You have to PAY to read this

A few hours ago, my friend and I were discussing the trials and tribulations of the average blogger. Blogging, my dear readers is not easy. Do not be fooled by the string of daily posts. They are time-consuming and often eat up one’s weekend. I always fall into the “I will quickly blog about it” trap where I have a brilliant idea that is almost fully fleshed-out in my head. Once I sit down to actually transform those thoughts into words something strange happens. The blogging faeries envelop me. One minute, I’m writing a quick post and three hours later I’m ready to punch my laptop for not cooperating. And maybe that has a little something to do with my limited design, Photoshop and iPhoto skills but nonetheless, blogging ain’t easy!

Put yourself in my place, if you will. You spend time coming up with interesting topics and then it takes you at the very least an hour of writing and rewriting to get it all out of your head and onto the screen. Then you have to select your images, you have to resize them and edit them. Then you have to place them in the text (over, under, square, tight, right, left, center?) and preview the post half a dozen times until it looks just right. Finally, finally you press that glorious button: publish. And it’s gone. It’s out of your face and somewhere in cyber space, somewhere in the vast blogosphere. What happens next?

Aha. Glad you asked. So back in the day (we’re talking 2004/2005), that’s all I did as a blogger. During simpler times, I wrote a post and hit publish. I did explore other blogs and slowly but surely I gained loyal readers: a fan base of fellow writers from Kuwait and the region. At the time, the blogging community was tightly knit and devoted to writing. Restaurant reviews were unheard of and the bloggers were split into two distinct groups: the political faction and the literary blogs focusing on fiction and poetry. In the course of those two years I met some amazing writers and formed lasting friendships with a few bloggers. Alas, those days are long gone.

Life savings. For a good cause.

Bloggers in Kuwait now vie for attention. But can you blame them? They are identified by the biggest corporations as advertising space, walking, talking, breathing billboards. Astounding budgets are being set aside for them and it does not surprise me at all that every Ahmad, Khalid and Amany are now proud bloggers. Ethics aside, this surge of “new bloggers on the block” has diminished the essence of blogging and considerably lowered standards. Can’t write to save your life? You can still become a successful blogger! Well, as long as you are sycophantic, have the right connections and make an effort to post regularly. You know, a bit like P.E. classes in elementary. You don’t have to show Olympian skills but if you bring your uniform to class, do what the teacher says and kick the ball in the general direction of the goal then you are granted that golden A. The amateur behaviour of incompetent bloggers has effected everybody in Kuwait.

Firstly, people’s expectations have been lowered and their opinion of bloggers has soured. Secondly, as attention spans continue to plummet, so does readership and the number of comments. So even if somebody is still reading this post, they are likely to doze off any second or they might have already taken a break to watch a cat video on YouTube. If somebody takes the time to actually read a blog post in its entirety (and we are not talking Homer’s Odyssey here!) they are highly unlikely to leave a comment. They don’t have the time; there’s Instagram to check and silly thoughts to tweet. Thirdly, and most importantly, people no longer give back. We live in an age where people are accustomed to information being at their fingertips. When you search for “best Italian restaurants in the area” and Google takes 0.35 seconds to give you 14,000,000 results (I tried this), you don’t stop to thank Google! You jot down the information you need and you move on. Why should you interact with the blogger if you have taken what you need? There’s absolutely no incentive.

The lack of comments and interaction, however, is really demotivating. So you find average bloggers, like myself, constantly pushing their posts on social media platforms and bullying their friends into signing up for updates. What may surprise you, however, is that bloggers are not after the numbers. At least, I’m not. The numbers can be thrilling; I imagine all the people around the world reading my modest blog but the excitement is short-lived because what these numbers don’t give me is the human interaction that I   am after. I see returning visitors on my blog but why on earth can’t they be bothered to leave a comment? I don’t want a pat on the back but genuine feedback would be great every once in a while.

Out of sheer desperation and in order to boost readership and receive more comments I have decided to implement the following rules:

  1. I’ll be charging all those subscribed to the blog a minimal annual fee of $30. You get a discount for being the first 57 subscribers. You will receive your membership card and a box of homemade cookies. Tell your friends. Make ‘em jealous.
  2. Those who would like to subscribe now can do so for only $50/year but this is subject to change at any time and without prior notice. We are working on a student discount so please leave your information and we will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
  3. If you are not sure you’re ready to make the commitment and would rather just browse the blog first, please go ahead. I’m only charging you $4.5 a click. Basically as much as a cup of coffee.
  4. You are all, henceforth, required to pay in order to comment. Platinum members pay $2, Gold members pay $1.5, the common masses pay $1. I understand that this might not make sense, but trust me on this one. Wouldn’t you rather pay more and get an authentic Prada handbag? That’s what I thought.
  5. I shall only accept major credit cards at the time being. I’ll accept cash if you want to pay your annual membership fee but at an additional charge of $10.

And before you leave an angry comment, please remember that the best things in life are not free.

