BLOG PAKISTAN

 

“For those unaware, of who this man is, let me put it in a very simple way: Hollywood has Batman, Superman, The Hulk, and Spiderman. Pakistan has Edhi”.Stated on Usman Gulfaraz’s blog post, this statement moved many as he paid a tribute to Pakistani humanitarian, Abdul Sattar Edhi. Usman is part of Pakistan’s emerging blogosphere.

 

Initially what started as a slow trend, blogging picked up on popularity, as access to internet increased prompted by declining DSL costs and availability of free blog hosting websites like WordPress, Blogspot and iGoogle. Contrary to the widely held belief, that politics in Pakistan is recreation, blogosphere is not inhibited to political discussions only. Blogs cover a wide array of interests ranging from sports, music to media, culture and philosophy.

 

Professor Adil Najam, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, of All things Pakistan and Dr.Awab Alwi of Teeth Maestro are two names synonymous with Pakistani blogosphere. Their blogs are distinguishable by heavy traffic while their opinions and posts are highly regarded. One cannot hesitate in saying that the duo has the power to set the direction of our country’s blogosphere.

 

Blogs are not restrained to locals. Contributions to the blogosphere extend to expatriate Pakistanis like Kalsoom Lakhani of CHUP! – Changing Up Pakistan, allowing them to share opinions and discuss the happenings in Pakistan. While celebrities like Naveen Naqvi known for her association with Dawn News TV, have their own blogs which coagulates fan interaction with opinion sharing on various issues.

 

Of late, the blogosphere had been flooded with posts from Sialkot lynching incident to spot fixing to Aisam’s exemplary display of sports and statesmanship at the US open. Bloggers have been quite vocal when conversing about issues of daily concern.

 

Pakistani blogosphere has become a barometer for gauging the vibe and voice of the educated Pakistanis. The significance of which could be judged from the fact that even CNN, NY Times and DNA India have been quoting views from blogosphere when reporting on events of mutual interest.

 

The digital resurrection of media has evolved the power paradigms. Marked by a shift of control to the individuals, being a publisher on the web is not an un-accomplishable task anymore. Backed by a consistent influx of comments and opinion sharing on the content generated, the “search” aspect has allowed the individual to be in a relatively favorable position to control content discovery than the media brands.

 

 

The traditional media has finally embraced the new vogue in readership. The growing need of information by seekers has led news blog to develop. These blogs have strengthened the connect with their readers by giving them an opportunity to submit articles and photographs while simultaneously allowing them to comment on news items and blog posts. Expanding on revenue mediums, print media has managed to lure online ads through the heavy traffic on the blogs.

 

The blogging world is not all virtual as it’s widely perceived. Blogger meet ups and conferences take place periodically in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad whose aim is to connect blogger for idea bounce offs in regard to performance enhancement, content quality and revenues by sharing their experiences and expertise. Such meet ups are sponsored by companies like Google, CIO and HP.

 

While on the other hand some meet- ups are specific- purpose driven, like in the case of Nokia a blogger meet up was held when it started the series of sneak previews of the Nokia N97. Telenor too held such a meet up for their CSR initiative ‘Karu Mumkin’ whose aim was to experience the idea with Telenor Pakistan’s marketing and communications team.

 

Moreover, to acknowledge the best bloggers in different genres and branding Pakistan on the global blogosphere the First Annual Blog Awards 2010 Ceremony was organized by Google Pakistan and CIO Pakistan.

 

“There is a great need for events like these,” said Dr Awab Alvi, popularly known among the blogosphere as Teeth Maestro.

 

Accolades were handed out to a total of 41 blogs in different categories ranging from celebrity, fashion and gossip to politics, current affairs and technology among a host of others. The voting process brought thousands of internet users to cast in their preferences, after which a panel, representative of organizations like Unicef, Cisco, Intel, P@sha, Dawn News, DELL, Demotix and educationists from Columbia Journalism School and Harvard University deliberated to sift out the winners for the best blog award in their respective categories out of 207 entries.

Conclusively it can be inferred that the blogging phenomenon in Pakistan is not a fad, rather a media formulation that is gaining momentum and acceptance with the audience and contributors. The blogosphere is channeling out its resources more widely as conventional media picks it up to upgrade itself, broadening the purpose and role of blogging. The growing inclination and recognition of the blogging efforts can be translated as a positive stance towards this new medium.

 

Published in Slogan media magazine October 2010

 

 

 

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