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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Political issues dominate blog topics in Maktoob.com survey

Politics, culture and literature have topped the list of favorite topics among the rapidly growing blogging community in the Arab world. These were the findings of a month-long study conducted by Maktoob.com, the world’s largest and most popular online Arab community.

The study, covering over 4,500 blogs created by users on Maktoob.com, showed a clear stand towards politics, with 40 percent bloggers voicing their concerns on recent issues such as the Denmark cartoon controversy and the Iran nuclear stand-off. Cultural topics, at 25 percent, came in second, with literature, entertainment and internet issues following closely.

Announcing the findings, Samih Toukan, CEO of Maktoob.com, pointed out: “The results of the study are not surprising, considering the fact that people in the Arab world are extremely passionate about the issues that affect them directly. With the blog phenomenon becoming a craze worldwide, Maktoob.com is uniquely positioned to provide a forum to bloggers in the Arab world that can address an audience of over 4.5 million users.”

bloggers are a widespread community, Toukan added, pointing out that dedicated contributors came from different cultural and economic backgrounds. A majority was concentrated in the Middle East, but regular blog writers also hailed from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.

Toukan explained that one of the encouraging trends of the blog phenomenon was the fact that it has enabled many journalists to reach out to a wider audience outside of their own home countries. Maktoob.com’s own blog section is winning rapid support from the Arab world’s media community with a major portion of Arab journalists publishing their own journals online.

A prime example is Yasser Abu Hilalah, the Jordan-based President of Al Jazeera TV, whose political journal on Maktoob.com has evoked a strong response from the Internet browsing community. Posting an average 3-4 blogs per week, Abu Hilalah’s site features his observations about politics and life in the Arab world.

Toukan said that blogs have revolutionized the way aspiring writers can communicate with their audiences while gaining their readers’ feedback instantly through the use of interactive comments. “The blogs section is one of our well-liked features,” he added. “However, its rapid popularity in just two months of launch has exceeded our expectations. We are now looking at ways to make it more interesting by adding new technical features.

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