Thursday, August 18, 2005

Newsletter

Tariq Khonji, Mahmood Al Yousif, Scorpio, emoodz and myself have discussed and exchanged views about the bahraini blog landscape a number of times. The most interesting point of debate is what I would call talking to the mirror. It seems that most of us are preaching to the quire, or explaining to a farmer that rain is good. The message is already recieved, thats why most of our discussions and interactions are over little detail points, like how white is white, or what came first the chicken or the egg.

Last blogger meet-up, I told the guys that we have a big, wide main-stream. There are folks to the right of the mainstream, locked up in Guantanamo bay, or yelling bloody murder at a microphone in a religious society; and then there is us, the Bahraini bloggers, to the left of the main-stream. What we do is all fair and nice, but the problem is we sit in a circle together and throw back the same chewed up toys. Hijab, terrorists, and employment are usually common themes. They are very good ones at that, but they're just going around in circles, and not very far.

What I suggest is, we start some sort of a newsletter. I propose a monthly electronic, or a paper publication (if there is funding.) We can have an informal committee that picks out the best articles and posts every month, edit and format something suave and savvy, and kick it into mass media. We can send them out as forward emails, throw out stacks at supermarkets, and if its really good, we can get a promoter to pick it up from there and make profits from advertisements.

We need more people that disagree with most of us. We need people that might understand, and others that might not. I feel that if we keep on communicating to a replica, we will lose our edge and turn into yesterday's news without knowing it.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

agreed. let's go for it.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:35 PM  
Blogger News Blog re-Blog Team said...

You've got our support joker! We'll be happy to promote this via the student/youth network in Bahrain and beyond.


Just wondering, does the MOI need to become involved with this, if so is there a publication license going to be needed, are there any legal resources available in case the MOI one day, wakes up and decides to throw the whole project and paper into the dock?

We would love to see more bloggers and others contributing to such a positive move! Thanks for taking the initiative to start this up joker.

9:40 PM  
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10:01 PM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Mahmood and news blog re-blog team, thank you for the support. On second thought, the comittee idea doesnt seem that brilliant after all. I think every blogger can chose their post for the month, because its their message that we want to send out. That way the work is set for us, and the message will go a long way.

Now whats the deal with all these advertisements? Just because this service is for free, they want to tarnish it with corporate greed? PLEASE TAKE YOUR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE! This website is maintained under a legal contract between me and blogger.com. I will not carry the responsibility of messages and claims made on your behalf. Blogger.com didnt disclose this.

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi

i have a word or two to add to the original idea put forward by the joker.

1] to communicate with the mainstream you have to write in arabic. i suppose you have bahrain in mind. or at least the main topics, especially the ones politically or socialy contrivertial.


2]your proposed publication should be rich and colourful, that is it should containe music,cattoon and jokes to mention a few topics.

3]likes and dislikes should not be critiria, the trendy and popular must be prominant. you have to cater for the audiance!


4]last but not lest you have to formulate your prncipals before you preach them! to to me they are not so clear. you have different backgrounds with different greiviences, therefore you have conflicting agends...which can be reconciled if you are really outspoken with each other, not only pretending to be united against the "enemy" while deep inside you beleive you can't live without him......all the best

3:14 AM  
Blogger Scorpio said...

I hate to pour cold water on this idea because you're right that there's the potential to reach out to a lot more people, but remember what happened to Bahrain Blogs? It just ended up being left to Mahmood as everyone else disappeared as soon as it was set up.

I'm not too sure what blogs look like on the printed page. The Guardian in the UK used to publish transcripts sometimes, but these came across as cliquey people having mindless conversations.

There's a lot of potential but its best achieved through thinking about how to do it through blogs' strengths - they're spontaneous, diverse and accessible. As Anon points out the big challenge is to overcome the language barrier.

1:44 PM  
Blogger The Joker said...

News blog re, I wouldnt worry about the MOI. How are they going to chase down a forwarded email with a news letter?

Anonymous, your comments are very valuable. Most of the people can read 5th grade level english. Besides, Chanad and others have very nice pictures that spark interest.

About your second point, I think most of the bloggers in the community are very talented. I mean, we have journalists, editors, GBPS owners, artists, comedians.. you name it... if everyone chipped in a little.. I guarantee you a very decent periodical.

Your last point, I dont agree with. I think we should have our differences. Nothing is really absolute. Opinions change. Maybe when these posts are taken to a mass medium, the posters' opinions change. You don't need to please someone to get your message across, and you certainly won't have a discussion going on if everyone absolutely agreed.

1:59 PM  
Blogger moodZ said...

You hit the bulls eye with this one Joker, it is about time we get our words out there to the public.. But through a newsletter?! I didn't have the opportunity to explain my entire point of view about this in the meet up, thanks for bringing the issue up again.

As attractive as the idea of the newsletter may be, I believe it is not only slow and idle; it is also untraceable and dull. We need something that is there to stay, something that everyone can relate to, see and comment on, something vivacious. We need BahrainBlogs.com to be up and running again; a newsletter that the website is to produce can be circulated around emails hopefully attracting more traffic.

