Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Purpose of Blogging (attempted essay)

If you've been following my blog than you know what this post is about, if not then here is a summary, this is basically a reply to a questionnaire by a western journalist .

Why do people blog? or more specifically why does Highlander blog ?
Obviously as I stated in one of my first posts, I got into blogging because I wanted to create a website with a good friend of mine. We never got round to doing that. Then I read about Salampax, contacted him, toyed with the idea then started blogging. My primary aim was to reach a western audience to show a small glimpse of Libya, but through our interaction I hoped to eventually learn more about myself and who I am. So you can say it is a personal trip with an agenda of dispelling some strange impressions about my country.

I’m flattered when people read and interact with each other or with me on the blog . That makes it enriching and shows that my words have reached someone, even if they [the someone] react negatively I still appreciate that they took the effort to write about it. It means, as one reader said in her email that my words 'somehow echoed true in their innermost psyche and they had to lash out the only way they knew how'.

Sometimes I offer my ideas, at other times alternative ideas; if you have read all my posts you will see that for yourself. I think my main point is that on the whole this blog has been fair and objective to many subjects and thorny topics. Usually I spend about three hours daily on blogs, reading/commenting, including on my own blog.
Friends and family (those who know), enjoy seeing me happy and having my own little garden plot to tinker my writing in.

I believe that blogging has a lot to offer, the least being fresh opinions from a region traditionally mysterious, misunderstood and misrepresented in the media. Through blogging, the rest of the world could learn and make friends with teenagers, professionals, grown ups or whomever, without the need for go betweens, ‘au naturel’ sort of. The special challenges you refer too could mostly be technical. I’m not worried about my blogging because I believe that I have managed to present a calm and well balanced image of Libya or other countries in the region as you say.

You could officially call me a ‘news –addict’, as soon as I open my eyes and switch on the PC, I immediately turn to the news online. My choices are varied but that is how one forms an opinion I think. Reading several European, US , African Asian and Arabic websites is my daily stop. The reputable ones allow you to judge for yourself and make your deductions about the mainstream media. It has by all means influenced my desire to blog, in the sense of having my personal podium.

Blogging is definitely real; bloggers are revealing incredibly intimate details to the whole world so it must be real to them. Through this experience I met a whole lot of people who had similar interests and came from all over the world. I even became good friends with many of my virtual acquaintances, and the dialogue has moved to the ‘real’ dimension. However, I would venture to say that when one is sincere, then there is a dialogue, be it online or in our world as we know it.
I’m impressed by the sheer number and quality of Arab bloggers. It is thriving. The Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Tunisians, Bahrainis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Moroccans, and the Iraqi of course- and all the other Arab countries I did not mention- blog in many languages, French, English, Arabic . This is fantastic. There are even a few Libyan blogs out there now, which I’m trying to collect. Also blogging has allowed Arab expatriates to meet with their compatriots who remained home. Another aspect is meeting up with bloggers' it is a wonderful opportunity to dissect our common interests or disagreements even more.

Anonymity gives you the freedom to be who you are without the usual clich├ęs attached to you by the people who might know you, and so you can let go of your creativity. On the other hand sometimes you wish to stop being anonymous to totally share events and experiences.
I don’t see why is it relevant what my attitude towards America is , why did you not ask me if I was pro- Australia or anti –EU for example. Do you wish to impart by this question that only the US counts? Still I will answer you, it is ‘neither’. I consider myself a citizen of this world and hence all countries matter to me including America.


programmer craig said...

Good post Highlander... I don't think I've ever asked you how you felt about America, but I've been accused of labelling other people "anti-American" so I can relate to your viewpoint on that :)

I think it's naive, though, in this world where everybody either blames America (for everything) or they don't, to say that ones opinion of America has no bearing on their politics! That seems to be the root of pretty much ALL global politics these days! ANd I, for one, don't like it. I really wish it were true that one's opinion of America was no more or less important than their opinion of any other nation. But, it's not. In my opinion. But that's not really an opinion! Virtually every (political) blog I visit boils down to wheteher people like what America is doing, or don't like it. I think to suggest otherwise is to ignore the obvious.

I have noticed though, that you try to steer away from such conversations on your blog. That makes your blog a rarity, and it's one of the reasons I like your blog so much.

By the way, I agree completely with your views on the importance of blogging. I'm not even a blogger, but being a regular reader of some blogs has dramatically changed my opinions on a few very important issues. I think reading blogs has become more important to me than the news. It really changes things when you feel like you know somebody, and see how events are effecting them, and how they react, rather than just seeing a 30 second blurb on television!

removedalready said...

A good piece of work & I have never stop visiting your blog after accidentally stumbbling upon it many months ago. Keep on blogging please so we could share opinions.

I felt that there was a need for me to blog as I find it a good place to share my problems, to vent out my anger & express myself. At the same time, by blogging it helps me to control my temper! Improve my English too! ;P I think I used to speak better English during my schooling days...but lately ....

AK said...


good post, shame it did not make the news article

as for blogging, my own reasons are that have lots of information that is useless unless blogged on it seems

Anonymous said...

P-Craig, "Virtually every (political) blog I visit boils down to wheteher people like what America is doing, or don't like it. I think to suggest otherwise is to ignore the obvious."

I agree , and sometimes you will find US foreign policy and how it affects the world we live in, but I don't make it the be-all as you've noticed. As I clearly said in the post blogging is important as a tool to get the people together.

Anonymous said...

redenclave, yes blogging does improve your language skills also, I noticed that with some of the Arab bloggers, they pick up a lot of idioms and vocabulary along the way, and it is also like your personal shrink only a lot cheaper ;)

Anonymous said...

Alan, all information is useful , you know that of course :) , because information is power it's just that there is so much to learn and so little time to cram it all in a lifetime. Trust what you are doing is contribute immensely to the knowledge pool of humanity and making sense to somebody out there in the world ( or the extraterrestrial world *wink wink* ).

Anonymous said...

oh and alan , I don't mind it did not make the article , i wass very reluctant in the first place, plus anyway everyone i reading it all from this podium ;)