7th blog anniversary

Yesterday, I had a long talk with a journalist about personal branding and social media. We talked about how I started this blog and how it has developed over the years. As a matter of fact, today I am celebrating seven years of blogging on Media Culpa, which I started on Feb 17, 2004 (actually a little earlier, but those first test posts were deleted before going live on this domain).


To celebrate the occasion, I thought that I would share some small details about the past year for this blog.

  • 72% of my visitors are from outside of Sweden. During the last 12 months, the blog has gotten visitors from 162 different countries/territories, including Turks and Caicos Islands, Kyrgyzstan and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Sweden is the top country (28%), followed by USA (23%) and UK (7.1%).
  • 50% of all visits came from search engines.
  • Top referring search key words: “twitter handle”.
  • Most read post, is an old post from 2009: Strategies for choosing Twitter handle (see above).
  • Most read new post: BP oil spill and social media, which still ranks in the top 10 in Google for “BP oil spill”, between Huffington Post and the Guardian.
  • Most retweeted post (79 times): Flickr reaches 5 billion photos, which also was picked up by TechCrunch, CNN, BBC and hundreds of blogs.

If you want to follow my blog, don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed or “like” it on Facebook.

Media Culpa

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Photo credit: Melanie Hughes.

Report from the World Blogging Forum 2010

I had the opportunity to attend the World Blogging Forum 2010 in Vienna last weekend and met with bloggers from countries such as Finland, Italy, Republic of Macedonia, Switzerland and Turkey, to name a few. One of the key takeaways from the day for me was that blogging varies greatly across Europe.

For example, Werner Reiter, press spokesman for A1 Telekom Austria (the main sponsor of the event), estimated in the initial presentation that there are among 5,000 active bloggers in Austria. Even though this is an estimate and that we do not know how “active bloggers” is defined, it is still a huge difference compared to the rougly 500,000 Swedes that are blogging. The size of the population of the two countries are about the same.

How to monetize blogging
Another topic that was briefly discussed during the sessions was how bloggers can monetize their blogs and it became apparent that in contrast to many other countries, the Swedish blogosphere is more commercialized and a far stronger alternative for advertising than in most other countries. This is in part due to the large audiences the blogs attract and that there are services that lets advertisers easily put ads on several blogs. Very few other countries can show the huge traffic that the top Swedish blogs have, with at least five blogs with more than 1 million monthly visits, according to Bloggportalen.se. It seems, not even a large country (with a wide spread language) like France can compete. For example, Eric Dupin who was one of the guests, run one of the top blogs in France. The blog, called Presse-citron, has about one million monthly visits (which of course is a great achievement). So in terms of blog traffic, Sweden is definitely punching above its weight.

Global Voices protecting threatened bloggers
During the second session, the forum touched upon some more serious topics. Global Voices is a community of more than 300 bloggers who promote voices that otherwise are censored or have trouble being heard. Onnik Krikorian, the Caucasus Regional Director of Global Voices, described how the situation was in his region, which is vastly different from how we in Sweden look at blogs as tools. Onnik cannot call or travel to Azerbaijan because he has an Armenian name, although he has a UK passport. But he can use social media tools such as Skype to reach the neighbouring country.

Social media fills an important role in South Caucasus, in countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

  • Armenia: Politically polarized blogosphere, USAID focus on alternative resources
  • Azerbaijan: Foreign radio stations taken off air in jan 2009. Reported huge increase in online activity, especially blogs
  • Georgia: August 2008 war with Russia. Still most activity on forums, now focus on new and social media. Internet fastest and cheapest in the region

His presentation can be found below.

Global Voices also has a special site that monitors bloggers that are being harassed – Global Voices Advocacy. Among those bloggers are Croatian blogger Marko Rakar (pollitika.com). He told us how he and others worked to expose voter frauds in Croatia. For example, at one point (don’t know the exact year of this election), Croatia had 600.000 more votes than there were voters. Marko helped expose this voter fraud which actually made Croatia change its constitution. See his profile at Threatened Voices.


In the picture: Onnik Krikorian, Werner Reiter and Marko Rakar (standing).

There was also a great presentation by Matthias Luefkens from the World Economic Forum about Twitter Diplomacy, but since he is attending SIME in Stockholm this week, I won’t spoil it for you by revealing too much (although you can find a video of the presentation in one of the links above).

All in all, I’m greatful to have been invited to the forum and it was great to discuss blogging with people from so many different countries.

Update: I got some facts wrong and the text has now been updated.

