Four Lebanese Bloggers Under the Radar
Posted on October 18, 2015 | By Christina Fakhry

Four Lebanese bloggers who have had extensive experience in the communication field share the stories of their blogs.

 

Tarek Chemaly – Beirut NTSC 

Launched in 2007 by communication consultant and media analyst Tarek Chemaly, ‘Beirut NTSC’ blends media critique and reflections on pop culture.

How would you describe the evolution of your blog?
Oddly it has not evolved, I am still with the "POPtimism, POPaganda, and POP culture from Beirut, Lebanon" still the same focus, same mission after all those years. 

How did you first decide to launch?
Frankly, there was a syndrome in the ad business, we would launch an ad, then in the press release say how wonderful it is and believe our own story - so the time came for me to step in and end the fallacy and review ads as impartially as possible based on my experience and                                                                   archive.

What makes your content unique in your opinion?
I think the fact that I am independent from agencies with very little presence in events gives me the outsider aura that distinguishes the blog. Agencies know they cannot sway me, I write what I firmly believe in about the campaigns not caring about egos.

What motivates you to keep going with your blogging after all this time?
Launched in 2007 it is still going strong. I still get the kick from a good campaign, I still love to give constructive criticism about campaigns which did not hit the mark, and of course, a stolen campaign exposed is worth all the effort.

If you were to pick just one word to represent your blog, what would it be?
I still go for ‘blogoically’ - fusion between blog and logic. There is a lot of unbiased analysis in what I write. A lot of strategic thinking.

Tell us briefly about your future plans.
I think things will continue as is, "if it aint' broke don't fix it" - people keep coming back by the thousands because of the unapologetic tone so why stop it?

 

Claude El Khal – My Beirut Chronicles 

‘My Beirut Chronicles’ features Lebanese writer, director and cartoonist Claude El Khal’s take on current world events, though both words and illustrations.

How would you describe the evolution of your blog?
It’s a strange thing actually. I launched the blog as soon as I went on the internet. I wasn’t on the internet at all before 2009, and then I suddenly I created a Facebook page, a website, a twitter account, pretty much the whole package, all at the same time. But the blog wasn’t given that much importance at the time so I would simply publish a few articles every now and then. Things took a much more serious turn a couple of years ago with the advent of ISIS and then the Charlie Hebdo incident and now the civil movement, so these three events one after the other played a huge role in the evolution of the blog as I wrote extensively about each of them and this is what made the blog what it is today. 

What makes your content unique in your opinion?
I think what makes my content unique would be my opinions. It’s not a general blog that talks about everything and anything as you may have noticed, although I respect these types of blogs and I enjoy reading them regularly. My blog is more of me sharing my viewpoint about current events in the world and I think this is what makes it unique. Being a cartoonist, I am also trying to give it a magazine feel. So sometimes you have cartoons, other times you have articles or even series analysis of situations and events, which makes the posts very diversified. 

What motivates you to keep going with your blogging after all this time?
Obviously I’m not happy with the way things are going and eventually someone has to say something. I know many others are doing so as well, but I just cannot remain idle and passive with regard to what’s going on in the world and not do anything about it. It’s not me, it’s not who I am.

If you were to pick just one word to represent your blog, what would it be?
My blog is me. And just as I cannot describe myself in one word, I cannot describe my blog in one word.

What are your future plans for the blog?
I actually had a plan but it was somewhat hindered after the economic situation slowed down. I wanted at some point to turn the blog into an online magazine, with other cartoonists and comedians involved. I kind of wanted to create a magazine and be the editor of this magazine. I would surely keep on writing but I also wanted to give a voice to others and turn the blog into an online hub for creative exchange. We have amazing cartoonists that no one publishes and some great writers as well. I got quite ambitious and planned to have it in three languages but obviously this would cost a lot of money so for the time being I will be focusing on writing more articles.

 

Patricia Issa – Fashionicia

Initiated by luxury marketing and media consultant and fashion editor Patricia Issa, ‘Fashionicia’ features the latest fashion and lifestyle trends.

