Saturday, October 25, 2008

Egyptian Evil Empires

Few days ago, bMighty magazine published a list of the technology companies whom it considered to be Evil Empires. According to the magazine, an Evil Empire is:
"Companies so powerful, so arrogant, and so nasty that they spark intense, emotional reactions".

So, I decided here to publish a similar list for the Egyptian Evil Empires. They can be companies, parties, or even sports clubs.

1. NDP - National Democratic Party

Some will say the party is really evil, and some will not. But at the end of the day no one can deny how this party is dominating the political scene in the country. The ministers, governors, members of the parliament, and even business tycoons, all belong to the party. And on the other hand no one can even tell the names of the other political parties in Egypt, the NDP has succeeded in turning all competing parties into clowns.

2. Al-Ahly Sporting Club

There is a famous saying here in Egypt, that no one is more powerful than the National Democratic Party except Al-Ahly. I think enough is said here.

3. Microbus Drivers

Those are the real masters of the Egyptian streets. No rules can stop them. No car drives can beat are be safe from them.

4. Al-Ahram Newspaper

Al-Ahram newspaper is the most important media outlet in the country. In fact it is more than a newspaper, it has it's own Advertisement agency, printing facilities, dozens of magazines and subsidiaries. If some news is not published there, then it has never happened. But I think now they are losing ground to new media such as Satellite Channels, Blogs, and Independent Newspapers.

5. Egyptian Tycoons

I think we cannot write such list without mentioning businessmen such as Zeinobia's Chucky, et al. who happened to be members of the NDP by the way.

Please feel free to share your own "Egyptian Evil Empires" list with us.

Laila's Survey

It seems that my previous post was more suitable for my recycle bin more than my blog. It's the third year in row and it seems that no one listens and I really cannot understand what are Laila's main issues and problems. She is still screaming in her own language and refuses to speak to me in my language.

But wait a minute, there is one really good thing is this year's campaign, which is the survey the organizers have published on "KL" site. They are in fact two surveys, one for men and the other one for women. I am really excited to see the results of those surveys. It's really nice that the surveys are in Arabic and English as well, as it is really good to know how foreigners and non-Arabic speakers think, and may be compare their answers with the Arab and Egyptian readers.

Laila day - Survey for men.

Laila day - Survey for women.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Laila, and Big Wave Surfing

After one day or even less, Egyptian female bloggers will celebrate the third anniversary of their "Kolena Laila" campaign. The campaign is intended to let the Egyptian Bloggeresses, speak out and discuss their own social problems as Middle Eastern females. But frankly, during the past years, the Egyptian bloggeresses decided to Scream Out instead, and it was hard - at least for me - to really understand what is their problem or what women really want.

Anyway, I may try to write a separate post about the campaign later on, but what I want to discuss here is the Screaming phenomenon in the Egyptian Blogosphere. It all starts when some natural incidents (Doweika Rock Slide, Egyptian Parliamental Fire), or artificial ones (Kelena Laila) happens, then every blogger here finds himself obligated to write about the incident. Now, we have two questions looking for answers.

Why are we obligated to write about those incedents? And why are we also obligated to write about them as soon as possible?

Let's agree first that we all want our blogs to be read. We may write there for fame, money, or for our beliefs and ideas to be spread. So, regardless of our blogging motive, we do want our posts to be read, and we love to see new visitors coming to our blogs everyday. Yes, we have higher degree of freedom compared to newspapers, and TV channels. We are not enslaved our readers like them and we are free to write whatever we want. Also our readers on the other hand, have higher degree of freedom too. They have all the blog posts in the world for free, and just one click far away. So, they can read my blog today, and then yours tomorrow, and back to mine few days later. They can even add my blog to their News Reader even if they don't really like it that much, because at the end of the day, doing so will not cost them anything.

Now to understand the effect of incidents like Kolena Laila on the blogosphere, let's first have a look on one sport that I always wanted to play, which is big wave surfing. In big wave surfing people rely on waves to move their surfing boards. And by analogy, bloggers also rely on incidents happening in their society to move their blogs' rank up and get more readers. Just wait till the 19th of October and you will be surprised by the number of people searching Google for blogs about Laila, et al. And if you do not write a posts before or even during that Laila wave, the wave will miss you. It's not only search engines, even those who will choose to ride the wave will also look for fresh posts about the same subject to refer to in their posts, so be prepared and have your blog ready to be found. Also in Blog Aggregators like Omraneya, people will be hit by zillions of posts talking about the same subject, and their minds will then be programmed to filter any subjects other than these ones.

So, in brief, my answer is: Yes, you are obligated to write about incidents whenever they happen.

Are we supposed to just write, or shall we think twice about what to be written?

Now, let's see if we can just write anything in order to catch the big wave. If you decided to just scratch on your keyboard and write some nonsense with that day's buzzword in between, people will sure find your post easily by searching in Google, but none of them will save it to his/her blog aggregator, none of them will bookmark it in delicious, or virally send it to a friend. So, it's obvious that you shall think twice about what to be written.

But unfortunately most of us as bloggers - including me for sure - decide to just write. Have a look at last year's Laila's campaign, and you will see that most of the females were just moaning and screaming sometimes, but none of them decided to stop and ask herself if we really can translate her moans and scream to real rants or issues that people can really understand and work on.

Finally ...

Finally, as you can see it is really important sometimes to ride the big wave, but limiting the Egyptian blogosphere to this reactive tidal nature, and also limiting our reactions to just screams and moans, are killing the blogosphere.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Take your McCain & give me my SMSs

Dear Twitter,

I know you may think I am insane, or you may consider me a modern-age caveman. But you know what, I am not interested in the United States presidential elections news. I know it's not only you, it's you, Google, Yahoo, and the rest of the gang. You all are are haunting me with endless news about Obama and McCain - I've just Googled McCain's name now as I wasn't sure how to spell it.

May be it's not your fault anyway, may be it's just us in this part of the world who are not used to that thing called presidential elections. You know what, we are just smarter than you, we do not waste our time on money on such nonsense. And yet we had already experienced colored presidents, Turkish kings, Pharaohs, Arabs, Albanians, Romans, Persians, and even immortal humans ages before you. That's why having colored candidate or female one was really new and exciting topic for you to talk about, but for us it's nothing but boring news. We are smarter than you because your Republican Party's vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palins email was hacked, while we on the other knew that something like this may happen to us ages ago, so we decided not to have a vice president at all.

Also limiting your president to 4 or 8 years only is not fair to both of us. Come on, aren't you going to miss Mr. Bush. This guy is really funny, he makes me laugh anytime he appears on TV. He has his own spontaneous unintended sense of humor, and he even inspired your film makers to produce movies and cartoon characters like Lil' Bush. He's like a real Mr. Bean for god's sake. I really can't believe you are going to replace him with one of those boring guys.

I know you are busy now fixing your XMPP Gateway and some of your scalability issues. So I'll try to make it brief. Please from now on try not to bother me with those presidential elections news, and if you are really my friend, can you serve SMS's back to my country instead, this is what we care about more.

Best Regards.