GSO blogcon blog

A blog about the ConvergeSouth blog conference in Greensboro, NC, October 8 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tagging Converge South

I hadn't seen anyone suggest a common tag to associate our blog posts, photos, bookmarks, etc. with Converge South, but I notice people are already using convergesouth. I was going to propose convergesouth05 to allow room for future convergences, but I guess that train has already left the station.

See y'all soon!

= Ruby

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

GSO film

Here's a short film made by Greensboro's own Tom Lassiter (and featuring a cameo by Amanda Congdon) that takes a look at our local blog community.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Podcast about Converge

Herb Everett, who will lead our podcasting session on Saturday, puts theory into practice with this podcast about the Conference.

Policing the Media

Hello all. This is Duncan Black, perhaps better known to those who know me as Atrios. I run the blog Eschaton and I also work with Media Matters for America. I'll leading a discussion on policing the media, bright and early Saturday morning.

Blogging and bloggers get a lot of attention whenever there's some major story which was obviously either discovered or pushed online - Trent Lott, Jeff Gannon, Dan Rather are all examples of this - but the real influence and power of blogging generally doesn't come from these "big" stories, but instead the daily presence in the overall media conversation. No news outlet really exists in isolation, stories and voices from all over the media landscape have a constant influence and what is reported and how.

There is certainly value in having outsiders provide media criticism, as genuine media criticism is something which has been in short supply. Often too much emphasis is placed on "bias" - real or perceived - instead of simply on the substance of what is being reported. This tends to make reporters more concerned with appearing to be "unbiased," whatever that means, than with educating their audiences.

Generally, my take is the more criticism the better and we should all - print reporters, news anchors, radio hosts, and bloggers - welcome it and be more willing to embrace our mistakes rather than running from them. Sometimes it seems that making a mistake is perceived as being a capital offense for journalists, rather than being an inevitable part of the process.

Members of the media frequently try to hold bloggers to standards they don't hold themselves to, but in fairness bloggers often do the same. Blogs are not "self-correcting" as is often claimed by some, corrections actually have to be made. Too often the fallacy of argumentum ad populum drives drives the conversation both online and elsewhere. The fact that many people claim something is true does not necessarily make it true.

I'm looking forward to a lively discussion. Hopefully we can think about how to help make a better news media, and go beyond the simple partisan food fight.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Faith Blogging

We've all heard the old adage, "You're not supposed to discuss religion or politics in polite company." So why do so many people blog about these topics? Are social norms and etiquette different in the blogosphere than they are at your average genteel dinner party? Or have times just changed, and anything and everything is fair game for discussion and debate?

We'll explore these questions, at least as they apply to religion and faith, at the session I will lead on Faith Blogging Saturday morning at ConvergeSouth. During the session I hope we will be able to discuss:

What motivates people to blog about their faith?

How should faith bloggers handle hot-button issues and keep discussions under control and respectful to all involved?

Who are a faith blogger's audience, people who believe like they do, people who don't believe like they do, or a mixture of both?

What is the role of clergy and religious bodies in the blogosphere?

Do faith blogs break down stereotypes of people of a certain faith or do they enhance them?

What are the pros and cons of mixing politics and religion on a blog?

Can faith blogs strengthen the bonds between people of faith?

And that's just a start. If you have suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered, please leave a comment here or e-mail me at I look forward to seeing you Saturday morning.

About Me
For more than 20 years, Greensboro native Mickey McLean has worked in the traditional print media, and for the past 10 years he has been the managing editor of a major general interest magazine. This past spring he took the plunge and started his own personal blog, Carolina Christian Conservative, where he and others post items on faith and politics, with a little sports and popular culture tossed in. In other words, he's created his own electronic magazine, providing an outlet for him to cover topics he's interested in and present them from a Christian worldview.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Art of the Psued


I'm Cobb. No, I'm Boohab. No I'm Mellow Mike.

Actually, I'm none of these people and all of them. Why? Because I'm a cyber-person, an entity playing a role within the context of a project.

My real name is Michael DC Bowen, and I've been online in dozens of different places carrying on various roles in writing for almost two decades. I started back in the mid 80s pre-internet days at Xerox as myself, a young professional for which email was second nature. At some point, in those days of narrow bandwidth, it became apparent that all of my interests might not be considered an appropriate use of technology. Like most hackers (we all were back then), I used a pseudonym. This age old tool can be very useful in various ways.

As I have moved from interest to interest and online forum to online forum, I have done so with various contexts in mind. These days I'm a political cartoonist, essayist and I represent the 'Old School' of black culture and politics as a blogger. But even within the context of my single blog, I have one perspective as a cartoonist and another as a political advocate.

I also maintain a blog and a portal which deal with my professional career. Furthermore I post in a Progressive political forum. Sometimes I overlap, sometimes I don't.

I have found that putting yourself out there in public is something that can be scary and perplexing. It changes not only how you are able to present yourself, but how you feel about yourself as an artist or as a person. It is fascinating too, to look back at the various perspectives from which you have written in determining how you have changed. What kind of writing style should you adopt? How personally should you engage readers? Should you always say what you believe? How seriously should you take yourself?

Thinking about your involvement in the web as sort of an anthropological study is a useful thing. Let's do that.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

I feel the urge to Converge

Hi Folks, I'm Roch, the founder of If you are interested in a discussion about alternative media on a local level, join me for Saturday's session Local Online Alt Media. I hope we will explore themes, principles, personal experiences, practices and the effects of citizen journalism on communities.

Some questions we might explore are how have the traditions of your community influenced local blogging? Are the ideas and issues discussed on local blogs manifesting themselves in the community at large? How is the local traditional media responding?

I'm sure there will be many other good questions, tales and discussion from those who attend. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Blogging tools

At the most basic level, a blog is simply a collection of writing that's publicly available on the World Wide Web. The tools we use to write blogs are pretty basic too, a blog post may have a title and some text, and that text can point to other pages. Beyond that a blog might have a calendar, a blogroll, comments, trackbacks and what else? And what else would you like?

And what would be the point of a blog if no one read them? And then what if you could only read a few blogs? Luckily, we have powerful tools for reading blogs, and aggregating them, cross-referencing, finding out what's related, what's most popular, what's most in agreement with our point of view and what might jar us into thinking of something new.

Most technology conferences are about technology (duh) but the technologists tell us what we want, and that often leaves us feeling cold. This is a user's conference, so we start from the other end -- what do we like about the tools we have for writing and reading, and what dont't we like? What do you think of the various blogging tools? How could they work better? Do you use RSS tools, or blog search engines? If you could get a message to the developers of the blogging world, what would you say to them?

Dave Winer, editor of the Scripting News weblog, and a developer of blogging tools and RSS aggregators, will lead the discussion.