According to Julie


Back to the weblog

keep calm and write a blogI used to copy and paste interesting quotes or whole articles into documents I stored locally. I would reread these documents often, and quotes would eventually make their way into my own writing. An article I had stored in June might provide inspiration the following March. This was before I had a Twitter account, or a smart phone, or a concept of what “social media” was.

Now when I read something I like on the internet, l tweet the link,  hopefully with a quote I found particularly thought-provoking, but too often, with just the headline. Off it goes in the hope that one of my Twitter followers or Facebook friends will enjoy it. After all, “sharing is caring”. But what’s in it for me? A month later, finding that article again means scrolling through my own tweets, which looks super-self-obsessed, even by my standards, and which is pointless unless I already know what I’m looking for. And if I do, I might as well just google it. Meanwhile, I can’t remember the exact reason I shared it: What did it make me think about? Something clearly made we want to react to it. or process it in some way.  But I haven’t processed, only “shared”.

If I continue down this lazy, sharing-just-because-there’s-a-share-button path, I’ll find myself Facebook-liking articles via one of those handy icons at the top of the page without even reading it, just because the share-buttons got to me before the complete sentences did.

I’ve made a decision: I want to use social media the way I did before social media was something you could do for a living. I don’t mind if my online presence is more personal than social. I want to go back to the weblog – my collection of what I’ve read and heard and thought about. If someone else likes it, great! If not, at least I have my digital archive (I’m a digital word hoarder. We’ve already established that).

My digital introversion is not (just) me getting old and longing nostalgically for a bygone pre-Instagram era. Last month, Dylan Tweeney wrote for VentureBeat that blogging is making a come-back, now with better integration with social networks, as a way for people to take back control of their online lives. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great tools, but they control what you upload more than you control their user policies.

Anil Dash writes on his own website (with no share-buttons, just: Readability-buttons):

In the early days of the social web, there was a broad expectation that regular people might own their own identities by having their own websites, instead of being dependent on a few big sites to host their online identity. In this vision, you would own your own domain name and have complete control over its contents, rather than having a handle tacked on to the end of a huge company’s site. This was a sensible reaction to the realization that big sites rise and fall in popularity, but that regular people need an identity that persists longer than those sites do.


We’ve lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we’ve abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today’s social networks, they’ve brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they’ve certainly made a small number of people rich.

My blog is on WordPress at the moment. But I can transfer my whole blog from WordPress to a competing blog platform or back to a personal domain. In fact According to Julie recently moved from a personal domain edited with Movable Type, to WordPress. It was my dad’s personal domain, and I needed his help in the moving process, but I trust and influence my dad way more than I trust and influence Facebook or Twitter.

In this space, I decide not just what I publish, but what I do with it later. Seven and a half years after I started According to Julie, I can easily find my first blog post. I can’t say the same for my first tweet or my first Facebook status.

I'm busy read my blogErin Loechner, a blogger since 2001, recently described her new blogging philosophy as “slow blogging”, writing: “posts will be much more infrequent in this coming year. Instead, they’ll be more heavily curated and story-driven, harking back to my first love: writing.”

A return to blogging as the center of your digital presence could also mean more frequent, short posts of course. Eirik Newth (one of the first bloggers I read regularly) noted the lack of short posts in his blog as he turned to Twitter whenever he wanted to give his readers a look-what-I-found-on-the-internet tip. I wanted to blog about that, but I tweeted about it, proving his point.

That was back in 2010, when I searched for my favorite Norwegian bloggers and found that most of them had stopped blogging and started tweeting. That was the year I got an e-mail about my RSS service Bloglines shutting down, felt wistful for a while, then realized I was spending all my time on Twitter anyway. When Bloglines reopened shortly after, I wasn’t paying attention to it anymore. But all my feeds are still there, and on Google Reader, where I moved them (easily), just in case, back then.

I don’t agree that my attention span is permanently damaged by 140 characters and constant updates. But as I’ve been heading back into this paragraph-based world delivered by RSS feeds over the past couple of weeks, I feel more relaxed. It’s easier to think of what my own response to what I read should be, beyond a retweet.

