Serhii Pishkovtsii, a resident of Uzhhorod, started a blog to post life-asserting information. Today this resource is quite popular among Ukrainian young people. Despite the popularity of social networks, the blogosphere has its role in Ukraine. Today we will talk about a special online resource – blog “Inspired” (www.inspired.com.ua). Its motto – “the source of your inspiration.” Creators of the blog focus on positive content because it motivates and forms optimistic life view. They describe “Inspired” as an island free from negative information. This blog is especially popular among young people (for example, it has nearly 18,000 subscribers in the social network Vkontakte). Recently “Inspired” team tried to step up from blogging to real journalism and presented Inspired Magazine.
The Day spoke about the online resource and the situation in Ukrainian blogosphere with the founder and director of “Inspired” 23-year-old resident of Uzhhorod Serhii PISHKOVTSII.
How and when did you get involved in blogosphere? What inspired you to start your first blog?
“I got interested in blogs back in 2006. That was the time of the launch of web 2.0 services, many people tried to blog. Social networks were not yet as popular the way they are now and blogs became a great way of expressing yourself. That’s why I also got interested in it. My first two blogs were very different: one was personal, where I wrote about everything that happened around me, and the other one was about politics because I was interested in it back then.”
How did you come up with the idea for the “Inspired” project?
“I wanted to create a place on the Internet that would be free from negative content, horrifying photos, and annoying information. “Inspired” became this place. We collect only the bright, positive, motivating, and interesting content, mostly visual. Blog’s audience are young people aged from 18 to 35, who want to reject stereotypes imposed by society and see the world in new ways. We promote active life style and unbiased outlook among our audience and they like it.”
Recently the blog turned three. You started on your own and now “Inspired” is a collective case (information on the site states that seven people are involved in making the blog)… It is rather unusual for a blog. How do you like working in a team?
“Gradually, with each year, more people joined the team that is now working on the blog together with me. The thing I liked the most about this process was its positive nature. Members of the “Inspired” team came on their own – some at first were just readers and then decided to become one of the authors, others wanted to actively join the project right away. It is rather difficult to be an author, editor, and manager of the website all at the same time, however, it also brings lots of joy because every new person means new contacts, new opportunities, which I would not know about on my own and wouldn’t be able to manage it all. The key thing in team work is the fact that everyone writes about something he likes a lot for a certain column, that’s why the quality of materials and motivation for writing them are much higher.”
What does the BUBA 2011 prize (Best Ukrainian Blog Awards) mean for you?
“Contest for the best blog that we won became a good test for the quality, primarily for me. I was able to see that the project was really interesting not only for the jury, but also for its readers. It’s a pity that the competition was not conducted this year. Even despite the fact that Ukrainian blogosphere is not that large and, in fact, has no big or star projects, it is still a pretty good incentive for anyone who published content to think about its quality and their goal.”
On December 21, 2012 you posted on your website the first issue of the online magazine Inspired, fully laid out and, in fact, ready for printing. Have you succeeded in your experiment in shifting from blogging to journalism? How close are these two spheres in your understanding?
“The key word is, in fact, ‘experiment’ – we tried our hand in a new format. If we would look at the readers’ reaction to the magazine, it turned out pretty good. We received nearly 100 positive reviews that people sent through a special form. As for the quantative indicators, the magazine was downloaded 3,000 times and was viewed online more than 13,000 times.
“Only those who tried their hand in journalism can understand in what ways it is different from blogging. We fully experience that while working on the magazine. Unlike working on an Internet project, where every second has weight, and you work in real time, making a magazine requires more time and balanced decisions. We had to consider all the details from the subjects of the articles, choosing people for interviews, and details like font types and the cover. The first materials for the magazine were ready already in summer and, of course, we wanted to post them right away, but we kept the exclusive articles for the magazine.”
Have you considered publishing a paper version of the magazine? Do you plan to make the second issue?
“Of course, we considered publishing a paper version. Our readers expressed such thoughts, even more, they even suggested certain prices that they would be willing to pay for a magazine every month. Given the fact that we did not want to take money for the first issue of the magazine, it was distributed for free – people could download it from our website in pdf format or read it online using the Issuu service. Nevertheless, we left the details for donations for readers so that they would be able to assist financially if they wanted to. We collected the total of a little over 500 hryvnias which is very little, but it is still pretty good for the first time.
“Regarding the second issue and releasing the printed version, we have postponed these plans for now. Of course, it is much more pleasant to hold a physical copy of your creation, to not be dependent on the screens of tablets or laptops. But the printing press is still a completely different industry that has its own different rules. And we feel like fish in water when we work online. However, if we would find a solution that would suit us in all aspects, then, without a doubt, there will be the continuation of Inspired Magazine.”
Is there a clear line between blogging and journalism in Ukrainian information space? How high is the level of Ukrainian bloggers?
“Personally for me journalism has always been interesting because it is a great way to provide people with information. Another question is how this information is delivered, whether it will be done in a professional way (journalism) or amateur (blogs). The boundary between these two concepts became so blurred that now you can’t always distinguish a blog from real mass media. But in my opinion, those blogs that follow journalistic standards, may fairly be called media, since the only thing that makes them different from traditional news websites is the format of content presenting.”
What trends can be seen in the Ukrainian blogosphere today? Do social networks hinder or facilitate its development?
“A genuine trend in recent years has been the massive dispersing of the audience. When five years ago blogs could be easily localized on several popular platforms, now authors write not only for specialized services, but also in social networks. In addition, virtually every major news agency (Korespondent, Ukrainska Pravda) opened their own blog sections, where both invited stars and ordinary users can write. The only advantage of social networking in this sense is the convenience of publication. There is no need to open your own blog, no need to fiddle with its settings – all your texts and thoughts can be seen by all your friends and subscribers right away.”
In your opinion, in what cases should a person start his own blog?
“I have long been watching what motivates people to start blogging and during this time I came up with certain conclusions. Motivation can be different: some read a lot of articles about making money online and start a blog to pump money that way (of course, it is too presumptuous), others start their blog to be heard, and yet others simply write for themselves. In any case, I think that you should start your own blog even if you simply want to start one. Perhaps, you won’t become a star of blogosphere or the most quoted Internet author, but at least you will learn to clearly express your thoughts and will have a great online diary which you’d enjoy reading later on.”