Sanjukta Basu is the founder of ‘Samyukta Media’, a social enterprise which provides Social Media and Communication Consultancy and Training to unlikely groups such as nonprofits, academicians, SMEs, rural entrepreneurs, creative artists, and marginalized communities.
Sanjukta is one of India’s earliest female bloggers who has been very active in the Indian social media circle. She has ideated and led several initiatives using social media for social development. Her activities over the last 5 years have earned her considerable media attention (BBC World Service Radio, NDTV, Indian Express, Sunday Guardian and Guardian UK) and more recently a TED India fellowship.
She has a formal degree in Law from Delhi University and has a wide work experience of over 10 years in nonprofit sector working with women’s rights organizations. In her last role she managed the Internet and Community Outreach for the ‘Bell Bajao’ Campaign by international NGO ‘Breakthrough’.
She has launched ‘Samyukta Media’ with the mission to take the media revolution as witnessed by the present information age to every doorstep at the bottom of the social pyramid.
Here are excerpts from an enlightening talk with her:
Ishita :What, in your own words, would you exactly call your role?
Sanjukta Basu:That of a social media marketing consultant. I would like to call myself as someone who connects different people, different voices and brings them to a common platform; someone who is trying to connect backward people and bring them to the platform of World Wide Web.
Ishita :What exactly is Samyukta Media and how does it function?
Sanjukta Basu :Samyukta Media is a social enterprise which is dedicated to the cause of using social technologies and taking them to the people beyond the ‘young’, ‘urban’, ‘techie’. These are the people who might have an internet connection or an even an email id. But they don’t know what a blog is, Facebook is, what Twitter is. They don’t know how to use these mediums to advertise, collect funds, etc. Samyukta Media (SM) takes these social technologies and tells people how they can use it for their own benefits. The ‘people’ include students, business houses, social workers, non-profit organizations etc.
Ishita :Can you share with us a case that SM has handled?
Sanjukta Basu :We do social media coverage of grassroots events. For example, there is this TERI conference coming up. We would be blogging about it; developing reports and content on the web about much talked-about topics.
I kind of knock these social ventures and non-profit organizations and tell them tat you should do a social media coverage of this event. Because, I feel, people should know what important decisions are made behind these closed doors.
Ishita :How do you employ people?
Sanjukta Basu :Since ours is a fairly young enterprise, we do not have the capacity for a full-time paid team. So, we have a resource pool of people instead.
Ishita :It is said that “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Have you ever experienced it?
Sanjukta Basu :Well, all of my work is owing to the pen. It was due to it that I started blogging. My pen gave me a sense of self empowerment.
Ishita :Did you ever experience real “change” which might have been brought about by your writings?
Sanjukta Basu :You cannot quantify the change it made. But I have people writing back to me that reading your blog gave me courage lot of my friends started blogging. Then, on a different level, we have created blogger communities and took up projects.
Ishita :What message do you have for all those budding writers out there?
Sanjukta Basu :All I’ll say is- just start writing and don’t worry about who would read it or who wants to know. Because its not about who WANTS to know. There is a lot of information in people’s lives that OUGHT to be known. It not a matter of if I want to know. Its more of I ought to know. Because people live in their own little worlds. It is only when they start documenting about their lives that other people will be able to know and comment. Also, it is important for people to know about my existence also.
Ishita :What do you feel is the major differentiating factor between a Non Profit Organization and a Social Entrepreneurial venture?
Sanjukta Basu :Technically, a non-profit organization runs on funding. It doesn’t have a profit mechanism in place. Social entrepreneurship works on a more sustainable, and profit making model, while making a difference at he same time. I personally favour a profit making mechanism because it is difficult to always gather funds.
Ishita :As a last question, one message you would like to give to our budding entrepreneurs.
Sanjukta Basu :In life, In your work, you have to look for three components; these are the components that have made me come this far. You should be able to say the following things when you look back:
1. I am doing my work and I’m happy doing it. I’m enjoying it.
2. I am making money. Because, at the end of the day, I want to be able to pay my bills.
3. And its also making a difference. Because, there is no point in making a lot of money if I’m not able to inspire atleast one person.