An interactive session on the food blogging scene with - Rafsan the 'ChotoBhai'
Throughout the past decade, we have come across and adapted to all the new things that came to us. The internet saw its breakthrough in Bangladesh in the past couple of years - reducing all the barriers of communication. Following through, the uprising of bloggers began on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and so on. There are no limitations when it comes to content creation and people feed on any mainstream content, and that too on a regular basis.
Among the vast network of content that we see on social media platforms, food blogging has started to make its way into the mainstream media. Even though the market is niche, we have seen splendid progress in this sector and as the number of restaurants keeps increasing; it makes more room for food bloggers to feed their viewers with quality contents.
Speaking of food bloggers, Dhaka Tribune got in touch with the rising food blogger - Rafsan the ‘ChotoBhai’ who is currently, on the top of the food bloggers list. We had a short chit-chat about food blogging with Rafsan and here’s what he had to say:
Do you think Bangladesh has the market yet for such blogging?
“There was no market before when Salman bhai (Youtuber) and others started it, they got a head start but now, it is very much saturated. It’s full of YouTubers and bloggers now, but this is gold. There’s a huge competition and if you are not on your game - you're going to lose. Because of this competition, the quality of contents is improving day by day. I am a very competitive person and I love the competition.”
How do you think the struggle is in this sector?
“It is very tough on Youtube. At first, just to hit 10,000 followers - the struggle was insane. 10,000 on Facebook and 1,000 on YouTube - it was very hard to reach the milestone because nobody knew me back then. But recently, in just four weeks, I went from 4,000 to 30,000 subscribers on YouTube. It’s unpredictable.
Do you think there are enough sponsorship opportunities for food bloggers in Bangladesh?
“I think it is increasing eventually, I have been talking to a few sponsors and this opportunity is growing. People are willing to pay you just to put on a small logo. Even companies who are not in the food industries are willing to sponsor just for their name. Even when I had 15,000 followers and 100,000 views on my videos, sponsors reached out to me.”
Why do you think Facebook put your video down?
“There was mass reporting on my video after I uploaded it on Facebook. Apparently, the restaurant was offering free burgers to anyone who would put a negative review on my video. That’s how the video was put down by Facebook, and after I consulted with some of my acquaintances, it was back on Facebook.”
Who do you think is to be blamed for unethical reporting on Facebook?
“We can't really blame the shops, you have to think about the fact that the people are doing this just for the sake of a burger, and that’s really cheap.”
How did you get into food blogging?
“Mostly because I was fat and I loved eating (I still love it) and I also love to cook. Besides, I have a friend - Ekramul who had a youtube channel - ‘Year Gap,’ and they used to make videos. I used to see him work on his videos and from there, I realized that I should also learn and now, here I am."
"It started with my brother who was behind the camera at the beginning and now I have a friend who helps me out with the shoots and I edit my videos. I learned it from Ekramul.”
“I always wanted to make videos but I never stepped up as I was not confident enough back then. One day, Ekramul forced me to make a video and he took me to Burger King where I did my first video - Burger King vs Takeout. People liked the video because it was funny and honest."
"At the same time, I was a professional gamer and I had a small fan base who would always share my videos. I used to knock friends and ask them to share my videos at the beginning, it seemed a bit desperate but I had to do it. The initial response was positive and that’s how it all began.”
Who inspired you to start food blogging?
“My inspiration is The Food Ranger. That dude is living the life, he’s earning, he’s doing what he loves, you don’t have to work cause you are doing what you love.”
What about the name The ‘ChotoBhai’?
“I made a video when I was in class eight and it was so cringy that I had to hide it from my channel later on. Since then, my batch mates started teasing me and they used to taunt me by this name which is why I thought of sticking to it.”
How long does it take you to create a video?
“I procrastinate a lot so, when I think of something, I just go ahead and do it. Like for ‘2.0,’ I saw the hype and went there immediately to shoot it. To be honest, I started making videos with Takeout. It was a part of my first food blog and whatever happened was an injustice for them.”
What are your future plans with this channel?
“I really want to keep on doing this for the rest of my life. Every week, I’m going to dedicate my Thursday to making a video. I want to keep doing this but in order to keep this going, I’m also going to need a viable career so I’ll do business as well.”
What are you doing right now?
“Currently, I am pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in CSE at IUB. Besides my studies, I teach students and I have a restaurant called Habibis. Along with, I’m opening another restaurant beside BRAC University. I’m also going to join an electronics company as their brand ambassador pretty soon.”
Check out Rafsan’s blogs on -
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Rafsanthechotobhai/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/thechotobhai/