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Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 4) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.
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in my carrib post today… a couple days ago, I postd the agenda for this meeting. and tyndale? who’s actually a friend of mine… he’s a journalist now blogging… with a friend of mind and myself he had? a list of predictions : #5 was, quote “a surplus of bloggers and shortage of bloggees” how can we direct the nat’l attention to lbogs that are consistent, acfurate, thoughtful, and useful? audience is probably a big issue, not so much for the #s, but in terms of impct; especially in terms of social and political, and the activism question comes into it.The link is at my post, at the top of gv today. It’s a comment, but I’m linking to it as well.

Ethan: a couple interesting discussions here … let’s talk to someone from a slightly more mature blogosphere – scoble – my 5-yr birthday is coming up dec 15; prety soon. when I started blogging, b/c 1-2 guys asked me to; I strated writing to thenm; not to change the world or get my agenda across; after reading many blogs, I realized a good blog is passionat and authoritative. if you’re not authoritative on politis, or passionate about it, youre blog’s not going to be any good. I want to read people who 1) are conected to that system, and 2) care about it. That should coe from inside. that’s … that’s the motivation should come from inside. The other reason I was blogging was just to put thigns into google. I realized that – now many search entigiens – I wanted to put things into google so I could put them back out later on.l’d write about a coffee shop that wasn’t yet in google; peopel woudl email me stuff that was interesting. One thing I wish I ‘d get more emails about – I get a lot about tech issues; if there’s somethign hot happening in your community, we should hear about it, in email; someone should just email me saying hey! there’s soemthing important happening in kenya; I don’t have enough time to read blogs from across the world. I’m reading 740 rss feeds right now. Adding a nother few 100 is difficult at this point. But I do appreciate getting emails evne if I can’t respondd to them saying something is happening; sometimes it’s oimportant enough to put it on my blog and let a new community know about it.

Les blogs conference asked how we could build bridges /t these two communities; my wife’s iranian,a nd she can speak farsi; knowing that there are millions of blogs in china and iran, and don’t know what’s important hter, whether there’s a big news sstory I should care about; even if I knew… if someone was watching tehse and warkning me, I could translate those or get someont odtranslate them for me; sobut someone needs to be awtching for me, to build a birdge… adn say hey, there’s something important happening in shanghai or beijing… and I should be doing the same, right? watching english blogs pertaining to warning the system, hey there ‘s something here that chinese bloggesrs hould know about. I really love this conerence; it’s preobably the best hour oive spent in the lst two weeks touring around europe;’ I want to compliment you guys for that and now I know there is a central place for that to get global voices…and there’s an implicit offer here which is pretty amazing – that when you have some intersting news in your country, you can poteentially reach out to mor people throug him. Scoble – one of the things is, I work for a [global company] — for microsoft… and I can write on one mailing list to 20k people (within msft) ,if there’s something going on in the world where you need that resource, by writing me I can contact everyone at msft to let them know what’s going on to say there’s something going on out there, send money and people over. and they all have connectpors inside companies with the same kind of pwower; google has them, apple has them, gm has them; if you find that person who works at a big company, they can et your issue global-scale very quickly with one email.

Ethan: this is a particular linteresting idea; for peope who have ben blogging re: dosasters I know dina was talking before about the tsunami blogs. As we started expanding our coprorate audience to include people whoc an mobilize resources within their companies, thatis’ interesting.

My name is sharon koury? a friend of hossein and… I want to say something about self-expression and the sense of agency just entioned;
it’s very importanct from some of the feedback we got from some of the audience — is it supposed to be political? humanitarian? one of th emost empowering aspects of weblogs : re every blogosphere. is thta tehre are blogospheres within every blogosphree, sharing life experiences; there are 10s of thousands, 100s of thousands; and one fo the most iportant htings about farsi weblogs is they share lots of life stories. Lots of conversations going on like that; translating some of these would uncover a lot of things about how people live in iran; and the way… we’re always caught up in the political stories and elite politcics and power politicsl the storeis written by iranian homosexuals, e.g., not disguising but writing with a pseudonym… I thin it is incumben t on those of us who speak a 2d language more or less fluently : I’m a little bothered by the political underotne that has dominagted the conf so far; and humanitarian was mentioned but there are very true life experiencs out there, waiting to be translated; and thta should be a major focus here.

