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BloggerCon IV

I just finished listening to a podcast of the closing session at BloggerCon III, titled The Fat Man Sings. In it, Jay Rosen made an interesting observation:

I was at the first BloggerCon and when I came back I thought, “wow, this is really cool, this cult of bloggers.” Then I was at the second BloggerCon and I came back and said, “that was really cool, a community of bloggers.” And after this one, I'm gonna go home and I'm gonna say … I just know it … “a nation of bloggers.” And I think for the fourth one, you've gotta go global, a globe of bloggers.

Dave Winer then suggests Europe and more specifically, London. While it's crucial to take BloggerCon to the international stage in order to emphasize the global community of bloggers, I think it would be a mistake to move the (un)conference from wealthy, white, Western universities in the US to a wealthy, white, and Western city in Europe.

BloggerCon is surely the most important forum of ideas, strategies, and experiences amongst bloggers and podcasters and it is important to not further enforce a Western hegemony which already exists in the blogosphere. Ed Cone is right: as blogging and podcasting grows, we're going to need to start holding local BloggerCons. I think this is a good thing which will help get bloggers more active in their community offline. But the original BloggerCon will always be necessary to discuss issues on an international scale.

So for BlogerCon IV I suggest holding the conference not in London or anywhere else in Europe, but rather in a technological center of what is otherwise a developing country. Three cities come to mind:

Seoul, South Korea would be another promising site in a non-developing country. Hosting BloggerCon in a non-Western country would present its share of difficulties including, perhaps, the need for some multilingual sessions. I don't think this is a bad thing. If we're going to seriously try to bridge the divide online, then we must also face the challenge offline.

Furthermore, if the struggle for control between users and vendors persists into the next BloggerCon, at least it will hopefully be with vendors from developing countries whom usually are not paid their fair share of attention.

I'd be curious to hear any comments or other suggestions to non-Western sites to host BloggerCon IV.

8 comments

  • BloggerCon IV in Shanghai would be pretty early, but give us another year or so and we can do Bloggercon V

  • Certainly would be amazing to organize a Bloggercon in Iran, given blogging is such a phenomenon there; I sincerely doubt the authorities would approve, though. But you never know: when I saw Iranian President Mohammed Khatami speak at a press conference at the World Summit on the Information Society last year, he acknowledged how blogs were impacting Iran’s youth.

    “I don’t use weblogs but I don’t use many good things,” he said. “My daughters are very active using the Internet. Our youth and adolescents are using blogs very extensively, the Internet, the Web…”

    So hey, you never know. Just a wacky idea.

  • Two other possibilities: Brazil and Poland. Both have strong blogging communities and are “next billion” economies (i.e., they’re where the next billion internet users – and the next billion members of the global middle class – are coming from.) Both are probably easier visa-wise (a really important consideration, as we’ve discovered) than China or Iran…

    The general point – that we need either the next Bloggercon or the next Global Voices gathering – somewhere other than an elite US university is right on, IMHO.

  • Visas would not really be a problem in China, when you do things in the right way. It would but much harder for Chinese to get a US visa. I think the weblogging community (despite the 600,000 bloggers) is still
    in a too early phase of its development, but that can change fast.

  • Why not make a small step instead of a big leap and head south of the border? I would recommend Mexico City or Oaxaca City (both profiled on Planeta.com).

    The other suggestions would be to prepare multi-lingual announcements AND to create an inventory of who is doing what. We seem to have a penchant for re-inventing the wheel, particularly with new technology. One of the finest online directories focuses on conservation in Mexico and Latin America and is hosted by the Mexican Conservation Learning Network which is one of the most interesting global voices online.

  • oso

    Ron, while I’m all for Mexico because it would be personally convienant, I think we need to get away from the “south of the border” perspective. Ideally, Global Voices could become a completely decentralized (as in no center) network and support group to enable bloggers from different countries, religions, cultures, and languages bridge the obstacles which divide us.

    As far as reinventing the wheel, the Mexican Conservation Learning Network looks like a fantastic resource and something that should definitely be included in an international conservationist OPML file. But I have yet to see any manifesto or network which deals specifically with bloggers supporting bloggers worldwide.

    Personally, I agree with Ethan that the next BloggerCon and/or Global Voices should be held somewhere up and coming in internet participation. With that in mind, Brazil (either Rio or Sao Paulo) seems like the best destination. WorldChanging and Creative Commons have both done a great job documenting Brazil’s recent innovation on the net.

  • Brazil is a great idea, as noted, in part because of its official embrace of openness in media and technology. Turning this phenomenon into a global one will mean making it affordable in places where incomes are much lower.

  • EducationWorld

    nice blog.. thanks for sharing

    Schools in Hyderabad

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