Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Window on Eurasia: Daghestanis Lead the North Caucasus Blogosphere, Survey Finds

Paul Goble

Staunton, November 2 – Daghestanis are responsible for 185 of the 528 blogs being conducted either by people living in the North Caucasus or by North Caucasians living elsewhere, according to a survey conducted by an Ingushetia blogger who goes by the screen name timag82.
According to information posted on his blog (timag82.livejournal.com/36092.html and timag82.livejournal.com/35772.html) and summarized in an article today on Kavkaz-uzel.ru (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/176392/), the Daghestanis are followed by 151 Ossetians, 106 Ingushetians, 63 Chechens, 31 Circassians and six Balkars.
Of the total, some 358 are active, the Ingushetia blogger says, and the average age of bloggers across the region is “about 30.” A Daghestani blogger who works as a sports journalist, converciano, is “the absolute leader” among the bloggers. Another Daghestani, TV journalist Nariman Gadzhiyev, whose screen name is pcnariman, has the largest number of friends (1920).
But the leader by number of commentaries is a Circassian blogger, eva-vitli, who has 56,239. Among the most popular subjects of these bloggers is in descending order “the Caucasus, music, film, politics, literature, history, Islam, Ingusheetia, books, Chechnya, Daghestan, journalism, photography, Ossetia, psychology, football, the mountains,” and so on.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of timag82’s effort is the complete list of North Caucasus bloggers that he provides on his site, one that includes statistics of various kinds about each of the 528 blogs and that he indicates he plans to update on a regular basis as more bloggers emerge (timag82.narod.ru/caucasus/jj/).
Commenting on timag82’s effort, Nariman Gadzhiyev said that “Timur is a good man and he thought this up and carried it out on his own, [although] we helped hima little.” And the Daghestani blogger said that the numbers in his republic was undoubtedly a reflection of “the greater level of freedom in connection with the neighbors” and better Internet access.
Another reason for the Daghestani lead, Kavkaz-uzel.ru points out in its report, is that “in Daghestan, at the initiative of the republic ministry for youth affairs was earlier created a Blogger School,” something through which many of those active in the blogosphere from that republic have passed or taken as their model.
Meanwhile, there were two other intriguing reports on the Internet in the Russian Federation this week: a content analysis of President Dmitry Medvedev’s first 300 tweets (slon.ru/articles/486648/) and a discussion of the ways in which the Internet may require an updating of the list of basic human rights (forum-msk.org/material/society/4553244.html).
The Slon.ru study reports that Medvedev now has “more than 100,000 followers,” that foreign policy and catastrophic events are the most frequent subjects of his tweets, that the number of his tweets has fallen off since he began his micro-blog this summer, that he tweets mostly during the week and in the evenings, and that he hasn’t yet mentioned Putin.
The other article prepared by Igor Eidman, the author of a widely-noted 2007 book on the sociology of the internet revolution, argues that the rise of the Internet in all its forms not only requires a redefinition of basic human rights but also a rethinking of the nature of the political system and the state as such (forum-msk.org/material/society/4553244.html).
The current conceptions of rights and freedoms and of the state are based on ones that arose “at the end of the 18th century,” he argues, and given technological possibilities, they require fundamental revision. To that end, Eidman proposes that “the information society gives human beings a new fundamental right, the right to freely decide how to devote his time.”
The futurologist outlines six rights that flow from that, but his most interesting comments concern the way in which the Internet by detaching people from the restrictions of geography may lead to the transformation or even the end of the state as we know it at present into a more multi-layered and overlapping set of institutions.
He acknowledges that this won’t come about quickly or easily – there are too many opposing sets of interests – but Eidman argues that technology is likely to drive such a change in the more distant future just as he insists earlier technological revolutions promoted the rise of earlier political arrangements.

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