[applause]

Ethan: – certainly that is a big issue here; and one of the thing we’re going to talk about later is literally translation; I’m also going toamplify a comment that beth said in my ear, and straight into the mic…

Beth: I’ll say it – I want to urge us all to share out rools and tips and materials; if you’ve already invented a wheel, for instance a tl to put the blogrooll oas a sidelink, if you ‘ve already created code for that, if I can ust cut and paste and translate into kamai, that would be great…

Ethan: maybe that’s where this discussion goes, to talk about how this discussoin would work; and hwo we could [share such content] cecile – I wonder if microsoft is beter than FOSS software; isn’t ms helping keep people off the web, instead of helping them to blog, except for your blog?

[asked directly at scoble]

Robert Scoble – we’re a for-profit corporation, and we sell a product, and we have competitors; there’s a free competitor on his computer right there…

Ethan:- steering back to a conv aout how we iprove local blogospheres… [on-screen, firefox dies… on windows…with notes trapped unsaved on the wiki…- at WSIS, we werre talking about ICANN, but when the real people who control the net are these big companies; google, msft, ibm… and there was no real discussion about that. for instance, msn was not really censoring people’s blogs, but not letting people use their blogs to post about democracy, human reights, etfc; and yahoo and google are equally responsible for doing that;
we were talking last night whether it’s good to have these companies in these countries, or whteher we should be putting pressure on them. also – the most interesting blogs are when the political becomes personal; which is what makes it interesting.

Robert Scoble: on the china issue, where even rebecca took issue with me… it was the chinese employees who made the decision; not an american group; to block th ewords on the title… you could psost wordes in the body, but just blocked it out of the titles. I’m very conlfieted by it. I took their position; theyr’e in a loca larea, they know the laws and what they can do in terms of theri local ethics; what is it to me as an american to orce them to shut down th egroup and be unemploeyd, baically, b/c I didn’t like the way they had to negotiate with their gov’t to do busines? we had lot sof debates within msft on that one; even on american sites, we block obscene text in the titles.

Rebecca: we’re in danger of getting so off-toipc. after the conf, we can have a big debate about this. and I certainly hvae strong opinions.
this hour is meant to talk about specific thing we’re trying to accomplish…

Ethan: how we as a group could collaborate on tools to ehlp us see wht’s going on in local spaces.

[Robert Scoble is inviting us to dinner…]

Sj: how can we reach out to elementary schools, elderly, handicapped, different segments of society?

[a comment about gardeing..from a pro journalist on how blogosphers can become vibrant and grow – there’ s anumbe rof things which appeal to ojurnalists; one of those is as I said, high profile people who deicded to start blogs; that always attract[s] journalist attention, always loking for ascoop. also tying in to the debate about politics; and journalism. to me a blog is … not political at all. it’s like asking why not everyone witha pencil is writing about politics… so I think you’ve got to provide people with the tools to use blgsthen theyll use them for whatever they want… i had an email from soeone last weke, who said “what’s this new workd you invented, “blog” ? and I had to explain to them what a blog was; there are lots of people out there who don’t know what they are; how about just talking about tools ew can be using to communicate?]

Ethan: – blasphemer!

Ory: – a lot of poeple like reuters, bbc… sth that riased the prifiel of kenyan bloggers during the elction? debate — about what the aftrican comuinty as saying. it got really popular; oe way for africans to take part in a debat where they’re not usually heard; unless they’re a tlaking head. so if you’re a journo doing a piece and want a sense of what’s going on, try to get a quitote froma blogger, or link to a post that they'[ve done around an event; and really there was a lot of debate; and it was great; and it was done very well. in addition to what gv is already doing… somethign else : I’m for the first time blogging from kenya’ I used to do it from cambrdige. it’s a lot harder for me. iunles sI’m doing it from work. it’s a chanllencge – I have to go to a cybercafe; bythe time I get onto worpdpress (which is pretyt good, flickr is also great) — a lot of programs are really slow; by the time I get onto rss, it’s really a pain to do. so a lot of thigns by mobile, sms, etc; flock si a new browser that is really neat; tools like flock – I know about it b/c I was at potech – if someon could do a piece on gv bout flock, etc, that are integrated; so I’m not logging onto all these things; more integrating tools, especially if you’re blogging outside the us.

