GSO blogcon blog

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

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.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Podcasting 101

If you're looking for technical tips, "Podcasting 101" isn't the place to be. In this session, we won't cover the techie topics of bit rates, microphones or RSS because there's plenty of information on the Web for that. In this session, we'll discuss ways to use podcasts, or audio blogs, to build community.

What are podcasts? Well, people have been putting audio on the Internet for years. But recent developments in technology have made it possible to subscribe and to automatically download audio files. A host of podcatching clients, including Apple Computer's iTunes, allow you to subscribe and listen to a podcast at your leisure.

What sets podcasts apart from blogs and video blogs is their portability. Even if you don’t own an iPod or another MP3 player, you can save your shows to CD-ROM and play them in your car, at work or on the run.

So, what are some of the uses for podcasting?

  • Duke University is experimenting with Lectopia (formerly iLecture), which "allows instructors to record a lecture's audio and video components and make them available as digital files for download via the Web."

  • EarthCore is a podcast-only novel.

  • The Godcast Network hosts a bevy of religious themed podcasts. One of the most popular is the Catholic Insider with around 2,400 subscribers.

  • IBM is podcasting for its investors. National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation are podcasting, too.

  • Locally, the News & Record has four podcasts in different genres: local arts and entertainment, local news analysis, sports and video games.

According to USAToday, "Like blogs, podcasting is another step towards the Internet being the great equalizer.

"It's another way that the idea of 'watch-when-we-tell-you-to' broadcasting is going away, being replaced by the 'watch-when-you-want' model. Wait and hear."

In this session, participant input and discussion are the keys for exploring ways to use podcasting to open dialog in communities.

About me
As technology analyst for the News & Record, I have the flexibility to mix developing content with my support role for newsroom technology. My podcast, The Beat, tries to lift the curtain on how we report news and tries to give listeners a chance to get to know the newspaper's writers, editors and photographers in a different way. I also produce two of our other podcasts.

You can reach me, Herb Everett, at

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I am very pleased to be leading a discussion about videoblogging on Saturday morning. My focus will be on creating a "show" type videoblog rather than a personal videoblog. The videoblogs that I find the most engaging show me something I could never see on TV, or understand fully by reading about in a text blog.

My plan is to spend the beginning of the session sharing my perspective on what makes a compelling videoblog, as well as by talking about some of my experiences with Rocketboom.

I’ll put my two core beliefs on the table right now:

• If information is presented in an entertaining way, its message will spread quickly.
• No medium is more powerful than the moving image.

The second part of the session will be spent discussing how to make a videoblog “show”. I believe this “how-to” discussion will help to guide those who are thinking about creating their own shows, while being of interest to those who wish to learn about videoblogging in general. Some things we will talk about:

• In what areas are you an expert? What do you know tons about that others might find interesting? Are you an avid comic book collector? Rock climber? Pastry chef?

• Out of the all the things you know a lot about, what would you have the most fun sharing with others?

• Committing to a regular schedule is key. How much time do you have to put into this?

• How are you going to format your show? Will you have on-the-street interviews, or will you shoot from your kitchen? Or a little of both?

• How LONG will your show be?

• How will you justify the large file size? What makes the visual aspect a necessary component to your show?

• What tools do you need to get started?

Please email with any videoblog-related subjects that you would be interested in talking about. I look forward to hanging out with you all on Saturday morning!

Outsider Blogging

What is "Outsider Blogging"? Think of it as blogging outside of the mainstream. "Outsider Blogging" is about being a different voice, and getting that voice heard.

A continuation of the dialogue started with this year's SXSW panel "Blogging While Black," "Outsider Blogging" will be a discussion about blogging from a racial, gender, ethnic, GLBT or religious perspective.

Depending on where our conversation takes us, we'll discuss:

  • Does who you are inform what you write?

  • In this quasi-anonymous medium, does what you are matter?

  • Why are there so few prominent 'outsider' bloggers?

