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Storytelling Work

8th Blogoversary, With AI Just Around the Corner

Today, I could be a robot. An imaginary character on social media, with AI forming her bones, binary code making up her skin, marketing visions running through her blood vessels, and carefully calculated strategies inhibiting her brain.

8 years ago, when I started this blog, that would have been much less likely, though not entirely unthinkable.

Like a child playing with a plastic dinosaur, an adult or teen might play with a fictionary character, and even grow the game into a multimillion dollar business. Take Miquela for instance, an avatar modelling for luxury brands and posing with celebrities, gaining adoring comments from real humas.

You could argue that influencers have long ago become brands, losing their personalities to whatever sells, so is it really such a stretch to create an influencer from scratch? In a sense, isn’t that what the Kardashians were doing, the difference between Kim and Miquela breaking down into flesh and code?

Last week, I attended a webinar about social media trends, mainly because I’m deliberately very much outside the social media scene. I wanted an easy brief on what was new. What I learned was not what I’d been expecting:

  1. A large number of Finnish Gen Z’s consider themselves content creators
  2. A 10-15 sec video clip is now considered a long video in advertising and carefully crafted 6 sec clips appeal to younger audiences
  3. ChatGPT can produce entirely natural advertising copy or product information in just seconds, or even create a book or university essay

I still have over 20 years left before I can retire, but I’m no longer considered young, especially in the digital marketing field that I work in. Taking into consideration my age and the fact that AI can do my job quicker, plus there’s a surplus of content creators, the webinar left me with a web of new thoughts. Which is what I would expect from a good webinar, except that the thoughts weren’t particularly uplifting.

Following the webinar, our Friday afternoon virtual coffee break at work was spent chatting amongst colleagues who had already tried AI apps. As I’m always moaning about my employer not investing in good photos for our digital campaigns, I played around with creating images with the help of AI. I was having a bit of fun and dreamed up some images that I was quite happy with, as long as I didn’t try adding humans. Humans seemed to always come out nightmarishly distorted.

We also discussed the idea of creating ad copy with the help of AI. If I modified the text created by AI, would that make it more of my own? Would it be okay to just use the AI-generated text as an inspiration and would anyone ever know?

So far, I’m still proud to be crafting every word myself, using nothing but my weary brain cells. But maybe some day I’ll feel like a fool for doing so, at least in the work context. And while autogenerating images or words erases the creative process, I hear those AI apps are addictive once you get started. It’s an interesting concept worth some more thought.

Art: can it be original, if it was generated by AI? AI uses the Internet as its source… but human artists use real life as their muse, so where is the line between inspiration being okay and not okay? I’ve added plenty of article links to this post, but here’s one more, about the man who won a contest with an AI image. I must admit that I love the image.

Obviously, at the core of everything, there’s the matter of proprietary rights. Someone somewhere is certainly already using AI to do half a day’s job in seconds, and then slacking off, but I will be waiting for copyright lawmakers to catch up first.

Waiting and doing things by the book is a generational thing, I realise. Or maybe a gender thing? Or maybe it’s just me. Is it silly to always keep doing things the hard way? Am I too slow to adopt a new tool and take initiative in updating the way I work? Is it old-fashioned or merely prudent to await approval from some form of authority?

My kids are not at school yet and they still dream of traditional jobs. A policeman, a fireman, a doctor. Xrays and planets, oceans and animals, construction sites and legos, all the things that awaken a little boy’s curiosity. But my colleague, who plans to retire early and makes me wonder how, said she had asked her 8-year-old daughter the same question. The girl had replied that her dream job was to become a youtuber or an influencer, so she would only have to work a few hours a day.

Even the internet has changed a lot in 8 years. And so I wonder what work life will be like for my kids’ generation. Hopefully, they won’t have to work until they’re 90. I hope that girl gets her wish, and my kids, too.

Meanwhile, my blog is an old-timer in a sea of ever-growing online content. I’m probably going to try ChatGPT and Midjourney when I get the chance. But I won’t be posting the outcome here – the content here will still be manually laboured and original. Free for a robot to plagiarise. (Tip: Apparently, watermarking your photos can help you opt out.)

Happy anniversary, dear blog, and hang in there, because you’re not retiring just yet!

