Grateful thanks, and some next steps

Alex Steffen, the Velveteen Rabbi and I are sitting in my living room, watching football and trying to digest yesterday's remarkable Global Voices discussion. I suspect it's going to take more than just this afternoon to come up with a proper summary of all the remarkable ideas flying around Harvard's Pound Hall yesterday.

It was amazing and inspiring to watch participants from Iran, Iraq, South Korea, Latvia, Malaysia, China, Kenya, Poland, Canada and both the blue and red states of the US find common ground. Whatever differences we have, we are united by the belief we all benefit from hearing more voices online from all around the globe. And we're remarkably diverse, creative and free with ideas for how we might make that happen.

Rather than attempt to summarize, let me instead offer thanks:

Thanks to HLS, the Berkman Center and the sponsors of the Votes, Bits and Bytes conference for making it possible for us to hold our meeting. Special thanks to Open Society Institute for their help bringing in bringing some of our global guests to the conversation. Thanks to Wendy Koslow and the rest of the remarkable Berkman staff for handling the thousands of details that allowed the meeting to go so well.

Thanks to Mohammed and Omar for a provocative and encouraging view from Iraq, and to our friends at Spirit of America for making their presence possible. Thanks to Blackfive for a view from the Milbloggers and to Jeff Ooi for the perspective from Malaysia. Thanks to Hoder, Ory Okolloh and Isaac Mao for sharing lessons from Iran, Kenya and China.

Thanks to Joi Ito and Jim Moore for taking on the herculean task of summarizing our goals while broadening our scope and worldview… all while striving to accomodate my demands for concrete next steps. Thank you guys for your patience and wisdom.

Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion, whether they came from across the globe or across the Charles… or whether they participated online, like Jon Lebkowsky. And many, many thanks to my wonderful co-conspirator Rebecca Mackinnon, who deserves most of the credit for the success of this gathering.

For those who missed all or part of our day-long conversation – or, like me, just needs a refresher on what transpired, there are a number of good records online. Sam Klein did a superhuman job of transcribing the majority of our sessions – his near-literal transcripts are available on his weblog. David Weinberger, Jeff Jarvis and J all have excellent notes as well. And an early technorati search has turned up blogosphere coverage of the event in Spanish and Chinese… and we're waiting for Hoder's posts in Persian.

So what's next? Well, that's up to all of us. But here are some steps people are already promising to take:

- We'll bring up a mailing list in the next couple of days. If you were on the planning list for Global Voices (i.e., if you've gotten frequent emails from Rebecca in the recent past), you'll be on this list unless you tell me otherwise. If you've put your blog on the participant wiki page, I'll attempt to track down your email and get you on the list, unless you tell me otherwise. If you'd like to be included and aren't going to get included via other methods, email me at ethanz AT and I'll get you on the list.

- The Berkman Center will adopt Hoder's wiki pages for Global Voices in the next couple of days. Once we get our mediawiki instance up, we'll post the address here. (Does anyone know how mediawiki deals with wiki spam? We're a big wikispam target at Berkman and it's likely to be a problem with these wikis.) Once that wiki is up, we'd like to start pages for projects people would like to collaborate on, and a page where people can list skills they're willing to share.

- For the IRC folks out there, I'm hanging out in #globalvoices on whenever I'm online – that won't be often the next few days, but feel free to open the room and invite in other people who'd like to continue our discussions.

- Joi has agreed to take the lead on editing our IRC discussion into a manifesto – he's a brave man. In the meantime, Alex and I will take a crack at a “mission statement” later this evening.

- Don't forget to use the globalvoices tag on, to send inclusions for the Global Voices aggregator to Rebecca and to post to this blog. Rebecca can help you get an author account if you need one.

We're all in this together, and something big is happening. Thanks for being a part of it.


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