Thursday, July 06, 2006

Blogging

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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6 comments:

trailingspouse said...

"After email I would say that blogging is the most significant tool the Internet has to offer." I'm not sure I entirely agree with this statement, in that I think internet chat/telephony is probably number 2 (probably soon to become number 1). However blogging is certainly a seductively easy way to get a personal presence on the Internet and to interact with other people.

What interests me about the UAE Community Blog and its members is the opportunity to "speak with" and "listen to" a wide variety of people who I would probably never interact with in my daily life otherwise, not just because of geography but also because of age, occupation, culture, etc. It also gives me a degree of anonymity (if I choose) so I can speak without inhibition.

Your rational approach to blogging (a blog for each specific topic) is very appealing. Right now I'm just writing random bits and bobs, trying stuff out. It bothers me that I lack focus but I'm a great believer in biding my time. Eventually I hope I will find my "voice".

BD said...

Hi trailingspouse. Thanks for your comments. I guess never having gotten into telephony or chat I have overlooked what these features of the Net have to offer.

We do have a virtual community of sorts in the classic sense through UAE Community. We get to know each other by our monikers and get a real sense of one another's personalities.

It is also interesting and nice that this happens in the context of a community or society where the extent of free speech is debatable. I notice that we often have to tip-toe around topics, but we still manage to get a variety of views across.

It was just as simple a thing as stumbling across the web page Hong Kong, One Photo A Day that gave me the spark I needed to start this blog. Another great thing about how the Internet and blogging works! ...that is, the Eureka moments we get, not this blog!

trailingspouse said...

Thanks for the link . . . that's a great photo blog, I can see why you were inspired! Hmmmm, that's got me thinking . . . where's my camera?

bandicoot said...

I am very new to the blogosphere and like may others out there still experimenting with my blog (ideas and format). I see my personal blogs as a unique and convenient way of putting my thought s down on paper and potentially communicate them to others and even get to know their reactions. It’s an awsome interactive diary of sorts. But to do it right you need to be dedicated. I feel sad to come across excellent blogs that haven’t been updated in ages. But I'm also afraid to say that the blog world can be just as shallow and random as the real world sometimes (for example, there are many blogs out there that have won fame for the all the wrong reasons). Yet it's still almost a magical pursuit, nothing short of space travel perhaps. I personally hope to give equal time to my three different personal blogs; so far I failed, and the Dubai one is the most active, but I won't give up yet on the other ones.
I think the uaecommunity blog is among the best community forums I came across so far. Many forums tend to be so boring in their orientation and may degenerate into something else, serving more like platforms for narrow personal agendas, hate speech, or mindless vulgarity. I'm glad the uaecommunity blog is differnet and hope it stays that way.

BD said...

many blogs out there that have won fame for the all the wrong reasons

Interesting comment. But I guess one ought not judge the contents--it's all about free expression after all. If it's popular it's popular.

I suppose the only sin in blogging, besides failing to post regularly, is to be boring. (You mentioned both of these.) But sometimes it's hard to always be witty and clever and hard to keep up posting when you have a day job.

bandicoot said...

What I meant is, there are blogs that inevitably remind me of some characters (or films, institutions, forums, media outlets, etc.) from real life, whose popularity has little to do with intelligence or creativity, etc. But you're right; it's free expression and free choice, and this is what I perceive to be at the core of the blogging activity. It's the most infinite and diverse free market for ideas we have now, and that's what's so great about it.