Joi’s session

Joi’s session
: The last session of the day….

: Joi notes that there have been a lot of white American males talking about blogs.

: Continuing the thread, Ethan Zuckerman of GeekCorps (tall, long-hair, white American) calls himself the session’s African representative.

: Zuckerman says blogs give new perspective on already reported stories, not original reporting. To get new news, “we can’t rely on citizen bloggers at this point.”

: Ethan touts as an aggregator of African news. Joi is looking for a human connection (an African Salam Pax) to help him care about the news there.

: Joi touts, which empowers people in difficult human-rights environments by giving them video cameras.

: Ethan: “What’s interesting in blogs is not the a-lists. What’s interesting is what filters its way up to the a-lists.”

: Joi says that when you get traffic, you start becoming more careful about what you blog about because you’ll get attacked (and he uses me as an example only because I’m in his line-of-sight). Not sure I agree. If that were the case, I guess I’d quit.

Joi adds later that it’s now much less about hanging out for him and more about publishing.

: Ethan touts IranFilter, which does a good job of reading Persian blogs and news and bringing it to the English-speaking world.

: He touts NKZone, Rebecca McKinnon’s blog on North Korea.

: Next success story: BlogAfrica.

: Ethan says talk radio has had an almost revolutionary impact on politics in Africa (just like here!).

: SmartMobs moment: Ethan says that when there was an incident of vote fraud in an election in Ghana, voters with cell phones called this into talk radio and the authorities had to investigate. Result: Low fraud.

He suggests coming up with technology to help reduce corruption (when asked for a bribe, add it to a data base of bribers).

: Joi says that when Americans want to spread democracy they mean putting it under American control. Unfair. In a more balanced audience, that would have gotten a loud moan.

: I ask Ethan what the three most important things are to encourage citizens’ media in these other nations. He lists:

1. Free, high-quality web-hosting. The problem isn’t just money but payment; the people he works with don’t use credit cards.

2. Instruction in the local language. That is what Hoder did.

3. Local leaders who show the way.

: Ethan’s working next on community radio.

: Ethan is organizing a trip to Africa in September. Takers?

: An inspiring panel….