How would you describe the evolution of your blog?
My blog started organically about two years after blogs started making serious appearances in Lebanon. It followed my life and my views on fashion without the fuss. With time, brands started reaching out making the blog richer with events and collaborations. Slowly but steadily, the content of the blog started becoming more refined and the pictures more professional. The evolution of my blog is very evident, because I made it a point not to remove old and 'less professional' content from my website or social media, as I believe that the journey of evolution itself is more important and enriching than any destination this could take me to. 

How did you first decide to launch?
I honestly am not one to pretend I am fashion obsessed; so I can't say that I started the blog because of my addictive passion for fashion; but rather randomly for being a very expressive person who likes to share things and experiences. Those who know me, know that I am more into politics, extreme sports and muscle cars than fashion! However, personal style and fashion occupy a huge chunk of my life, and this is why I just woke up one day and launched my blog, unplanned. 

What makes your content unique in your opinion?
In my opinion, authenticity is what makes my content unique. I post outfits which I actually wear and make appearances at events (public or private) in; I share my very well known fetish for changing my hair color  and my struggle with weight issues (I am quite curvy); I talk about my career progress; I post beauty looks that I go out wearing and products I actually use; I share my other passions and travels; and I can be quite a sour tongue in my inspiration section. I do not "stage" my content just for the sake of creating attractive content. If I post it, I probably wore it, put it on my face, ate it or visited it. 

What motivates you to keep going with your blogging after all this time?
Honestly, I do get these moments where I get too busy with my other projects that I question the blog itself. But then I remember all the things I get to experience first, all the amazing people I meet, and all the opportunities I get out of being a real life blogger. Experience is the most valuable thing a blogger can get. Honestly I can credit a lot of my media / consultancy projects to leads that my blog and social media created. It is my bridge and I am never letting it go in the foreseeable future, even though I did not make a business out of it. 

If you were to pick just one word to represent your blog, what would it be?
Real. 

Tell us briefly about your future plans.
A lot of people really have no clue what I do, as I keep my blog a little separate from my career. In effect, I am a consultant for a few personalities and brands, I am also a professional fashion editor in both English and Arabic. And my future plans include media and direct fashion works I will not reveal at the moment. For the blog, I am planning a radical shift which will take place within 2-3 months from now.

 

Pascal Zoghbi – 29Letters Blog 

Launched in 2006 by typography designer and lecturer Pascal Zoghbi, 29Letters showcases contemporary Arabic and multilingual typography. 29Letters constantly collaborates with regional and international advertising agencies to deliver design and typographic solutions.

How would you describe the evolution of your blog?
The blog evolved from being an online platform featuring my own experience with graduate studies back in 2005 when I was pursuing an MA in Type Design at The Royal Academy of Arts KABK in The Hague, Netherlands, into a full-fledged blog about Arabic typography which also showcases the typographic work I do under the name 29Letters. In 2013, 29Letters became the first type foundry in Lebanon.

How did you first decide to launch?
As a graduate student, I wanted to share my acquired knowledge of Type Design and especially Arabic Type Design with the Arab design community. Prior to that, this type of information was enclosed and secretly kept in the hands of very few individuals or international type foundries. The blog was also a means to showcase the projects I am doing was doing at KABK.

What makes your content unique in your opinion?
I discuss Arabic Typography, which is in itself a unique, niche subject.

What motivates you to keep going with your blogging after all this time?
The number of followers, the positive feedback I get from them, the debates and discussions that emerge from some of the posts, but also web exposure and the possibility of clients approaching me to ask for a typographic project.

If you were to pick just one word to represent your blog, what would it be?
Arabic type.

Tell us briefly about your future plans.
I am on a constant track of creating and developing multilingual Arabic and Latin fonts. I am also in the process of opening up 29LT type platform for other designers to allow them to publish their work. I would also like to take some time in the coming year to focus on writing a book about Arabic Type and Typography, following my first book ‘Arabic Graffiti’, dealing with the socio-political aspect of Arabic street art, which was published back in 2010.