How the virtual local community responds to ConvergeSouth

This is an observation piece. From my point of view, it’s rather draining year after year so this is the piece to pull together why we can’t all get along (and why some don’t even bother going to the conference but have a lot to say)
Sometimes, I wonder if I regret IMing Sue about the creation of ConvergeSouth.
Don’t get me wrong. I love this conference. She and Ed have been right there along the vision that I had to use technology as a new medium to build communities or give voice. Year after year, there are volunteers that put their heart and soul into this and try to fulfill… well… my dream.
Year after year, we always do damage control with people that diss the conference. Usually they’re from people that didn’t go to the conference but insist that there’s some unsaid political agenda. We invite people that use the technology to push their voice and thus fulfilling the vision of the conference. Yet somehow or another, people keep coming back to how it’s more left… and more progressive.. yadda yadda.
FINE. YOU WIN. You want to know what the hidden agenda that I had in my mind ever since day 1 was?
I wanted to bring economic dollars to our fair city. I saw what kind of money mature conferences of the same sort did for larger cities and how much it places it on the map.
So for those progressives that aren’t acting very progressive, and the conservatives that are talking about things they never went to… please. “Agree to disagree” and move on. As selfish as I feel about this, it’s to benefit everyone in this city on a bigger picture, and to have fun with a type of technology that enables people to have a voice, and yes… even quibble about politics, religion, or what not.
What’s amazing to me is that I did something this third year that was exactly what I felt should be going on with everyone else. This extremely nice older black lady came to me asking for some clarification since she was an author but was not very learned in the ways of licensing, and blogging. I spent some time with her privately explaining all sorts of things she could use as an author and she told me that the Lord had sent an angel to help her… (which was sweet of her, but I don’t think I deserve praise as such). But the thing is? THAT is the point of the conference.
So instead, I challenge you to prove to me that it isn’t a non-partisan conference. So me that my agenda doesn’t deserve to be pushed and these many volunteers that spend time on this are not doing something worthwhile for this city. And that’s my last word on this. Back to planning out ConvergeSouth 2008.
Update1 (10/29): Looks like Scoble wants to be back at CS. haha. Awesome. Nods to buddy, TD for letting me know while I was out for the weekend.

  • “I spent some time with her privately explaining all sorts of things she could use as an author and she told me that the Lord had sent an angel to help her.”
    That’s my secret agenda for CS. That it can become about the LORD. And angels. And hugging. And Hello Kitty. And the color pink. And maybe glitter, also.

  • “I spent some time with her privately explaining all sorts of things she could use as an author and she told me that the Lord had sent an angel to help her.”
    That’s my secret agenda for CS. That it can become about the LORD. And angels. And hugging. And Hello Kitty. And the color pink. And maybe glitter, also.

  • lol. And for clarification, CM and I are tight. Like BFF tight.
    And yes, it can be about that. It’s about voice given through new mediums. I think you of all people prove that with your advocacy blog.
    Not too much pink on there though.. you might want to add some more Hello Kitty to it. 🙂

  • darkmoon

    lol. And for clarification, CM and I are tight. Like BFF tight.
    And yes, it can be about that. It’s about voice given through new mediums. I think you of all people prove that with your advocacy blog.
    Not too much pink on there though.. you might want to add some more Hello Kitty to it. 🙂

  • Outdated

    With this quote, “This extremely nice older black lady came to me asking for some clarification since she was an author but was not very learned in the ways of licensing, and blogging,” you nailed it for me personally as to why I did not attend. I did however look at the blogs of those participating in CS to make my decision.
    My interest was not in ideology but in the nuts and bolts of blogging. Rightly or wrongly, I think that some at CS have the opinion that the community is further along in the medium than it is. To grow the medium I think it needs to be a bottom-up concept rather than top-down. The medium is complicated, fraught with all sorts of questions legal, economic, technical, to what you want to say and how you want to say it, how much abuse that you want to put up with, what is the “fair use doctrine,” privacy, copyrights, when does expression become defamation, to is a blogger a “public figure” in the eyes of the law. Can my blog be held liable for comments made by third parties on my blog? Do bloggers need to have a lawyer? Being a cautious individual, I am hesitant to start a blog because of these questions and I don’t think I am by myself. I also would suggest that someone from Blogger or Typepad be invited to conduct a session. Lastly make CS a two-tiered event one for future and novice bloggers and one for the experts.
    Thanks for your time and listening to a non-attendee!

