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Really enjoy dipping into your blog - happily stumbled upon it via some internet search or other. We'll be visiting Hanoi in October, never been before, and find your posts help to put us in a Vietnam state of mind. Cheers.


Fascinating round-up, really interesting to see how the blogs around you have changed over time and how much has happened to/for the writers!

Steve Jackson

Thanks for the mention.

As for the numbers you allude to. You have 800 people subscribed to your blog via RSS using Google Reader.

I recall reading an article about why bloggers stop. Most stop after only three or four posts - and it's usually because of no comments. They don't get it but blogs in isolation are almost invisible. You have to link and comment elsewhere just to be noticed. Even Google is unlikely to find a fledging blog by accident.

The same thing with Twitter. It says "What are you doing?" so people write "Watching TV" and then sit back and wait for something to happen.

Hits are great but comments are better. I was talking to a potential client about what it feels like when you write a post when you get no comments...it's like that moment in the pub when you say something and everyone goes quiet. I find it awful. Embarrassing.

As if everyone has read what you've written and scuttled away quickly in case they become associated with it. The silence kills you. The same, to a lesser extent with a Tweet. Or even a comment on another blog that goes unremarked upon.

Consequently, as with socialising in general, we hopefully learn what makes people interested and what works.

I love Twitter although I'll always maintain that blogging is better. I recall a PR blog saying "thought leaders blog". Nice anyalysis. Everything else is just signposts to what other people have done or think but with a blog you get to put things your way. I'm no thought leader but it's nice to be able to put forward a point of view.

Strangely I blog for myself for totally different reasons than I'd advocate it to an NGO or a client. I blog because it's a need to get something out there. Hanoi tends to be all good but Cameroon was awful at times. Blogging helped makes sense of the bad times. Blogging also helps me remember that I live a quite different life - compared to most people I grew up with.

I think if I was blogging for monetary or business reasons then I'd have given up by now. It was a slow realisation that Our Man in Hanoi had gone from being a diary of two years here to being an account of what looks like being the rest of my days in this city.

As regards Facebook - I have soft spot for it. It is what it is but I find the dynamics of Twitter way more interesting.


Hey there, Sticky! Long time no type to. Glad to hear you've got your blogging mojo back. Blogging has been wonderful to me. I've met so many awesome people and have been given so many great opportunities because of it. I hope to blog until I'm old and gray.

Can't wait to vacay in Saigon next summer!


Torchyblane - Glad you're getting into a Vietnam state of mind. October is a great time to visit Hanoi.

Ms. Alex - enjoyed the process though glad that the list was so short ;)

Steve - Wonder how we would be getting it out there if this new media hadn't existed...would we be writing diaries with no chance of instant readership and some kind of gratification?

Cathy - was really interested to see how you transitioned from an 'exotic' location back to the western world. You've obviously still got plenty to say and, by all accounts, the charity stuff in LA is largely at your impetus. Kudos to you!

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''Where are they now...?''

> ... are you looking for me?

''I am, however, looking to send some link love to other bloggers in Vietnam.''

> so I'm here!

Hi Sticky rice, I've read your blog frequently and really love the way you put the address at the end of each food blog. And it should be you to win if there is a food photographer prize.

Greeting from h5n1!

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Sticky oi, I just realised that I didn't type my link before, so here it is; http://h5n1.toolz4schoolz.com/


Sticky (and Steve & other bloggers out there), I think there are many readers like me who only read but dont comment.
So just because you dont see any comments doesnt mean you dont have any readers.
I dont comment cuz Im kinda "shy" or dont know what to say, but I do enjoy and appreciate all yall's posting!


Noodlepie was the inspiration behind my blog too. It was the first food blog I ever read, although much too late after he already left Saigon. In fact I read every single post on that blog. Wish he wrote about food in Rwanda.

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Unfortunately my impression on my recent tour of Rwanda was that there isn't much to be written about Rwandan food, at least not positively... unless one likes endless lunch buffets of a dozen bland starches and a tray of gristly meat. I'd love ol' Noodlepie to prove me wrong though...


Thanks for 'coming out' mm. And it's not that we don't know we have readers, it's the interaction that drives us on to some extent...so keep it up!

