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Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 1) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.
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Why is it that some countries have developed vibrant local blogospheres (Iran, Jordan, Cambodia etc) while others haven’t? What conditions are required and what outreach can be done by the Global Voices community to help enable and encourage blogging in communities that could greatly benefit from this new citizens’ medium?

Led by Ethan Zuckerman, with input from Roba Al Assi (Jordan), Ory Okolloh (Kenya), Neha Viswanathan (Global Voices South Asia editor), Sokari Ekine (Sub-Saharan Africa editor), Iria Puyosa (Venezuela), Bun ThaRum (Cambodia), Enda Nasution (Indonesia), Andy Young (SiberianLight), Hossein Derakhshan (Iran)

Ethan notes that there is in fact profiling going on… and that if there were 2d and 3d days, we would break up into groups and do brainstorming. He encourages people to use the time immediately after this meeting and take a walk, have a smoke, go to dinner togther; another way to have the collaboration continue beyond the session. This session is mainly about talking about what’s worked in terms of building local blogospheres. Part of the problem we’re confronted with jointly, is how to build more really vibrant, dynamic blogospheres. If our whole job is to point to conversations, we need them to take place.

so we owe it to ourselves to get engaged in the work of building these local blogospheres and bringing people into these blogospheres who might not otherwise be there… There was this dinner I was at with robba with haitham in amman; everyone was saying, this is great; we all know eatch other, we’re excited, but we’re all from west amman. So how do we make tihs broader? how do we learn from other blogosphres that have been doing this well? In areas where this is already working, where there is another dynamic blogosphere…

What can we do to work on this? Let’s focus on what has worked, but also on what hasn’t worked. Look at kenya: for people not familiar, there are hundreds of blogs; great aggregators -it’s really political… I’ll let ory talk about it.

[Mic handed over to Ory by Ethan]

Ory: when I found the kenyan blogosphere … it was mostly linking to personal notes…I made it my business to study technorati and the best way to find other kenyan blogs was to come to my website b/c I would go through technorati religiously every day, and say ‘guys check tihs out, go to them!’ It’s important to support new bloggers by linking to them; encouraging them to keep linking. A lot of times noone thinks new bloggers are interesting, or thatanything they say matters. The second imporant thing was to creat a home where it became more esay to find everyone…We created a kenyan ring. Another home is kenyaulimited.com — a brand new site alunhced last week. redesigned, done by volunteers… It’s rpetty nifty. there’s as wahili version available, translated by a blogger… you can see al the posts down there an open blog: a group blog. if you do a gv roundup you can crosslink to it from the kenyan home, there’s this guy, we call him the godfather who created the kenya ring… this is mentalacrobatics.com and there’s actually – it’s funny, it’s become tall these personalities now, people who compete to be first to comment on each post… turned into a community.

I think a lot of it was finding people woh are just doing it… There are a lot of peopel -= a woman doing political stuff; they felt more comfortable reading about it? b/c she was a woman. And [some] people write about sex, some about other things; there’s a lot of diversity, there were memes that got everyone excited; then we got tired of doing it; but it got pepole involved in the group. We’re also turning this into a place to work on projects offline; when I went to kenya, I would find people who commentedon my blog, and say you commented, why don’t you start your own blog; you have something to say.

Ethan: you mentioned most of these bloggers are from the diaspora. are there ar lot of f2f get-togethers?

Ory: some people meet.. but some are anonymous, and want to keep their identities separate. Some people were resistant to have connections, as if they were pen pals; eithre b/c they weren’t social, or b/c they preferred 1-to-1 interactions. But there’s a lot of online interaction; kenyaunlimeted has a chat room; im; phone… with people I’ve never met… people will sometimes clal e, email me, say ‘are you okay?’ The sense that it’s more than a virtual world, but also a community – it’s made a lot more people comfortable; you feel like you can write — there’s very litel censorship and we’re all very young; this is another important htin. it’s become a psace for young kenyans who don’t have ioutlets anywhere to tpexress themselves to write without feeling judged.

Ethan: to take a couple lessons away… supporting bloggers by linking, commenting as they come along, religiously linking to new lbogs, creating a home a center for all these with instructions, including in local languages; trying to build up behaviors; like a competition to post together; let people know you’re there and recognize that, despite being virtual, this is a real community.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 3: What makes a successful blogosphere? (Part 2) December 10, 2005

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.
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Ethan: Another community I’ve bene really impresed by and wat to talk about: jordanian blog community. I want to ask roba two things; [what’s going on today with blogging], and what happened after the bombings.

Roba: I blog on jordan now; and haitham, etc are also blogging there; we discuss all kinds of tihngs. we discuss wikipedia, we discuss what we can do around jordan; for instance — [mentions initiative to allow students in high school and college to blog] including methods of how to blog, what not to blog, and tips and stuff.

Ethan: the blogosphere reacted in an interesting way to [the recent bombings in amman]. maybe you can comment on this…

Roba: all the media is gov’t-controlled, except for two channels that came out ecently, in september of this year. So everyone was very upset with how the media is covering the bombing events; all bloggers took it to heart to take pictures of demonstrations; to get uncensored civilian view. It was amazing…everything was completely unedited. People were able to say whztever they felt, pro-islamists or whatever.

