The View from Fez is very happy to have been judged Best Overall Moroccan Blog and Best Moroccan News Blog. We could not have done this with out our various correspondents, contributors and photographers. Especially we could not have done it without the support of our readers around the world. In the last month we recorded almost 50,000 pageviews from people speaking 66 languages . We thank you all. Our congratulations as well to all those fabulous blogs that were nominated from around Morocco. To win in such select company was a real honour!
While the team at The View from Fez have been celebrating their double win in the Moroccan Blog Awards, we decided we should turn the spotlight on the man responsible for all the hard work that went into the rewards: Vago Damitio. We started off by asking him why he created his Morocco Blogs website
VAGO: I believe that we are on the verge of a world that is totally different than the one we live in. The internet is still a teenager, it's like a 15 year old child that is starting to find itself and figure out what it can do. Because the development of the internet primarily took place in the United States and UK, English is the unofficial language of the internet. 15 years ago most people didn't use the internet, today it's something like 85% of the world population. In another 15 years it will be everyone. The world is dividing into those who are internet literate and those who are not.
All of that gives some background as to the reason why I created MoroccoBlogs.com and the Bombies in the first place.
When I came to Morocco I looked around to see what kinds of blogs there were. I found a lot of blogs but no central directory, no listing. The View from Fez was one blog that was very visible, so I knew there were English language bloggers here. In November 2009 I was giving blogging workshops in Fez and I wanted to show my students how to create a great blog from the ground up so I figured I would build a Morocco Blogging Directory and bought the domain MoroccoBlogs.com.
I decided to make MoroccoBlogs a place that listed, reviewed, and hosted blogs. I set up a program to give away wordpress blogs to anyone who wanted one with the address (Yourblogname).moroccoblogs.com.Next I set up free online classifieds that were divided into regions of Morocco at http://classifieds.moroccoblogs.com, and of course I kept searching for new blogs that were Morocco related.
Pretty soon, I started to realize that there were hundreds of great English language blogs in Morocco. Everyone I talked with said that they did a few search engine queries and then gave up. The more I looked at all the great blogs the more I realized that they needed to be recognized and so I started to take nominations in December and then in January, I launched The Bombies.
TVFF: Were you surprised at the huge interest?
VAGO: Over 1500 votes were cast and everyone I spoke with by email or in person expressed excitement at finding new blogs, making new blog friends, finding renewed energy to blog, increased traffic, and more. The Bombies were an incredible success. Perhaps the best part was that a couple of blogs that were nominated had decided not to blog anymore and upon finding that they were nominated and appreciated, they decided to keep their blogs alive.
TVFF: What's next?
VAGO: At the moment, we are planning the first ever Morocco Blog Camp for sometime in early May. This will be a chance for bloggers from all over Morocco to come together in Fez for workshops, community, and fun. This is a great chance for bloggers to create a community and also for tourism companies, restaurants, riads, and merchants to promote their products to the voices of the future as sponsors of Morocco Blog Camp 2010.
There has been a lot of interest in Blog Camp since I first mentioned it and even some interest from a few of the top bloggers in the world! It's conceivable Blog Camp could actually become an event that rivals The Festival of Sacred Music in terms of the number of people it could bring to Morocco.
TVFF: I understand you will turn your attention to some to the wonderful blogs in Arabic and French...
VAGO: I have hired translators to start scouring the web for Morocco Blogs in Arabic and French so that we can be an inclusive community. Already we've had several young Moroccans sign up for new blogs as a result of the Bombies and we've reviewed the first few French and Arabic blogs.
TVFF: And in the future...
VAGO: It's my belief that the future of Morocco doesn't lie with tourism but with the internet. Moroccans have an aptitude for both language and technology. Morocco sits as a bridge between the East and the West and I think that as the internet reaches adulthood, Morocco has the chance to be the next India in terms of technology.I can't think of a more worthy goal than MoroccoBlogs.com and the Bombies helping to make that future a reality.