Hello Dear Readers,
I have been charged with giving an account of the 2006 Global Voices Summit in New Delhi that took place last week. If you would like to read the transcripts, please see the conference blog, and of course, there have been various summaries posted on this site already. Rather than repeating the work of my esteemed colleagues, I thought that today I would try to give you the view of a Global Voices author.
Working with Global Voices
The life of a Global Voices author is probably not what you might expect. Yes, we are connected through the internet with the blog and email, but we aren't really connected connected. The majority of us operate in complete seclusion from the rest of the group. It is a lone blogger, a computer, and hopefully a reliable internet connection, writing about the world. Somehow Global Voices has formed this network of rouge bloggers and created something beautiful and special. I had one goal when I came to this conference…I wanted to know about the experiences of the other bloggers: what was their process, how involved were they with the community they cover, what sort of responses were they getting? And thankfully my questions were answered.
(Photo montage by Ange)
A surprising thing to learn is the success of the Global Voices site. Last month alone we had 1.1 million unique visitors. You, dear reader, are a part of this…a part of a global community. Global Voices is not about the Authors or the Editors, or in some respects, even the Bloggers that we cover. Global Voices is about the readers, the ones who broaden their minds and try to take in the world. It is from you that we need to hear from. We want to know what you think about our work, what direction you would like to see Global Voices go, we want to know what it is about this site that matters to you.
The primary focus of the summit was to find more ways to reach our readers. We discussed outreach opportunities, ways of translation to broaden the linguistic scope of the site, and we even discussed ways that, as authors, we can improve ourselves to give you the best posts possible.
There is an electricity that surrounds a great discussion…and that was present throughout the whole summit. There are many forms of outreach that were discussed. Some wanted to work on projects to help bring the internet and blogging to more marginalized communities, others (ok, this might have been just me) wanted to see more outreach in the form of giving school teachers tools in which to incorporate Global Voices into the classroom.
Another aspect of what I see as outreach was translation. This year Global Voices has increased the number of posts that are being translated into English, but we want to reverse that process too…we want to translate our content into as many different languages as possible to bring in even more people into the discussion. Here is where I want to diverge and tell a little story…
In the midst of a heated discussion about the man hours it would take to translate GV content, GV editor Preetem Rai was handed the microphone and suggested that we offer audio translations of posts. The moment was terrific. It was as if the clouds had suddenly parted and angels had begun to sing…everyone in that room was breathless. A comment offering a simple solution held the entire room in sway. And why not? More people can listen than can read. Why not take Global Voices to the next level? We focus on the written word and we have begun to bring in video and audio…why not more?
In addition to our focus on the written word, we looked at ways to improve our own writing skills. We looked at what made a good post. We looked at the process that each of us goes through to write our posts. More importantly, we developed a bond between us all that carries through what we do on this site.
What the Summit Really Means
If you look through the photos on Flickr that refer to summit, you will see 400+ photos of people eating and talking, and while they might not be that interesting to view, they represent the people that you read every day on this site. When I read an article from David or Amira or John, I don't just read the words…I now read them hearing their voice. The background of each author on this site is as various and diverse as all of the languages and regions of the world that we represent. This last week I discovered a family that I never knew before…and you, dear reader…welcome to our family.