The most disappointingly silent Egyptian blog—perhaps not for Abderrahmane Mustafa, author of “The Loss of Popularity of Egyptian Blogging,” but certainly for me—is Baheyya’s.
Baheyya, who has a lovely writing style and an incisive literary analysis, has posted only four times since the middle of last August.
Mustafa’s main concern, at least in his recent article, is the downtick of action in political/citizen-journalist blogging, which he attributes partly to fear of government reprisals, partly to lack of financial remuneration (bloggers have to focus on their “real” jobs), partly to bloggers becoming “elites” in the book world, partly to Facebook. (He doesn’t blame Twitter, but one might point a finger there.)
There seems to have been a similar downtick of action in the literary blogging sphere. Ahmed Naje, author of Blogs from Post to Tweet (perhaps the specialist on Egyptian literary blogs) seems to have become markedly less active on his blog—although he continues to be an active writer. Rehab Bassam, the blog-to-book author of Rice Pudding for Two, has updated only a handful of times in 2010. She now works on children’s books for publisher Dar el Shorouk.
The famous “ayza atgowaz” blog, which also became a book and will soon appear in English, has been updated just once in 2010.
Mustafa quotes blogger Mohamed Atef as attributing the downtick in citizen blogging to Facebook:
“Facebook gave blogs a fatal blow. It was supposed to complete their activity thanks to the means of mobilisation and information which it offers, but instead, it ruined everything! The call for a strike on the 6th April brought about a big interest but it was also an illusion since, on website, there was no real response.”
Haytham Yahia is more optimistic about the future of political blogging, at least:
“We are nearing the General Elections. They will be followed by presidential elections. People have been active on the Net during these sensational football matches. Political current affairs could bring them back to political activity in this space.”
Of course, there are some literary and political bloggers who remain active. In the realm of politics Wael Abbas is still at it, as Mustafa mentions. Zeinobia still posts (nearly) every day. On the literary front, filmmaker/author Ahmed Khalifa regularly reviews books. Poet/journalist Youssef Rakha also regularly updates his blog (although often with reprints of his articles).
I’m sure there are many, many more. You should let me know who they are….