Mai & Fisheggtree - I think Graham doesn't want to limit himself to food...much more interesting and important things going on in that part of the world


Thanks for the kind words Sticky. Good wee round up there. A number of blogs I'd never heard of. Who's Our man in Hanoi?

If I can just pass the baton of appreciation to another blogger... Although I had started noodlepie, and written one post, I scrubbed it a day later when I discovered http://fatman-seoul.blogspot.com/ and, like Mai, read every single post and thought - this is the kind of blog I want to write :)

As for your question about what we would have done pre-blog era... Dunno about you lot, but I was still writing anyway. I wrote that fat pig guide to Hanoi for a start. The whole blog thing, and the advent of Typepad, just made doing it all online so much easier.

You're right Toulouse never inspired me to blog, even though I love the food there. Also, if I'm honest, blogging for money, for the BBC and The Guardian while I was in France, made me less interested. Having a deadline to write to and invoices to write for blogging took the edge and the interest out of it for me.

I'm far happier with what I am doing in Rwanda, but it's the news, the newswire I'm building and the photography I'm doing with lo-tech equipment that interests me there. Fisheggtree is right about the food... it's poor, but anything is after Vietnam, especially Saigon.

BTW - This article in the Economist suggests blog traffic is stagnating: http://bit.ly/ah1zOx I don't really use facebook, but do like Twitter. I think blogs were always about communication and twitter just made that so much easier and immediate. Twitter is great to dip into, especially if you're freelance/work on your own and stuck at a desk in your dining room in Kigali for half the day :)

Thanks again

Steve Jackson

Graham, Thanks for the recognition.

I also blogged briefly for cash albeit just on behalf of a local small business in Nicaragua and nothing so grand as the Guardian or BBC and yes - that was absolutely no fun at all. It felt fake and I am sure it read as such.

As for blogs v Twitter. I keep telling people that Twitter, Facebook etc are a great way to share online content. But if you're not creating something - ie blogging, taking pics, making movies etc - then you're just sharing someone else's work.


Graham - I do remember you referring to that blog many a time...back then I even think fatman had left Seoul. Nonetheless, you were a bit of a trailblazer.

About the blogging on food outside of Asia thing, I don't think I could do it, particularly if it were in Oz or any other developed country...be hard to find a unique angle, to move away from recipes or restaurant reviews, which is not my cup of tea at all. There is so much good online/blog content on food (along with all the incredibly crap stuff)it would be pointless to try.

I read an interesting article about twitter/facebook etc saying that it was having an impact on people's ability to handle large amounts of text without losing concentration/interest. Maybe that's why people are not reading blog posts as much anymore?

Anyway, I do continue to follow your movements in Africa and elsewhere, though obviously with a slightly lesser sense of connection than when you were in Saigon. Wonder if you miss it sometimes?


Graham - this may sound weird but I've gotta say it: it feels warm and fuzzy inside seeing you mentioning my name, since you're the model I look up to in the blogosphere. :-D I read Fatman Seoul too, but my interest in Korean food was sparked by your post on dolsot bibimbap.

Sticky - I find it hard to blog without writing recipes and restaurant reviews, too. But lately I get into trying all the little snacks in Vietnamese sandwich shops around here, and actually researching about them. There must be other kinds of snacks when I run out of Vietnamese stuff. So I think there's stuff to dig up and blog about even in developed countries. Readers' concentration and interest is a different issue though, and what are bloggers to do?
And with Asian youngsters all knowing English fairly well, wouldn't they too be interested in the food scene of the Western world?


Thanks Sticky for the mention. Final Word is still rolling and you were pretty much spot on with the analysis of daughter and mother-in-law. Although I kind of lost the passion for it as well...but it is slowly returning.


I'm here, I'm here! I wrote to Steve from Our Man in Hanoi recently, and he directed me to this post. The truth? I'm madly in love. But you've put the shame in me, so I'm vowing to begin blogging again. Promise.

Love you, Sticky!



There you are, original promoter of and commenter on all Hanoi/Vietnam related blogs. Thought you were lost to us. Glad to hear you're happy and well. Look forward to posts and tweets from you.


Thanks for the shout out! I have come out of an Australian hibernation to also rediscover my blogging mojo and am back in Saigon for round two and another stab with a blunt, crusty banh mi at this crazy place.

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