  • Outdated

    With this quote, “This extremely nice older black lady came to me asking for some clarification since she was an author but was not very learned in the ways of licensing, and blogging,” you nailed it for me personally as to why I did not attend. I did however look at the blogs of those participating in CS to make my decision.
    My interest was not in ideology but in the nuts and bolts of blogging. Rightly or wrongly, I think that some at CS have the opinion that the community is further along in the medium than it is. To grow the medium I think it needs to be a bottom-up concept rather than top-down. The medium is complicated, fraught with all sorts of questions legal, economic, technical, to what you want to say and how you want to say it, how much abuse that you want to put up with, what is the “fair use doctrine,” privacy, copyrights, when does expression become defamation, to is a blogger a “public figure” in the eyes of the law. Can my blog be held liable for comments made by third parties on my blog? Do bloggers need to have a lawyer? Being a cautious individual, I am hesitant to start a blog because of these questions and I don’t think I am by myself. I also would suggest that someone from Blogger or Typepad be invited to conduct a session. Lastly make CS a two-tiered event one for future and novice bloggers and one for the experts.
    Thanks for your time and listening to a non-attendee!

  • I’ve missed CS for various reasons the past couple years – travel, work deadlines – but it seems like you guys have something good going. One thing I’ve learned from blogs is that you’ll never make everyone happy. There will always be someone disagreeing, and trying to grease every squeaky wheel ends up with a mess. People want to critize some selection committee or be on a selection committee, without doing the grunt work. You do the grunt work, you get a say in the selections.
    I vote for a sports blog session. Lots of top blogs are sports related, but I don’t know how much of a presence sports has had at CS.

  • I’ve missed CS for various reasons the past couple years – travel, work deadlines – but it seems like you guys have something good going. One thing I’ve learned from blogs is that you’ll never make everyone happy. There will always be someone disagreeing, and trying to grease every squeaky wheel ends up with a mess. People want to critize some selection committee or be on a selection committee, without doing the grunt work. You do the grunt work, you get a say in the selections.
    I vote for a sports blog session. Lots of top blogs are sports related, but I don’t know how much of a presence sports has had at CS.

  • Thanks for the comments.
    I will point out that many of those concerns you pointed out (and rightly so) were actually covered in the Friday sessions.
    As far a blog is concerned, if you put anything on the Internet, you better make sure it’s something you wouldn’t regret later on. Defamation? Sure. But that’s no different from any other lawsuit from any other medium. It might be a new medium, but that doesn’t mean because it’s virtual, you don’t have to act with responsibly and with accountability.
    Copyright and Fair use are covered by Creative Commons license which most blogs are licensed under. Depending on which license you choose, determines what can or cannot be done as far as your rights with your works.
    Do bloggers need an attorney? *laugh* Truthfully, from a protection stand point, it’s in everyone’s best interest to have one. But do you need one? I think that’s more dependent on your content and where it goes. If you’re going to take on some heavy duty corporate types and badmouth them, then definitely… but if you blog about great recipes… I don’t think an attorney is really needed.
    It has already been shown that you cannot be held accountable for comments made by a third party. That was upheld in court if I’m not mistaken. Truthfully, as a blogger, your hands are tied as far as how much power you have over your commenters. You can ban them, and you can censor them if that’s your desire, but that doesn’t mean you can stop them from still accessing the blog.
    Maybe I should write some tutorials on these topics. If that’s what people want to know about… that can definitely be done.
    Last of all, the workshops were actually were more novice based than experts.
    Hopefully that answers your questions and perhaps will convince you over the year to attend.

