SocioTime is a social network to connect people of different communities to grow valued networking. The website provides the platform for the internet user specially the newbies to get familiar with net surfing and web related matters.
I chanced to talk to the founder of the site Mr. Dip Purkayastha and invited him on a short email interview.
Q. How did you come up with the idea of SocioTime?
Actually I have been working on maintaining and designing websites since 2005. I have next to no technical background of web-designing and developing etc. Just practicing and hanging on with internet gave me some knowledge. I spent lot of time on web searching different aspects of web-designing, monitoring, administering etc. On August 2011, me and one of my friend was discussing about launching a website. But the subject of the project was very difficult to chalk out. Then my friend suggested that we ought to prepare a site on the foundation of social networking. I accepted his idea and things started rolling. Initially we had registered a domain name network21.in but thinking of the relevance of the matter of the site, it was later changed into ‘SocioTime.com’.
Q. What is the basic philosophy behind SocioTime?
The philosophy behind SocioTime is to connect people of different communities to grow valued network. Efforts have been made to provide all necessary features that require for a social networking website with an assumption that the features will be used in proper way and real means. SocioTime.com is the platform from where people can send a message to the society about the ill effects of social networking and encourage the users to go for real social networking.
Q. And the technology behind it?
SocioTime is primarily based upon the foundation of open-source technology. We use LAMP environment to accomplish the necessary tasks and actions to be triggered. But alongside, we have our own set of contributors who continuously help SocioTime by offering their guidance both in terms of technical guidance to setting up road-maps for custom-built utilities and plugins.
Q. How do you manage to get new users on board and keep them active for a long time which happens to be the most challenging part for any new site?
The website is pretty new. It is now just 7 months old, but in the past 7 months I have seen peoples coming and providing ideas on how to make the site popular. I never opted for any paid SEO service, I just used social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter. At the beginning, I invited my friend personally to join the site. Then I created a group in Facebook which has nearly 5000 (4,939 while taking this interview) members now. I make official announcements regarding SocioTime on both the Facebook group as well as the Twitter profile, getting people in the groove at a multi-platform level. Now the site is well indexed in search engines which adds an extra piece of encouragement for me.
Q. Why people join SocioTime at all when there hundreds of other similar sites powered by the same open-source platform?
I know there are many sites powered by similar open source platforms, but I took the challenge to go with Open Source because I love the technology, I would like to promote the technology, SocioTime and Open Source both are my passion now.
Q. We understand that managing a community network is one massive job especially when you have other professional engagements. How do you manage your commitments on both?
As I said it is my passion, some how I spare some hours to work for it. But the main problem is I am mostly a one man army here in terms of maintenance and administration. If I get a technically equipped person along side me then the site will help the site to thrive even more.
Q. What is your business model?
Now it is running as a non profit venture. There might be some affiliate-linking and advertisements required to be displayed on the site in future to fund SocioTime to run. Personally, I am not looking forward to generate anything for the betterment of my personal being.
Q. What next? Do you think SocioTime could become a big player in its segment?
I am quite optimistic about the site, I worked really hard for last few months to bring the site in this position. There are no plan going backwards, will introduce different features as per required by the time. Will love to play the game with spirit, never worry losing. Will try my level best.
Q. Tell us something about yourself. What do you do when you’re not working?
When I am not working, I browse net, listen to music, watch cricket, read newspapers and magazines.
What has been the impact of SocioTime in your personal life?
There has been a big change in my knowledge bank. I came across a lot of things while working on SocioTime. At last I would like to acknowledge some peoples who have supported and inspired me a lot when I was struggling with technical issues of the site. My friend Hrishikesh Upadhayaya for giving me inspiration and encouragement for go with the project he is a co-owner of the site. Shouvik Mukherjee (ishouvik.com) of Chennai for providing some plugins and extended support with coding etc. Deepak Bansal (anjaan.blogspot.in) of Gurgaon for providing plugins and graphics etc. and at last but not the least Kapil Deb of Dharmanagar, Tripura for promoting the site at his level and giving me ideas on increasing the page index on search engines.