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56 replies on “8th Blogoversary, With AI Just Around the Corner”

Quite a thought provoking piece Snow.
The research is correct – our attention span has reduced so much that even a 10 seconds video feels too long! I am not sure if this information has reached Germany yet – there are advertisements on youtube there which are like content videos by themselves 😂! See this one which is 58 seconds long but at least fun to watch (first time) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tavs45_JGiA but when it appears for the 20th time, you want to stop watching the content video you wanted to see, if there’s no skip option for the advertisement! We want the advertiser to come to the point as quickly as possible and free us!
os that we are actually interested in watching!
As for AI – indeed, the progress in this area is incredible. It can replace a lot of things but I think humans will find a way for creating the things they want, by now using AI as the tool, just like we started using computers in the beginning. But we don’t know what the future holds.

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Oh man, a 58 second video!! Seems like an eternity even to me! 🙈 I watched the ad in the link you gave and it was quite catchy, though not super original. I guess they know it’ll be efficient!
Let’s hope that AI will become a good tool, easily accessible to all, and in the best case maybe it could help streamline some tedious office routines. Apparently, it’s not that good at calculation yet…

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I’ve been hearing a lot about both AI photography and AI writing. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it and I don’t really understand how it works. Where will the stories go about how we live our lives if AI does all the work? On the other hand… having an AI editor would be wonderful. I always make spelling and grammar mistakes. I could use some extra assistance there

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“Where will the stories go about how we live our lives” – good question! Will our stories lose value, since no one will be able to tell what is real? How many people will be plagiarising them? So many questions. But yes, there could be useful applications, too, and I hope they become more common.

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Happy blog anniversary!
I just listened to a podcast on which they tested an AI to craft responses and opening blurbs for the podcast, as well as some poetry. I found it quite disturbing and unsettling. My kids are 17 and 18, and I do wonder what their working life is going to be like, and – unrelated, but unsettling – how they are going to do things like buy a home, with housing prices so insane now.

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Thanks, Nicole! I saw AI poetry, too, and it’s hard to tell it apart. Or impossible, actually. Unsettling, yes. Fake news will become fake everything and we need to remember to be a bit critical about the authenticity when we read something. As for kids and young adults these days, yes, tough and weird times! I can only hope it’ll get better, soon

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Happy Blog Anniversary. It’s great that you’ve been around this long and that you’re able & willing to write original posts all by yourself, no AI involved. I write an old-school blog and I suspect there’ll always be a demand for that kind of authenticity. Maybe not a huge demand, but there are readers who prefer people thoughts to computer thoughts.

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Thanks, Ally! Same here, I believe authenticity will always be in demand. The problem is, how will we be able to tell which content is authentic once money-makers, spammers, and the likes start using free AI tools to generate blogs and comments? The avatar Miquela still looks a bit like a robot, but if she looked human and didn’t mention she was AI, we wouldn’t know 🤷‍♀️

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Happy blog-anniversary Snow! (Got you on my mi-hind… That is a line from the song Happy anniversary from the Australian pop-group Little River Band, perhaps a little to far back in time for you to know.) AI chat is an interesting phenomenon that deserves some thinking. I can imagine it could be a starting point for a piece, digging up facts from the internet that one doesn’t have to be doing oneself, wich safes a lot of time. But it is, I think, unlikely that such a text will come up with someting unique, something with an own voice, something one like to read for the choice of phrasing, use of style, and of course specific content. I think 80 to 95% of what is written fits in the category: ‘OK, thanks for the imformation. And next’ What makes reading fun is the other percentage of writers that make you want to read more or again. Those are the creative people. Maybe AI establishes just that: infomation versus creation. Because I am wondering: would AI chat add a detail as in sentence two of this Text? Would it make the connection? Would it be able to associate?

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Thanks, Peter! True, AI lacks emotion. But with luck, it’ll use lines from texts it finds on the web in such a way that it might sound creative. As for using it as a tool to do things faster – yes, I’d very much be interested in that. But you really have to be creative, a true pioneer, to understand how to do so. There was an article about a guy who used AI to complete a key word analysis in seconds and he transferred it into an excel that he could work on, saving a lot of time. I think that’s often the problem: not really knowing what you could use this new tool for, lacking ideas to do things differently, better. Perhaps these ideas come easier if you expose your brain to new ideas regularly, whether it be new people, articles, cultural events…? Hmm.

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Fabulous post ! I really appreciated all the links to read about the controversy. I maybe out of the technology game but I still don’t fear it as much as some. I don’t think it’s the AI tech that the issue, more the laws and ethical behaviour of those who do the data collection (internet scraping) to enable the technology. There are some very interesting debates to be had, the very least of which is “… human creativity being displaced by computers.” I don’t think so.