  • darkmoon

    Thanks for the comments.
    I will point out that many of those concerns you pointed out (and rightly so) were actually covered in the Friday sessions.
    As far a blog is concerned, if you put anything on the Internet, you better make sure it’s something you wouldn’t regret later on. Defamation? Sure. But that’s no different from any other lawsuit from any other medium. It might be a new medium, but that doesn’t mean because it’s virtual, you don’t have to act with responsibly and with accountability.
    Copyright and Fair use are covered by Creative Commons license which most blogs are licensed under. Depending on which license you choose, determines what can or cannot be done as far as your rights with your works.
    Do bloggers need an attorney? *laugh* Truthfully, from a protection stand point, it’s in everyone’s best interest to have one. But do you need one? I think that’s more dependent on your content and where it goes. If you’re going to take on some heavy duty corporate types and badmouth them, then definitely… but if you blog about great recipes… I don’t think an attorney is really needed.
    It has already been shown that you cannot be held accountable for comments made by a third party. That was upheld in court if I’m not mistaken. Truthfully, as a blogger, your hands are tied as far as how much power you have over your commenters. You can ban them, and you can censor them if that’s your desire, but that doesn’t mean you can stop them from still accessing the blog.
    Maybe I should write some tutorials on these topics. If that’s what people want to know about… that can definitely be done.
    Last of all, the workshops were actually were more novice based than experts.
    Hopefully that answers your questions and perhaps will convince you over the year to attend.

  • *laugh* Hey Jim… maybe we can get Sue’s son to do something. He works for Major League Soccer and they might have a blog of some sort. They definitely have an online presence if not a blog.

  • darkmoon

    *laugh* Hey Jim… maybe we can get Sue’s son to do something. He works for Major League Soccer and they might have a blog of some sort. They definitely have an online presence if not a blog.

  • Sue

    Kid #1 has his own soccer blog but yes, is marketing production mgr for MLSNet. He’d be happy to run a sports blogging session next year (notice how I still answer for him) or point us to a sports blogger he’d recommend. The kid is all about online presence. Sports blogging is a good idea; haven’t been asked for it yet.
    As far as Blogging 101 is concerned, two things:
    1. I thought everyone who was going to blog had a blog and
    2. I saw lots of folks at CS who didn’t have blogs or were newbies who needed maybe Blogging 102 instead of 101.
    So…we need someone to volunteer to run such a session. Who’s interested? Who’s willing?

  • Sue

    Kid #1 has his own soccer blog but yes, is marketing production mgr for MLSNet. He’d be happy to run a sports blogging session next year (notice how I still answer for him) or point us to a sports blogger he’d recommend. The kid is all about online presence. Sports blogging is a good idea; haven’t been asked for it yet.
    As far as Blogging 101 is concerned, two things:
    1. I thought everyone who was going to blog had a blog and
    2. I saw lots of folks at CS who didn’t have blogs or were newbies who needed maybe Blogging 102 instead of 101.
    So…we need someone to volunteer to run such a session. Who’s interested? Who’s willing?

  • The first mistake ConvergeSouth organizers make is trying to do damage control. Any attempt at damage control right or wrong simply gives ammunition to the critics. Ignore the trolls and they’ll go away. Doing damage control implies guilt even when there is no guilt.
    As for Blogging 101, I teach free blogging classes year round, I’ve taught dozens of people how to blog and I’m always there to answer their questions after the fact as everyone who meets me gets a card with my e-mail address.
    I would be more than happy to teach Blogging101 next year and if people don’t want to wait that long I can do it sooner. Why wait?
    I do sometimes expect a small fee from businesses but I never charge individuals. I’m not too proud to accept the occasional tip but I don’t expect it.
    They are free to use any blogging software they like but if they like I’ll even host their blogs for free.

  • The first mistake ConvergeSouth organizers make is trying to do damage control. Any attempt at damage control right or wrong simply gives ammunition to the critics. Ignore the trolls and they’ll go away. Doing damage control implies guilt even when there is no guilt.
    As for Blogging 101, I teach free blogging classes year round, I’ve taught dozens of people how to blog and I’m always there to answer their questions after the fact as everyone who meets me gets a card with my e-mail address.
    I would be more than happy to teach Blogging101 next year and if people don’t want to wait that long I can do it sooner. Why wait?
    I do sometimes expect a small fee from businesses but I never charge individuals. I’m not too proud to accept the occasional tip but I don’t expect it.
    They are free to use any blogging software they like but if they like I’ll even host their blogs for free.