10 things I learned from blogging for 10 years

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Today is a very special day, today this blog turns 10 years. I can’t believe I have been blogging for a decade already. Back then in 2004 blogging had not yet become mainstream. This was the first Swedish PR blog and I have this blog to thank for a lot of things. So to celebrate a decade of blogging I decided to list 10 things that I have learned from blogging:

1. Bloggers are generous
It didn’t take more than a few weeks of blogging before I realized that the blogosphere was populated with people who were willing to help you and share knowledge without demanding anything in return. It was a liberating feeling, you had a problem and all you needed to do was ask. I had no idea how I could active the RSS feed but out of nowhere I got the advice that solved the problem.

2. Blogging is fun
I have noticed that I like to express myself through my blog. I also enjoy the hunt for new stories to share and there is never a shortage of topics to blog about. This is my little corner on the web and I can fill it with anything I want. Today that may be something we take for granted, but back in the early days it enabled a lot of people to express their opinions online for the first time, without deep technical knowledge.

3. Blogging takes time
For me, blogging just don’t happen. I don’t write about my daily life or other “routine” topics. Most posts are the result of research, fact checking and carefully crafted texts. Not that all posts are extremely long, but it takes some work, especially since I write in a second language which sometimes is a chore. It’s a labour of love, but it doesn’t happen if I don’t set some time aside now and then to write a post.

4. Blogging is networking
In 2004, there were more PR blogs in Iran than in Sweden. It was fantastic to be able to network with likeminded people across the world, even in countries where you might think that public relations as a concept barely exists (clearly it did). In fact, you may have more in common with someone on the other side of the planet than with your neighbour. Since I started this blog I have made acquaintances, mainly here in Sweden but also from other countries, that I later have met in person. Having  a blog is a great way to network.

5. Blogging is brand building
Without this blog, I probably would never have had the opportunity to work as a freelance consultant for more than three years and I wouldn’t have my current position as Social Media Manager at  a large Swedish company.

I have been quoted in tens if not hundreds of articles in media such as BBC, CNN, Toronto Star, the Wall Street Journal, Boing Boing and Tech Crunch. I have been on Swedish radio and tv several times as well, all thanks to my blog which have let me position myself as someone who knows a bit about digital PR and social media.

I have also been on the cover of Swedish Internetworld twice (headline: “Hans Kullin knows how to succeed in social media”).

6. Blogging is rewarding
Every time someone shares a post, comments or just simply reads what I write, it is a positive signal that I have created something of interest to another person and that is a positive feeling. Knowing that others can see my blog as a resource is rewarding in itself. My blog has never been one with many comments and nowadays I rarely even get any trackbacks from other blogs. So blogging has changed in that aspect that the reward now comes in form of a tweet or a share/like on Facebook.

7. Blogging is learning
I have learned a lot, not only about blogging, but about the topics I write about. Speaking out publicly forces me to do research, fact check and read conflicting opinions on topics I write about. It is said that you remember a higher percentage of what you write down than what you read or see, so the just the fact that I write stuff down makes me remember more. The blog also becomes a resource that I can go back to because I know I’ve written about something before.

8. Blogging still has a place online
I am active on many social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and so on. Still, there is no other platform that fills the same purpose for me as the blog. This is still in my view the best platform for long form content that includes text, image and/or video. One difference now from the first years is that back then all you needed to do to be read was to get your posts out in the RSS feed. Now, I can have the most brilliant scoop ever and nobody would know about it until I push the post out in my other networks where people can discover it. Nobody finds my blog without Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or other such sites. And Google of course.

9. Blogging is about details
I never liked dealing with html code, plugins or WordPress templates. That’s why I haven’t changed this blog at all in several years. But to get noticed and get your content out to readers you still need to know a miminum of how stuff works online, like how to install plugins, how to tag content, how SEO works and so on. You can do a lot without any coding knowledge but to get real effects it helps to be a geek 😉

10. Blogging is not dead
Even if I don’t blog as frequently as I used to, I still like to try out new things. It is quite fascinating that after 10 years, the most read post ever was actually the post I wrote just before this one. I tried to apply a bit of the Upworthy formula to a post in
order to see if I could make it at least go slightly viral. And it did. The post about how Sweden is unique was shared or liked more than 5,000 times on Facebook and sent tens of thousands of visitors my way. Blogging is still alive and kicking and will continue to be for a long time. It just needs some new ideas now and then.

Thank you all for being a part of my network all this time.



Celebrating 9 years of blogging

Box nine.

I started blogging nine years ago and the first public post that remained online is from February 17, 2004.

Back then we didn’t have Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, so it has become increasingly hard to find the time to post longer texts. I still enjoy blogging as much as I used to and I wish I could blog more. I now have two blogs, the second one is about social media and is in Swedish.

The post during the last 12 months with most views was the one titled “Fake photo of hurricane Sandy goes viral on Facebook” with close to 8,000 views to date. Also worth noting is that a blog post from January 2009 about chosing Twitter handle, still attracts so many views that it was one of the top ten posts of the last year.

Other than that, posts about Instagram and Cinemagram are among the topics that are most viewed on this blog.

With that said, I am starting the countdown to the next anniversary which will mean a full decade of blogging. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.

Image by gak on Flickr.

Media Culpa celebrates six years of blogging

six On Feb 4, 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched his Harvard student social network Facebook. At about the same time, I was goofing around with this new thing web log, and on Feb 17, I published my first blog post. Six years later Zuckerberg is a billionare and, well, I’m not. Either way, I’m happy that I have managed to keep this blog running for six years today and during that time I have published in excess of 1,400 posts.