Ethan: a great idea that came up in passing on that is the idea of talking about tools on gv; which is really not something we’ve ever done.
Something we talked about a lot a year ago 0- wudl we be designing tools, woudl we build tools ourselves we’vefound that a lot fo communitie are customizing tools for their local needs; and we have the call out form beth to shrae tools; mabye we should be writing aout ‘here s the right way to get on when you have 15 minutes, etc’

[Question: – how do you take this offsite, on the ground? I know in india we do very very very little of it. I think that hsa a huge role to play with it]

Ethan: thst’s a great question… I’d love to hear people’s ideas for how we can carry this out.

d: I don’t know what you think about this; I’m coming from englis-language.. if you rotate the editors to diff regions, what kinds of efect that might have; the blogosphere has more than just regions blogosphers; I have some thing her e: pososbile commont hemes could emerge; and learning; if you rotated these editors to diff reagions; and they would have to read differnt blogs…

Rebecca: can I ask for a clarification? do you mean rotating so now haitham is doing moideast, and maybe we switch and he does americaS? or are you saying, within middleeast, ech month a different person is rotated into that slot.

d – yes, that’s just the brainstorming… I iniially meant editors rotating…

Rebecca: just to give you — an explanation for why we were sort of inclined not to do that initially, or why we chose the editors we did : we felt it was important for the editor on a region to be really familirar with, and from, the blogosphere they’re covering; so they know when a particular blogger is writing about egyptian politivcs for instance; when to smell a rat; when it sounds like this person isn’t who they claim, or that it might be difficult… I’d feel relaly uncomforttable if I had to do the african roundups; I’d feel I should seek the dvice of an african bloger to make sure I really got it right. It’s a really intersting idea. and to hear what other people are thinking about; and rotation within a particular region is also intersting.

Ethan: three more people to get in; then we’ll run over a little bit…

Greg: live near dc; there rea tons of people who speak amharic (and ting?) so I hear it every day… there’s actually a pretty big community of people.. there’s a latent blogosphere ther.e what do I do? do I walk up to people in the coffee place and say’do you know what a blog is?’ that’s the core rpoblem… has anyone done that? ethan – an interesting respone to that — I will walk up to 10 people in a coffeeshop, sepaking a language I don’t know,, and tell them about blogging… only if 100 other people do it.

sj – there’s actually a [spraak??] social org in nl: which goes to poeple’s houses to speak dutch to them… marwen …was in tunisia; we were speaking to epopelwe know, and sometimes people we don’t konw; and one of them actually does go up to people in cafes and talk to them and ask if they know about blogs or not we do things like that [marwen is from tunisia, btw] that’s why we have a tunisian blogger aggregator, we have runisian blogger metepgs; to encourage eachother to keep going on. at the next metup we’re thinking of doing something outsdide the capital; most are inside the capital. we’re doing that, and will tahc them how to blog, so they can learn about blogging, how to, what about, wht the idea is. so it’s possible if we really want to make it [so]

Ethan: a really encouraging note – just as I walk around the room I want to daw out a couple big ideas I saw come out of this.part of the good news is that all of the ideas thta came out of this are now up on the wiki, b/c rebecca has done a great job of taking notes…
1) creative outreach. jiran?.com…in tunisia, going to youth hostels…

also: wide range of strageties… things that have worked in one way or another success with a central list; providing an instruction set; particularly if it’s difficult in a language[/region]

one q : can we become a centerpiece, a distributor of some of this info for how to do this? start a project where we go out to witness about blogs… and find pepole to go to and say ‘have you become a blogger yet?] it would be nice if we had the tools to use… it also sounds like we got a big reminder : when we figure out whether it’s a vibrant dynamic blogosphere; it’s not just politica.l. personal stories may also be a bit of it ,some of the metrics we use, some of the links, the traffic… may not be appropriate.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

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