Digitisation of Odia language apart, Odisha has been lately buzzing on social media for all the right reasons. For the last so many decades, the state had failed to reflect its own rich legacy notwithstanding its astounding art and culture, exquisite handloom, handicrafts and talented artisans, magnificent architecture, unique customs and festivals, distinctive cuisine and beautiful natural landscapes and wildlife. Every time it made it to headlines, it was projected as a poverty-stricken and disaster-prone state.However, this sedated picture of the state and its capital in particular is gradually becoming livelier, thanks to the burgeoning class of tech savvy population of Odia youngsters, who have taken to social media to revive the state’s image with their knowledge of technology and enthusiasm for Odia culture. They want to popularise both Odisha and Bhubaneswar in the most positive way possible. My City Links handpicks a few such social media groups and websites which have made a mark in connecting Odisha to the world digitally.
At a time when a few websites were already posting some information about the twin cities, Bulu Patnaik, founder of Full Odisha decided to start a website that would focus on the happenings in Puri. So in 2002, he created ‘Puri Online’.
“Belonging to Puri, I felt there were hardly any websites which provided news related to places other than Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. So, I started with Puri but we gradually expanded our reach to other parts of the state and later in 2006 we renamed our website as ‘Full Orissa’. The name was subsequently modified to ‘Full Odisha’ to incorporate the new spelling for the state’s name,” says Patnaik.
“As we grew, we started online promotions of Odia movies and posted other film related information. We also encouraged popular actors in the industry to create digital accounts for their fans to view. We are also the first one to become online partners for movies as we wanted to broaden the reach of Odia films in the state, giving it a global appeal. This has brought multiple likes for our website on a daily basis and people staying abroad send us messages about how pleased they are with the information,” he further explains.
Although named after Bhubaneswar, this website has been informing its users about all events and developments related to Odisha. Susanta Kumar Sahoo, founder of ‘Discover Bhubaneswar’ says, “Our main intention was to connect the people of Odisha and Odias in any part of the globe with their home state. We have been consistently providing information about Bhubaneswar while also educating people about the history and culture of Odisha.”
“We started out as a page on Facebook but got officially launched as a website in 2012. Initially our group comprised a bunch of enthusiastic freelancers but now it has only members operating it. It gives me immense pleasure when people from outside the state ask us questions about the city. There are times when there is a barrage of comments and it becomes humanly impossible for us to answer each one of them. Digital platforms have indeed given a new found identity to the state and it can only get better in the days to come,” informs Sahoo.
“Where is Bhubaneswar?” – the question that Santosh Mohapatra, software engineer and founder of the Facebook page ‘MY Bhubaneswar’, clearly recollects being asked when he initially created the page in 2013. Mohapatra had taken the initiative intending to share information and update the latest happenings of the twin cities online.
In the initial days, he has often been asked if he worked for the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation! Nonetheless, despite the early hiccups, the page now has 50k followers in just two years. People are not only curious for more information on the state, but they also tag their friends if a post is interesting or send queries about exciting tourist spots or typical Odia food.
Mohapatra says, “Though we post a lot about the twin cities and few other adjoining cities, the interiors are still neglected even as a lot of action takes place in these areas too. We are trying our best to bring out news from these places.” Besides providing news updates, they also post controversial questions on the page to see what sort of reactions follows.
With a catch line, ‘Dream to see Odisha at the top level’, Bhubaneswar Buzz has created a buzz in and around the world branding Odisha in its digital platform. Initially started as a Facebook page and later, a dedicated website, Bhubaneswar Buzz offers a lot of content and updates about Odisha, its art, literature, culture, tourism and lifestyle.
However, social media has been the USP of Bhubaneswar Buzz. With around 14k followers on Twitter and 16.5k on Instagram, they are most popular for their photo stories. They have been reposting very rare and unique photos of Odisha and are helping them to go viral.
While talking to MCL, the founder of Bhubaneswar Buzz who is actually based abroad preferred to be anonymous and said, “Our team members are scattered all across the world though majority are from Odisha. We have been working hard to bring ‘Brand Odisha’ to an international platform. Our efforts are mostly directed towards bringing to limelight Odisha’s rich culture, heritage, art and lifestyle.”
Featured Image Courtesy: metfilmschool