UAE Web of Life

Tracking Websites, E-groups, Blogs and Forums in the United Arab Emirates

Bloggers are helping to push back the boundaries

Posted by advaitin on August 7, 2005

Sunday, 7 August, 2005

http://www.itp.net/campaign/features/details.php?id=3011
Campaign ME newsletter 7th August, 2005

by Tim Burrowes

It’s lucky the slow summer months mean we are fortnightly at present.
There’s no way I’d have been able to get the magazine out last week with
the amount of time I spent surfing Middle East blogs.

Yes, this is a great job — one where, in the name of research, I can
spend my time on activities like that.
Blogs make the focus of our Live Issue on page 13 this week. Although
the trigger was the temporary blocking of access to Secret Dubai Diary,
the bigger issue for marketers is how the growth of blogging in the
region will affect their brands.

A quick surf of the net reveals blogs attacking global brands like
McDonald’s, Nike and VW. And more locally, Etisalat is certainly not the
most popular of services if the bloggers are to be believed.

But the issue currently most hotly debated by the bloggers of the region
— and particularly of the UAE — is the question of just how far can they
safely go when talking about local social and political issues.

Some of these guys are offering excellent blogs full of interesting,
topical and relevant stuff.

They often criticise local media — something they have a right to do, as
much of their own content is far better written, far more intelligently
argued and far more entertaining.
They occasionally tweak the noses of more powerful targets too. But, at
present, they are nervous that they’ve gone too far.

The talk is of self-censorship, which is a real shame as their most
interesting work comes when they push at the boundaries. Like all of the
region’s media, their problem is they don’t quite know where the
boundary is until they find it.
If they are finding things a little warm at present, it is worth
sticking with it. Over time, the media environment has undoubtedly
become easier. Despite recent upheavals, it is important not to confuse
the height of the waves with the direction of the tide, which does
appear to be running the right way.

And for everyone involved in marketing, it’s worth bookmarking the local
blogs now.

For marketing directors you need to know what the consumers think of
you; for PRs you need to be managing your clients’ reputations; for
agencies you need to understand how the brand is perceived and, for
media owners, you need to know what your future competition is up to.
And for me, it’s going to be a great way to pass these slow summer weeks.

(For Cool UAE Blogs (CUB), view the CUB Award Winners here:
http://cooluaeblogs.blogpsot.com

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