With the Arab blogosphere growing as rapidly as it is, it’s really tough enough keeping up to date with the new blogs that come out in Jordan, let alone follow blogs happening outside our own borders. And this premise is in itself strange. The Internet is meant to be border less. The geography and politics and distortion that has kept the Arab street divided for so long, should be theoretically absent in the online world. Yet, it isn’t. How many people follow other Arab blogs? From Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, to Palestine, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Egypt has one of the biggest blogospheres, yet for the life of me, I can’t count more than five Egyptian blogs that I frequently read.
One could argue that perhaps time is a factor, or even the fact that everyone pays more attention to the events that hit closest to home, hence there’s the tendency to read blogs that are located closer to home. Yet even interaction is extremely limited. There isn’t a big exchange of comments, thoughts and ideas between Arab bloggers. The majority of readers and commenters will be from the same country itself, or a foreign country all together.
This is one of the reasons Toot is still my favorite aggregator, and I check it several times daily, just to get a rough feel, or a sampling, of what other bloggers in the Arab world have to say. To say nothing of Global Voices.
It’s a shame that we’re all bloggers and we’re mostly young, yet we depend largely on satellite news broadcasts, along with our parents, for news about what’s happening next door. It’s a shame there isn’t a greater exchange, especially with technology granting us what on-the-ground realities have denied us for so long.
We would discover we have a lot more in common than the standardized elements of language, history, religion and our cynical view of Arab governments.