Buzzfeed India Editor-In-Chief.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
By the end of college, everything I was actively thinking about and every conversation my friends and I had was prompted by something we’d seen online, be it on Reddit or Twitter or a publication. I started believing deeply in the internet as a force for good –– it could very quickly start accessible, informed conversations on a large scale that could have a positive impact on the world. I wanted in! At that point, BuzzFeed was one of the very few publications that was taking the internet seriously as a tool for positive change. I wanted to be a fly on the wall at BuzzFeed HQ so badly. Four years on, dreams of becoming a fly aside, here we are!
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I sit in a large office with 12 of India’s funniest, most informed netizens, working with them on the creation of memes, videos, essays, lists, quizzes, and more, all working toward the central goal of making people laugh, learn, and get woke. It is a delight and can only barely be called “work”.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
We use Slack, the Google suite, a few Chrome plug-ins and lots of BuzzFeed proprietary platforms for creating and tracking our content. Aside from that, I’m an amateur in terms of using tech for productivity and, in fact, my strongest tech-related productivity advice is: turn off your phone’s push notifications. All of them.
WHAT DO YOU DO OR GO TO GET INSPIRED?
Chat with my brilliant colleagues in my office and around the globe! It’s a priority that we keep up a regular cadence of no-agenda chit-chat built into our weekly workflow –– nothing gets any of our mental gears turning as much as bouncing thoughts and feelings off one another.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
There are two that have been formative to everything I do, and which I return to often. Joan Didion’s “On Keeping a Notebook,” which makes a beautiful case for writing itself. And chapter 2 of Mill’s “On Liberty,” which makes a case for dissent as productive for all ideas.
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
How to use learnings from data to get large numbers of people –– the kind of numbers you’d see for one of our food videos or a humour list –– interested in conventionally “boring” topics like politics, mental health, the environment, etc.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION OR TOOL THAT MAKES YOU THINK IT IS A GOOD DESIGN FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
BuzzFeed is a distributed media company, so we publish across more than 30 social platforms around the world. We publish about 600 pieces of content per day worldwide, meaning we learn about 600 times a day too. We’re constantly testing and learning about different storytelling methods and evolving what we do. As the internet changes, our tools do too.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
The internet is a ruthless editor. Use it. Put your work out there ASAP – it doesn’t have to be perfect yet. Get feedback, learn from it, improve.