What do you have to say?
CAIRO: Over the last few years, blogging has become more and more popular. Blogs, previously referred to as ‘web logs’ and eventually shortened to the current form – provide an expressive Internet-based outlet for millions of online users.
Arguably, they are the key to true democratization of online content. The technology behind blogs has always been quite simple, especially for the tech-savvy, but for the lay user who does not understand, nor feel the need to conquer the intricacies of actually coding a web page, blogs have been a God-send.
Blogging sites, in short, have made available the power of push-button publishing, and they have given this power to anybody who can get online. It has become common for news stories to break on blogs, and for traditional news sources to quote bloggers and use them as sources. Blogs are most certainly in, and they’re not likely to go out of fashion anytime soon. Blogs may well prove to have been the greatest leap in publishing since Gutenberg invented the printing press.
According to the statistics provided on the very first page of the Egyptian Blogosphere, an index of Egyptian blogs, there are at least 1,500 Egyptian blogs.
Undoubtedly, this is a conservative estimate, based on a count of blogs that the site has been able to catalogue and confirm as Egyptian. Of those, 40 percent are in English, and around 60 percent are in Arabic.
Around half of these blogs are listed as being of a personal nature – in essence – journals. It is perhaps not very surprising that over 20 percent are political. What may yet be surprising for people unfamiliar with blogging is the volume of readership that some blogs attract.
Blogs attract readers who have learned not to trust mainstream media sources with their war maxims, battle slogans, and news reporters who don’t seem to flinch at the mention of what an empathetic viewer could only call humanitarian catastrophes.
They have learned to distrust the rock solid smiles of newscasters whose every expression betrays just how far they are from the nexus of events, and how very little understanding they have of the true impact of the events they report. When readers come to blogs, it is often because blogs have, in some cases, become the journalistic front line.
A quick look at some Egyptian blogs reveals why so many bloggers feel it is their duty to write. Some blogs court controversy on a regular basis. Manal and Alaa’s blog, primarily political, is one of the most well read Egyptian blogs online and the authors seem to enjoy the support of many online readers.
Baheyya is another blog of note and although often political, is generally focused on taking the pulse of Egyptian culture. Another blog, more infamous than famous, is the derogatorily titled SandMonkey, read favorably by those whose loyalties lie westwards and with great grief by others who read it and feel nothing short of betrayal.
The good thing about blogs, as previously stated, is that anybody can publish one. The bad thing about blogs, of course, is that, well – anybody can publish one.
Another site worth visiting, although not a blog per se, is Egypt Blog Review, which highlights some of the blogs, reviews them, and publishes interviews with the authors involved in an attempt to understand more about what blogging means to Egyptians and what Egyptians have made of blogs.
They’re here to stay, and if you’re not writing one, maybe you should.
Omar Kamel is a musician, video producer and writer. He maintains a blog at http://septic.blogspot.com and updates it randomly.
The Egyptian Blogosphere http://www.egybloggers.comBlogger.com http://blogger.comManal & Alaa http://www.manalaa.netBaheyya http://baheyya.blogspot.comSandMonkey http://www.sandmonkey.orgEgypt Blog Review http://www.egyptblogreview.com