Portrait of a Blogger: Jared Bibler

Posted on June 27, 2006

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jared.jpgAn American in Reykjavik 

Second in our series of Shortcut blogger portraits is contributor/blogger Jared Bibler who covers the beat in Reykjavik. Jared arrived in Iceland from Boston in 2004 and since then has provided regular cultural, economic and gastronomical commentary from the hip nordic capital. Check out his blog, the popular Iceland Report.

 
How / Why did you start blogging?

I started the Iceland Report as a way to keep in touch with the family and friends I left back in Boston, and I suspect this is the way a lot of us expat bloggers get their start. I was tired of writing the same emails and answering the same questions about life here, so I started just posting little snapshots of what was going on here, and what differences I was noticing in life here. At first I didn’t expect much of an audience beyond people I already knew, but about a year ago the readership really began to pile on. The name was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, because the blog was just my report from Iceland.

What’s your blog The Iceland Report about?

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The IR is about life in Iceland as seen from the viewpoint of an American who’s consciously chosen to move here and is mostly enjoying the decision. I try hard (but not always successfully!) to keep the blog written from the perspective of an Everyman, to help others imagine what it’s like to move here, live here, and work here. I get a lot of reader feedback from people who are considering doing just that, so it seems to be working.
 
Do you know who your readers are?

About half of my readership is Icelandic, which at first came as a big surprise to me. In this tight-knit society that’s only beginning to be comfortable with the idea of immigrants, people seem to be very curious to hear what the útlendingur has to say about life in their land. I think that the quality of life in Iceland is a lot better than many Icelanders realize, and I sometimes get comments like, "Wow, I never thought of [having a giant mountain towering over downtown] as special. Thanks for pointing that out." It’s a really nice reward for writing.

Next after Icelanders, comes the United States with around a third of my readership. The rest come mainly from Europe. There are a lot of Iceland-dreamers who read. These are people who have either never been here but are for some reason entranced by the place (like me in second grade) or have come on a vacation or two and fallen in love with Iceland (me after 2002). Many of them visit IR daily for a little dose of life here. I try to mix in some more mundane and sometimes downright negative aspects of life here, to remind the dreamers that life here isn’t always wine and roses, or glaciers and hot tubs, as the case may be.

Ever gotten into trouble for blogging?

Not yet, although I’ve been recognized downtown a few times by both tourists and locals who I have never met and that can be a little unnerving.

Upside of being a blogger?

Getting insightful comments, reader emails, and meeting interesting new people I otherwise would never get to know. At this point, I’ve met almost 10 readers as they come through Iceland, and I’ve always found them enjoyable. I think by being the type of people who like reading the blog regularly they’ve self-selected as people who I would most likely get along with. It makes sense, but I still find this a pretty amazing side-effect of this new means of communication.

What do you do when you don’t blog?

I go swimming a lot. Iceland has amazing pools (and locals, of course, don’t realize that this is special!) and I go every day on the way home from work. This spring I started playing bass clarinet with the Reykjavík City Band. And in general, I like to walk around downtown, sit in cafes, and try to read the Icelandic Sunday Morgunblaðið. 

Check out Jared’s other Reykjavik entries, especially his useful ranking of Reykjavik Swimming Pools.

 

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Posted in: reykjavik