Categories
Blog Info

Issues with Leaving Comments

If you’re getting an error leaving comments or seeing 0 comments when there are actually comments, I’m aware of the issue and I’m trying to get it fixed.

Categories
Blog Info

@248am – 1 Year on Instagram

So it’s been around 1 year since I launched the @248am Instagram account, and I kinda wanted to do a year in review post. In summary, it’s been a pretty intense experience but one that I’m starting to enjoy a lot more.

First some interesting stats…

Posts with the highest number of likes
Photos from the 1976 National Day Parade – 9,280 Likes
Chipotle if Officially Coming to Kuwait – 6,414 Likes
New English School Photos 1974 – 5,093 Likes
1973 Fashion Shoot Around Kuwait – 5,020 Likes
The Sadu Brick Road – 3,791 Likes

Posts with the highest number of comments
How to Watch Barbie if you’re in Kuwait – 356 Comments
Chipotle if Officially Coming to Kuwait – 248 Comments
694KD for a T-shirt? – 234 Comments
Nando’s is Coming to Kuwait – 172 Comments
Do you Remember this Tree? – 170 Comments

Clearly people care a lot about food and nostalgia. Even though I know that, I actually do try to limit those number of posts since in the end, I don’t want to be categorized as a food blogger, nor do I want to turn into one of those accounts that just posts nostalgic content.

Posts that go viral are also a love and hate thing with me. I love it when my posts get attention, but I dislike some of the attention it brings. Posts that go viral tend to attract all sorts of random people and that mostly gets reflected in the comments section. I read and moderate my comments section, but trying to moderate a post that’s gone viral is not easy, especially since Instagrams comment management system isn’t great. Also those posts tend to attract a lot more non-English speakers who end up skipping my caption and then leave comments in Arabic which I have to try and read or translate to English to understand.

Oh, and I still have no idea what goes viral and what doesn’t. Whenever I think I’ve figured it out I get proven wrong. I’ve had posts I thought would blow up but nobody ended up caring for, then I had random posts like my Meteor Showers post that went viral for some reason with over 2,800 likes. That post going viral actually gave me anxiety because a meteor shower isn’t something I could control and I felt like it had to perform or else a lot of people would have been let down.

Generally though a year later I’m much more relaxed and comfortable with instagram and I’m starting to enjoy it more.

Financially the Instagram account has been great for me. I mark all my ads as a “Paid Promotion” and I also include the “Promoted” word in my post icon. I wasn’t sure how advertisers or readers would feel about this when I started, thankfully it’s been a positive experience from both sides. I think readers appreciate the fact that I’m not passing ads off as my real opinion which is what 99.9% of local influencers seem to do. On the other hand, advertisers have been supportive of this as well with only one that decided not to advertise with me because I wouldn’t agree to not mark the post as paid for.

So yeah that’s pretty much it, 1 year on instagram summarized.

Categories
Blog Info

Have something to sell?

Just a quick heads up since I noticed it’s a common question on Reddit. If you have anything you want to sell the blog has a pretty active classifieds section. If you’re on your phone you might not have realized that since the link is hidden in the menu but if you click the 3 dots on the top right you should spot the link. So check it out. classifieds.248am.com

I also get people asking me what happened with the section Kuwestions. Basically, I had to shut it down. The software it was running on hadn’t been updated by the creator in years and bots and spam had taken over the database to the point just the user database alone had grown in size to over 500MB making it extremely sluggish. But, I had created Kuwestions to replace my previous Forum which both were created back when the Kuwait Reddit community wasn’t very active. Now that r/Kuwait is active, I didn’t see a reason for another forum anymore

Categories
Blog Info

Shaheed Park Post Has Been Removed

I was just made to take down the post on Al Shaheed Park Phase 3. I do have a strict policy of not removing posts but didn’t have a choice in this matter, sorry about that.

