Blogs shall set you free
You need your own
July 15, 3003
Towards the end of last year I finally decided to
start a blog. Blogs (short for Web Log) are personal diaries of
sort. They come in an assortment of styles and topics, published
on the web for the world to read.
My decision was primarily based
on the insistence
of a few friends who felt I should write more. Plus, the occasional
email from someone asking what I had written since the last piece
they had read on Iranian.com or similar sites. I
felt I needed a forum to express myself and have it available for
others to view, critique and comment on.
I, like many other Iranians, became familiar with blogs by reading Hossein
I had just moved from Toronto and he had just moved there. Hoder
would occasionally post pictures from various parts of the city.
at pictures of his Kubideh Kabob at a restaurant at Yonge/Dundas
area was my trip back to the city I had called home for 18 years.
I was later hooked on and fascinated by other Iranian
bloggers, particularly those who dared to break taboos and post
information on their daily lives, including notes of political
dissent, romantic ventures, use of recreational drugs and even
organizing to help the orphanages or mental asylums.
So, I took the leap and started my first blog and a few months
later went "pro" by registering a domain and paying
for hosting for my current blog the
I had started my blog in hope of gaining a loyal readership of
mostly friends, somewhere around 20 people. Now, only a short time
later, I sometimes have over 1,000 visitors before midday.
like to think it's because I have something fascinating to
say, but in reality it is in large part because I am amongst only
a few active bloggers who writes about Iran in English and offers
a viewpoint other than what is often represented in the West.
My readers come mostly from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and
Australia, in that order; the top four English speaking countries
with broad public access to the web. Number of "hits" from
Iran fluctuates as more restrictions are put on web access and
connections often slow down to a halt. But considering the communication
barrier, it still constitutes a significant portion of those who
When there is added attention and media spotlight is on Iran, such
as during the last period of unrest or self mutilation of Mojahedin
supporters, thousands of new visitors flock to my blog. They seek
information and, more importantly, connections. It's a way to
grasp the real stories behind the news they get from Fox or
blog and others like it are a way for people to connect to people,
direct and almost one-on-one, often a very personal level. This
is why you need to start a blog and to do it in English.
Over the last few months I have engaged a fanatic Christian from
the US Midwest who now understands the images he sees in mainstream
media do not represent a very accurate picture of Iran and Iranians.
A Muslim Malaysian was surprised to hear that the 1979 revolution
was never "Islamic" in content or nature and included
many others who were pushed aside when the Islamists stole the
people's movement and rode it to power.
With the help of
other bloggers, we managed to bring considerable attention to the
arrest of Iranian journalist Sina
made Iranian topics a central feature of many high profile blogs,
such as Jeff Jarvis' Buzz
Jeff is the president of the media
owns owns several prominent websites and operates the sites for
Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired, Allure, GQ and many others.
Perhaps most significantly, the
eyeranian has managed to gain the
attention of a few people close to the highest circles of power.
Michael Ledeen, arguably the Bush Administration's primary advisor
on Iran and the main architect of the "regime change" doctrine,
is now a
regular visitor to my
often engages in direct discussions with myself or others who comment
on his statements. I am told there are at least two other influential
regulars, but they have so far chosen to remain anonymous.
You starting your own English blog will give all these people and
others another point of view; YOUR point of view. It really doesn't
matter what you write about. You can write about your own basic daily life,
your interests, opinions or
what you find interesting on other sites. You can even choose to
provide a digest version of translated Farsi blogs. You can find
a list of those on BlogNama.
It also matters little if you aren't a regular "writer" or
your writing skills aren't the best. One of the most popular
Iranian blogs in English
is Notes of an Iranian
is written in less than perfect English from Tehran. For the inspiring
writers, this is the best way to force yourself to write regularly.
As events in Iran develop and dynamics of power and influence change
rapidly, more Iranian voices are needed to express our wants and
goals to the global community. English blogs are a vital way to
express your views for this audience. With the current restrictions
inside Iran, the safety concerns and language barriers, more of
this load lays on the shoulders of those of us living abroad. Besides,
most bloggers choose to remain anonymous and there is virtually
no fear of reprisal.
So, where to start and what does it cost to have a blog? There
are more than a few options for you to start your blog with and
the best part is that it is almost always free! All you need is
the desire, plus a commitment to spend some time in typing your
views regularly. To start, I suggest visiting BlogSpot .
They have an easy interface, allowing you to set up and start your
own blog in a few minutes and they are free if you don't
mind their banner on top of your site.
If you are concerned about who will read your blog and whether
you will have enough visitors to make it a worthwhile venture,
do not worry. I will personally ask other fellow bloggers to help
you in getting some traffic directed to your blog to build your
own crop of regulars. Besides, didn't you hear "build
it and they will come"?
Go for it! I look forward to reading your blog regularly.
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