Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thoughts on the Egyptian blogosphere

So I've been wondering everytime I hear about blogging, what happened to the Egyptian blogosphere, how far its gone, and how much it has matured. Its been almost three years since I've been actively blogging, not even reading any of the blogs anymore. I would think that things have changed dramatically during all that time. Can I affirmatively say yes? I'm guessing no. I'm guessing the number of bloggers have probably grown substantially, the word "blogger" has become a well-defined word, active political blogs are on the regime's radar screen in case they need to shut its author up, but that's about it.

Other than growth in number and local recognition of the phenomenan, how has it grown I wonder? Actively loud bloggers are probably more famous and well known in the media and the Internet community, as well as the state security ofcourse. Some bloggers are arrested from time to time, but is that because of a real threat that bloggers present to the regime or because our regime is paranoid and is just utterly stupid and brutal considering what they did with Esraa the Facebook girl!

Three years ago, when I was still blogging the main question I was being asked by all the annoying journalists, was how do I think blogging will progress democracy. My answers were usually that I don't think it will, though blogging has many other valuable benefits. There more to blogging than just politics for sure, which is what most foreign journalists are interested in us for.

I'd imagine there isn't any collective effort by bloggers for a general steady goal, there wasn't any hope of one back when I was blogging, and it just isn't in us. Our collective efforts are always momentary, for immediate goals.

Anyways, so three years later if I want to start blogging again or to find the interesting blogs to follow, I probably wouldn't be able to. Why? because there are so many blogs out there (not as many as there should be for sure), that people wouldn't find my blog and neither would I be able to find the interesting blog to follow, not to mention find the time to read all the crap that bloggers usually write.

One would've thought that during the 5-year period since blogging has been thriving, technology would follow suit and provide the necessary tools to satisfy the blogging community (globally and local to the Egyptian/Arab community), but alas.

How can I find what the Egyptian blogosphere is saying regarding a specific topic or a current event?! Even simple queries, I was simply trying to figure out how many Egyptian blogs there are out there. The EgyBloggers says there are around 1500 blogs, but this is last updated a year and a half ago, and this is assuming that all bloggers submit their blogs there and that they're all active. The Aggregator used to have a list of all the blog feeds it aggregates, but not anymore. The Aggregator seems to be an attempt to collect the Egyptian blogs in one place, but its not useful anymore with so many blogs out there. The blogs are hardly classified (only a very general tag cloud), not to mention that the interface is really ugly, and no one uses the readers' recommendation system which should bump up the most useful blog posts.

I also wonder, why am I writing this in English still?! I used to claim that I write in English because I am much slower in typing Arabic. But hey, I really like this Yamli tool, and I basically use it whenever I want to write anything in Arabic. This is an example of an advance in technology that enables users like myself to write in Arabic and increase the amount of Arabic content on the Internet. I use it, and it made some aspects of my life easier, yet if I would blog I would still blog in English, hmmm. Its a step though. Other companies like Microsoft (with its R&D centers opening in Egypt two years ago) and Google (starting a new dev center in Jordan) are also starting to target the Arab region, with specific technologies in the pipelines for the use of the Arab community. Will they provide us with technologies and tools to empower us, to hook us to their software (like so many got hooked on blogger), where things can be easier, where we can be more vocal and more productive, would that enable us to solve our inherit problem of working together.


Lasto-adri *Blue* said...

Its like, bigger in number but less in value..
everybody is babbling, and you don't get out with any benefit except if you were lucky enough to stumble a good writer somewhere, and usually it would be artistic writing by girls writers.
Boys are more absorbed in internal politics while that is not having an echo now , unlike at the start of Egyptian blogs.

Egyptian blogsphere is turning into a social community. every group of friends are chatting together. Writing daily posts, then waiting for a compliment tomorrow, to go and compliment another the day after..

I miss you, excuse me that i left, a short break.. etc are so common words you will find here and there..
Slangish arabic is everywhere. Unlike before, when I used to write in Slangish and feel like "3'areeb fl madena".. everybody was writing in pure english or fos7a! ..

I can just add "its turning ugly"..

Mohamed said...

That's a real pitty!

محمد said...

أهم حاجة، انت عامل ايه؟

Mohamed said...

زي الفل.. عاش من شافك يا أستاذ.. (قانون المرور الجديد باضني)

Michael Carl Budd said...

You write in English for the benefit of those of us, lamentably non-arabophone, who value your insight immensely!

MoonLightShadow said...

So.. I was checking, knowing deep deep inside myself I'm not gonna find a new post, though, deep deep inside hoping to find something new.. and surprise, yes there is :)

you can't imagine how happy I am.. as if meeting a long lost friend.. May be because your blog reminds me of some good old days, not necessarily related to your blog..

Anyways, I really need to thank you for Yamli tool, that's such a perfect tool for me, someone who keeps looking for 7arf el zal for half an hour (something not to be proud of, I know)..

One more thing regarding the blogsphere, personally, I stopped following new blogs long time ago, not sure of the reason, but it just became tooo crowded.. just every now and then following the ones I used to read 3 year ago..

Enough blabbering.. again, nice to see you back again..

africanfragments said...

haven't seen you post in a while, you write in english, so those of us outside of the arab world, can get good insight into things, that is outside of the aljazeera/cnn/bbc reportage, something more human...even crappy blogs, are a social commentary, that other forms of media cannot provide

Anonymous said...

Blog more!!! I am interested to
know ur thoughts on Captilism...
I'm so glad u pointed out the obvious. We do apply God's laws
more justly than in Islamic countries. I don't know why muslims
are complaining here. Oh, I know
because we are allowed to without
fear of persecution. I liked Egypt
but would never want to live there.
What really pisses me off so bad is
the poor and low class people are
soooo stupid and backward ass. And
the "upperclass" are such complete
snobs who still remain snobby here
and we Americans still make fun of
them because their snobby ass back
wards attitutes make them look
like total idiots. And their mannerisms and behavoir still is kinda like "low class" to us.
It's like they are straight out of the 1950's. That was like sooo 5 minutes ago!HELLO!!!! If Egyptians
want to come here, don't embrace
fucking liberal/socialistic views
and say captilism sucks. You came
here because the Capatalism works.
What is the rational behind this
logic. The thing is they have found
a party which sympathizes to their
socialist views... The liberals!
I like the Eyptian Christians, they
are mostly republican! Oh and u'll
love the fact that 7 out of 10 of
the "muslim" Egyptians I have met
have married and dumped the "fake"
wife and brought over their true
wife from Egypt. Don't u just love
America? And they wonder why I
treat them like shit? That is the
perfect example of not knowing about religion. Oh but get this
we are dirty KAFIR because we
can kick back tequila and beer. It's pure jealousy. Just have a
drink, go to a house party and get
a life dumb ass. ( not u the stupid
fucks in my building) Please keep
these stupid fucks off the plane?!

eda said...




c's said...

Do continue to write, please

Don't u see how ppl are asking for your re appearance? It's not about the numbers, of course the damn crap blogs having so much followers, but what they could do with those 'followers' ?

just an empty nest

egypt is rich with resources, with enormous numbers of experts and scholars, but still don't know what is making this recent filth

Do write in English as well. Yes, i do live in Cairo, but as i'm not Egyptian, to understand the writings with some sort of mixed language (ammiah) make me worst in

Thank you