Wednesday, May 27, 2020

This blog does not compete with other publications

Interesting, yesterday it was pointed out to me that my blog - design, format and presentation wise - needs to be reconfigured to compete with the likes of AdAge or other prestigious publications. Took me a split of a second to decide against it.
To begin with, the current design is the fruit of very deep consideration, I chose the most minimal design, the neutral background, the totally laid back header, no navbar, the unobtrusive favicon, and absent cross columns or footers. Basically, a totally calm, no nonsense body which contains an image (at times done by myself) and the most unbiased analysis there is.
The furore of blogging has subsided in Lebanon long ago, but even then communication centered blogs were incredibly rare. There was the incredibly interesting Brofessional Review (one of its members, Imad Gebrayel has gone to more conceptual and thought provoking things). There are also the witty and smart Beirut Drive By Shooting, from which I would source images (with credit!) when it became challenging for me logistically to shoot my own images at a certain point.
I apologize if there was someone I forgot but communication wise there was only these two, apart from my own blog, who were the most consistent. And I am now the only one holding the fort.
Now, the question is, why don't ArabAd or Communicate or any other publication consider me as a competitor? (I was about to ask "why don't I consider ArabAd or Communicate or any other publication as competitors" before realizing how arrogant phrasing the question like that is).
To begin with, it's almost - almost - as if we do not speak to the same audience. Naturally, we all revolve in the same circles, talk about the same topics (albeit from different angles - with Communicate losing its Lebanese leg (no pun) it became more GCC/Dubai focused), and we all know the same people (again, in different capacities). But if you look at the material presented by either ArabAd or Communicate, you will realize how different their scope is from mine.
And, you'd be surprised how all of us are chummy - whereas recently it is incredibly rare for me to collaborate with other publications, we (by that I mean other publications and myself) exchange thoughts by email or DMs interposed (more often than not), and as the saying goes in Arabic "ma 7ada byekol min sa7n 7ada" (no one eats from anyone else's plate). An exclusive to one is respected as such, or at other times there's a "have you heard that" info which we slide to one another and so on and so forth.
It is not out of arrogance, but a blog that started since January 2007 has earned its place at the table. The many who dismissed me as "bokra byezha2" (he'll end up getting bored), or those who bombarded me with hate mail (record is 23 public hate mail in one day in 2011 by a Lebanese agency), or those who denigrated me have either stopped, given up or just plain disappeared from the radar.
I am now a juror at the Epica Awards, and the newly established PHNX festival, I lectured in advertising (and other assorted topics) between 2005 and 2019 in Lebanese universities. If I say so, again not out of arrogance but rather a testament how interested in advertising I still am. But hey, someone did call me once "washed up blogger turned advertiser" (sorry I still giggle about that one!) so who knows where the truth lies.
But again, do not bet on me redesigning or re configuring the blog. It fulfills its function as such.