Taiwan Blog Awards Winners - A Taiwanderful interview with Matt Gibson

Winners of the 2010 Taiwan blog awards

photo of Matt Gibson

 Blogger – Matt Gibson
About the blogger – Matt Gibson is a Tainan-based Canadian snowboarder, surfer, photographer, writer, columnist at TransitionsAbroad.com, and travel blogger at the Huffington Post.
Blogs – http://matt-gibson.org, http://www.esleditors.com/blog (in progress)
Years in Taiwan - 6
Years blogging - 3
Blogging platform – WordPress
Country of Origin - Canada
Age – I can remember renting movies in BETA.
Twitter @xpatmatt

Could you please tell us little about your background? What brought you to Taiwan?
My girlfriend and I moved Taiwan to work for a year to save money to go traveling and broke up shortly thereafter. I needed something to take my mind off of the fact that she found a new boyfriend about fifteen minutes later, so I started a magazine called Xpat. The magazine was fairly successful, as far as free expat publications go, so I stayed and ran it for three years. During that time I learned Chinese and made a lot of good friends, so when I finally sold the magazine so that I could leave, I found that I didn’t want to.
What do you like about living in Taiwan?
I like basically everything about living in Taiwan. The people are gracious and kind. The weather is temperate. The surfing is good. The beer is cheap. The mountains are nearby no matter where you go, and the ocean is too. My jobs pay well and are rewarding. The stray dogs are tame. The geckos are cute. The foreigners are eccentric. The sewers are open and the cockroaches are enormous, which isn’t that great I guess, but they scare the hell out of me when they fly around, and it’s good to be scared sometimes.
The only thing that I don’t like is the pollution, and that doesn’t even really bother per se. I just don’t want to get cancer.
How long have you had a blog and why did you start blogging?
I started my blog three years ago, more or less, as an online portfolio of my published writing. Then I realized that I could probably make some money if I put some time into it. Since then I put lots of time into it. Still haven’t made very much money though.
How has blogging helped you professionally?
I started blogging to boost my professional profile. Blogging increases my exposure as a journalist. It allows me to connect with other writers and editors that I otherwise wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet. It helps readers and editors find my work and helps to me to find assignments. It’s a way of building a dedicated audience.
Basically, my blog is a big advertisement for Matt Gibson the writer.
What are some of the most interesting things you have written about in Taiwan?
Some of my more recent (and serious) pieces include:
A few of my older, funnier articles from Xpat Magazine include:
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Pick a topic that fascinates you, because you are going to wring it for ideas until you twist it to a slow and whimpering death.
Also, take the time to properly optimize your blog for traffic in the beginning; you’ll thank yourself later. Coincidentally, I wrote an article on just that topic for TransitionsAbroad.com called Travel Blogging for Money
What are some of your favorite Taiwan blogs?
To be honest, I really don’t read many blogs. If I didn’t write it, I most definitely wouldn’t read mine. However, it’s basically impossible to live in Taiwan and not end up on Michael Turton’s The View from Tawain now and again. I’m friends with Carrie Kellenberger so I pop over to My Several Worlds when something interesting shows up in my Facebook newsfeed. Of course, I always have to check out Steven Vigar’s photoblog after I spend a weekend drinking in Taipei, and then call him and ask him to remove the evidence.
[Note: this interview was reposted after the original article was accidentally deleted.]