It’s been almost a week since Global Voice Citizen Media Summit 2008 ended and I came back to Taiwan. Some people asked about how I feel about the whole experience. It’s hard for me to add more words, especially since many GV people have collected and written so many comprehensive and detailed stories, such as Rezwan, Rebecca, Ethan, David, Lova, just to name a few. We also have fantastic photographers like Neha, Luis Carlos, Paula, Yazan, and many more. Even if you missed the conference, or you were not able to be with us in Budapest, there are so many ways for recap, thanks to online technology. If you like written records, we have wonderful (with fast typing skills!) people accomplish liveblogging. If you prefer videos, GV Advocacy Director Sami have uploaded quite a few clips and also here (more to come!). (Update: Rebekah has a good collection of what online tools we used in GV Summit.)
Since it’s so completed, what else can I say?
I clearly and strongly feel my ignorance during this meeting. Some of my friends think I am more aware of international/global issues, since I am interested and I participate in Global Voices. The truth is, every time when I read GV posts, I rediscover how less I know about the world. For instance, in the Rising Voices, another brilliant GV project, and in its trailer, I am surprised to know there is a very Western-style subway system. I also have to admit, when I heard Suriname in the conversation, my brain was blank for five seconds before a blurred picture appeared. I thought I know something about Iran or any other countries in the world, but I need to know more. After this summit, I am even more humble than before.
Besides the summit topics and themes, people is another important factor in Global Voices.
Because of this unprecedented opportunity, I got to meet so many passionate and intelligent people at one time. It’s a great experience to finally meet so many people with the same cause and the same passion in person. I have never met most of GV participants before, except for a few who have come to Taiwan last year for Wikimania. To some of them, I am a digital account which has exchanged emails or chatted with them once in a while. To others, I am just their invisible translator. Many authors, to tell the truth, have no ideas that their posts have been translated into many languages and by me (in the Chinese cases). That’s one of the reasons why in the GV community meeting, we have talked about bringing Lingua (the translation project) closer to Global Voices authors. As a Lingua co-manager, I am trying to enhance the relations in my own ways, such as Lingua digest and monthly reports. I hope it will work out.
Photo on the right taken by Razan Ghazzawi. Many GV people prefer to sit on the ground instead of on the chair, because it is not only comfortable (as you can see the photo taken by me on the left), but also closer to the outlets, which are critical to bloggers, even more than food. 🙂
After the summit, one member and I were talking about some possible solutions to existing issues. Another person with the previous summit experience told us, we often create a framework in the meeting. More will be done in the discussions and action plans aftermath. If that’s the case, Lingua will be very busy in the coming year. Actually, there are already some results, such as Yazan’s (and GV’s) first post on West Sahara! More collaborations will happen in the near future.
I am always so obsessed with internet access, especially in the past few years. In this conference, however, I am totally fine without computer or not online. It is because being with GV people are so fun. Some members and I agree that in the normal conferences, there are always boring sessions that you can check emails or read your notes, but in this experience, every session and every presentation is so important that you want to pay full attention to it. It’s a success.
In the end, I really regret I didn’t spend a couple of days more after the summit. It’s not because I love Budapest that much, but because I want to have more time with GV people. Four days are too short. I am sure there are at least a dozen of people I haven’t talked to. Some people are already whispering about where to go in the next summit. I am really looking forward to it, even if I have to take a longer flight (finger crossed).
Thanks to them. Without their efforts, this meeting won’t be possible.