Whither Blogestan: Evaluating Shifts in Persian Cyberspace

Between 2002 and 2010, the Persian blogosphere—or what is referred to as “Blogestan”—exploded in size and became the topic of numerous reports, essays, videos and books. Global interest in this emerging trend, however, seemed to decrease during the second presidential mandate of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2009- 2013), when online social networking and microblogging became the most discussed and researched IT-related topics, along with the Iranian regime’s policies aimed at deterring online expression. This report is aimed at addressing whether Blogestan itself has faded in size, activity and influence since 2009. We use three parallel methodologies: An audience survey of 165 Persian blog users from inside and outside of Iran; a web crawling analysis of the Iranian blogosphere; and a series of interviews with 20 influential bloggers living outside and inside Iran.