So our little pet project, 7iber, is about to be launched and the first drop of ink has found its way online. You can read more about what 7iber is and what it hopes to accomplish in this post, but I thought I’d take a moment to discuss it on my own blog, from my own perspective.
So back in January Lina had contacted me about this little idea she had with a friend of hers, Ramsey. She emailed me a one page document with an outline of the idea. Though life somehow kept me distracted and I forgot to get back to her about it until one day, nearly a month later, when I suddenly remembered at 4am.
I met up with Lina and Ramsey at Wild Jordan and we started talking and that was that. I think all it took was that one conversation and a thousand ideas came tumbling out. Many of those ideas are on the back burner until 7iber comes into full blossom, but those are the ones that will come to define 7iber in the long run. I’m sure of it.
7iber is all about an attempt. People might criticize it, might put it down, others might see the potential we see, but at the end of the day it’s an attempt. And I remind myself of that everyday when I wake up in the morning with a new idea of something we could do with 7iber.
It’s an attempt to use the Internet and specifically the power of blogging, to create a sense of citizen journalism in Jordan.
Let’s say you go to an event in Jordan and you really enjoyed it. Write a review about it and we’ll publish it.
Let’s say you stood hours in a line trying to renew your passport. Write about it. Vent out your frustrations, give us your views and we’ll post it.
Let’s say you have an idea on how to better your environment or community. Write about it.
Write about it.
This isn’t even 1% of the full potential of what 7iber could be used for.
Forget about the mainstream media. Forget about governments and bureaucracy. Just write about it.
It’s an attempt to bring all these various voices together into one collective crucible. From the taxi driver to the politician to the artist to the journalist to the street vendor. We’re going to start at the center and branch out as far as we can to capture all those voices. We’re going to articulate those voices, those opinions and views, as best as we can. With a journalistic feel to it.
It’s an attempt.
The potential is really limitless. Believe me. If you sit with Lina, Ramsey and Roba you’ll hear enough ideas to put a huge smile on your face. Something that says, hey, maybe there’s hope for our generation after all; and that’s coming from the cynic in me.
We’re hoping to launch on Jordan’s Independence Day, May 25th. But starting today, a week ahead of the date, I’ll be at the Dead Sea for the World Economic Forum and I’ll be doing some live blogging via 7iber and the Black Iris. So before newspapers editorialize the event to bits and pieces you’ll get to read a citizen’s reaction to the event, blow by blow.
It’s an attempt.
I just wanted to clarify a few things about the project that I think some may have gotten a wrong idea about.
The attempt to establish citizen journalism is exactly that; an attempt. Moreover the second key word here is journalism. We want to establish a sense of integrity and trust for the international community and international media. In other words it’s not necessarily about what you say but how you say it. In other words our focus is more on the latter. So there are obvious “restrictions”, but that’s quite a harsh word. The editorial staff for example, plays the primary role of “cleaning up” the language of what’s written to make it more readable to the masses. The goal, again, is not to censor; on the contrary, the goal is to attempt to break those shackles of corporate media and state-owned media that dominates our country and indeed our region.
So I wanted to highlight the difference between “censorship” and “editing”; it’s the latter that we are involved with and for anyone who’s ever had anything published, they’ve no doubt experienced editing. Moreover, as far as the editing goes, we hope to edit as little as possible. The better the writer, the more articulate the speech, the less work the WE have to do!
This is NOT about four people representing a “blogosphere”. Our “team”, as best as it can be called, is there to serve various roles. Be it editorial or design or what have you. We are there mainly to guide the project and get it rolling as much as possible. Our objective is to have it take a life of its own; where its founders can take their hands off the wheel and let it do its thing. That’s the main goal.
English is being used in order to reach out to a broader audience. The voices of Jordan are in Arabic and their own media is sidelining them. The foreign media and the international arena either cannot hear them or doesn’t understand them. We’re trying to change that. A long term goal is to make it bilingual but in all honesty, after much discussion, we concluded that English is the hard part, so we want to do that first before moving into Arabic.
Everything that you currently see or read on 7iber in terms of guidelines and design or what have you; all of that is in the process of being molded. THIS is what citizen journalism is about; the ability to be shaped as it evolves. The idea is not to remain rigid and static but to constantly and consistently and effectively change. Without that change our project will undoubtedly fail. Our hope, if I can speak for the team, is to shape it through a process through which the readers and the participants take an active part in.