It really is about time our electronic media reaches out to the people of this country. Language barrier or not, Ministry of Disinformation or not, we all need to work together for the good of us all.

3:48 PM  
Blogger News Blog re-Blog Team said...

Joker we were referring to your mention of the paper publication. Obviously the MOI can't chase after a forwarded email/ezine.

Just a thought:
Will there be a way for those who don't wish to receive such newsletters again to unsubscribe from the list. Or rather, what we're trying to get to is, will the forwarding be done on a random basis (as in forwarding to anyone) or is it going to be dealt with in a controlled manner, where people can sign up for such a ezine? Subscribe/unsubscribe - mailing list possible or a blog - something to that of Bahrain Blogs?

Whether the ezine / newsletter / periodical is going to be distributed via a site or forward emails, we would like to archive it and redistribute these blog postings featured within the ezine in WAP/Mobile format so that people on the go can browse the ezine and read along. This is something we were thinking can easily be pulled off at the start and then provide a way through which viewers/readers can digest the newsletter and comment on each posting via a wap/mobile interface.

We'd be glad to help out in anyway possible!

Cheers,
the News Blog re-Blog team

3:51 PM  
Blogger moodZ said...

re-blog team:
It is technically painless to create a WAP supported blog using WordPress (Which is what is currently installed in Bahrainblogs @ http://www.bahrainblogs.com/wp). But let's not go so far now; we need to establish the thing at first, mobile content should really be the last thing to consider.

4:26 PM  
Blogger The Joker said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:57 PM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Scorpio, sorry we were posting our comments at the same time earlier.

Bahrain Blogs was a website. The newsletter is a monthly message. We don't need to maintain it. I think one shout out once a month will keep the flame going, rather than a daily routine.

Another thing, we don't want the bloggers to shift their attention from their blogs. The quality might dip if they were busy maintaining two or three blogs at the same time.

Mahmood was saying there is this program that helps you set up the "blog-letter." One person can get it prepared and ready once a month, rather than a permanent website we have to babysit.

Now NBRBT brought up another big issue. The distribution channel. If we start up an issue or two, upload them on all our websites, mass circulate them for the first month. Do you think we can write proposals to publishers? The way I see it, the quality of posts and issues raised are way better than most magazines in the market. Its worth a shot I guess. The worst they can do is say no.

What I would say right now, is our first target is to start on it, get one or two issues going, later on our next target could be getting it printed and distributed in paper form.

About the language, although arabic is the local language, but english is more overlapping. The total number of people that can read english in bigger than the number of people that can only read arabic. I don't think there is a problem with having arabic texts in there. There are some bahraini blogs that only post in arabic.

So what do you think guys? Feasible?

5:04 PM  
Blogger News Blog re-Blog Team said...

Exactly Emoodz! :) We were thinking along the same lines.

Joker's stance on the redistribution point is awesome! Does anyone know when the next bloggers meetup will be held, the country club as usual or some place else? It is worthwhile doing some groundwork on the ezine/newsletter and then discussing and sharing ideas with each other at the next meetup and then go for the launch.

We're ready, just tell us what needs to be done.

Cheers,
the News Blog re-Blog team

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi joker

when i pointed out the importance of writting in arabic i had in mind your desire to reach to the mainstreame!! in bahrain not in the wide world where english is the most widespresd language. i gather that you are not interested in commercial success.

the point you rejected to stress the importance of divercity is valid, as long as you don't intend to issue an organ! this is an old-fashined word . in the end you must have a message, a bottomline. otherwise let everyone stay with his blogspot. all the best

1:58 AM  
Blogger News Blog re-Blog Team said...

In reply to anon's point of the language choice, why not have the ezine as bilingual? Arabic and English or rather ;-)

Cheers!
the News Blog re-Blog team.

11:02 AM  
Blogger The Joker said...

Anon, most of our blogs are in english, but anything is most welcome. Its a trial and error process. If the first issue doesnt pick up from the language barriar, we can fix that.

The second point, I disagree. I think we should have different colors. Everyone thinks in a different way. Readers might relate to a certain blogger and disagree with another. I think it is much healthier than a single monotone message. The way I see it, maybe my best article of the month is something totally against something someone else wrote, and both of them reach readers that can agree with one and not the other. You don't know what you want until you see the alternative.

11:33 AM  
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12:49 PM  
Blogger Mimaa said...

Great stuff you guys!

I actually agree that it should have all points of views in there, as that would mean initiating debates that would capture more interest than simply preaching to the choir.

there was a comment made that it's hard to track down emails, i'm not so sure about that, with the way batelco works, and if the wrong buttons are pressed, they'll want to know who u are...

what's with all these ads?? they start sounding like a promo ad, then end with 'i like ur blog i'll def check u out again' !! they're sooo annoying!!

poor SBG... the last comment on her grandma's passing was the longest ad i've seen!! guess moral judgement is not programmed into it!

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