Middle East bloggers bloom #AB09 #Mudawanat

Middle East bloggers bloom #AB09 #Mudawanat

Blogging eventsTwo blogging events took place this week: the 2nd Arab Bloggers Meeting in Beirut (Dec. 8-12) and Mudawanat: All About Blogging (Dec. 12) in Doha.

The Big Bang of the Arabic blogosphere is here, and we’re fortunate to be part of it as it happens.

Yes, we’re far from where we should be, far from being an organized community and far from knowing not to organize two simultaneous events at the same time.. but we’re getting there.

Let’s take a quick look at what these two events showcased.

ab09The Arab Bloggers Meeting in Beirut #ab09 was a cosy and somewhat informal event that hosted over 75 participants from 18 countries. The meeting featured presentations and workshops from professionals and amateurs showcasing their own work on music, civil rights and funding, torture, mapping of Egypt and the notable Meedan project that aims at bridging the gap between the Arabic and English cyberspace. We also had an overdose of national pride to the point where it almost, again, turned it into political conspiracy theories. But we digress.

An initiative that’s worth mentioning is that of Manal Hassan to develop open source Arabic fonts. If you’re not aware of the bad situation that Arabic is in online, jump over to this rant.

mudawanatMudawanat in Doha #mudawanat was organized to be a more formal approach to bloggers. Hosted by ictQatar (The Supreme Council of Information and Communications Technology), the conference speakers included Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter Group (previously a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research) and Ahmad Hamzawi from Google Middle East & North Africa.

Owyang’s presentation covered facts and figures about the region’s blogosphere and featured The Next Web Middle East as a notable example of good Middle Eastern tech news. Check the Mudawanat live stream if you’ve got a few hours to spare.

All in all, we were late to get on the social networking/blogging/micro-blogging train. But it’s a start, a good start. Arabic is the 5th most spoken language in the world and the 8th online. Let’s work on good quality content and not focus on the quantity.

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