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.

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