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Ory on Kenyan blogs

Ory Okolloh has written a briefing paper on Kenyan blogs as part of the I&S conference materials here (PDF file).

She says that blogging has been a life-changing experience for her, and presents the results of interviews with three other Kenyan bloggers. In the concluding section of her paper Ory raises a series of questions:

So how does one get more people from Kenya and other parts of the world blogging? Do diaspora-based individuals who are writing about their country of origin still retain a sense of authenticity? What about the fact that being in the business of maintaining a blog seems to appeal to people who have less qualms about being “out there” so-to-speak? How do you meet the challenge presented by cultures that are typically reticent about public expression? Does the key to meeting this challenge lie among the “evangelists” who turned people like Mshairi and myself onto blogging? Would a build-it-and they-will-come approach be a better way to increase participation? Do we just need more “Alpha” Kenyan and other global bloggers to spread the interest? If so, how can one equip them to do this job? Is the explosion of blogs in countries like the United States, Iran and China somehow tied to government restrictions or the lack of opportunity to communicate and share ideas freely? Or is it due to the fast-paced lifestyle that makes it difficult to chat and share ideas face to face in ways that are still possible in places like Kenya? Finally, can blogs really achieve greater purposes such as advocacy on a particular issue, effecting change in society? If so, how does one best measure the results? Or, further still, how does one define “change” and “politics?” Should we be focusing instead on how blogs can work to build communities, rather than on whether they can affect political outcomes or change society?

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