The blogosphere is alive and kicking

Although my blog survey BlogSweden 5 indicated that bloggers are spending a little less time now on their blogs than last year, other statistics show that more people in Sweden write and read blogs. This weekend I attended the World Blogging Forum in Vienna and met bloggers from a number of different countries. One conclusion from all the discussions with other bloggers is that the Swedish blogosphere is quite different, with its heavy dominance by younger women and fashion blogs.

I wrote a guest post about the Swedish blogosphere on the World Blogging Forum site.

Why do I still blog?

In July 2004, I was part of Global PR Blog Week 1.0, an online event featuring PR bloggers from around the world, who discussed blogging and communications. Back then, I was fairly new to blogging and found it incredibly fun and valuable to be able to get together with likeminded from other countries and share thoughts and ideas about how new media would influence public relations. I can’t believe it’s been six years since Constantin Basturea brought the group together to create this week of blogging.

Anyway, John Cass who was one of the participants, blogged last week about fact that most of the PR bloggers from 2004 were still blogging.

“I’d like to ask the PR Blog Week Alumni from 2004 why they still blog, and what keeps them motivated? These old timers in blogging have been around a long time. Is blogs a thing of the past, or are we seeing a return to the glory days?”

I think for most people, blogging serves as a channel for self-expression. It’s a great tool for sharing your thoughts about just about anything, and to be able to actually get some kind of response. For the last five years I have asked Swedish bloggers about why they blog, or more specifically, why they started blogging. The series of surveys is probably the longest running annual blog survey in the world and the latest version called BlogSweden 5 (soon translated to English) revealed that the main reason why people begin to blog remains the same. People blog because they like to write, to express opinions and share what’s on their minds. But also for the social aspects. They network, get feedback and keep in touch with friends and family.

why do you blog

Table: from BlogSweden 5, a survey of 2,251 Swedish blog readers, out of which 94% had a blog.

In the report from my BlogSweden 3 survey in 2008, I tried to illustrate the answers from respondents (1,000 Swedish blog readers, of which 806 were bloggers) about what motivates them to use social media. This is not by any means a statistically proven model, but more my view of what drives people to blog, read blogs and participate in social networks. As you see in the image below, many factors motivate users, but some are more related to specific activities.


For me personally, blogging has always been a combination of things. First of all, it is a way to push myself to think deeper about a subject and to learn more. When you are forced to articulate your own opinion about a topic, you do more research and it seems to stick better in your memory. Then there is the social aspect. By writing a blog, I engage in a conversation with smart people and that is always a lot of fun. It is also a great way to build a good network. But perhaps most of all, my blogging has always been fuelled by the reactions from other people, who link to or comment about my content. The more (positive) reactions you get, the more fun it is to blog. And that’s where I have a real problem to motivate myself to blog these days. It seems that many people don’t have as much time to blog today as they used to, before Facebook and Twitter grew popular.

Below is a comparison between how much time Swedish bloggers spent reading blogs in 2009 vs 2010. Data is from my surveys BlogSweden 4 and BlogSweden 5. As you see below, it seems that the time spent reading blogs has decreased. Other data from the surveys suggest that bloggers still update their blogs as often as they used to, but updates are possibly not as time consuming as they used to be. For example, many bloggers now auto-update their blogs with shared links from Google Reader or Delicious, instead of writing their own original content.

5 bswe5 bswe4

I have also noticed that previously you could get several bloggers that linked to your content, while today that happens more seldom. Instead, people are keen on retweeting your blog links on Twitter, so traffic to the blog from other sources is still good, but maybe Twitter has increased in importance. If your post doesn’t get traction on Twitter, you don’t get a lot of readers.

So I don’t think that we are seeing a return to the glory days of blogging. Instead, maybe we are seeing a divided blogosphere between the bloggers that find value in creating original content and the bloggers that don’t want to spend as much time blogging but instead just share links with a short comment.

If you have been blogging for several years, what’s your motivation for still maintaining your blog?

Don’t blog about your holiday plans

Blogging about going on vacation could be an invitation to have your house burgled. The police in Sundsvall in Sweden now warns bloggers to be too open about their holiday plans.

– If you tell when you are on vacation there is a big risk that thieves will seize the opportunity, says Bosse Nordqvist at the police.

And if you think that burglars haven’t started to read blogs, then you might have to think twice. If they are bright enough to break into football players’ houses during away games (like Liverpool’s Jose Reina, Jerzy Dudek and Daniel Agger) then it won’t be long before they’re hooked on Twitter and RSS.

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