There’s a lot drudgery involved in generating digital content and a lot of digital content is not ‘art’. I say so from my perspective of amateur videographer, animator and visual designer. I am glad that there are tools available that enable me to dabble and I’m sure that the tools available to professionals, allow them to be MORE creative.

As to monetary rights of those who’s original content is used to see brands? Again, rights & ethics in scraping … but really, isn’t there a deeper issue of why and how much branding & social media drives behaviour ? and why we allow it? In your anecdote about the 8yr old who wants to be an YT influencer & only work a few hours a week … I am sad to hear this. There is more to real-life that what’s presented in a YT screen. What happens when IRL implodes (like a pandemic or a Putin?) … aren’t we glad for the doctors, firemen, nurses, builders then?

I could go on but I’ll stop. You’ve presented a very thought provoking topic and I appreciate reading about it.

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Thanks, Sandy, for sharing your thoughts! I was thinking that maybe the techie in you would be all for AI, or at least up for a little debate about it. I’m not hugely against it nor am I for it. It seems a bit dodgy but I don’t think there’s any going back. In an article that I didn’t link to, Nick Cave called ChatGPT and artificial songwriting “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”. Personally, I think we were already at that point when the influencer thing started, personal branding, filters, etc.

Why does branding and social media affect us so? Because we compare ourselves to our peers. It’s in our nature, like gossiping or judging by looks. Brands are a way to capitalise on it.

Yes, we need our real life heroes. But will the younger generation realise that? Will they know how to have some healthy criticism towards what they see and read online, when they’ve grown up with algorithms deciding what’ll be shown to them in their own specific bubble?

Then you mentioned tools for creativity. Looking at Midjourney’s site, there’s a gallery of images that seems to be updating in real time. Some of the images are very inspiring. They look otherworldly but they make me want to invent a story to go with them. It’s not all bad.

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Happy 8 years of blogging! I heard recently for the first time ever of AI writing. I’m not sure what to think about it really.but it makes me sad. And I wish my kids could have had my childhood without internet and social media and mobile phones.
So far, they are not using it but once they start school..it ll change then

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Same thoughts here (and thanks for the congrats). I’m actually afraid of tiktok and snapchat viral videos and challenges, where sometimes someone dies because they are encouraged to do stupid experiments. Not to mention online bullying, shortening concentration spans, having your entire life online, etc… Times were simpler for us, that’s true! On the other hand, I think they have more possibilities now that you can find information about whatever interests you

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Oh golly – one thing I don’t need in my life is a possibly addictive app! But I do know a lot of people who think differently. I’ve worked with a lot of editors I could swear were robots but to me editing is not simply applying rules.

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Happy 8th blogversary Snow!! Finding your blog is a gem in this AI world. Frankly, all the AI names that you posted, I’d not heard before. I’d to search google for it. Haha! AI is good in a way and very lacking in personal touch on the other hand. As for your blog, it’s rare to find such an authentic blog these days. Every word is crafted from your thoughts and personal experience. AI most probably couldn’t figure out how to copy & paste emotions. Yet. 🙂

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Thanks, dear friend! And the same applies to your blog! AI certainly can’t feel emotions, but when will it learn to emulate them well enough to fool us? Some of the texts ChatGpt has produced are very believable, you really have to keep sharp and critically analyse everything you read these days. The metaverse phenomenon is just as confusing as AI influencers, for example. Will it stop people from caring about the real world, when they can hide in an alternative reality?

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I ponder the same and it also makes me wonder why people would be drawn to travel into alternative reality. I can’t help but think maybe the real world no longer feels real and ideal anymore. In metaverse, you can totally immerse yourself, do the things you can’t in the real world, go on stunning adventures…sounds like a reality right? I wouldn’t mind being in the Avatar world. 😁