Not that I don’t want you to retweet this obviously. Just think about it too.

And speaking of RSS feeds, you should also read this “Remembering Aaron Schwartz”.


Over to the dark side?

The day after tomorrow, I start work as a communications consultant with Burson-Marsteller in Oslo.

Source: have asked me if this means I am “giving up on journalism” or “crossing over to the dark side”. I answer that I am going to start a job that seems challenging and interesting, and well-suited to my talents. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to feel a single negative emotion about that.

Because I loved to read and write, I decided to become a journalist. It was the more sensible version of becoming an author. That same love of language could have made me choose to study law or literature. I originally wanted to be a librarian, back when I was four and thought their job was to read all day.

I absolutely loved my job as front page editor with E24. Putting together the combination of headlines and pictures on a constantly updating news page was challenging and exciting, especially because it called for an understanding of current events, journalism and esthetics at the same time. I enjoyed working as part of a team, and I loved that my job was about adding the finishing touches: taking my co-workers’ great reporting and turning the news site into a finished work, then changing it again when something new happened in the world. Editing for argument was another opportunity to add polish: I loved taking someone’s extended notes on something complex, and turning it into a finished article, with a catchy headline, and memorable opening and closing sentences. I was beginning to wonder if I found the process of editing more interesting than fact-collecting and actual reporting.  Despite being a complete geek about headlines and lay-out, I wasn’t so geeky about the news. Not that it wasn’t interesting. Typing bold letters across the front page as the news unfolded was a rush. I just didn’t feel that I knew enough about the world to make explaining it to thousands of readers my permanent job. At least, not yet.

So I got a Master’s degree. While at The London School of Economics, I started searching for a job that might put me in some happy medium between the hyperactive content production of online news and the meticulous snail pace of academic writing. I hoped that I might find a way to combine the information curating and analysis of the London School of Economics with the bold communicating of tabloid news sites. At an LSE careers event for economic history students, a consultant in the oil and gas sector told my class that consulting was a lot like my LSE classes: if you could collect and interpret information and then present it in a way that was as interesting as possible, you would be doing a good job. After some research, some luck and a few interviews, I had a job.

I don’t yet have a snappy four-word definition of what communications or PR is, and I am not 100% sure what I will be doing on a day-to-day basis. But that’s one of the things that appeal to me about this. If my luck continues, and if my instincts are correct, I think I can look forward to learning a variety of new skills, with a diverse group of talented people.

After spending some time in the insecure, temporary world that is the job market for young journalists, I am also looking forward to getting paid, consistently, because my contract doesn’t end when someone older than me comes back from maternity leave or travelling. The working conditions for journalists and other writers are a story for a different blog post, but I will say this: it feels good to hear someone say they want to pay me for what my brain can do.

All the reasons I’m a journalist are still true. I still believe that the world needs good journalists, and that I could be one of them. Norwegian journalism books are written in the first person plural (“We write like this…”), which makes it almost too easy to identify as one of “us” from the first day of school. But throughout my time at journalism school, I always said that if my job was writing (about something other than sports), I would be happy. I was there to get through the system so I could get my first internship, so that I could get the experience I needed to put me in a position where someone would pay me to write. I honestly believe that most real-world problems can be solved through good communication. This is a good philosophy for me, because it means I can, theoretically, save the world with words.


Answers to other FAQs: Burson-Marsteller was established in 1953 by Harold Burson (who, at 91, is still writing speeches, articles and blog posts) and Bill Marsteller. B-M is one of the biggest public relations companies in the world, with 67 offices and 71 affiliate offices, operating in 98 countries across six continents. That last fact is from 2011, but feel free to count the offices yourself. The Oslo office has been around for about 30 years, and there are roughly 35 people working there. I think. I’ll count them when I start.

Image credit: backofthenapkin (CreativeCommons), 


Writing is an addiction I’m glad to have

CIMG3557I can’t remember when I first noticed the lump on my right wrist, but when lifting a fork became painful, I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore. On May 13th, I left work and went to my doctor because my wrists, fingers, arms and shoulders were hurting so much that it prevented my lunch from reaching my mouth.

