, but it backfired on me when some well meaning people just kept on clicking. So I am a recipient of the tyranny of the evil Googzilla monster – they deactivated my account. I never bothered after that.

Q: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?

A: To me blogging is about two things – expression and perspectives. Much as blogging is about expression, I also believe that the process is completed only when someone responds to that expression.

Manuscrypts quotesI give my perspectives and hope to receive my readers. I really am thankful that I’ve never been at the receiving end of any ‘flaming’ exercises, or maybe I ain’t just not hot enough..Sigh. I do respond to all comments, albeit with a couple of weeks delay sometimes. If someone has been kind enough to read what I write, and then take pains to give his/her view, the least I can do is respond. But having said that, I can also relate to what (for example) a Seth Godin is doing when he removes the commenting option from his site. In my case, I obviously don’t get that number of comments, hehe, but more importantly I believe the blog is as much the commenters’ as its mine.

Q: How, in general, would you rate the quality of Indian blogs? Share your favourite five blogs.

A: Its unfair to rate. When I rate, I make the mistake of judging someone’s expression based on my likes and dislikes. That’s not objective. But yes, I sure have my favourites. And that’s really much more than 5. Tys, Mo, Cynic, Arunima, Austere, SwB, Ideasmith, Meeta, Kavi, Vimoh, Dina, Shefaly and that’s perhaps the most incomplete list you’ll find. My ‘Site Seeing‘ and ‘Brandwagon‘ lists are better lists. They make me laugh, they make me think, they make me feel connected. Thank you all.

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Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?

A: A comment that says “You made me smile” or “You made me think“. I am happy when the latter happens and positively thrilled when the former happens.*

*Conditions apply. Subject to change when my revenue strategy fructifies. ;)

Q:  Can you share with our readers, a light hearted funny incident from your life?

A: Life has this huge expense account with me. Many of its jokes are at my expense. A lot of the 55 word stories on the blog are autobiographical. I refuse to disclose more details.

Q: ‘Being a Joker fan, the idea is to put a smile on your face :}’. That is a thing not everyone can do with utmost ease as you do. have you ever felt that you needed someone to make you laugh in your difficult times?

A: Oh well, the Joker is twisted, so I twisted his words too. As for me laughing, I sometimes humor myself into thinking I write well. But seriously, if I do make people smile, I can only say I am thankful for the gift, for that’s just what it is. Like I said before, many of those bloggers I mentioned are gifted with an excellent sense of humor, and there’s always The Onion, and Twitter.

Manuscrypts Quotes

Q: You have a blog for Brands and Social Media which is very interesting! Brands have started making their presence felt in Social Media, How do you think can Brands benefit from using Social Media for their businesses?

A: Well, I started it because that’s what I do for a living – the brands part, that is and had views on the subject. The benefits from social media are something that each brand has to answer for itself, basis the objectives it sets. And these brand objectives cannot be isolated from what the corporate does on other fronts – from product planning and development to marketing communication to HR policies to Environmental & Social impact and so on. Social media has the potential to be useful in almost all organizational functions- after all there are enterprise and consumer tools and services, simply because at the basis of it, its a two way communication device. Listen.Introspect.Apply.Repeat. :)

Q: Manu is a complete foodie as we all know and you write some amazing restaurant reviews. Have you got any feedback from any restaurants as yet?

A: No Comments. That’s what I get for my intense gastric labour. I mean, come on, I run the risk of an upset tummy, high cholesterol levels etc, and dish out one review after another and only two restaurateurs have ever had the guts to comment. I really can’t digest it. So dear readers, its upto you now, subscribe to my feed, and comment. I have to admit though, those reviews get the maximum views on the site. And that’s when I almost believe Bush’s statement on Indians and our food consumption.  ;)

Q: You are ‘Ex- Carnatic Vocalist’. We are sure your fans would have loved to hear you croon carnatic classics. Why didn’t you give us the opportunity to do that :) ?

A: There’s a reason why its ex. Sometimes when you try to crowd source appreciation, it goes terribly wrong. But seriously, its one of those things that require quite some dedication. That was a trip until about a decade back, though one of these days, perhaps I’ll make attempts to get back on trail. If my beta testing proves that the page views won’t drop, I’ll share stuff. :)

Q: What promotional techniques work best for you and why?

A: As you can see, I started the interview with a link to my blog. Ta-da. You didn’t click on it, right? Early on in my blogging life, I realized that too, so I don’t try. So no hype, just type. But yes, there are a few things that help – directly or indirectly.

For instance, commenting on other blogs. Not that ‘Nice post’, ‘Interesting post’ type of generic comment, but do try to appreciate posts that interest you and where you sense that the blogger has sincerely tried to communicate with you.. or even himself. It helps both. I have the RSS feed subscription displayed, and hope for the right buttons to be pressed. I also tweet my posts (not an auto updater, but manually). So feed, and bird feed, that’s about it. :)

Manuscrypts Quotes

Q: Which tools/plugins do you use to efficiently manage your blog? Any widgets or tips you would like to share with our readers.

A: Well, for a long while, I only had wordplay, but ever since wordpress happened to my life, I realised that a lot of plugins actually brought in some great functional benefits. So I’d plug the following – YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin), Lifestream, Mobilepress, and that’s just a few. You have to figure out your needs, and you slowly realise that thankfully those plugin developers have usually thought of that before you. :)

Tip: Even the WordPress Site stats plugin works, you just have to stare at it long enough.

Q: What is your advice to someone who wants to start a blog?

A: Start. and don’t forget to mention me (with link please) in your About page, as that final push that got you started. Oh, okay, mention Blog Adda too :)

Woahh! Thanks for making us and our readers smile. Keep writing such wonderful posts and eat in the best restaurants :)

and this is how, they responded on Twitter.