Ethan: two responses that interested me… one was that a number of bloggers put together a virtual newsroom. For instance haitham put together screenshots of tv coverage, with translated captions and it was an example of how bloggers can respond to a real public event; j to mobilize and become a force of reporters.

Roba – I was impressed by the reactions of bloggers; I got news from them before I got it from tv stations, which was amazing on a different level. One must not forget that 50% of jordanian bloggers don’t live in jordan. I found out about the bombings from lebanon, not jordan… it’s amazin ghow linked each country is.

Ethan: asking tha rum to talk about the cmbodian blogosphere.. which has been a huge surprise to many of us; and really exciting to discover. Maybe you can tell us how blogging has come about, how bloggers are finding out about it, and what’s worked to create that community?

tha rum: I think blogging in camb is starting to grow or be popular, when local media write about it. There are 3 articles as far as I know about blogging…then I found out more people create their own blogs, and provide their own ? in cambodia… the country is low-internet penetration. But young college students, with access to computers and the internet, can create their own blog. and they — it’s beocme bigger and bigger. We had a blogger meeting, but not many cambodians… mostly for any bloggers… they try to organize meetings and few cambodians ttended this meeting.

Ethan: do camb bloggers interact much with one another? do the ycomment on each other’s blogs?

tha rum: I know some cambodian bloggers living in oc, and starting to comment to one another…for the time eing, mostly people blog in english. b ut there are some in khmer…input also, the unicode, the standard form [is just now becoming available] recently there were many problems wiht khmer charcters…

Ethan: on india : a lot of people took to livejournal and other community sites a while back most of the indians are on blogspot .com

Neha: People who hadn’t heard of blogging became part of the blogging scheme (neha speaking) and eventually started out on their own individual blogs. I find that the indian blogosphere is a bit inward-looking. it’s not as linked up to the int’l blogosphere as it probably should be. There is a wonderful site, called theysaypundits?.com, not a reblogger, but links to a lot of indian blogs much like gv. it focuses on other issues, like humor and movies and music; and there are a huge number ofNRI (non-resident) blogs. The level of interaciton [ /there/ ] is prtty high. For instance, when a blogger qut his job; the mainstream media took note of thta. And every time there’s a major controversy on the indian blog scene, the # of blogs goes up 5-10%.

Ethan: background; a blogger accused an indian uni of givin gout more or less useuless degrees; and the uni went very aggressively after him that some might argueended up costing him his job. And theysaypundit started to focus on this. In support of this blogger, all the other ones started putting up individual posts; there was a meta-post with 200 or so links to other bllogs coming out in support of this blogger; people who never had a blog, and wanted to speak up about this issue, sarted a blog with this one post; support gauram[sp]!
There is a blog called everymancity? a group of bloggers that want to help out an ngo in na education endeavour. So I see lots of collaboration with issues, including education happening on blogs.

Neha: wikis haven’t caught on yet in india, but there is huge potential for that as the regional editor for se asia, I feel there is sometimes a competiton b/t the indian and pakisatani blogosphere; recently there was a huge issue, with an open lestter written to th epakistanis, which was probably responded to by an open letter to the indians; it wasn’t a pretty scene. people were taking sides. and on the one hand, some people were saying about ‘this is what blogs are about, [baad!]’ and other saying, If you want somehting to argue about, go take on bush… but there are all kinds of things going on, music, movies, etc; but whenever there’s a big issue, people really wake up.

Ethan: it sounds like if we really want to encourage the indian blogosphere, we need a really big lawsuit. But the people who came online about iipm, have they continued? was it a one-time thing for them

Neha: it’s interesting; there were a lot of journalists who became bloggers after this. They came online, there was a lot of nasty google-bombing that was going on. Istarted a thread, just asking anyone who started a blog on blogger to leave a comment; about 40 of them left a message.

Ethan – what hasn’t worked well in india? are there things you’re hearing in kenya, jordan, other parts of the world, that haven’t worked in india?

Neha: I can tell you what works in india; popularity contenst. there’s a lot of contest about gtting the highest technorati ranking; I’m sure this is in every blogopspherre. For that reason, collab-blogging hsan’t really taken off. there are som ewho are really into it, but you’ll find the same group of 10 bloggers on /every/ collab blog, an thee others aren’t taking to it. [similar to wiki growth –Ed]. The other thing is exclusion form the indian blogosphere; they konw about the 10-15 ibiggest blogs; but they’re not attending to the smallest blogs who are really international. This worries me a bit…

[Ethan is trying to pull up indiablogstteet… url?]

Neha: this worries me a bit b/c it’s becoming really inward-looking. We seem to have more for ranking than for links now in india that’s incredible, b/c there’s a lot of ‘you scrtach my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of thing. About a year and a half back, there were a lot of people who were outside of india pointing into india…

comment : I wish there were a technorati contst about who has the most /outbound/ links, not the most inbound links… (scoble, from the techno to p 100) there are 200k? people on the ‘net in singapore. in indonesia, it’s 5 times bigger. but this is still a small % of the whole population.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

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

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.

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…

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)

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

Posted by Angelo Embuldeniya in GV05, Session 3.

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.


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)