There were so many sessions, so much information, that i wish we had a blogging hazmat team like Ethan recommends, to do a ‘harambee’ (working together) type deal where we cover different bits of the conference.
A quick intro of the other co-panelists on the ‘Women Across the World’ session.
Georgia of Caribbean Free Radio took photos
Snidga Sen is a journalist and contributing editor on the Blogher website where you can read her entries (she covers Asia).
Amira Al Husseini, is a contributing author for Global voices, and also blogs as ‘Silly Bahraini Girl‘.
The session is interactive, therefore powerpoint presentations were discouraged.
Mea Culpa: During the session i inadvertently referred to Kenya as having had democracy since 2000, i did clarify that the Moi Regime ended in 2000 and Kenya had experienced some noticeable economic growth. This was in response to a question by Georgia as to the reason behind Kenya being seen as a success story. Sssembonge was kind enough to point this out, Just to clarify, Kenya has had democracy since its independence in 1963, and the specifics on democracy from wikipedia…
“The election held in 1988 saw the advent of the mlolongo (queuing) system where voters were supposed to line up behind their favoured candidates instead of secret ballot. This was seen as the climax of a very undemocratic regime and it led to widespread agitation for constitutional reform. Several contentious clauses, including the one allowing only one political party were changed in the following years. In democratic, multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997, Daniel arap Moi won re-election. In 2002, Moi was constitutionally barred from running, and Mwai KÇbakÇ, running for the opposition coalition “National Rainbow Coalition” â?? NARC, was elected President. The elections, judged free and fair by local and international observers, marked a turning point in Kenya’s democratic evolution.”
Ok, now that i got that off my chest, let me point towards some wonderful bloggers and tidbits from my notes at the conference. The session on ‘Professional blogging, Art and Commerce’
What i found pertinent in this session was the issue of licensing content and how we as bloggers use content licensed by others. Specifically sites that have ads could be considered commercial sites, thus technically they should not use content from bloggers who have explicitly stated that their content or images be used only for non-commercial use. This is a bit of a minefield if you have your own domain and you are trying to make a decision as to whether or not to carry ads on your site. Does it dilute your ‘voice’ on the net? Should you incorporate if you are making money from blogging? These are some of the questions that were posed, and you can read more about that from the coverage by Anne Marie Nichols.
I slipped away from this session (not that it wasn’t interesting) and attended part of the session ‘politics of inclusion and exclusion in online communities’. As bloggers, sometimes we encounter trolls or even some purely hateful people. How do you deal with such? Do you find that it is easier to blog anonymously and have a gender-neutral blog name? What freedom or lack thereof is there in blogging anonymously or with your name attached to everything you say? Live blog entry is available here. I got to meet Valencia who participated in the panel; her blog is http://whyblackwomenareangry.blogspot.com/. I particularly liked her recommendation to turn negative comments (including from white supremacists) into a positive lesson for those involved.
Quick note: Visit Lynne D Johnson, very cool website and an even cooler blogger and writer! (Hint, she writes for FastCompany.com and other major publications)
Last but not least, at the keynote breakfast on saturday, i was formulating talking points for the session, but still listening to the discussion about ‘What Humans do with artificial intelligence’. This was just superb! The awesome women talking to Elisa Camahort were:
Esther Dyson She has been described as one of the most powerful women in computing.
Annalee Newitz, – She is a technologist and writes for Wired Mag (I read that thing instead of Cosmo, so pardon me for being so psyched to meet her!)
Rashmi Sinha CEO of Slideshare.
The main takeaway for me from this keynote breakfast was “Embrace your geek”. At times women (including me) tend to play down our penchant for all things geek, because of many reasons, be it cultural, social…whatever. Basically plough on with whatever interests you and ignore the detractors(if any) so if you like robots, or feel entirely comfortable dealing with NP problems, completely adore Carl Sagan or whatever it may be, embrace it and keep doing your thing.
Thanks again to KP, my fellow co-panelists mentioned above, Kui (she was also involved with BlogHer in 2005, when we were talking of sending a representative from the Kenyan sphere) Blogher was awesome. In time I am confident we can put together something like this in Africa. (We shall talk!), and thank you dear reader for reading all this. I will be back to my solar and renewable energy posts soon.