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Happy blogiversary!
AI is not the enemy. We have met the enemy, and he is us, as the saying goes. People already google “what’s the best …”, and believe the replies. Your not seeing “the best” product, but the product with “the best” SEO. Follow the money. Whatever is going to produce the most money for the most people will be the fare you get. It won’t matter if it’s original, vintage, human or AI, the choice is ours to embrace or decline. Modern music is a topic that sounds like this AI debate. The industry changed 180 degrees from record companies (labels), agents, demo recordings and promo tours to “bedroom studios”. Content creators (like myself) that write, record and master songs in their home studio. (Technology makes it possible for me to assemble a recording studio in my parlor for just a couple thousand dollars that enables me to produce professional quality mastered recordings. In the past, this process required massive machines and tens of thousands of dollars.) Now, “indies” release their own music on Spotify and promote themselves. Distributors choose the ones with proven performance, on someone else’s dime.
That 58-second video? Truth is, when you’re watching TV shows, commercials and many movies, there will be a cut on the average of once every 1.5 to 2 seconds. Does anyone notice or stop watching? Check it out sometime. It’s video hypnotism. An image is on screen barely long enough for your brain to process, then it changes, and now your brain starts to process the new image and so forth. This subconsciously locks your eyes on the video. (This is related to a phenomena called “persistence of vision”, which is the thing that enables motion pictures to appear like-well, motion. Not 60 individual photos each second.)
Why do we buy greeting cards, billions each year, with the same old graphics for art and the same old sing-songy canned ryhmes? At 5 bucks each! Because someone told us we have to send a card for this (add another every year to grow the market) holiday. Does anyone make a home-made card or note and send it? Isn’t a home-made card something you’d expect from a 5-year-old? Would we call it “original art” or quaint. Or perhaps odd?
Sometimes we call something “hand-crafted” and talk of “craftsmanship” and we long for the sense that someone made this with great personal care. But how many things will pass muster when you put the home-made up against the store-bought? Humans can quickly convince themselves that this “small batch hand-crafted, boutique” thing is great but this other thing is “just home-made” and not up to par.
We mourn the loss of the old-fashioned and hand-made, but we don’t want “home-made”, and we’re not willing to pay 4 times the cost for hand-made shoes when the store-bought ones will do just fine. (Brand recognitions and conspicuous consumption notwithstanding).
So, we’ll like what we get whether we like it or not. Cameras on TV shows will continue to swing about wildly in that “documentary” camera style, though the Steadicam was invented 50 years ago and even cell-phone cameras have sophisticated image stabilization. The video will jump every 1.75 seconds on average, unless you watch a John Ford film from the sixties with 2-minute takes. The music will have only two chords and not a hint of human error due to BeatBot and AutoTune.
And if the AI bot does his homework right, and reads a lot of Dennis Miller rants, it could turn out some posts that harshly criticize the profusion of AI in our lives.
That would sell. Bet that would draw some folks to my revenue-generating blog.

Probably Paz (and in no way a robot or anything).

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Thanks, Pazlo, for your thoughts! Your music example is spot on, both in good and in bad. The same goes for pretty much everything: greed is a common factor when things start getting ugly. But if used creatively, AI can be of assistance to us and probably make our lives easier. I think it requires us to first have the creativity do dream of ways to use it besides the obvious. Maybe it’s just easier for us to think of commercial uses. The hunger for money runs in our blood. And sure, I’m no exception. Have a good week!

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Happy that you are here and still blogging the old way. Most of what you mention in this post scares me. I was afraid of robots when little and mum sometimes pretended she was one just to scare me (for a few seconds only). That influencer AI is scary as hell.

Nowadays taking photos implies so much editing that one could as well just invent the whole scene. I’m glad that the winner of that photo contest refuses to apologise.

I also wish that children get their wishes fulfilled, even though sometimes we shouldn’t get what we wish for.

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True, we might just as well invent the whole scene! I have nothing against AI produced images, but I wonder about the production process: how much of it can you call your own? How much control do you have over the outcome? And how can you check how much of it was stolen? E.g. Midjourney’s showcase shows photos that all have a similar, dark look (and I think many of them are very cool) but it seems to me that look was coded into the system, so that they would all look cool despite the prompt. 🤷‍♀️ Maybe I’m wrong.

As for AI influencers, I agree! They are very scary. They also make me feel old, because in one if the articles I read, there was a screenshot of an IG post where Miquela was posing in a way that got responses ”Que sexy”. For me, the pose just looks ridiculous and overdone. But those poses just keep getting crazier, apparently… and everyone copies each other.

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Well, thank you for bursting my bubble. I was happily ignorant of all these AIs that Forbes mentions in the article you shared… Yes, indeed, so many young people are now ‘YouTubers,’ ‘content creators,’ and such (as profession). They all like to think that it’s a lucrative business (it can be, but not for all – I’m a great example. LOL). Now, with AIs wanting a piece of the pie… I worry about those who already don’t have the ‘work’ mindset.

Happy Blogoverary!