0 thoughts

  1. Excellent commentary about every Ahmad and Khalid in Kuwait! Sadly, blogging has become an ’industry’ filled with sellouts who cave in for a free meal at a new restaurant. You’re a (very much appreciated) breath of fresh air. I call for a fellow blogger discount!

  2. Once again you offer a hilarious and an refreshingly acerbic view, this time on the curent state of blogging in Kuwait. I’ve noticed a general trend that you describe everywhere but most of all the newer blogs in Kuwait all read like some company or restaurant’s exclusive online ad-rag. Not interesting, clearly biased and annoyingly framed with banner ads. Thank you for keeping things real and hopefully these vapid and profiteering nuisance bloggers will disappear as quickly as they sprouted up.

    Keep up the good fight!

    • Thank you, kind sir. I try, I try :-)

      I think this trend will die out sooner or later. Bloggers are being called out on their lack of integrity and biased “reviews” – I think we’ll see more effort being put into local blogs.The ones who are in it for the money will drop like flies.

  3. Wow! Feel better now? :P I always enjoy reading your posts and in this one really hit the nail on the head! I feel the exact same way about blogging, though I haven’t blogged for as long as you have. I prefer to keep my blog secret from my ‘real’ friends as the few that I did tell in the beginning have long since unsubscribed as it seems that even though they’re my ‘friends’ they could give two shits about my life and my interests. Then there’s my blog followers who I love dearly because their comments DO inspire me (as yours do) and the human interaction, knowing that someone actually cares, especially someone I’ve never met, about what I have to say is really nice.

    Completely random thought but have you noticed that most commenters happen to be women? At least for me that is true. Anyway, keep blogging! I love your perspective on light and you’re my first ‘friend’ from Kuwait! :) xo

    • Oh I DID feel better when I got it all out. You honestly have no idea how bad the blogging scene is in Kuwait.
      I know what you mean about not wanting to tell your friends about the blog! The problem with sharing my blog is having to censor myself and then wonder how many clicks I get are actually family members who are just curious to see if I might slip up and mention them :P I did notice that I mostly have women readers but I think there just might be more women blogging out there than men – maybe Kuwait’s the exception haha.
      Yay for blogs bridging cultural gaps. My best friend growing up (*waves to Lenuskha if she’s reading*) is from South Africa. Glad that I have another friend there now… makes a future visit all the more probable.

  4. Alright…..from now on, especially after this SLAMMED post…i’m your loyal fan my friend!!! honestly, you are one of those people that deserve to be given a fantasized opportunity on a golden plate…an editor in chief of some amazingly popular magazine maybe??
    WORK ON IT WOMAN!!!!!!

    • Hahaha sorry about the guilt trip. But love to read your comments, so comment more, my friend!
      Do you think I’d make a good editor in chief? I am bossy, picky and temperamental… hmmmm!

  5. Great post! Just spotted 1 mistake :)

    Although I agree with some of the things you mentioned, there are also some which I don’t agree with.

    1. Don’t generalize, although most local blogs today are pretty much what you described not all of them are. Generalizing is just about as bad as senseless hating.

    2. There is nothing wrong with making cash out of blogging if you’re unbiased in your reviews, this is being done with popular blogs all over the world except the drama only seems to pour out in Kuwait. People actually do prefer when a blog gets a free item to review. That way readers get feedback after a blog tests the product out. Rather than just posting assumptions.

    This also brings up another issue we face locally, many blogs make products or restaurants look amazing when they are not charged. Which of course they shouldn’t. On the other hand, I do follow a handful of bloggers that I know will be honest regardless of if they paid for something or not. Bloggers should mention somewhere that a post is sponsored rather than leave us pondering.

    • What is it, what is it? I fixed one typo already. You must understand that pointing out that there is a mistake and not telling me where is absolute torture to the perfectionist residing in my head (with a red pen).

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. It sure sounded like I was generalizing but I was hoping my readers would recognize that I don’t actually mean each and every blog out there. There are the good and the bad. But I don’t like to safeguard every sentence when I write. You have to read the whole piece to grasp my motive, what was said in jest and what was exaggerated for effect. I don’t write the way I do to accuse, rather to dramatize. I guess I could have said, “There are a number of bloggers in Kuwait, not all though, some are great like [insert several names here]” but that sounds wishy-washy to me. It dilutes the impact that I was going for! Read on, however, and you’ll see that the same paragraph goes on to point fingers only at the “incompetent blogger” — and oh is Kuwait teeming with them!

      I did not intend to say bloggers should or should not make money out of blogging – that would require its own post! Advertising and money were brought up not to say they have ruined the content of blogs but to point out how they have drawn new bloggers to the game and all for the wrong reasons.

      I have my thoughts on local reviews which would take me all day to explain. Suffice it to say that I take them with a grain of salt :)

  6. the dynamics of blogging in Kuwait are quite interesting! Good thing we’re blogging for our family and friends back home and don’t intend to get into the commercialized scene here! Thanks for the post!

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