It’s been 12 years

Post by Mark

Nearly forgot about this but 12 years ago today, I started 248AM and published my first post. Here’s a line I wrote two years ago but one that still holds true today:

I don’t know how long I will be doing this for, I just know that I really love doing it and I’ll keep doing it as long as you keep coming back here to read what I have to say*. Thank you everyone for being the best readers a blogger could hope for.

*unless I get deported before then


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Shutting Down the Forum

Post by Mark

I’ve been wanting to shutdown the Community (Forum) section of the blog for some time now. With the introduction of my Classifieds section it pulled a lot of traffic away from the forum and then with the introduction of Kuwestions, it basically pulled whatever traffic that was left.

The only reason I actually kept the forum up this long was for sentimental reasons. I know a couple who met in the forum and ended up getting married (How cool is that?), so kinda figured they’d want to keep all their first messages to each other. I already got in touch with them and told them to go in and save all their old conversations and once they’re done doing that I’ll probably close it down.

So if anybody else has any important messages in their account they’d like to save, do it pretty soon. [Link]


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Introducing Dr. H

Post by Mark

Dr. H is a Kuwaiti family medicine resident working in a polyclinic in Kuwait. I’ve invited her to write on the blog about her experiences and I think these will end up being pretty interesting posts. She just published her first one below so check it out.


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14 Years Ago Today

Post by Mark

Just a random tidbit, 14 years ago today I posted my first post ever on a blog called Qhate. Before 248AM I had a blog called Miskan, before that I had another one called Moblogging from Kuwait (it was like instagram, but before instagram) and before that I had another blog called Qhate. Qhate was a war blog where me and a few friends were posting about life in Kuwait during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.


My first post on February 6th, 2003.

Unlike my old posts here on 248AM, I don’t cringe when I read my old posts on Qhate. It kinda feels like I started off writing pretty well and then took a big dip in quality by the time I started 248AM, only to recover again years later. In around 10 days time its also going to be 248AM’s 12 year anniversary. Crazy.

All my posts from all my previous blogs are still online except for “Moblogging from Kuwait” since it was hosted on textamerica.com which shut down a decade ago. You can still find some stuff from it using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine but not much. I used to take all the photos and post to my blog using the Sony CLIÉ UX40. That was back when smart phones didn’t exist and Sony PDA’s were so ahead of their time.


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Ask & Answer Kuwestions

Post by Mark

kuwestions

If you haven’t checked out the “Kuwestions” section on the blog then today might be a good day to do so. Lots of interesting questions there with many helpful answers so you might find out something new or you could even help out by answering a question yourself. Check it out [Here]


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The Making of a Post

Post by Mark

Whenever I meet people, a common question I’m usually asked is how I find stuff to write about every day. There really isn’t that much generally going on in Kuwait so it’s hard to imagine how I could find content on a daily basis to write about. Up until a few years ago I used to think I was just getting lucky everyday finding content but then someone made me realize that after all these years its probably a skill and not luck. I guess my curious and nosy nature combined with my obsessive tendencies turned out to be a perfect combo to run a blog.

There are generally two main ways I find things to write about:

1) People email me or tell me about something
2) I discover things myself while going about my day to day routine

The first thing I do when I find a topic to write about is enter it into Evernote. My memory is terrible and my blog is very important for me so I can’t risk forgetting a topic. I like Evernote because I have it open on all my computers at home and work as well as on my phone. Anytime I add a topic to my list it synchronizes across all my computers and phone. I took a screenshot of part of my current Evernote list (pictured below) to give you an idea of how it looks like. It might look vague but I just need a word or two to remind me of the topic.

Every morning I get up around 8-9 and open my list and decide what I am going to write about. Usually the further down the list the item is the less important it is or the less time sensitive it is. If its not time sensitive like the note “salmiya 1976” which is a video from 1976 that shows old Salmiya, then I just leave it for a slow news day. A slow news day is a day when I don’t have much to post about either because I’m still waiting on some info or because I don’t think I have a quality post for the day.

Today for example I want to post about two things, “CRL Bar” which is a new cereal bar that opened up in Kuwait and “wifi kuwait” which is a project to provide wifi all over Kuwait. For both of these posts I’m still waiting on some information so they’re not ready hence why I am here writing this post which is sort of a blog filler. I came up with this post idea to keep things moving along on the blog until I get the information I need for the other two posts.