Hope that cleared things up.
Thanks for reading!
Good luck guys! This is great idea.
One thing though, remember the comment (I think Moey left) on the other post about the name? It’s true what he said, this is the first thing I think of at a glance (sorryyyyyyy), so haik the name is just not right…lol.
Anyway. Good luck again.
sounds great, good going, nas and co.
but can you explain the name to me? what does 7iber mean? and how is it pronounced? do you mean ‘cyber’?? sorry, im obviously a little foreign…
7aki: thanks…the design is far from even remotely being started
zahra: thanks….hiber…means ‘ink’ in arabic….the ‘h’ is a hard ‘h’, not really pronounceable in english
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Lailia: thanks for the comment. we are planning on going arabic as the site and project grows. i dont see english as a weak point for it, on the contrary, it brings jordan more comprehensively to a wider audience.
I don’t recall us being asked who should represent Jordanian bloggers? Opps…I keep thinking we live in a democracy. Sorry.
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.Congradulatio to you and good luck in communicating with others
nas: aaahh, hibr! Got it! …with the soft ‘ha’ of ‘hajj’ for instance. Thanks. and lol at ‘cyber’ !! hehe. (i was also thinking of hiber as a short form of ‘hibernate’ and trying to make sense of that?!?! o my, forgive me!)
hiber (now that I have understood it) is a really suitable name for this project, despite it posing some difficulties for foreigners who will need to be told what hiber means and who might not be very proficient at reading the writing of 3’s, 7’s, 9’s and 2’s.
But not to worry, we’ll just have to catch up 😉
Congratulations to the 7iber team on the launch! It looks like a promising project and I wish you all the best.
Mufti–I don’t see where they claimed to represent Jordanian bloggers. The Internet is not a democracy…if you want something done, roll up your sleeves and get to work 🙂
I think the main issue to consider is how much freedom will the ‘citizen journalist’ be given? Is there a code of ethics, taboos, boundaries that are not to be crossed? Are the posts anonymous? who is accountable by law?
I hope it will be a platform for real journalistic insights dealing with both the daily lives, and with the greater political and social challenges. I hope that it will be free of initimidation by authorities and others.
I congratulate you on your endeavour and I think it is a wonderful idea.
Good luck guys! It’s a nice idea to promote citizen journalism in Jordan, we need it! But I think the site will be even more popular if it is in Arabic…
zaid you said what i wanted to say .. the freedom issue .. more likely than not censorship will be applied and i’ll even bet that the site will be monitored by big brother if it starts to catch on.
but i didn’t get how is 7iber any different from any other jordanian blog aggregator?
Congrats Nas. But I think the direction and purpose of 7iber should be clearer to your readers; what value does 7iber give me? Why do I want to read for Naseem, Lina, Roba and the rest of you? are you going to have a criteria for reviews that can and will be published?
Citizen media or journalism is synonym to blogging, blogging has no rules (almost), no restrictions, no rights or wrongs and no limits what-so-ever. but when you have an organized group of bloggers who choose what gets to be published and what doesn’t, I’m not sure how much different is this from journalism and how credible does it make this group of people or this source of info/opinions.
I hope that I don’t have to tell you that I’m actually excited for you guys and for your new project, and that I’m just trying to constructively criticize 7iber while knowing that it’s still a new born baby. Congrats again and good luck!
love the project’s grassroot approach, and I find the irony (wef?) quite shiney, shimmering and splendid, especially since this is going to be the first attempt. (WEF!!!)
Ahh … may you have success in your new project .. sounds very promising … although… the name does have couple of issues…
7iber .. is a negative term, kind of like … my day was 7iber .. as in bad
7iber is also used to indicate worthlessness (as in 7iber 3ala wara2)
Lets hope you luck is not going to be 7iber 🙂
7iber’s team should not and can not censor anybody from writing or elaborating on any subject,don’t be mokhabarat.
thanks for all the comments and feedback guys, much appreciated.
I updated the post above to reflect a response to those comments and I hope it clarifies a few things that seem to have been misunderstood.
thanks again! 🙂
that is just a good start for such an initiative, all the support for you guys
Nas, excellent job! Wish you the best luck. If anyone can make this sucess, it is defniatly you, Roba and Lina! Go Go guys!