Saturday, November 01, 2008

Attitude Shift in Blogging

Over 100 bloggers, businessmen, journalists, marketers and academics are expected to attend Knowledge Oasis Muscat’s (KOM) free Digital Nation Blogging seminar scheduled to be held 7:30pm, 10 November at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel.

Backed by Omania e-Commerce, Nawras, Infocomm and UMS this final Digital Nation seminar of 2008 represents a number of milestones, suggests KOM’s Mulkie Al Hashmi. “As far as I know, this is the first time that local bloggers have been brought together in a public forum to talk about blogging and what it means to local business and academic institutions.”

The four man panel will discuss blogs which are essentially online diaries - personal web pages that can be frequently updated. The panel includes Kishore Cariappa, Abdullah Al Jufaili, Zaid Zabanoot and Raed Dawood. Indeed, with several members of the panel already publishing their own blogs the seminar has been designed to explore the potential impact of blogging on the business and academic landscape.

Al Hashmi was anxious to calm any shimmers of excitement. “There’s a tendency for people who are enthusiastic about technology to get terribly excited about it,” she said. “That could be a particular problem because techno-talk is often lost on most people. But this Digital Nation seminar will be techno jargon-free evening – it’s all about exploring how blogs can benefit local businesses and colleges in reaching out to their online audiences.”

"Given the global growth in blogging I think we’re on the cusp of something very special," said Intilaaqah’s Abdullah Al Jufaili. According to Al Jufaili who is leading the way when it comes to techno-savvy Omani businessmen, “this Digital Nation seminar is about trying to get organizations who are struggling to come to terms with e-mail to think about what they can do next to communicate with their clients and communities - and I think blogs are a way of doing this.”

“There’s no doubt blogs can play a powerful role in business and academic circles,” says Mohammed Al Maskari, KOM’s Director General. “'They can foster great communications. In fact, I’ve also come across stories of new business and research collaborations being formed, careers being advanced and media appearances resulting from conversations on local blogs.”

“We’d like to see an attitude shift so that blogging becomes a more acceptable part of business and academic culture,” says Al Maskari. “It’s happening slowly, but we want to catalyse that change.”

From an academic perspective, successful examples cited by Al Maskari include Stanford University (, which hosts a directory including links to blogs by faculty, staff, students and alumni. The Stanford Blog Directory lists hundreds of blogs by keywords and blogger affiliation. The Oxford Internet Institute ( similarly hosts a network of blogs written by students and fellows.

“By initiating frank and open-minded conversations about shared goals, blogs can certainly help local businesses and colleges communicate with their respective commercial and academic communities. I’m very excited about the 10 November seminar – anybody with an audience on the web should seriously consider coming along to this free of charge event.”

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