Alla mina eget perspektiv

The first blogpost – a failure and how to blog.

So, finally here, my “first” blogpost. This was initially meant to be posted somewhere around beginning or middle of August 2010, a few weeks before I left to China. I had kind of longed for it, felt the potential, but in some way it had also also frightened me, and it still does, especially after I came home from China. Words can be so powerful.

At that time, just 1,5 months earlier (late april 2010) I think an important direction of my life was set. In spring 2010 I candidated and was nominated as president for the Uppsala Union of Engineering and Science Students by their election committee, but at the election, one of my competitors was elected. Same night, I send an email to the International office at Uppsala University and told them, “I will go to Shanghai next year”. I had that alternative, I was already chosen for the exchange to Fudan University in Shanghai, even though I told them that I planned to candidate in the president election in the Student union.

During a few years while studying in Uppsala, I had a lot of interesting experiences. One of them was the attack of Lars Vilks at an open lecture at Uppsala University. I were there, twittering. It became an international news flash. Just a few minutes after I got a call from acquaintance Emanuel Karlsten, that I know from Gotland, were we both grew up, both of us christian at that time. Now he was regarded as expert in social media, at that time just in some kind of breakthrough, after had taken the christian newspaper “Dagen”s webpage to become one of the most innovative in Sweden, and after that got employed by Expressen, one of the major tabloid newspapers in Sweden. Anyway, he asked if I had photos, movie clips or anything from the lecture. After that we kept in touch on twitter for a few days and I grabbed the chance to ask Emanuel for an interview, to have something for my first blogpost.

So, we met in our old hometown, during the Almedalen week 2010, an annual weeklong event when “all” politicians, “all” journalists and many other important persons go to Visby to meet, discuss etc in the summer. I had bought a new camera, planned to sit inside the conference hall building, that I thought was open. It was not. I met Emanuel and we decided to sit down outside instead. The interview were finished in about 10 min, but when I came home I got an bitter experience – the wind gave such an annoying disturbing noise. I decided to subtitle the clip. I spend a few evenings and had just a few minutes left to subtitle, when the subtitle programme I used broke down. I let it be, at that time I had to prepare the lasts things before I left to China. I started the Shanghai blog instead, and kept to write about things about my ordinary life in China and some China related stuff in Swedish, except for the last blogpost, when I “suddenly” had a majority of non-Swedish-speaking readers.

I chose to interview Emanuel because of many reasons, one because we were acquaintance and kind of know each other. That have made me aware of his career, I would say that he is a pioneer in many ways. It started quite early in the history of “social media, we both grew up on Gotland, an island east of the Swedish mainland. There we had a kind of community for all people working in the Gotland municipality and students, pupils etc. For many people at that time probably one of the first experiences of an internet community or social media, but it was long before “social media” had become an common used term. Most people logged in and explored what they could find, and many of them participated in discussions, forums etc. Emanuel did not got satisfied with just participate with the given conditions, he created new conditions. Very simple indeed, probably just send an email to one of the administrators, saying he wanted to create a new folder and be the administrator. Done, and then he invited all christians to use it, it was very popular during a few years. Emanuel has continued in the same spirit, never really satisfied and also practicing something I self think is important many times, don’t settle. Actually when writing this, he has already left Expressen, and now runs his own company and is one of the founders of ajour.se.

I haven’t been very driving myself, but I have tried to follow it and participated, the movement of social media in Sweden. Once, a few years ago I read his blog and became kind of euphoric. It was in a very special time of my own life, and it grabbed me, or it was like a coincidence with my own beliefs, that information must be available for us to make the best decisions. I start writing an email, that I afterwards thought were too long and silly, and did not care to rewrite it, so it was never sent, anyway, it can be read here (in Swedish).

