I was looking at ICT statistics of Brunei Darussalam. With a population of 381,371 (according to 2008 census) and a literacy rate of 94.6 percent (UNDP 2006), the IT penetration must be high. According to local ICT indicators of 2007, there were 199,532 internet subscribers. These figures are expected to increase in current times, due to the presence of various Internet Service Providers and more due to the popularity of blogs in the country.
Simpur Blogging Nation ( SBN), a DST web portal (one of the several ICT service providers in the country) that houses almost 1,000 registered blogs. Realising the growth of blogging a year back or so ago, Simpur created a community of bloggers. A portal where all of these Bruneian blogs are listed in one place with their appropriate categories. It's also a good resource for new bloggers to learn and see what they can blog about. Everyday SBN receives at least 3 emails from bloggers, requesting their blogs to be listed in the blogging directory. The growth is so fast and being the custodian of the directory, SBN has noticed that the Bruneian bloggers are getting better.
The creativity in writing or design and the entrepreneurship of small business and individuals is so heart-warming. From teachers setting up unofficial blogs for their students so that they can share what they teach beyond the classroom, to families sharing their lives with their other relatives outside the country. It's amazing to see how blogs have kept people to be a close-knit community.
Blogging Nation also made blogging the in-thing . Some people realize there's quite a number of things that you can achieve from blogging, it just needs some good planning to get something positive out of it. For example, resources such as Y.E.S. Programme is known in helping young people discover their own potentials.
With promoting blogs in mind, SBN also created The Bloggies Award in 2008, to acknowledge those bloggers who has made an impact in the Brunei blogging community. It was divided into Best Personal, Best Local Content, Best Photo, Best Lifestyle, Best Specialty, Wild-Card Blog, and ultimately winners of each categories are automatically eligible to be the Bruneian Blog of The Year! Through the 8 months of competition, the public was free to nominate which blogger/blogs they think should be in the running. From there on, the top 5 was up for voting again to find the winner of the category. Nominators who gave the best reasons for their blog choices were given prizes.
So, what does local bloggers think of SNB? Brunei Geek mentioned how Blogging Nation promotes local blogs:
The launching of Simpur's BN (Blogging Nation) is a proof of the fast development of Brunei's blogosphere.
Jepun 15 wrote on the impact of Blogging Nation on the locals:
The blogosphere has taken over the web, and it has certainly made an impact on Bruneians. Find out why blogging is now the craze in Brunei by checking out our featured bloggers & the ever-growing Bruneian Blogs Directory.So sit back, relax and enjoy what our local bloggers have to say..
Ipod Halo Effect wrote on how Blogging Nation provides a platform for Bruneian voices on the Internet:
Simpur has become somewhat of an Internet craze as of late, and it deserves to be. With the introduction of it’s Blogging Nation, it shows that Bruneians are ready to show the world what they think of it. The amount of blogs in the ‘Personal’ Category proves that Bruneians are no longer scared (well at least, not as scared as they were) to share their feelings and thoughts with people they don’t know. All the other (food, photoblogs, local scene, etc) categories show just creative we can be, provided we’re given easy access to the right tools, e.g. the Internet & Blogging software. Website design was cool for a moment, but it was limited to those who knew how to design. Blogging i think is the future of personal websites.
For a small nation, blogs have created netcitizens. This promotes community building. I myself have made friends whom I have never been acquainted before.