Another popular question I get is how do I decide what restaurants to write about or what event to go to. The events part is pretty easy, if I think it’s going to be fun for me or if the subject interests me then I’ll go. 99% of the time I don’t go to any event. With restaurants, its more tricky. I get emailed by restaurant owners all the time asking me to come by and try their place but unless its an interesting or new concept, I tend not be interested. I also go to restaurants based on word of mouth or the chef behind the concept. So for example when I heard Faisal Al Nashmi was opening a new restaurant called Table Otto, I wanted to go try it out because I love his other concept Street. But with HABRA for example, I wasn’t interested in trying it out until I started hearing how great it was from all my friends.

Time wise I generally don’t spend a lot of it writing. I kinda pre-write posts in my head and then sit down on the computer in the morning and type them out. I always feel like I’m working against the clock so I’m always rushing my posts out and generally spend anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes writing them up. I don’t feel like I have the luxury of sitting and perfecting a post because I need to have content out every single day. I run the blog as if I am competing with other hundreds of other blogs and I need to get my posts out right away before they do. Even though there aren’t any other blogs around today anymore, I still blog as if there so I stay on my toes. I still go by the idiom “You snooze you lose” since it used to happen before where I’d sleep on a post and then another blogger would write about it before me.

So there you have it, a behind the scenes look into the making of my posts. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.


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Another Guest Writer

Post by Mark

blogslogo

So as you’re aware I’ve been inviting more and more people to write on the blog recently. One of the new people I’ve invited to write is Grant, the brand manager of % Arabica Coffee. He’s the guy who got me into coffee and is a real coffee geek. The reason I’ve asked him to write about coffee is because I noticed a lot of people drink coffee, but don’t know much about what goes behind a good one. Based on the comments under some of my coffee posts I know there are quite a few coffee geeks who read my blog so you’ll appreciate Grant’s posts. For the average joe, I think you’ll still find Grant’s coffee posts informative and not that technical, so I think you’ll enjoy them. His first post is up, check it out [Below].


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New Guest Writer

Post by Mark

blogslogo

Just a quick note, another friend of mine will be guest writing on the blog whenever he pleases. No specific subject or schedule, just whatever might be interesting. His first post is DIY Diet Plan is below.


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Introducing Sponsored Posts

Post by Mark

blogslogo

I’ve recently introduced a new advertising option to my media kit called “Sponsored Posts”. These are posts that will be written by an advertiser and is meant to promote their brand, services, products, whatever. They’re advertorials. Why have I decided to introduce this?

1) I need to make more money, lattes don’t grow on trees and they aren’t cheap

2) Lots of brands have a lot to say and sometimes they can’t say it all with a simple banner

3) It will make my life easier since anytime a brand contacts me now to write about them, I can just say sure and then send them my media kit

Now like you, I check my blog daily and whatever kind of advertising I introduce, it needs to be something that I personally don’t find annoying. This is why you’ll never find pop up ads on the blog or any of these super annoying banners that expand and take over the whole page. I don’t think these sponsored posts will be annoying, right now I am limiting them to just one a week although thinking about it, if I can publish a sponsored post every day that’s like KD15,000 a month which would be pretty sweet actually. But until that happens, it’s just once a week.

The sponsored posts will also always be clearly marked as sponsored in the title and they will also have different colored backdrops instead of the usual white. So those posts will in no way be misleading and in no way be mistaken for a post written by me. A few minutes ago I published the first sponsored post which you can check below to get an idea of how sponsored posts will look like.


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Al Busal Kuwait

Post by Mark

onion

Every now and then I try to invite new writers to the blog to write about stuff which I myself wouldn’t be able to do. Al Busal is going to be a new series of posts by a really creative and funny friend of mine who will go by the anonymous nickname Holla. I met Holla years ago through my blog, he used to leave the most ridiculous comments and I just had to meet him in person. We ended up becoming friends and even worked together for a short while.

Since the moment I met him I’ve been trying to figure out how to put his talent into use and then over dinner last week I figured it out. We were poking fun out of some local stories from the English papers and how some of the stuff sounds so ridiculous they might as well be in The Onion, and thats when I realized, Holla would be the perfect guy to create local satirical posts in style of The Onion. The name Al Busal is the Arabic translation of The Onion and just like The Onion, these posts in no way should be taken seriously. His first post is already up, check it out [Below]


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