After email I would say that blogging is the most significant tool the Internet has to offer. Like email it is a tool for the masses. Where email enables anyone who can punch in letters on a keyboard to send text messages to others, blogging enables one to use the medium of the computer to broadcast messages to an unlimited audience.
Both blogging and email are in fact powerful tools for initiating communications from a grassroots level. It is this everyman quality of blogging that excites me the most.
I author several of my own blogs. Each has a specific obejctive. One which I call MAG 218 Community is directed toward establishing a virtual community, to eventually become a real-life community in a residential tower under-construction. With the property's investors being scattered around the world, the blog serves as a tool for establishing a community that would otherwise not likely come into existence.
In another, which I call DM Blog (Dubai Marina), the aim is to focus attention on a variety of issues connected with living and investing in the Dubai Marina. Building upon that I hope to advance consideration and discussion on the issues raised.
Cost of Blogging
The only substantial resources required to set-up and maintain a blog are time and a sense of dedication. Money, expertise, equipment, support, etc. are not needed for the blogger to do his or her thing. One only needs an idea and then a plan for how to communicate that idea in the form of text and (often) images.
Further to its grassroots characteristics, blogging allows a community of individuals to interact in a very public fashion while imparting their views to a wider audience. That audience might include at one extreme the random net-surfer who just happens upon the site and at the other extreme the very party or parties to whom the message was directed.
It is a tool which is always available--there is no editor to reject a submission for lack of space to fit it in or due to the nature of its content.
It is a tool with a wide swath. That random net-surfer may not have been the targetted party, but he may in fact come to be engaged by the message in an unexpected way. An obscure blog could, for example, have a ripple effect in some distant corner of the globe.
The UAE Community
The UAE Community Blog is a local (UAE) forum which seems to be making just such a splash. Its posts are sometimes picked up by the local media. When there is a popular story with international implications, it is the likes of a UAE Community Blog that the curious from abroad search to get views and a sense of the pulse of the local community. Such a blog clearly has a wide footprint.
Thus, while it is little more than the musings of a collection of local and scattered residents and otherwise interested individuals, the UAE Community Blog is one of many such endeavors where contributors espouse their views around a virtual roundtable, before a worldwide audience.
That is what makes blogging interesting and exciting. There really isn't anything else like it on the Internet. Much more than was possible with the common homepage in the past, blogging is more dynamic and interactive. It brings people together and it causes things to happen in the wider community.
Update: For blogging aficionados, a very inforative read: Why Blog Post Frequency Does Not Matter Anymore
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