Benefits of Global Blogging: Dinner Companions No Matter Where You Go!
Originally uploaded by cambodia4kidsorg.
The Internet connection is very slow that I am on and typepad won't load. But, I manage to optimize some photos from my arrival and last night's dinner with the Clogger Team.
So, if you want to follow me - best to click through the flickr stream.
I was greeted at the airport by members of the clogger team, Virak and "Trajoke" and presented with a Cambodian Bloggers Summit t-shirt! I look pretty good for being a plane for over 24 hours.
I remember at the 2005 Global Voices Summit, Rebecca MacKinon made a toast to everyone and jokingly said that those who are involved with Global Voices will never lack for dining companions no matter where they go in the world. So, later we met up at the Khmer Sirin restaurant for a delicious dinner of traditional khmer food.
We dined outside on the porch. This is my first trip to Cambodia during rainy season, so I was really amused the huge downpour and thunderstorm (the porch was protected). But the rain made my colleagues nervous because they said it would make it hard to navigate in flooded streets with their motor bikes and they didn't have rain jackets. I got a kick out the fact that one of my colleague's mother called her cell phone because she was worried about her transport home. Mothers are the same all over the world!
It was good to hear first hand stories of their challenges to maintaining a blog and their experiences training young people and others to blog. While nothing replaces face-to-face conversation, since we've know each other for over two years via our blogs - it felt like meeting up with old friends you hadn't seen in a long time.
The Clogger team noted how they really want to see more local journalists or newspapers maintain a blog. Blogging is not widespread as they would like it to be. Colleagues who are IT majors do not have blogs and/or not familiar with them. Lux Mean had an idea of placing regular ads in the Khmer newspaper with summary of what was happening on the local blogosphere and urls. A bridge between paper and the blogosphere.
They told me a story of how a journalist interested in writing a story about the summit told them they didn't understand what a blog was. They spent an entire afternoon explaining and showing blogs. The team was proud to say that after their mentoring, this journalist may be blogging.
I also heard from the team about how difficult it is for them to maintain regular and consistent blogging. This is primarily because they do not have Internet access or computers at home and their blogs, while work related aren't necessarily part of their formal job. This is a similar challenge that ngo staffers may face in the US, but the difference is that a staff person the US is far more likely to own a personal laptop and enjoy an Internet connection (a high speed one) at home or a nearby coffee shop. Observes one clogger, "I have lots of ideas about what to blog when I get home, but I don't have the computer to write it. So I try to take to notes, but when I get into work and get access to the computer, I have to do work and the urge to blog disappears."
I asked about the speed of Internet connection at the conference and I learned that a 512K connection is "really fast." My blogging friends were amazed that I have a 8MB connection at home which is a not in a urban area (I live outside the city). I'm finding the Internet connections very very slow. It is going to be a creative challenge to do extensive blogging.
My friends confessed they were a little nervous with the conference and how many people are coming and how much good attention it has received. I confessed to being nervous about the video blogging session and how the upload speeds. I had planned to use the video camera kits I'm bringing over, DeeDeeDoll shared her Nikon smartfphone which had a nice video camera. These cell phones are popular. So, we will experiment now with using that to take some video clips and upload to jumpcut, blip.tv. or youtube from the SD card. I have to test to which ones easily uploads .gp files.
I brought over some of the t-shirts and they got to pick out their shirts - a hard choice. My blogger friends were very excited and recognized the names of the companies and they were like rock star fans! Lux Mean, whose organization sponsors youth programs, recognized the Youth Noise T-shirts! After dinner we organized the t-shirts into packages and Lux took them back to his office - we'll doing some bag stuffing a little later.