Categories
Blog Info Personal

248 Instagram Posts

Last time I posted an Instagram update was back in March and since I hit 248 Instagram posts today, I figured I’d post another update.

Since March things have changed a lot. I’m now a lot more comfortable posting on Instagram and I’ve more or less figured out how it works best for me. I also now have a better understanding of what kind of content I can post here and what kind of content I should post only there. For example, this post isn’t going to be on my Instagram account.

The blog is where I can be more personal, or complain about things if I need to, while my Instagram account is more positive feel good entertainment. Back when I started blogging there weren’t a lot of platforms for people to voice their opinions on so I used to criticize and complain a lot because I felt I had to (I was the only voice). Now with Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter etc.. everyone has a voice and everyone is complaining all day. There is so much criticizing and complaining online that I no longer have to do it hence why I’m more chill here (can’t remember last time I complained about something) and which is why I want @248am to be a feel good account.

One way of keep @248am a positive place is by censoring the comments. The comments on @248am are heavily moderated, anyone who shit posts gets their account restricted instantly. Basically by restricting an account that person won’t know they’re restricted and can continue shit posting as they want but their comments are hidden to everyone else including me. Anyone who leaves racists or hateful comments gets a straight up block. This allows me to keep the comments section a healthy place. People can still have different opinions and discuss them of course, but it’s all a lot more civil without the shit posters and haters.

Something about Instagram which is great is the ability to watch a post go viral live. Best example of that is my Chipotle coming to Kuwait post. Firstly how cool is it that I broke the news back in November? I know Alshaya probably hate me because I keep doing this but I really love them because they keep bringing all these cool brands for us. That Chipotle post blew up, I knew it would but did not expect this much. That post got over 6,000 likes, nearly 20,000 shares, 248 comments and reached nearly 77,000 people. Keep in mind I also have less than 30K followers there. I couldn’t put my phone on mute because I need to moderate the comments so the constant buzzing of my phone was super annoying, but watching it blow up from behind the scenes was actually thrilling as well.

I’ve also realized, all these local influencers with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers are most likely all fake followers, or if not fake they have like 0.3% engagement rate or something. How do you have 3 million followers but only get 100 or 200 likes per photo? Someone was once telling me likes aren’t important anymore, everyone is just watching stories etc. I don’t think thats true and I think I’m proving it. People want good content and they will appreciate good content when they come across it. People also read, I was worried no one would read my Instagram posts but they actually do and I love that.

Instagram has actually made me confident again with my blogging skills. I think because I wasn’t on Instagram I felt a lot of people had forgotten about me or I felt like because I wasn’t on Instagram my content wasn’t as good. But now that I’m there I’ve realized I’m still the best at what I do which is finding great content to post every single day. There aren’t a lot of people in Kuwait who can do it (if any), and the crazy part is, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years now and haven’t run out of ideas yet.

Categories
Blog Info

Are you not seeing new posts?

I know its counter-intuitive to ask this here but not sure how else to get this issue sorted.

Over the past 10 days I’ve gotten a number of comments asking me why I haven’t updated the website in a while or why I stopped posting when I haven’t. Turns out there is some sort of cache issue causing people not to see any of the new posts.

For me to solve this issue I need to try and understand it better. If you’re facing or faced the issue above could you let me know what browser and device you were using and which Internet provider? I want to see if there is a connection.

Categories
Blog Info

Blog’s New Look

So just a quick announcement, I’ve updated the blog theme slightly. Basically, I’m doing away with the sidebar since I no longer need it plus, the majority of my readers access my blog through their phones and so most people weren’t seeing the sidebar anyway.

I still have work to do with the theme so you’ll probably be seeing various little updates over the next week or so like adjusting text sizes or image sizes and various spacing all around.

Categories
Blog Info

My Favorite Blog Experiences

Last week I posted that it’s been 20 years since I started blogging and that got me thinking about all the great things I was able to do because of the blog. My memory isn’t great so I most likely left some out, but here are some of my favorite things I got to experience because of my blog:

Visiting the USS Truman Aircraft Carrier
I was invited to tour the aircraft carrier stationed in the Arabian Gulf. They flew me out to the carrier on a military plane and then we landed on the flight deck. I watched fighter jets take off and land while standing just a few meters away from them, I was then given a tour of the hangar deck, the bridge, the watchtower, and all the other cool areas of the aircraft carrier before finally flying back to Kuwait. As a kid that grew up wanting to be a fighter pilot, this was a dream come true.

Breitling WingWalking Experience
I got to sit on top of a biplane while it flew me around. I mean, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience right there.

Formula 1 – Abu Dhabi
I was invited by the Abu Dhabi tourism board to attend the F1 race and all the events attached to it. I was given a tour of the city by the city, I got front row tickets to every concert including Depeche Mode and Jay-Z, and I even got to attend a yacht party with Maradonna and David Hasselhoff. An insane experience for a huge F1 fan like myself.

Jebel al Jais in a Ferrari
Ferrari sent me to Dubai and gave me keys to one of their cars for a day. Obviously, the first thing I did was drive to Jebel al Jais. It’s a mountain road that many consider being one of the greatest driving roads in the world and so I got to tick that experience off my bucket list.

Visiting Audemars Piguet in Switzerland
Not many people might find this experience interesting, but I’m fascinated with how things are made. I got to visit one of my favorite watch manufacturers, see how the watches were made, and meet some incredibly talented craftsmen. The whole experience was very educational.

Baselworld
Trafalgar sent me to the largest watch show on earth to cover it for my blog. The show which ran from 1917, ended back in 2019 and so I feel very lucky to have experienced it during its prime (before the Apple Watch).

CES – Las Vegas
Huawei sent me to the largest consumer electronics show in the world, CES. For someone who loves tech and grew up reading about CES in magazines, this was another dream come true moment. 

I’m really thankful to all the brands (plus the US Embassy), including the ones not mentioned above, for giving me so many great and fun experiences over the years.

Categories
Blog Info

20 Years of Blogging

Twenty years ago, I, along with my oldest friend (@nibaq) and my sister (@rampurple), decided to launch a blog together called qhate.com. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, none of the social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter existed back then. Gmail wasn’t even born yet; some of you reading this weren’t born yet either.

After launching Qhate, the blog quickly turned into a war blog covering life in Kuwait during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The blog gave the world a glimpse into our lives during those uncertain and sometimes scary times. If you want to check it out, the blog is still up; it’s a time capsule.

When the war ended, we decided to stop that blog and start different solo projects; mine eventually became 248AM.

I’m incredibly thankful for all the benefits the blog has gotten me over the years, including the relationships I have formed, the memorable experiences I’ve had, and the financial benefits it has provided. (Insert all the cheesy hashtags here)

So thank you for all your support.

Note: It’s so weird that I published this post on Instagram first. When I initially started Instagram it was meant to support the blog but now the blog feels like it’s the Instagram accounts backup.

Categories
Blog Info

So I’m on Instagram @248am

10 years ago this month (December 2012) I got the Instagram account @248am. I really wasn’t planning on using it and whenever anyone told me I should move to Instagram I was always quick to kill the idea. I couldn’t see my content working on Instagram and so I wasn’t interested in moving. One of the best things about my blog is that it serves as a major resource for google searches. Anytime anyone searches for anything related to Kuwait, they’re most likely going to end up on my blog. With 13,500+ posts and counting, I’ve covered basically every single topic relating to Kuwait. This vast archive of content accessible by anyone with just an easy google search is something that Instagram just can’t compete with.
 
Then, 6 weeks ago I randomly came across a plugin for the blog that would automatically post my content to Instagram. It wouldn’t require any work from my side so I decided to give it a shot. It didn’t take long for me to realize my content wasn’t really working there. I’d refer to a link on my blog post but since I can’t have links on Instagram it wouldn’t show there. Or I’d refer to a bunch of photos in a post but the plugin I was using would just post one photo. It looked like I didn’t care and I hated that, so I started adjusting and editing my posts a bit to get them more Instagram-friendly.

