A short, romantic history of blogging in the Arab world (and on meeting the last two bloggers on my list)
Amira is from Bahrain. Ahmed is from Saudi Arabia. I’m obviously Jordanian.
The three of us have many things in common, but for the sake of this post, it is one underlying factor that combines us all: we all started blogging in 2004.
The date is very important, because unless you were super online in 2004, you probably can’t recall how early it was in the life of the social web. 2004 was a time before Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It was a time when the mere idea of sharing your thoughts with strangers on the web was considered crazy. It was a time when there were just a handful of bloggers in the Arab world, and we all knew one another very well and were often in touch.
Blogging was different than what it is today. It was a niche and difficult enough interest to be a major combining factor between bloggers, a deep insight into our characters as humans. If you were a blogger in those early days, you were either a GNU geek or a romantic lover of self-expression. I was the latter, so were Amira and Ahmed. We got along well, and we “blogged” at each other all the time. In fact, one of my favorite blog posts in the world is a letter that Ahmed wrote to me in 2006.
The years passed and I met almost every blogger worth meeting in the Arab world, but I was somehow never in the same country as Amira and Ahmed.
Then in the past month, a whole whopping ten years later, we finally managed to meet. I met Amira in Amman, and Ahmed in Dubai, and what fun it was!
Naser is one of my very good friends, and we initially met through blogging in 2006. Yesterday, we were discussing how easy it is these days to become friends with people you meet on the Internet. Somehow, the boundary between reality and the digital life have become so thin, even for people who are not really online. We worked hard for meeting, at some point in time, so it was so lovely meeting both Ahmed and Amira.