People at We Media and fringe conversations

Last year at the Global Voices conference, Rebecca raised a peculiar toast – “This whole Global Voices thing is just a grand conspiracy to ensure that we always have someone to have dinner with in every city of the world”. I am just beginning to figure out how true this is.

Blogging doesn’t always increase your circle of influence. But it definitely makes a difference to the number of people you know, and the kinds of people you know. For instance at the GV dinner we had Rachel (of Frizzy of Frizzy hair fame), Eduardo, Lisa, Rebecca, Kamla, Salam Adil and his wife (whose amazing stories of shared wi-fi connections had us in splits) and Mary Joyce. Gushing over Kerala cuisine and the pink walls of the restaurant – it was hard to tell that we were literally from all over the world. Between us we had almost every continent/ region and ahem.. age range covered. I was thrilled to meet Kamla after months of google talking with her. Mary and I found a lot in common and we couldn’t stop talking. I think our bonding reached a critical point as we made it through some very strange streets in SoHo. Lisa “Dah-ling” and I went immediately into gossip, anguish and linking mode. From the second we met outside Marble Arch station, there wasn’t a minute that went by quiet.

At the conference – I met my share of the movers and shakers of the online world. Far more than I usually meet. I think the interesting bit is that many of them were deceptively modest. Like Scott Rafer who was all quiet on a white cube and said – well, I am sort of involved with Winksite, MyBlogLog and Feedster. Sort of? Yeah right! Well the problem of hanging around with modest people is that after a while you end up sinking into a little hole. Heh! Other interesting people included Michael Tippett and Graham Holliday. Michael and Graham were going goo-goo over their respective two and a half year old babies while I met Matthias – a German blogger. There was more German to come as Graham and I were interviewed by a German journalist. Lucy Hooberman and I shared many a wink and laugh during the entire conference. There was David Gyimah who managed to catch Andrew Lih and me on video while we discussed Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai (Indian-Chinese are brothers. Eh!), history textbooks, media and the world beyond Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. Amanda Leskin was an interesting find. She was in Nepal even as it was going through the “April Revolution”. She told me about her experiences in Nepal, and how tourists were spared the rod of the curfew. Fascinating side (and fringe) conversations with Mark Glaser, Suw Charman and Kevin Anderson. While rubbing shoulders at the event with some very big names from Mainstream Media was interesting, the conversations that were held outside of the Conference Hall were some of the most insightful.

(Note – I am from Delhi and in all obviousness, name dropping comes very naturally to me. However, this is more an exercise in linking and remembering conversations and people. Because the biggest take-away from this conference has been talking to people. the likes of which I would have probably never met if I didn’t blog. Afterall this blog is an archive of my own life as it appears – and even if business cards get lost, URLs shouldn’t be!)

8 Comments

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8 Responses to People at We Media and fringe conversations

  1. Pingback: DesiPundit » People at We Media and Fringe Conversations

  2. Neha,

    Came here via EthanZ, thought your name was oddly familiar, double-checked, and sure enough, you’re the same Neha.

    Hi again! :-)

  3. I went through the previous posts too on the topic. I am sure the whole experience and the exposure you had must have been a very enlightening one. Lucky you!!!

  4. hmmm..someone went to rasa samudra.

  5. I think we bonded most over the out-of-place French store clerk with his indeciferable map and disturbing skin condition.

  6. and now say welcome to WeTheMedia.info , from the site’s description:

    “We’re ready in the wings…

    ‘WetheMedia’ was formed in response to the ‘WeMedia’ 2006 conference about the impact of ‘citizen journalism’. However, the focus of much of the conference was on how the mainstream media could adapt. In contrast, the focus of this group is to further the interests of ‘citizen journalists’. ”

    People are for changing citizen journalism to something else.. any ideas your highness Neha? :D

  7. Jace: :) The same one!

    Pradeep Nair: I think I was lucky to meet the kinds of people I met there. And lucky to figure out that things could have been better!

    nevermind: Right you are. The food was great, even if vegetarian stuff was limited.

    Mary: Oh! And never mind his emphasis on specific attractions in SoHo.

    Angelo: I don’t see what the divide is all about. The problem peculiar to We Media was that the Mainstream Media was badly represented. Instead of getting journalists – they got in Chief Editors, Ops heads and the like. They also assumed that journalists cannot engage in citizen journalism. The fundamental issue was not one of technology – but of power. MSM is not willing to let go of its power and instead wants to sit on all citizen journalists – so they bring in irrelevant arguments.

    Both separate and collaborative spaces are necessary.

  8. When people ask me how the conference went, I tend to tell them about all of the people that I met and the connections that I made. Certainly the conference had its detractors, but it was successful in bringing so many wonderful people together.