So, here is my “first” blogpost. After another try to subtitle the interview I just gave up. I sat one night last week, determined that now is the night to finish it. After I had tried 4 different subtitling programmes I almost got mad, I don’t know if it’s a Mac thing, but I simply couldn’t understand how to do it, and at that time I was so annoyed, so I decided to let it be. I post the interview clip at vimeo, and the translation here.

And actually, that is one of Emanuel’s advices, “if you’re not finished, then publish anyway”. And I’m trying to feel proud that I can show and talk about my incompetence and shortcomings in public, which even though it might sound silly, is something very important.

It’s in Swedish, so for my non-Swedish-speaking readers, there is a translation below. I can just add that Emanuels words should be considered to be a Swedish perspective, were you don’t have fear for your life when writing a blogpost, living in a society with authorities that are trying to following the law and you can assume that they respect your legal rights.

Sven – Hi all blog readers, I’m sitting here in Almedalen. This is my very first blogpost and that’s a bit special. When you are a rookie, then maybe you are a bit afraid to make a fool of yourself. So then I thought I could ask for help by someone that already has gone through that phase, someone that already has made a fool of himself. Or? Noo, but someone that have some experiences within this area. So that’s why I’m sitting here with a guy, who are you?

Emanuel – My name is Emanuel Karlsten, I’m working at Expressen [Swedish newspaper] with social medias.

Sven – And you have been blogging for a while?

Emanuel – Yes I have, I have been doing it since 2005, and then people seems to regard me as “old in the game” (very experienced).

Sven – Yeah, you have already had 4-5 blogs, right?

Emanuel – That’s right, it turned out like that when I started at Dagen, I started one there and then I wanted one private blog.

Sven – But how came that you started to blog? Now everybody seems to have begun, but why did you start?

Emanuel – Well, I started because I have always though that is very fun to write, very fun to discuss, have opinions and things like that. I have always been active in forums and so on. And then I have always wanted to be a journalist, but I kind of dropped that thought because it was just about to report what others had written, I could never say something myself. And then the blog came up and it was about 2005 and I tried and found a way that fitted me very well.

Sven – And you have continued, what makes you continue?

Emanuel – Its because it’s a very easy way to get things out, one doesn’t have to think that everything have to correct and finished. The nice thing with the blog is that it could just be some kind of beginning of a conversation, it does not necessary have to be an end of it, but it can continue in commentator threads, in the next blogpost or whenever. It’s not like an article for example, because it has to be very precise, everyone all sides shall have opportunity to speak etc.

Sven – But if you consider, is’nt it very easy to make a fool of yourself? That you write things that you regret later?

Emanuel – Yes it is.

Sven – And what to do then?

Emanuel – It’s just like a usual conversation, if you are talking to someone and makes a fool of yourself or says things that you regret, then you can be open with that, and that’s a nice thing with the blog, that it’s not just me who tells other how things are, but it is a conversation where everyone can participate, and if one finds another conclusion, well, then you write it. That I have reconsidered and it should be like this.

Sven – So you have never deleted a blogpost?

Emanuel – I have…

Sven – Oh, so then it’s ok?

Emanuel – Nooo, maybe not really ok, I need to remind myself if I really have done it.. I should have done it, but I cannot remind me of an example. Yeah, no, at least it has not happend very often, very, very seldom.

Sven – Ok, but how long time should one spend on a blogpost?

Emanuel – Now I know! It was when I was working at Dagen, but then it was not me that decided, because we had a legally responsible, I was not responsible myself.

Sven – It was not entirely your own blog?

Emanuel – Yeah, kind of.

Sven – Ok, but how much should one consider before one publish a blogpost? Maybe it depends..

Emanuel – What to consider before… But don’t consider that much! Then it just turns out to be anxiety, you just makes it to a big deal. Use it to write down your half-finished, dont feel that you have to have a start and an end, just write what you are thinking of, it doesn’t matter if it is bad. The nice thing with the blog is that you might think it is boring with just a few readers, but it’s not about amount of readers, it’s about that you have readers. Then maybe there is someone that want to read what you am writing, that you might regard as crap sometimes, that there always is someone that is interested, maybe someone have googled and finds something that you have written that they are interested in. Then it comes up as a hit because you have thought same thing or something like that.

