Exploring the Images in Arab Blogosphere
By Fakiha Hassan Rizvi
Introduction and Background:
The word ‘blog’ is a contraction of two words, ‘Web‘ and ‘Log’. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘weblog’ as a frequently updated website consisting of personal observations, excerpts from other sources, typically run by a single person and usually with hyperlinks to other websites. It can also be referred to as an online journal or diary.
Walker.R (2008) defines ‘blogging’ as a cumulative process as the information shared is always placed in a broader context and bloggers have complete control over the content that they want to share unlike other means of communication (print, broadcast). 
Brans & Jacobs (2006) while discussing the ‘Uses of Blogs‘ elaborated the concept of ‘News Blogging’ as a “practice of covering the news through blogging- either by reporting originally or by providing opinion on the news that has been reported in the news sources”. 
Barlow (2008) explained the working dimension of blogs, he argued that the words on the screens become movers of judgement, all supposedly equal, though there are plenty of means of heightening their exposure. 
Pole (2010) discussed the influence of blogging networks (blogosphere) on political communication. As per his argument, blogging has altered political discourse by changing ‘how’ and ‘when’ people discuss politics. He further supports this by explaining the enhanced level of interactivity while blogging that enables dialogue among bloggers and readers leading to an exchange of ideas. The ideas can then be manifested in the form of an ‘action’, ‘policy’ or ‘mobilization’. Therefore, political communication has no boundaries with regards to ‘scope’ and ‘magnitude’ in the blogosphere. 
The Arab uprisings and protests starting from 2010 used blogs as an important source for disseminating information that was denied any other outlet (mainstream news media). However, some argue that the role of ‘social networks’ and ‘blogs’ in triggering the waves of protests around Middle East is overstated. Whether less or more, the impact of social media did resonate and there are no differences over this. Downing (2010) marks 2003 as the year during which Arab bloggers/citizen journalists started to gain prominence. However, it was only after 2005 that these bloggers “emerged as important leaders of social movements.” 
This is the reason that Murphy (2011) labels blogging as a predominant form of written protest in the Arab world and the Internet as the new “clandestine printing press.” 
This is a concise research study which aims at revealing the images in the Arab Blogosphere, pertinent to four key issues of Middle East during 2012:
- Morsi as the President of Egypt
- Syrian Massacre
- Protests against anti-Islam film in the Arab World
- Recent conflict between Gaza and Israel
‘Three’ blogs were considered for this research study. The images that reflected the issues mentioned above were studied. ‘Image analysis’ is very significant for analyzing opinions being communicated through the web.
It becomes all the more significant in the case of ‘blogs’ as readers are hooked by the images accompanying the posts. Sometimes they even get a clue of the entire post by viewing images. In case of the Arab world, there are certain blogs that share images being submitted by natives belonging to different countries in the Arab countries. In this way the blog becomes ‘a portrait of the current happenings’ in the Middle East.
It’s time to take a look at the images in the Arab Blogosphere
 Walker. J. Rettberg (2008), Blogging.
 Jacobs J. & Brauns A. (2006), Uses of Blogs.
 Barlow A. (2008) Blogging America: The New Public Sphere
 Pole A. (2010) Blogging the Political: Politics and Participation in a networked society.
 Downing. J. D. H (2010) Encyclopedia of Social Media Movements
 Murphy. C. Emma (2011) The New Arab Media: Technology, Image, Perception