Hosted by Murtaza Solangi, the program featured a conversation on the state and future of blogging in Pakistan with four bloggers: Awab (of TeethMaestro and Karachi Metroblog) Ramla (of Next>), Hakim (of MicroPakistan) and myself (Pakistaniat). You can listen to it here:
Although framed in the context of the role of the Pakistan’s blogistan (‘blogsphere’ for non-Pakistanis), the lively conversation was, in fact, broader and looked also at why people blog, whether it makes a difference, and what the future potential of blogging might be. It also looked at the issue of blog bans in Pakistan, and the follies of such policies. I enjoyed the conversation very much. Not only because I can now match ‘voices’ to names but also because it made me think more clearly about why we spend so much of our time on this, whether it is really worth doing, and what it might mean in a broader context.
I am not arrogant enough to assume that the world will change dramatically just because a few of us are writing blogs. On the other hand, I am convinced that at least for those few of us who write and read these things, a world with blogs is different from a world without – at the very least, it is different in how we interact with that world.
To blog, at least for me, is about conversation and about community. The magic moment comes when you realize that there are others out there who want to be part of your conversation of your community. For us at ATP, that has always been out motivation. This is why I chose the photogrpah above (I do not have a full reference for it, but it is an AKRSP photograph from the Gilgit area). The photograph too – just like blogging in general and certainly ATP – is about conversation and about community.
As I said during the show, at the very least this becomes a way of catharsis – bhaRass nikalna. But when your thoughts echo back to you and you realize that there is someone out there who is not only listening to you, but maybe even nodding their head. It is then that you realize that this is more than just bhaRass nikalna. And it can be – not yet, but one day – it can be much more.