Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 most viral Lebanese blog

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The results are out and they’re amazing! Last year, My Beirut Chronicles was rated third most influential blog. This year, it got the number one viral post, while the overall blog has reached over a million readers.

“This year we’re doing it a bit differently”, Lebanese Blogs wrote en their site. “Instead of dedicating mini-sites to the results like in 2014 and 2015, we will be publishing them in a format that is more honest to our platform: The blog post. The top lists you will find here are not based on subjective opinions, but on hard data gathered and analyzed from the thousands of posts that were published and indexed this year on Lebanese Blogs.”

And the number one 2016 most viral post is from My Beirut Chronicles! It was shared over 73 thousands times!

I’m obviously very happy about it, not only because it made it to number one, but because the subject is dear to my heart. The post was about a Muslim choir singing Christmas carols in a Beirut church. In this post, I wrote that despite its many shortcomings, Lebanon was still an example of coexistence, and went on explaining why and how Lebanese could play a major worldwide role in bringing together people from different faiths.

The other 2016 most viral blog posts are from the iconic BlogBaladi by Najib Metri, the popular Separate State of Mind by Elie Farès, the hilarious Mawtoura (perhaps the funniest blog out there!), and the must-read Newsroom Nomad by independent journalist Nadine Mazloum.

Actually, having published this year’s most viral post wasn’t the only good news I got these past few days.

Before Christmas, I wrote on Facebook: “I just got the best Christmas gift: My Beirut Chronicles has reached over one million readers! And this without spending a penny promoting the posts or the Facebook page and without compromising on anything. It proves that respecting your readers and offering them a different perspective ultimately pays off.”

When I started the blog, I didn’t really know what to do with it. It didn’t even have a name. I was new to social media and didn’t yet understand the possibilities it could, and would, offer. I used to publish few articles every now and then, but nothing regular. My friends were kind enough to read them, and sometimes share them on Facebook or Twitter.

They encouraged me to continue. But, as someone told me once: “the way you think is not exactly mainstream, so don’t take it personally if you don’t reach a wider audience.”

Being a communication professional with over 25 years experience, I obviously knew how to “sell” ideas, brands and products, and to successfully reach the widest audience possible. But that’s exactly what I didn’t want to do with the blog. I wanted it to remain true to my personal vision of things, and never sought any buzz of any kind.

Actually, I went many times the other way, publishing opinions I knew were unpopular and could make the blog lose the few readers it had. In so many words: if people liked what I wrote, I was glad. If they didn’t, well, it didn’t really matter.

Until last year, the blog grew slowly but surely, but wasn’t exactly popular and remained a bit niche for quite some time. But in 2015, things changed as I gave the blog, now called 'My Beirut Chronicles', the time it deserved and it seems to have paid off.

Thank you all for making this possible, thank you for reading and sharing. And thank you Lebanese Blogs and Mustapha Hamoui for the amazing work you’ve been doing, you truly made my year!

© Claude El Khal, 2016