We all assumed it was tendinitis in the wrists, a typical repetitive strain injury. I was a journalist and front page editor spending most of my free time swing dancing and tweeting – of course my wrists were strained!

I was told to stop writing for two weeks. Then for two more weeks. Then for two more. And eventually it had been three months.

Read the rest of this blog post at Nascent Novelist, where I was a guest blogger this week.

Photo by Åsmund Solberg Nilsen
(Nails done to celebrate 4th of July, in case you were wondering. This hand was the the stripes; the other one was the stars.)

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Guest posting soon

I’ve committed to writing a guest post for Writer Wednesday at  the blog Nascent Novelist. Which leads me into a paradox: I’ve been trying to write a post about not writing for a long time now, but I’m having trouble finding the write right length and level of “personalness”. And so the problem of communicating what it feels like to not be able to write has left me unable to write – at least about not writing.

Just to help my own creative, albeit slightly narcissistic project, I’m going to entertain the thought that you are all very curious about what I think about writing, and how I write things. If anyone has a writing-related question they would like me to answer in a blog post, I may just give up my difficult, personal, how-a-writer-feels-when-she-can’t-write post in favor of answering your question.

Anyway, read Nascent Novelist. My guest post will be published on November 16th.

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Cookies are for eating


A new EU directive will require that websites get their users’ clear consent for all cookies by May 25, according to Deutsche Welle. This could mean endless pop-ups repeatedly asking for your permission to store info.

In Norway, online cookies could become illegal by the end of April. E24 wrote about this back in January, and it’s worth repeating. Anders Willstedt, leader of Inma, an interest group for interactive advertisers, told E24:

"If this goes through, it will send the Internet back to the stone age. The people who drafted this bill don’t know enough about how the Internet works. It would mean that loading the front page of the newspaper Dagbladet would require ticking 27 ‘permission to store cookies’ boxes."

It all depends on what we mean by consenting to cookies. Yahoo, Google and Firefox are working on various ways of letting us give or deny permission to store cookies once and for all, instead of every single time we load a page.

For the other kind of cookies, the answer is much, much simpler:

Image source: Cookie monster by Chibcha, Creative Commons. The cookie sign is mine, photographed in my old apartment.

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En gave til mine fans

Det er som kjent ingen skam i å Google seg selv. Man kan finne ut mye rart, som for eksempel at E24s nye publiseringssystem tydeligvis samler alle artikler med min byline på denne siden.

Riktig nok kaller systemet disse artiklene for "kommentarer". Da jeg underviste en dobbelttime i norsk for en førsteklasse på videregående denne uken, var jeg nøye på at det å skille mellom kommentarjournalistikk og nyhetsjournalistikk er kjempeviktig. Så norsk-elever: Ingen av disse tekstene er kommentarer.

Går du litt langt tilbake i arkivet dukker det også opp artikler jeg ikke står for. Jeg har ikke skrevet om at norske skuespillere er trege til å ta i bruk Twitter eller at Anne B. Ragde synes Dennis Storhæi er kjekk. De er skrevet av en VG-journalist og desket av meg,

Men ellers, hvis du er en av de mange (selvtillit er fint) som oppsøker E24 kun for å lese mine ord, look no further.

Men da går du glipp av mye bra. Er du en ordentlig Julie-fan, må du også sjekke E24s forside regelmessig. Jeg er tross alt også forsideredigerer.

Les også: Greatest hits 2010

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Dagens blogger: Astrid Meland

Det er 16. desember, og jeg er fullstendig klar over at Dagens Blogger-spalten ikke ble en julekalender, men en slags semi-fast spalte. Uansett er dagens blogger Astrid Meland.

Astrid Melands blogg veksler mellom morsom og alvorlig, frekk og inderlig, dyp og overfladisk, så fort at du ikke alltid er helt sikker på hva du sitter og leser. Det bør altså ikke komme som noen overraskelse at hun jobber i Dagbladet.