A month in things just clicked, and I quickly got a grasp of what was working and what wasn’t, I reworked my logo, created a new template for posts, and deleted everything I had posted before that. I also made a new internal set of rules, a list of what I would or wouldn’t post on Instagram, and what kind of topics I would or wouldn’t cover. Things quickly took off and the response has been incredible.

The amount of people I’ve reached, the number of engagements, shares, it’s all been really overwhelming.

The biggest difference I realized between my blog and Instagram is all the feedback that Instagram gives you. With the blog, even though I get thousands of people to come through it every day, the only way I can tell is if I check my stats which I rarely do. But on Instagram, there are so many ways for people to interact with you, people can share posts, they can heart posts, follow you, leave a comment, send you DM’s, tag you, tag a friend, repost you, etc. It’s also super easy for brands to interact with you by reposting your content or just sending you a thank you or a heart. The whole experience so far has been a nonstop bombardment of interactivity that has really gotten me excited about blogging again.

I’ve been blogging daily on this exact same platform for close to 20 years now. That’s obviously incredibly tedious and repetitive work so Instagram is now a new and very exciting challenge for me. I’m taking everything I’m good at and everything I’ve learned and applying it to that platform. My blog isn’t going to go anywhere, it will continue to be my main platform with the more varied posts, but Instagram is now going to play a much larger role and I’m really excited to see where this is all going to go.

@248am

Categories
Blog Info

Blog Update: Migrating to New Host

Just a quick note, the blog is currently migrating to a new web host so some of the most recent comments might not make the move. So in case, your comment disappears it’s because of the move and not censorship. Once the move is done I’ll post a second update.

Update: The move has been completed.

Update2: I must have done something wrong cuz I ended up accidentally deleting over a year’s worth of posts and comments on Facebook. Ouch.

Categories
Blog Info

Post Removed

Just a quick update, I removed yesterday’s post on my own accord. I wasn’t forced to remove it. I stated what I had to state and my readers read it so it’s done with. But when a post like that blows up and goes viral outside my regular reader base, it can easily get misinterpreted by people who don’t know me or the blog, and that brings a different set of issues that I don’t want to deal with. For everyone that reached out with support yesterday, thank you, it meant a lot.

Now back to our usual programming.

Categories
Blog Info

18 Years Blogging Anniversary

February marks two blogging anniversaries for me. February 6th, 2003 is the date I published my first blog post on my first blog Qhate.com, and February 19th, 2005 is the day I published my first blog post on this blog.

Last year should have been the most challenging year of the blog since being stuck at home and not going out as much should have hampered my ability to post about stuff. But, looking at the data, last year I published 415 posts compared to 442 the previous year so it wasn’t that bad and that’s probably due to the fact there were a lot of Covid related posts. I got nearly 4,000,000 page views last year with the busiest month being May. May is when we had the full 24-hour lockdown with the 2 hours to go out and mingle, that’s also when private supermarkets became available on moci.shop.

I still wake up every morning at 7AM to publish my posts before heading to work. It’s a good routine that has been working really for me. I also just realized I’ve been blogging for nearly half my life, such a bizarre feeling.

Anyway, thank you to all my readers, hopefully, this year is going to be a lot better for everyone.

Categories
Blog Info

Classifieds Under Construction

The Classifieds section is getting a theme update so if it looks a bit weird while trying to use it now you know why.

Categories
Blog Info

Classifieds Back Down

I finally got the classifieds section working properly earlier this week and then yesterday just as I was about to post that everything was back to normal I realized that for some reason my theme had broken again. Not sure how that happened without me having touched anything, but I’ve now got to redo everything. I’m hoping things will be back to normal by tomorrow though.