As more South Africans discover the world of blogging, the South African blogosphere is exploding into life, writes Lloyd Gedye in the Mail & Guardian.
Veteran South African bloggers are looking over their shoulders with smug ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI told you soÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â attitudes as a new crop of young bloggers proclaim their own slice of cyberspace and blog readership.
Even big business, the media and the publishing industries are starting to take the blogosphere more seriously as they dip their toes, testing the waters of engagement.
Two recent developments signify the growth of the South African blogosphere. The first is the expanded, controversial South African Blog Awards, held recently at Cool Runnings in northern Johannesburg.
The second is the launch of Amatomu.com, a portal for blog readers that aggregates local blog posts, organises and ranks them. Amatomu.com is the blog aggregator of M&G Media, publisher of the Mail & Guardian.
With excessive broadband pricing, South Africa was initially slow to adopt blogging technology, the local blogosphere consisting of a few trailblazers around mid-2003.
Farrel Lifson, who started Politics.za (www.politics.za.net) in July 2003 to keep up to date with local politics, says that in the early days local blogs were few and far between. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI remember searching for South African blogs back in 2003, when I started mine, and having to sift through GoogleÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s results trying to find one. I think at the time I managed to find two,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â says Lifson.
Currently, there are in excess of 17 000 South African blogs hosted by popular blog portals such as Blogmark, iBlogs and Media24.
But blogging experts estimate that only 20% of these blogs are active, which translates to between 3 000 and 4 000 active South African bloggers. The most popular of these were recognised recently at the South African Blog Awards, organised by local blogger Jonathan Cherry of Cherryflava (www.cherryflava.com/).
Click here to read the full report, posted on M&G Online.