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Connecting the dots
A recent study at Harvard University maps out details of the Arabic blogosphere and its links to global networks.
October 19, 2009 8:54 by Precious de Leon
Egypt, in fact, is shown to have the largest cluster of blogs in the Arab world, containing several sub-clusters. These sub-clusters are categorized according to the topics they cover such as religion, politics and youth issues. Saudi Arabia has the second largest cluster after Egypt. Kuwait is ranked third. All three have large, distinct national blogospheres.
Beyond these, blogs in other countries, principally the Levant countries, meld into a larger grouping in which we find mixed Arabic and English blogging. Blogs in the Levant seemingly form a bridge to the international English-language blogosphere, including American blogs. Syrians split into two distinct bridges: some blog in English, merging into the international bridge, while others blog in Arabic and connect up with Saudis.
Two more features complete the global connection. First, bloggers in the Maghreb write in a mix of Arabic and French, and link frequently to French-speaking sites around the world. Lastly, there is a loosely connected, multinational group of bloggers focused on religion, predominantly Islam.
Across the region, bloggers discuss issues under three broad categories: politics and public life, culture and personal life, and religion.
About 73 percent of these blogs are in personal diary format that centre on activities, personal thoughts and reflections. It is rare to see discussions on the blogger’s personal single life (14 percent), including love, relationships, dating and family life (15 percent).
The poetry, literature and art category is the most popular topic for women and comes second for men. Human rights tops the men’s list and technology is third.