January 11, 2005

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Asian Blogging Convention 2005

An idea that's been brewing for a while...inspired by the success of the Global Voices Online Conference at Harvard last year, I am starting to wonder if there is enough critical mass for some kind of Asia Blogging Convention? Besides being an excuse to meet, learn and discuss topics of mutual interest it would be a great way to further solidify the growing links between blogs across Asia.

At this stage I'm just looking at expressions of interest and thoughts as to how the conference would work.

Some of my thoughts are below.

Update: Fons adds his thoughts.

Update 2: I'll fold the idea into this one.

1. It would need an organising committee. Depending where the conference would be held, there would need to be a few people from the host city and then at least one rep to act as country co-ordinator.

2. Around October 2005 would be a good target for the timing. Long enough to get some speakers, get sponsors and publicity, and organise something decent.

3. The idea would be to run it as breakeven...although should it be run for profit we can discuss what to do with any leftover money that should result. However the main aim would be to make sure no-one is left "holding the bag" with a loss.

4. Ideally we could tie this in with the Global Voices people and leverage of their experience in organising this.

5. If there is enough interest I may approach some sponsors, particularly some universities that could tie it in with their programs. We could also approach Governments for some funding...

I'll add more as I think through it all.


6. While calling it an Asian blogging conference, it would not be exclusive to Asia bloggers. Attendees from Australasia, America, Europe and anywhere else would be most welcome.

7. I've mentioned a few potential topics in the comments. Some others spring to mind, such as language and blogging, blogs as a political and social force, blogging outside the USA. As I said in the comment, the committee could work on topics using a combination of lectures, workshops and panels.

posted by Simon on 01.11.05 at 02:23 PM in the


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Not to sure what we should do at such a conference, Simon.
I have been pondering with the idea of getting Shanghai in the picture for a BloggerCon in 2006. The feature is still so new and evolving that anything beyond an educational angle seems too far fetched at this stage. But always happen to go for the better plan.

posted by: Fons Tuinstra on 01.11.05 at 04:55 PM [permalink]

I can think of several topics off the top of my head: blogs and the law; ethics; the media and blogs; blogging technology. Coming up with topics of discussion shouldn't be too hard. I'd imagine it would be a combination of lectures, workshops and panel style discussions. Precise themes and topics would be up to the committee.

The only reservation I'd have about Shanghai would be the Government's attitude to such a conference. Venue will be a key issue.

posted by: Simon on 01.11.05 at 05:55 PM [permalink]

You're joking, right?

posted by: Chris on 01.11.05 at 10:35 PM [permalink]

Damn. I bet you're going to have beer, too, aren't you? And here I am in NY and not able to attend.

posted by: RP on 01.12.05 at 02:47 AM [permalink]

How come it takes so long for your site to load these days?

posted by: fumier on 01.12.05 at 08:47 AM [permalink]

It would be a great (tho expensive) social activity, Simon. I have my reservations about the rest.


"How come it takes so long for your site to load these days?"

I think it may too graphic heavy.

posted by: Sassy on 01.12.05 at 04:12 PM [permalink]

I'm working on cutting down the load time by cutting some of the unnecessary graphics.

Sassy - what are your reservations? While it might involve expense I think if we can get sponsorship we might be able to reduce the costs markedly.

posted by: Simon on 01.12.05 at 04:54 PM [permalink]

Law, ethics, hehe, those are not really subjects I would think of in the Chinese context. I would not worry about the government: as long as you do not ask permission for such a meeting, I do not see a lot of problems.
The blogosphere is very young and still in a very early phase of its development, that would be a bigger problem. That makes it also very hard to get sponsors together, as we discovered a few months ago when we organized a visit of Dan Gillmor.

posted by: Fons on 01.12.05 at 08:48 PM [permalink]

Lovely idea Simon but ....

(In no particular order ....)

1. I've always thought that the beauty of blogging is the ease of communication ~ without the expense and waste of actually moving. Think ecologically.

2. Any 'lectures' could (should?) be delivered online; there are several programmes, such as Moodle, which can serve as 'lecture rooms', although a basic website would probably do just as well. (Have a look at World Changing ~ http://worldchanging.com)

3. Is there really a need for a Regional Conference?
Much as I would love to put faces to pseudonyms, several countries, such as Indonesia, need to first generate greater localised activity.

4. Of course, if such a conference could be held in Indonesia ......
If only!

5. As for topics, should such a conference be all-inclusive, including e.g. personal diaries and vanity sites, advertorial (albeit for private collections of Dinky toys) etc., or should it be devoted to those 'challenging' the established media, censorship etc. as you've largely suggested? This would be my preference

Such a focus would, however, be somewhat against the whole ethos of blogging which is to enable 'free speech'.

To conclude, though I'll no doubt have further thoughts, I like the notion of an Asian conference because the local blogosphere is in need of expansion and promotion. However it will primarily benefit those with the freedom to travel unless there is a parallel online event.



posted by: Jakartass on 01.12.05 at 11:06 PM [permalink]

when i first saw this i assumed you meant like the last blogging meeting - i.e. a piss-up in lan kwai fong. that i'm all for.

but it seems i misundxerstood and you really mean a convention.

why on earth would people get together to discuss blogging seriously?

i'm afraid guys a lot of you take yourselves way too seriously. i know some people make some good points, but these are little websites with even the biggest boys getting a paltry number of hits when compared with readership of say newspapers or news agency websites. and most bloggers do little more than rehash news stories filched from elsewhere anyway.

so from me there is no interest in a convention, unless it's held in LKF or "East Central", preferably during the hours of darkness,

posted by: giles on 01.13.05 at 08:37 AM [permalink]

well said, giles. with all due respect Simon, but i must say that some bloggers have had already huge ego's to begin with, to have a convention is to inflate their own pathetic sense of importance.

anyways i don't mind taking the next flight out to HK for a massive tank-up if you take up giles' idea :D

posted by: the letter b on 01.13.05 at 02:22 PM [permalink]

Hmm. As someone who has been doing this for a little while and who, notwithstanding my absence (which has just come to an end) is one of the more serious bloggers this does sound a little OTT to me.

I believe blogs have a future in Asia (but the realisation will be a long time) as they have proved they do in the west but they are a long way from it yet. Blogging is exploding but the real growth is and needs to be at a local level. The growth that produces blogs with the impact of Sullivan or Reynolds will be in Korean or Chinese, not in English. In other words at grass roots and with all due respect grass roots in Asia is not you or me, no matter how in tune you might be or how long you have lived here or even if you speak the lingo as I do.

While in many ways I would support anything that encourages growth of blogs as a counterweight to the media a convention with a heavily expatriate bias (I fear this would be) would not be the way to do it.

posted by: Phil on 01.15.05 at 03:14 AM [permalink]

I agree with giles on this one, LKF is better...

posted by: Giles on 01.21.05 at 03:01 PM [permalink]

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