Sven – I have been thinking that it will be some kind of performance anxiety. I mean, this will be my all-time-high, how to proceed, or is that just unnecessary? To want to keep up a certain level?

Emanuel – No, it’s good to have some kind of ambition, it becomes unnecessary when you try to force your willingness, if you don’t think it’s fun to write, then don’t. But if you think it’s fun then if will fall out naturally. It’s good if you decide that you don’t have to have same all components in all blog posts, you don’t have to have a picture in every blog post, just sit down and write and when you are finished, then you are finished. And if you are not finished, then push publish anyway.

Emanuel – And then I wan to say one good thing, the fun thing more than anything when you get some kind of interaction. It can be quite disappointing if you ask for interaction or search for it. As when I wrote my first blog, I thought I almost never got any comments, but when I got one it was such a boost. People have been thinking, used their time, clicked into my blog and given a comment. I almost regard that as the nicest kind of feedback.

Sven – I agree. But integrity and such, if you want to write very private things, if you want to write about the girlfriend, not because I have one, but anyway. Do you have any tip, how to handle it, what do you think about it?

Emanuel – It’s very individual, it’s most about what you are comfortable with, I can be very open with some things, but it’s also a question of the size of your blog, and what you are doing maybe. When I had my first blog, I had very easy to be very open, but when I start working at Dagen and blogged at dagen.se I was definitely more careful. It could happen that people contacted me when I had written about girlfriends or relatives and made unpleasant things.

Sven – So, you have found some kind of level..?

Emanuel – Yes..

Sven – Is there something you used to wrote about that you don’t do now? Relations and such..?

Emanuel – Yes, I never write about relations, I don’t even write it on facebook, not at all. People will know anyway if they meet me and wonder.

Sven – Personal criticism then? If you want criticize someone, do you do that?

Emanuel – Yes, or not someone, or well, someone sometimes too.

Sven – But then, which persons can you criticize? Which persons are ok to criticize?

Emanuel – Well, you don’t “kick downwards”, thats a good principle.

Sven – But then it’s also depends on what you think, criticize doesn’t has to be negative, but I understand that you mean to diss someone.

Emanuel – Yes, there are some things that make one upset, but you could write good things as well.

Sven – I think we can start to round off, but I had one thing here. One thing that I have been wondering almost my whole life, or not the whole life… Once upon a time, we had something called ”Tjelvar”, you remember?

Emanuel – Yes, actually I looked at it today.

Sven – It’s like a community, there are different folders where you can discuss, send emails, chat and then you also have a presentation, and if you look at Emanuels presentation and in the bottom of it, you can read – ”Tjelvars trendsetter and Rookie of the year: Sven Englund – with capacity to rule Tjelvar.

Emanuel – Yeah, thats right..

Sven – I have never got any real motivation, now it’s probably the 7th year in a row that I’m rookie of the year.

Emanuel – Yeah, it haven’t been updated for a while, but that was fun, so you simply wonder about the motivation, it has been a while, but I looked at it today as I said, just to remember, and this is very fun, but I think it was, that I logged in sometime and there were, or still is, Pärleporten, and that was in some way a baby I had when were in high school, a place where I thought everybody should gather and write good things and such. And I think it is about that I logged in some year after and saw that you were active in a good way. Or you were active in some other forums, something like that. Anyway, I were impressed by your activity there.

Sven – Myself was quite surprised.

Emanuel – I surprised.

Sven – Yeah, but in someway you were God, and then the value rises, so it’s good it’s still there.

Emanuel – I won’t remove it. It’s a memorial from the Tjelvar era. Fantastic.

Sven – So Rookie of the year ends this blogpost. Thanks a lot!

Emanuel – Thank you!

Sven – Rookie of the year…