People in the city are actively using online platforms not only to connect with long lost friends, but to hold musical events, theatre activities, or start groups engaged in various social activities.
For instance, take the case of Sumit Kumar, who shifted from Vijaynagar to Koramangala. Being a dance enthusiast, he was an active member of dance club close to his place in Vijaynagar.
“Though there are many dance classes in Koramangala, what I was interested in was a club where people like me would come, choreograph and stage neighbourhood performances,” he said. Thanks to many interest-based online networks that have come up in the city, which help people create clubs as well as plan and manage activities, Sumit soon created his own location-specific dance club.
“Though the club is just a couple of months old, I have been able to organise one dance show for people in our locality. Now, residents are demanding a show for Navaratri,” he said with a smile.
Of late, Bangalore has seen a spurt of interest-based clubs in various localities. Clubs like the ‘Whitefield Biking Club’ formed online has more than 40 members from their neighbourhood and regularly takes off for rides to the outskirts or goes biking to specific spots in the city.
The ‘Yours Truly Theatre Club’ started by individuals in Indiranagar is another active club conducting Sunday interactive performances, theatre workshops for children, NGOs and the like.
“However, the problem with social networking sites is that you can connect with people you are friends with. So if I had to advertise about a particular show, I had to rely a lot on my friends’ intiatives,” said Ameet Bhuvan, admin of Yours Truly Theatre Club.
In fact, Bhuvan feels such interest-based online networks help one to pursue other hobbies as well. For instance, apart from theatre, Bhuvan has a flair for painting as well. Through Treetle.com, a location-based interest network, he could also connect with people in his locality, who are interested in painting and art classes.
“The advantages with such sites are that they are hyperlocal. Since I stay in Indiranagar, an art club in Yelahanka would not have been convenient for me. Such sites are a great help when you are looking for something in your own locality.”
Sites such as Treetle, Tabblr, Meetup.com are fast gaining in popularity charts. Pankaj Dugar, founder and owner of Bangalore-based Treetle feels that there is an interest among Bangaloreans to do something ‘hatke’. “There is a growing consciousness among people to pursue their hobbies. The excitement of going for a movie or a mall every weekend has died down. Instead people want to spend the little time they have doing quality things,” Dugar said.
His own experience made him start Treetle. Having shifted three locations within the city, Dugar found it difficult to find people with similar interest in his locality. “That’s how I came up with the idea of starting an interest-based website like this.”
Take the case of Arathi Manay, who runs the Puttenhalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust. The Trust has managed to get volunteers on a regular basis through such websites for activities — bird watching, cleaning of the lake, school nature walk, tree planting.