UAE has one of the most active Arabic blogging communities in the Middle East. “Many bloggers started to blog in Arabic after the technology for Arabic language writing improved and became more available. Since then, blogging is increasingly used in the Arab world. In 2006 approximately 40.000 blogs exist in the Arabic blogosphere and the number is still growing,” says Vito Stefano Brunetti in Blogging in The Arab World. In this post, he goes on to tell about how blogs and other forms of new media have been able to provide a new public way for citizens to obtain information, exchange their personal opinion about different topics such as culture, economics and politics and learn all that is available in the area.
Although in some countries there is a strict control on the type of information that is disseminated through the internet, generally Arab bloggers can freely post content if it does not endanger the country’s security and undermine public order across the UAE. Nonetheless, the blogging scene in UAE appears to have evolved in time with residents, many expats, talking about themselves, their experience and what is available in terms of possibilities, services and business in the UAE.
Blogs in Arabic are also becoming very popular especially when they are lifestyle related. Younger residents (from 18 to 40 years old mainly) are more and more consulting the web and trusting bloggers and influencers when deciding on purchases and services to choose and acquire. Beauty bloggers, shopping bloggers, fashionistas are often in the lists of the most followed blogs between UAE residents and expats. Many sites recognize the diversity that comprises UAE population and are offered in multilingual options.
Other blogs and portals recognize that the presence of so many expats in the area spurs a need for news, tourist and event information, advices on medical facilities, educational opportunity, how to open bank accounts and follow up on business ideas and how to posts on cultural differences and basic Arabic to get by.
One of the portals that has been taking the lead in the UAE in facilitating cross-cultural discussions, sharing valuable information and providing services to viewers is DubaiBlog, a network of websites about Dubai, UAE and GCC, that is establishing itself as a successful online presence in the Arab World. Posting news and info in different languages, DubaiBlog network caters to the needs not only of residents, but also of current and future expats planning the move.
Nico de Corato, owner and founder of DubaiBlog started this project as a personal blog in 2009 and has been able to create a blogging community in UAE and establish the network as a go-to place for information not only about Dubai. Nico, is today not only a popular Arab blogger, but is also an expert in UAE life and lifestyle. Thanks to his experience as Italian-mother tongue expat in Dubai for many years and as a passionate expert of Arab culture he was able to contribute to the Arabic editorial landscape by working on the Italian version of the popular book Spoken Emirati written by Hanan Al Fardan and Abdulla Al Kaabi. Dialetto Emiratino is quickly establishing itself as a reference for all those who want to learn a dialect widely spoken in the southern part of the Arabic peninsula and in the Gulf.