Blogs about Turkmenistan
In fact, the first Turkmen blog, that is, written by Turkmen for Turkmen, was www.tmolympiad.org. It was established in May 2006 by a group of …\
Blog written by expatriates in Turkmenistan, living in Turkmenistan, working in Turkmenistan.
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Turkmenistan Travel Blogs, Photos, Hotel and Hostel Listing from TravelBlog.org.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has signed a new amnesty decree. Turkmenistan’s state-run media reported on December 11 that the …
Editor’s note: Although blogging may be old hat for much of the world, in Turkmenistan it’s on the cutting edge, and momentum is slowly building, reports neweurasia’s Annasoltan in this first part of a new series — the first time any journalist has ever surveyed the Turkmen blogosphere.
In much of the web developed world, blogging has become so well-established as a method of self-realization and self-publishing (there are more than 100 million blogs worldwide) that it’s passé. But in the Turkmenet, which is still in its infancy (the public gained access to the internet only three years ago and the internet is still tightly policed by the government), blogging is still very much avant garde.
A little online history…
It’s hard to determine which was the first ever Turkmen blog. neweurasia is the most obvious contender for the title. Its first post about Turkmenistan, written in English by a non-Turkmen, ran on September 28, 2005. Yet, it wasn’t until June 1, 2007 that the first post by a Turkmen, written in Russian, appeared (the site has never had a Turkmen language sub-site as it had for all the other regional languages). There’s also the notorious “Steve from Wisconsin”, whose Reflections on the Ruhnama (now: The Golden Age) started up a month earlier, and whom many believe is a propagandist working for the Turkmen government (or a seriously misguided soul).
In fact, the first Turkmen blog, that is, written by Turkmen for Turkmen, was www.tmolympiad.org. It was established in May 2006 by a group of Turkmen students studying abroad as an educational competition forum, but continue to this day. Its slogan is, “Read, learn, create.”
Slowly since then, other blogs have appeared. A popular one among young Turkmen is talyplar.com, which stands alongside the online platforms www. teswirler.com and www.turkmencafe.com as the Turkmenet’s most popular triumvirate of new media websites. Although the nature of our nation’s regime makes it unlikely that these will survive for very long–this is a country where we have to present out passports at the doors of internet cafes–nonetheless they’re generating a momentum for blogging among everyday people. At great personal risk, some of them have spoken to me about what motivates them.
Portrait of the blogger as a young man 😉
To paraphrase James Joyce, here’s one portrait of a blogger: Bayram (www.bayram-jm.teswirler.com and www.bayram-jm.blogspot.com), a 22-year-old student from Ashgabat who uses the VeriLoft web studio to write about technology and field questions like, “What do you need to become an entrepreneur?” to which he has some pretty funny answers. But when I asked him about his inspiration, his response was upliftingly serious:
“First of all, blogging gives me inspirational enjoyment. For me, there is no more spiritual enjoyment than sharing information with readers, exchanging opinions, getting their support and building links. Second, I like to read Russian blogs, and I thought that our Turkmen can write good stuff as well. There needs to be more bloggers, I thought.
“For the time being, I’m blogging for fun, to encourage others. Later on, though, I want to write on some serious topics, such as business and VeriLoft. It seems that while an increasing number of Turkmens are using online forums to express themselves , only a handful of topical blogs exist which were set up by individuals.”
I asked him about how successful he’s been inspiring others so far. He feels that so far, blogging has remained marginal, but that in time it will grow:
“Only a few blogs are around because the internet is rather new in Turkmenistan and mostly used by young people. The whole notion of the internet and blogging needs to be promoted. The people need to know about the internet, the difference between a website and a blog and advantages of blogging. What they do on the internet right now is mostly through mobile phones, and they spend a lot of time using popular social networking sites and chat rooms such as agent.mail.ru and ICQ to get to know each other. Blogging takes a back seat in their consuming habits, but with time people will learn to use it.”
For the rich and famous?
Agajan, co-founder of VeriLoft and blogger, believes that the chief obstacle to blogging’s expansion right now is time and effort, but most of all, the misperception that it’s an activity which belongs to the leisure class of society:
“Blogging needs some effort, such as regular updates and good posts. Whoever offers unique content would be quickly recognized. However, some people believe that one has to be rich to be a blogger, or they expect to be offered money to start blogging.”
Nevertheless, blogging has some relatively well-known tech names on board, like Vadim Torin (www.vadimtorin.com) writes about his life experiences, technology, and the Turkmenet, and Akmuhammet Jumayev (www.jumayev.com), who is interested in the mobile phone operating device Android. And indeed, some bloggers do have the goal of earning money through advertisement.
Yet, this is still good for the long-term health of the blogging community, as it generates competition — and that’s precisely what the folks at VeriLoft want to happen. In the next post of this series, I’ll write more about this interesting start-up, which has big ambitions for the Turkmenet. In the meantime, here are some Turkmen blogs you should check out: