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Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 3) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.
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Indonesian Blogger: A similar thing in other blogosphere; people write about their personal life, which is ok, but looking at gv, I think we have different directions b/t the personal and what we put on gv. I see two steps we can do here. first we can, in indonesia, get people on the net to blog… so there’s about 10k estimated bloggers in indonesia right now. from 10M to 10k is still a smaller % … every day there are pepole syaing I want to get on the net, please teach me. So I tried to make that one. Second, people already blogging should have more awareness of their surroundings. Not only writing about their presonal life, but also better-awareness about what happens in their environment and higher awareness of using the blog as tool to achieve a goal.

Third : using blogging as a tool… as I said before. getting more people blogging, then using it to write more about what they should achieve. There are 3 gen of bloggers right now in indo; 1) personal/? , 2) peopleworking in IT and 3) focus on media. The media is too /liberal/ in meedia, unlike other contries; it’s grown less in quality, and bloggers have become the watchdog; we even started a mediawatch org trying to correct the media making mistakes.

Ethan: great stuff. so I think this idea hat blogers come in generations, is somethign that has a lot of familiarity to a lot of us. I know that as a US blogger, first there was a closed club; then there was a lot of geeks doing it; I think it my have tone further in the us right now. the notino that there may be one path as this evolves; what stage are we in? whta phase are we in? I’ll ask iria to talk about what’s going on for her and her community.. so if you an just pass that mic back?

iria – the first ones were the geeks; the pioneers. people share a lot ofresources, and tech issues; console, interface, how to add resources like commenting tools, and linking, and tools for feedback. There’s a lot fo conversation about that; many people interact and share more [things] personally. I think it’s a fact of all this that building personal relationships is also tied to the, maybe cultural identity; people tend to get together for meetings and parties, getting into personal relationships with other bloggters, linking going back/forward… sometimes difficult to udnerstand posts b/c they can’t — had sometihng personal about othre bloggers, and you can’t figure it out. some people are in the know, others have to figure it out. 2d generation – not all the tech knowledge of the previous one, ubt cfocused on conversation; entering other types of relationships. One thing that worries me : we’re hypercritical; there is a lot of self-criticism about tahat impasse. We talk and talk and nobody listens to us… but we are comparing outselves with france or italy … so we want to change the world, and be quoted by the nyt.. but this isctually getting more tools than would be expected by the size of tech in venezuela

Ethan: as people are blogging about [vz] politics, [there’s this high expectation] that people will be writing about it, getting storeies into the nyt… are local media taking interest?

Iria – not really; a few magazines… but it’s kind of trivial. I don’t see any msm taking it into considerinag. even though a lot of blogs are taking various information; we have video, audios ,interviews with chiefs? of industry… first-hand informatoin. msm isn’t taking interest in this…

Ethan: two brainstorms: hook up iranian with cambodian blogosphere to solve the char issue hook up the vz with the indian blogosphere, wher the media takes blogs far /too/ serously. I want to put hoder on the spot, knowing that he’s written sometihng about how to build the local blogosphere…

Hoder – maybe it’s a cultural thing; maybe it wouldn’t work outside iran… but I can give you some suggestions about what to do if you want to promote the b’sphere. When we started this thing in iran, we didn’t have any credibility… and that’s a v big and important issue.
so I did my best to try to find some big names; some journalists, writers… journalists are begtter known than writers,a and could befome better bloggers; into curent news. and writinga bout the situation right now. So I really tried; spent so much time gteting one person who I thought was a good candidate to do that. He proved v. successful and now his site has been around since the beginning almost… his name is ? There are many things I think are importantin the community. one of these things is : maintain a list of every othre blogger; people can go there, find other blogs, start reading htem; b/c especialyl for the newcomers, it’s very difficult to get attention, and not to lose the motives l, the motivations that are there in the begininng. And the well-known bloggers have to take care of the newscomers; it’s important to support them,linking to new posts, intertsting posts, and all that. It’s like gardening in some ways; you plant a seed and then yhave to take care of it for 6 mos or something. The whole blogging thing is about individualism; and some communitieis and cultures aren’t open to theat level of india. expression. In some communities, if youf do all these things, and they don’t have all this room for it to grow, it wouldn’t work out.

Ethan: I’m asking sokari about these ideas that have been bounced around… maybe we can turn this convo into a brainstorm based on discussions we’ve had already about what has bene tried already, what are some new ideas…Then think about this within our community.

Sokari: more focues on a population of individuals… in nigeria, we have a po pof 150M and only maybe 100 blogs, with half of them active. The kenyan blogosphere is really amazing; one thing we have to do in nigeria is create a kind of community. it is v. different, politically and ucltureall than kenya; we’re much more diverse; there is debate – -are we nierians or ebo or hausa? those dscriptions are often much more powerful, whic might be one of the reasons we don’t have the same community. There have bene a # of initiatives; such as a forum called nairoworld, which feeds the bloggers… but what’s happene there, is that it’s so confrotntatnional is thatpeople are leaving as soon as they’re joining. [wait, nairaland] and there is a blog aggregate which was set up, just a list of nigerian blogs (nigerianbloggers.com)For me, for the nigerian blogosphere, which is practically nonexistent… the [comuniyt-building] is slow. I think the kenyan example is the one we should be following ourselves; but I don’t know if it will work…
metasj

Ethan: an intersting question is if the same strategies can work somehwere else.

Ory: just to agree with whatsokari said, the [online] forums are ery different… they just turn into who can shoult the loudest. and there is a lot of idversity, but rarely does it become an issue of [tribe]. there’s also a lot of support; whether you’re more personal or political, I don’t get as many comments b/c people perceive me as a serious blogger so noone wants to crash my blogs. and we also have women acting differenl online; they want a space that they can control. if I were to have the same discussion online, it’s very… you know, it’s a different dynamic than with a blog where you can control the space and ther’s a bit more respect for each person’s space. Another thing, tethered to the sense of community : sometimesI think there’s too much concern over how ‘transformative’ blogging can be for kenya or for politics; I look at it on an individual basis – what ioes it mean for someone who didn’t have this space before to have this space suddenly? It might not change kenyan media, but it has been transformative to a lot of people I know; the poets who’ve bene ble to publish their poetry; for those people, it’s made a difference (on that smaller level) not so much on a macro level for africa. maybe that [focus] can help to build more community.

Sokari – in the nigerian blogosphere there aren’t as many wonmen (I think) than in the kenyan blogopshere; ory and I were just talking about that over lunch; tehre’s a high level of ego running around. itn that sense it’s difficult to build a sense of community, if dealing with people’s egos. I don’ tknow how we break that down so we can have… so there is something we have tin common to help us work together and give people have had to delete comments b/cyou aid something that someone else didn’t like. People aren’t respecting this is a fourm, where you have yours and I have my opinion… I’m not sure how we get over that. And as neha was sayig about the indian communit, there is this competitoin about who’s got what ranking.

Ethan: I want to poen this up, specifically in the context of figuring out how do we solve sokari’s and all of our problems – how do we get more people wihtin our communities blogging; differnet people; what stuff cna we do individually, together to get ourselves there? We have a queue of people – enda, jordan, irc… I sweear, irc is third 🙂

1) we are not too fond of getting public figures to blog… ut it’s really true in the case of indonesia. just recntly, there’s been this nedog model? started blogging; it created a lot of attention. it is a ? model in an islamic country… that’s first. more public figures to blog would be good. second: I’m not sure about corporate blogging. but if more corps start to blog, ti will also ive more authority to this edium; more will take it more seriously; and we can also build and help this blogospehre more.

Ethan: if we can all get nude models blogging, this will /really/ get your blogosphere started. Something to consider in the future. Jordan – I’ll jump right on that one… you sort of raised one question I had; but what does a successful blogsphere mean? what’s the problem rpesumpposing this question? the # of blogs, the # of comments.

Ethan: what would you want to see started in poland?

Jordan: throw the q back at me, eh? I want to sread some information about poland, and get people to dialogue about poblems. There are a lot of people woh read the posts, but not a lot of epole who post responses. is that a success or not? what is the problem to this question?

Ethan: one question about this :L are weactivists, pushing a certain agenda, or are we documenting this?

[Cat’s noting the discussion in irc is a bit behind b/c there’s a problem with the audio]

[should we try to be focusing on making people have political and social blogs, and less personal blogs? At first there was agreement in the chann that personal is less interesting; another said that in the africa context, we want to get the word out about politics… since it gets more int’l coverage , so someone asked, if I’m fronm africa (which I am), I have to write about politics or I’m not interesting or important. Final comment: do we have some sense taht we could control the # of blogs or issues they could address?]

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

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Thanks for mentioning the Nairaland Forum in your chat. Yes, we have conflicts and confrontations sometimes, but this is only because we have real Nigerians talking about real issues that really concern them.

When real issues are being discussed, there’s going to be passion, excitement, some very heated debates, but at the end of the day people will learn to be more tolerant of people who don’t see the world the same way. So I believe that Nigerian forums deserve a lot of credit.

Cheers!

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