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Connecting the dots

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

Blogs in Saudi Arabia focus more on personal diaries and less on politics than any other group in the Arabic blogosphere, according to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

The case study, Mapping the Arabic Blog­osphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent, is the latest in a series produced under the Internet & Democracy Project.

The study used a base of 35,000 active blogs across 18 Arabic-speaking countries. These were narrowed down to a network map of 6,000 most-connected blogs, some of which used a mix of Arabic, English and French.

It showed that Arabic blogs are primarily organized around countries of origin or residence.

Within these clusters are loosely connected sets of blogs focused on Islamic, personal and political issues. Blogs in and about the kingdom, in particular, devote far less attention to domestic political leaders in terms of criticism and support than those in other countries. Instead, Saudi blogs are written predominantly in a personal diary format, more so than any other cluster. Collectively, Saudi blogs also lean more towards discussions on technology.

Who’s blogging?

Across the region, bloggers are “overwhelmingly young and male”, with women accounting for only 34 percent. Of these women, 47 percent were in the 18-24 year age range compared to 24 percent of men in the same age bracket. Most of the male bloggers are younger than 25 years old.

Syria and the Maghreb have the highest concentration of male bloggers. Egypt holds the highest proportion of female bloggers, at 47 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, at 46 percent.

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