Selv mener hun at "den mye omtalte Dagbaldet-schizofrenien er jo genial. Den burde fått en diagnose med artigere fortegn.  Bipolar? Manisk depressiv?"

Det jeg liker best med denne bloggen er det varme forsvaret for den gode typen tabloidjournalistikk. Meland leder noe av det jeg faktisk leser hos Dagbladet, nemlig nettutgaven av Dagbladet Magasinet. Tabloidisering handler om å overbevise leseren om at saken bak tittelen, bildet og ingressen er verdt å lese. Jo bedre saken er, jo morsommere er det å lage tabloide innganger. Den kombinasjonen – tabloid inngang til viktig stoff – klarer hun både i blogg- og avisform.

Blogg: Astrid Meland
Twitter: @astridmeland

Utvalgte innlegg
Hvordan unngå skuffelse når du leser tabloide medier
Tabloidsakene vi liker
Hva gjør Wikileaks som ikke journalister allerde har gjort?
Nettordbok (inludert klikkhore selvfølgelig)


Dagens blogg: NRKBeta

Det er 8. desember, og jeg har egentlig ikke så god tid i dag. Derfor tenkte jeg at jeg skulle raskt og enkelt anbefale en av Norges mest kjente og best leste blogger: NRKBeta.

Så begynte jeg imidlertid å lese NRKBeta. Og det som skjedde da kan best beskrives med ordene til en av bloggerne, nemlig Anders Hofseth, i innlegget Hvorfor jeg aldri ble venn med Samsung Galaxy Tab:

Etter at jeg har surret rundt på nett i årevis, går fortellerformen på TV for sakte for meg, jeg klarer ikke helt å falle til ro med enveiskommunikasjonen og tidsskjemaet mitt stemmer sjelden med TVs. Vegeteringsbehov dekker jeg istedet med nett, det gir meg mye av den samme opplevelsen, følelsen av flow.

Den ungarsk-amerikanske psykologen Mihály Csíkszentmihályi har forsket på hva som gir lykkefølelse og fant noe han kalte flow, følelsen av å være i ett med det man driver med – øyeblikk der man ikke merker at man har et selv og hvor forholdet til tid og sted blir utvisket.


Nettsurfing kan også gi flow. Jeg har ofte tatt meg i å være dypt inne i noe på nett – på et nivå hvor jeg ikke merker at det er 15°C i rommet, at klokken er alt for mye og at jeg skal være et sted om femten minutter. I noen av disse øyeblikkene har jeg nærmest en opplevelse av å være fysisk inne i det jeg leser.

Jeg gikk altså inn i en flow, og plutselig hadde jeg brukt opp tiden på å surfe gjennom blogginnlegg om diverse gadgets, nettsteder og annet teknologiprat.

Jeg er ikke spesielt opptatt av gadgets; i hvert fall ikke til girl geek å være. Det skyldes kanskje fenomenet mamma pleide å kalle "bakerens barn", eller i mitt tilfelle nerdens barn. Jeg har som sagt kjøpt 1 eneste datamaskin i mitt liv. Gadgets har bare dukket opp (nå sist var det en iphone, men det får bli en annen bloggpost).

Men tekster som denne underbygger min påstand om at Enhver som kan skrive godt, kan få lov til å fortelle meg hva som helst. Og at gode anmeldelser er interessante uavhengig av produktet de omtaler. Og derfor skal dere lese NRKBeta: fordi de går dypere i forbruker-IT enn lanseringsjournalistikken, uten å bikke over i utilgjengelig fagnerding.

Og fordi jeg synes det er interessant at en skikkelig blogg vokste ut av NRK. Det er noe å tenke på under den evinnelige debatten om skillet mellom ansatt og enkeltindivid i sosiale medier: Det kan skje mye bra om man setter merkelapper som "beta" og "sandkasse" på ting og så gir folk litt plass til å leke.

Blogg: NRKBeta
Twitter: @andorand og flere, se her

Utvalgt innlegg (mer rekker jeg ikke): Hvorfor Apple ikke er så viktig (ja, jeg vet jeg gjør det viktig ved å si at det ikke er viktig, men dette er et bra innlegg)