Caribbean: Blogalization

In December 2005, Georgia Popplewell had a conversation with Creolese blogger Guyana-Gyal. When asked what role blogs and blogging could play in the Caribbean region, Guyana-Gyal referred to the term “blogalization”, saying:

I don't know who coined it…I first used it in June, then found others have been using it before. In some small way, can blogging for the Caribbean be like globalization? I know globalization has some folks out there who knock it, and I won't get into that. But I think that blogalization can do wonders. What I'm trying to say is that maybe blogalization can be like the positive aspects of globalization. But blogging has helped me in other ways as well. It's given me confidence to express myself, given me a voice…I think eventually, voices that usually go unheard might get heard thanks to blogging.

I thought it might be interesting to get other regional perspectives on the term and three Caribbean bloggers stepped up to the plate: Gallimaufry and Pull! Push! from Barbados and Now Is Wow from Trinidad…

Pull! Push! thinks “blogalization is a big, clumsy, mouthful of a word”:

Globalization has different meanings for different people, so I do not like to compare it to Blogalization, although there may be one or two similarities.
I think that Blogalization is something completely different, but what it is exactly, I don't know. All I can say is that by me writing this and you (hopefully) reading it on a blog somewhere and leaving a comment, or not leaving a comment, we're both taking part in Blogalization. Maybe it's as simple as that? The Internet, and the Web in particular, have allowed us all, or the vast majority of us, to communicate freely, anytime and anywhere.

Elspeth at Now Is Wow agrees:

Through blogalization, the world becomes smaller as people connect intangibly (and sometimes, eventually tangibly) with distant others who share similarities.

She also thinks it has become somewhat of a lifestyle…

I think ‘Blogalization’ refers to the wave of people who now write and read blogs regularly and see it as a part of their day (akin to drinking coffee, reading papers or checking e-mail).

…while Gallimaufry is excited about the opportunities it presents:

As the Caribbean blogosphere grows, the opportunities it offers are becoming more apparent. The whole phenomenon of blogging provides outlets for expression that we didn't have before, and outlets for imagination. That's very important because it removes some of the aura of exclusivity or remoteness from the literary and visual arts, and encourages people to explore and exhibit
their creativity in ways that might not have occurred to them before. I've seen people move from having photoblogs, or from posting a few poems or essays, to self-publishing a coffee table book or an anthology, so I think blogging is an important gateway…

Through blogging, she says, people are more willing to “put their art or opinions out there” – they realise they have something to say and finally believe that it is worthy of an audience. Amit at Pull! Push! agrees:

What makes us think that the world is interested in what the Caribbean has to say? I'd like to think that they are interested and are listening. I'm not an expert on sociology, but I believe humans are social animals, and are curious as well. We feel a need to communicate and to share our experiences with others. We also want to learn about and from others.

At first, Elspeth wasn't convinced that blogalization had any particular relevance to the Caribbean as opposed to anywhere else in the world:

Blogging is blogging and it connects people wherever they are. But I suppose one thing it does is to show a new face for the Caribbean…especially where, even in this day and age, there are (still) those who think that Caribbean people live in trees and are primitive and backward. Blogalization must have changed that perspective to a large degree.

Amit adds:

We are active participants in the global economy and suffer and/or benefit from things like globalization. There is also the knowledge the rest of the world gains from reading Caribbean blogs/sites. It lets them know that we are here, so tread lightly because what you ‘big boys’ say and do, has a way of affecting us sooner or later. We are not a lesser people, we have rights, feelings, thoughts and most importantly, we have our own voice!

Gallimaufry also believes that blogging has done a lot for transparency in the region:

As the popularity of Barbados Free Press attests, I think blogs can also serve as a medium for activism and agitation, a way to bring issues to light that would otherwise have languished in darkness. At every family gathering I've been to this year, someone has mentioned something from BFP (it helps that it's an election year, of course, so people are in the politics-talking mood anyway); it's even come up at meetings – so I think that the blog as an avenue for comment and critique and analysis and discussion could also be a big thing in the region, politically and socially.

It has also given her more of a world view:

Since I began reading blogs from the Bahamas and Jamaica and Trinidad and Guyana and St. Kitts and Grenada and St. Vincent and Aruba and Cuba and the Caribbean diaspora in the US and Canada and the UK, I think of myself more as not just a Barbadian, but a Caribbean person. Blogging gives me a chance to connect in a way I couldn't before, with other Caribbean people and
their day-to-day lives and to discover commonalities and debate differences.

Gallimaufry hopes that Caribbean people will “start moving towards more networking, more collective pan-Caribbean blogging” and is “really looking forward to the things that are to come…there's the potential for so much more”:

I think the best thing about blogalization is that it involves using technology (which used to be perceived as something maybe sort of dehumanising and impersonal) to make things more personal and make people more connected – to make us all more human to each other, which draws us closer together.

Pull! Push! sums it up rather well:

‘Blogalization?’ I think it's just a new word for something that people have been doing since time immemorial, and that is: People telling stories, people listening and people conversing. The Internet and the Web have just made these things available to everyone and anyone, no matter where you are.

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