Over the weekend, I couldn’t help but feel moved when I read stories about the outrage over the detainment of Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah. Egyptian social media erupted with anger on Sunday after Fattah was ordered by military prosecutors to be held for 15 days on charges of inciting violence against the military. Abdel Fattah is one of the region’s first bloggers to speak out against the Egyptian government. Since 2004, he and his wife have been openly criticizing and discussing Egypt’s politics and policies on their highly-read blog Manalaa.net. He has also pioneered a blog campaign to end military trials for civilians. And he, of course, was at the center of January’s protests, which led to a government overhaul. The blogging of Fattah and that of his Egyptian counterparts serves as a strong reminder that our blogs can be more than just a place for wacky cat videos or a place to pimp our services.
I first should mention that we here at Brandsplat are in no way suggesting that you should intend your blog writing to get you in trouble with the cops or military police. But we think each of us can blog with a little more guts. Political and social change bloggers ignite conversations and cause readers to have a reaction. Every blogger, whether they’re blogging for themselves or blogging for business, should strive for that. By saying what is truly on our mind and by writing our business’ true character and language, our blogs have the opportunity to be brazen, bold and interesting even if they aren’t revolutionary.
As for why we should blog with boldness, consider Wang Lihong for a minute. The 55-year-old blogger was jailed for nine months for “disrupting traffic” last April and her appeal to get her sentence overturned was shot down last month. Wang Lihong and other Chinese bloggers are subject to relentless government scrutiny and censorship. Activists see her arrest as an attempt by China to stamp out digital grassroots activism. So the main reason we should blog with bravery and integrity is simple: Because we can.