More on the European Bloggers (Un)conference

As previously reported, I’ll be at the first European Bloggers (Un)Conference, in Amsterdam, on September 27-28. I’ve now set up a Facebook group and event if you want to sign up.

Attendees are listed on the unconference wiki and include Nicolas Ebnother of InternewsOleksander Demchenko of the Ukrainian LiveJournal journalism community, Andrew Davies of the Greenpeace makingwaves blog, Vadim Sadonshoev, Irakli Jibladze of Steady State, Luca ContiAbdul Gamid, Leila Tanayeva of New Eurasia, Mikhail Doroshevich of e-belarus, photoblogger Anush Babajanyan, Sami Ben Gharbia of Global Voices Advocacy, and Wybo Wiersma of OgOg. Guest speaker Evgeny Morozov of Transitions Online plans

“to talk about the East-West divide (not necessarily just on a European level) and how that’s reflected in the blogosphere: different needs vs different services vs different concerns vs different operating pressures. My broader research in this topic is how new media technologies that often originate in the West for often rather trivial purposes — think Twitter used to share what one had for dinner — are being used in the East for completely different (and I’d venture to say at the point of moralizing) more noble and society-changing purposes (think the use of Twitter by democracy activists in the Middle East to warn each other of upcoming arrests or office searches). So I’ll be playing around those themes, with a somewhat focus on blogs, but also looking at the whole new media spectrum.

I also asked Elisa Delaini, Associate Editor of the European Journalism Centre, some questions about the unconference. Here are her answers:

Q: How did the unconference come about?
The EJC was looking for a follow up to last year’s Innovation Journalism event we launched at Picnic06. We thought that it would have been useful to have a place where the best cases of the west could meet with the eastern bloggers. We believe Amsterdam is an excellent venue for international meetings, and is easy to get to, so we opened up the event for a larger group of people.

Q: Why an unconference?
Instead of having only people speaking in front of the audience, we thought that the audience and the participants themselves should contribute to the developments. Therefore the idea of the unconference,
an unformal meeting. The Ejc doesn’t claim to know any answers, and may not even be aware of the most pressing issues, bloggers are faced with, as opposed to some substantial knowledge the Ejc has concerning
journalism and journalists. Furthermore, we strongly believe in the “wisdom of the crowd” concept and believe that participants themselves will much better be able to define what should be on the agenda.

Q: How have you gone about inviting participants?
We have started to contact the Eastern bloggers first, as they are the ones less favoured to participate because of financial situations. We provided them with some support to be able to attend it. To invite them, we relied on the large network of Transitions Online. We are still inviting Western bloggers so that we can really have a face-to-face between East and West.

Q: What do you hope will come out of it?
Ideally we find some common ground between bloggers from east and west, and the dialogue we start at picnic can be continued in the future. The Ejc would like to initiate and enable a conversation between relevant “voices” from Europe and its neighbours.

Q: What do you hope will happen at the event?
People will meet, learn, have fun, meet again and discuss ideas and issues

Q: Anything else you can add?
Please sign up through our wiki and contribute on that with any ideas and suggestions!

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