During the years, the number of visitors peaked during the tragic Asian tsunami, in late December 2004, much thanks to a number of links from some mainstream media sites. Another day with thousands of visits was on Nov 2, 2005 when Media Culpa was pick of the day by the Blogger team.

A quick look at Google Analytics from Jan 1, 2005 and onwards shows that Twitter.com has sent a lot of traffic my way, it is fifth in the list of top referring sources. On July 18, 2009 the blog received the highest amount of traffic from search engines and my guess is that is from the post about the fake Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Twitter who was quoted by the AP.

I may not be blogging as frequently now as I used to (the last year I have also been running a blog in Swedish about social media), but I promise to keep it going for a little longer. And please don’t be too hard on me if you read the first few blog posts. It was a period of testing and trying to understand the concept of blogging.

Footnote: Image by Marie-II.

Media Culpa’s five year anniversary

On February 17, 2004 an outbreak of dengue fever killed 91 people in Indonesia and the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company rejected a hostile offer by Comcast. But more importantly (?), the blog Media Culpa was launched. Well, I had actually been fooling around with the blog for some time, but that is the date with the oldest remaining blog post. In other words, this blog is celebrating its five year anniversary today.

So much has happened through these five years that it is hard to summarize or pick out the most important moments. But I felt that it would be appropriate to highlight a few blog posts from these five years.

Here goes:

May 14: 2004: Link love from Dave Winer’s Scripting News

May 14, 2004: Steve Rubel already the most influential PR blogger. I’m at #17 of 28.

May 24, 2004: First corporate blog post to find its way into (Swedish) mainstream media

June 24, 2004: Link love from Doc Searls.

June 24, 2004: I get in touch with Iranian PR blogger Hossein. At this point there are more PR bloggers in Iran than in Sweden.

June 29, 2004: Answer to the question “does your company use blogs”: 7 out of 10 Swedes reply “what’s a blog?”

July 12, 2004: I participated as the only Swede in Global PR Blog Week: a number of pioneering PR blogs (such as Elizabeth Albrycht and Mike Manuel) together created a week long blog event about PR and communication.

August 12, 2004: Link love from Engadget. PlayStation banned from Swedish prisons

August 25, 2004: First Swedish daily to launch blog (Svenska Dagbladet)

October 13, 2004: Kryptonite crisis talk of the month.

October 15, 2004: Number of hits in Google for the word “podcasting” rises from 20 to 66,000 in about one month.

November 10, 2004: This blog ranked as Sweden’s fifth most influential blog by Observer (now Cision).

November 15, 2004: First Swedish blog forum, Bloggforum. I participated in the media panel along with PJ Anders Linder, chief political editor of Svenska Dagbladet, Billy McCormac and Jonas Söderström.

December 13, 2004: I was nominated to the 2004 Weblog Awards, category Best European (Non-UK) Blog. Finished at #8.

December 14, 2004: I’m on the cover of Internetworld.

January 27, 2005: The power of blogs. Blogger made L’Oréal pull ad.

February 18, 2005: Media Culpa nominated for Internetworld’s award, Best Swedish blog in the IT and Media category. I didn’t win.

February 25, 2005: Microsoft distributes press releases via RSS. I beat them with a few months for the law firm I worked for.

March 2, 2005: Swedish media RSS feeds reaches 100 – Nordic reaches 200

May 25, 2005: First blog survey published – BloggSverige 1/BlogSweden 1

June 14, 2005: Honorable mention in MarketingSherpa’s 2005 Best Blog Awards

July 11, 2005: Citizen journalism in the London bombings

February 15, 2006: Link love from Boing Boing.

June 27, 2006: My new blog disclaimer

August 25, 2006: Second blog survey complete – BloggSverige 2/BlogSweden 2

September 17, 2006: Marketing managers not willing to invest in blogs

September 22, 2006: Link love #2 from Boing Boing.

October 14, 2006: Sweden’s Minister for Trade brought down by blogger

November 2, 2006: Media Culpa is pick of the day, by the Blogger team.

December 20, 2006: Media Culpa’s 2007 predictions – it’s not a pretty sight

February 17, 2007: 1,000 blog posts published

March 14, 2007: I defend blogs in an article in Computer Sweden.

March 23, 2007: I totally dismiss any value in Twitter 🙂

April 5, 2007: Media Culpa is listed (at #71) on Advertising Age’s list Power 150 as one of only two Swedish blogs.

November 13, 2007: Media Culpa’s top 10 blog pitch pet peeves

November 13, 2007: I published a column in Aftonbladet about the media landscape in 2012.

January 30, 2008: Third annual blog survey – BloggSverige 3/BlogSweden 3

June 15, 2008: I reveal that Dagens Nyheter uses a 12 month old interview as their top story about the wire-tapping law (FRA).

September 15, 2008: Media Culpa listed under Social Media on Alltop.

November 24, 2008: Research – Corporate blogging among listed Nordic companies

Febraury 12, 2009: Media Culpa is ranked as the third best Swedish media blog (YABA)

January 8, 2009: Has Twitter reached a tipping point in Sweden?

And finally, some stats from the last few years (since I installed Google Analytics):
– 67% of all visitors are not from Sweden.
– Top traffic source: Google, 36% of all visits
– Day with most visits: Nov 3, 2006

[Photo courtesy of matski_98]

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