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Hey, Sam and you’re welcome for the bubble bursting! 😃 I have nothing against breaking from the mold and making money independently, but most of those people just have nothing unique to offer and I always wonder how they became so popular. Once they are popular, the circus really begins and soon they’re bathing in money. It’s confusing. I think we should all be dreaming of a better world where we don’t have to work as much and as long (unless you want to) and where we have more time to enjoy life. A slow coffee in the morning while the kids play, instead of a rushed morning with everyone running around frantically, quick drop off at daycare and skip breakfast to make it to work on time. Or yoga at noon, instead of a pointless meeting, where people just complain. You know what I mean. Anyway, thanks for the comment! 😊

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Congratulations on your 8th anniversary! Your blog is still as thoughtful and well put together as it always has been. As for AI, humans will always try to do anything just to see if it can be done, whether it’s a good thing or bad. It makes me think of computer chess machines. When they first came out they were ridiculed and considered never likely to play the game anywhere as well as a human. Today, it’s a given that no human can really challenge a chess computer. I suspect the same will be true of AI produced art and writing and who knows what else. But there is a foolproof way of detecting AI produced material. Just invite the artist/writer for coffee, then jab it with a sharp stick!

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Hahah! I’ll keep that in mind. I wonder if that sharp stick at all resembles the stake you use for vampires? 🧐
And you said it so perfectly, humans will always try to do anything, whether it’s smart or not (thinking of Jackass now). The jackasses of coding have even created scary robots: imagine one of these chasing you! https://youtu.be/fn3KWM1kuAw
Maybe they could focus their energy on brainwashing pills to turn dictators nice or curing cancer or stopping the globe from boiling. But no, they are playing Terminator or I’m-gonna-be-an-astronaut… 😃
Your chess example was interesting! Although it occurs to me that the computer was only taught chess in that case. Now, we’re teaching them EVERYTHING…

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Those are scary videos for sure. And when they iron out those telltale little robot-like movements, the next step will be to abandon the robot look and clothe these things in a lifelike appearance. Then we’re characters in a sci-fi movie!

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Happy blogoversary! It’s crazy because I read something about ChatGPT just this morning and I had never heard of it before! As a translator, AI can pose a real threat to my job, even though I’m pretty sure it could never fully replace the human brain. Same thing for blog posts, while it must be very interesting to see how it works out, I wouldn’t see a point in having a computer write my blog posts, for the main reason that it is something that I enjoy doing! 🙂 very interesting post anyway! I hope you have a nice day!

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Thanks, Juliette! I didn’t realise you were a translator – yes, it’s a threat! So far, google et al. haven’t done a great job of translating, but AI might be slightly smarter… human editors will always be needed for sure. And isn’t translating often about speed, paying per word? Maybe you can use it to your advantage! 😋

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Yes, AIs are getting better and better at translating, and editing is a highly demanded skills because even though some AIs do a great job, none of them are perfect, and a “human eye” is still needed! A lot of my job involved speed, but no translator could beat an AI for sure! We all have to adapt our skills more or less, and it’s true that the market is different than what it used to be, but there is still hope (and some jobs) ahah!

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Paljon onnea kahdeksanvuotiaalle! ✨

Tämä oli pitkään lukulistallani, kun ajauduin taas ajankäytön madonreikään sukkuloidessani viitostiellä.

Olipa kyllä ajattelemisen aihetta kerrakseen! Hyvä, pohdiskeleva artikkeli! Jokaisen linkinkin taisin kurkistaa, osa toki entuudestaan tuttuja. Olen minäkin tuota miettinyt, että onko koko bloginpito ihan turhaa tässä yhä hullummaksi menevässä maailmassa, kun AI pystyy pian tekemään ihan kaiken saman jonka ihminenkin. Loppupeleissä kuitenkin kirjoitan noita omia “polkukertomuksiani” vain itselleni. Jotta muistaisin miltä joku tietty paikka on tuntunut siellä käydessä. Eli mun jutut on oikeastaan työläitä matkamuistoja. Paljon helpompaa olisi tyytyä niihin jääkaappimagneetteihin.😄

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Kiitos! Tämän jutun kirjoittamisen jälkeen on nyt viikon aikana käynyt niin, että kollegat ovat jo ottaneet chatgpt:n käyttöön omine lupineen ja usuttavat muakin kokeilemaan. 🤷‍♀️ Kai sitten kokeilen varmaan… Vapaa-aikana kirjoittaminen on kyllä täysin omaksi ilokseni, sillä kirjoittamisesta tulee hyvä fiilis. Siihen ei AI oikein pysty auttamaan, kuten ei sullakaan ☺️ Muistot tosiaan jäävät paremmin mieleen kun niistä kirjoittaa. Jääkaappimagneetti vois olla muuten hyvä matkablogin nimi!

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