  • What role can outsider bloggers play -- and what role are they playing -- in shaping both the 'blogosphere' and mainstream media?

  • Finding 'outsider voices': How do we find them? What are some ways -- social, technical or otherwise -- to increase the visibility of outsider voices?

Some stuff to inspire your own thoughts:

About me:
I (Tiffany B. Brown) am a web-designer/developer and serial blogger. I currently write three blogs, covering web development and design, wine and race, gender and class.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Creative online advocacy

I will be facilitating the Saturday morning session on creative online advocacy. My background is as a life-long activist/organizer and life-long geek who has blogged and advocated from the local to the national level. But enough about me!

Some questions we may want to ponder...
  • How is online activism different from "off-line" activism? How is it the same?
  • What are some of the most effective examples of using the Internet for political and social change? What can we learn from these?
  • What makes online advocacy effective? What might make it more powerful?
  • What are some of the coolest and/or most effective tools for online action and organizing? (What's the difference between cool and effective?)
  • How can we integrate our online and offline activism for maximum potential?
Some links to spark ideas and conversation...

Please chime in here and post a comment if you will be attending or or have questions or ideas to share. I'm looking forward to a fun and illuminating conversation!

= Ruby Sinreich

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Saturday Session - Local Politics

Why on earth would a local elected official or other persons involved in the local political scene want to get involved in blogging? What are the potential benefits to you personally and to citizens and your constituents in general? What are the negative aspects and potential pitfalls one might encounter? Is blogging worth the time and energy one needs to devote to it?

In my Saturday morning session, I plan to share my perspective as a blogging city council member and lead an exploration for answers to these and other related questions. Please come prepared to participate in a lively discussion and share YOUR comments, suggestions, and yes, even criticisms.

If there are points you want to make sure we cover, feel free to email your suggestions to me at - I'm looking forward to sharing and learning with and from you!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Register for the conference

What is Converge?

It's a blog conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, Saturday, October 8, 2005, on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University...Preceded by a journalism and new media conference on Friday, October 7 that is hosted by the A&T journalism department.

How much does it cost?

The conference is free to the public. We'll even feed you lunch. That's all due to the generosity of local foundations, businesses, individuals, and A&T.

What is the format?

This is an "unconference" of the sort pioneered by Dave Winer at his seminal BloggerCons. A session leader with expertise in a given area gets things rolling, and serves as instigator, traffic cop, and referee...but there is no "audience," just a room full of potential contributors. It's bloglike, with the assumption that intelligence and information are distributed around the room.

What is this "creativity" stuff about?

Well, "Just do it" was taken...This is a conference about doing things on the web -- video blogging and podcasting, political activism and media criticism, governance and journalism and personal expression...not just talking about that kind of stuff, philosophizing about the possibilities...but making it happen.

And the "...for all people"?

The web is for everyone, we wanted this conference to be for everyone -- not by making the program about diversity, but by living it, with session leaders from a variety of backgrounds and points of view. We're proud to be holding at historic A&T, too.

Who are the session leaders and what are they going on about?

Duncan Black (Atrios) Policing the media
Michael Bowen (Cobb) Building a creative persona
Tiffany Brown Outsider blogging
Sandy Carmany Blogging in elected office
Amanda Congdon Vid-blogs
Hossein (Hoder) Derakhshan Global view
Herb Everett Podcasting 101
Mickey McLean (Carolina Christian Conservative) Faith blogging
Ruby Sinreich Political activism
Roch Smith Jr. Building a local community
Jimmy Wales Massive collaboration
Dave Winer What tools do we want next?

What else might I do in Greensboro?

There's the Journalism conference the day before...a music festival downtown on Friday and Saturday nights...a block party hosted by local bloggers for conference attendees on Friday night...a beautiful and historic city to explore...and the fall splendor of the Carolina Piedmont to enjoy.
How do I sign up?
Just click here and let the web work its magic....capacity is not unlimited, so get your spot today.