Saturday, January 13, 2024

On 17 years of blogging

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly

So it hit me today, as I was brushing my teeth. Two days ago, marked my 17th year of blogging. Indeed, January 11 2007 was my first blogpost. So, 3,362 (this one included) blogposts later, and being practically the only man left in town (all other bloggers departed to better lands), why this blog remains is a combination of being stubborn, still wanting to say things, still having an opinion (or 2, or 3,361 - this post excluded), and believe it or not - people still reading me (the last part is the most mystifying of all, and frankly, no, my grandmother does not read it - both passed away long before I started writing).

Honestly, there was no major plan or anything. Not that I set out to say "Oh today I am starting a blog that will last (insert X number of years)". It just happened. And yes, I am aware - I was laughed at, ignored, and then eventually by the time I started being on the map all other bloggers had left town (some literally, mind you). I think what set me apart from the get go was that I came from a journalistic background. I knew how to talk to an audience. I knew how to express opinions, but also I had a thick skin enough to handle pushback from agency PR machines (my record remains 23 hate mails from one agency in one day). Also, when agencies realized I cannot be bought with a free plate of hummus they gave up (interestingly, I might be the only person to have said "no" to an event when the Prime Minister was attending, when it was orchestrated by a local agency). 

I also admit, this blog gives me control. I don't have to refer to an editor to dilute things, or have anyone change my opinion because they are running an ad in the publication, or wonder if a close friendship was going to whither because of what I wrote. 

Just to be clear, my career could have been way different - not just in communication - I have dabbled in many other sectors, and I have heard the expression "give it 10-15 years and you'll be the next (insert name of expert in field)". The problem? The problem is that I never wanted to be the next so-and-so, I wanted to become the "first Tarek Chemaly".

On this very stormy cold day, I look back at 17 years there is both a surreal but also fun element in what happened. Still, with no roadmap in front of me - not that there was one before - I am as the expression goes "flying by the seat of my pants". Both with a lot of experience, yet with none at all.