I wish I was at Chinese BloggerCon

Lots of people are asking me if I am going to next week’s Blog World Expo. No, cause I have a six-week-old baby at home. Plus, I hang around a lot of these speakers all the time anyway. That said, I’m actually pretty surprised by the quality of speakers that this new conference has been able to put together. I’m actually sad I won’t be there, even though I’m not really THAT sad.

But what really looks interesting? The Chinese Bloggercon. BlognationChina is there.

Rebecca McKinnon is too. John Kennedy is live blogging and doing an awesome job. I feel like I’m sitting in the hall. I know it’s lunch time right now on Saturday.

That stuff is all in English, but the official blog is in Chinese.

Next year I want to do a BloggerCon here at the same time and build a video bridge so we could talk about the same issues. Heck, let’s do it. Why don’t you all show up on my Kyte.tv channel. It’s open to ANYONE who wants to post some video.

Some topics that I wish were being discussed internationally:

1. How do we get great Chinese blogs translated to English (and vice versa)?
2. Who is the “Michael Arrington” of China?
3. What’s happening in the Chinese blogosphere that’s different than the English one?

From John Kennedy’s blog I already learned that there’s a Chinese knockoff of Twitter already and I already found some cool new blogs. Really great stuff.

UPDATE: There’s some photos of the BloggerCon on Flickr. Oh, and check out the Chinese Facebook knock off.

Comments

  1. With the benefit of only 2 weeks in China, including 2 days at ad:tech Beijing, I’d have to say it would be interesting to discuss the term “great blog” in the Chinese context. There are plenty of English-speaking bloggers who could explicate that – Jeremy Goldkorn at danwei.org, Dan Harris at chinalawblog.com Sam Flemming at http://www.seeisee.com/index.php/sam/ and a new one David Wolf at Silicon Hutong http://siliconhutong.typepad.com/silicon_hutong/
    What I got is that the sheer numbers of people blogging is huge. I was also told that bulletin boards are huge. Censorship is a serious issue and companies are very wary, to say the least, about corporate blogging, especially because of the speed and volume of comments that get generated and the perceived risk in that.

  2. With the benefit of only 2 weeks in China, including 2 days at ad:tech Beijing, I’d have to say it would be interesting to discuss the term “great blog” in the Chinese context. There are plenty of English-speaking bloggers who could explicate that – Jeremy Goldkorn at danwei.org, Dan Harris at chinalawblog.com Sam Flemming at http://www.seeisee.com/index.php/sam/ and a new one David Wolf at Silicon Hutong http://siliconhutong.typepad.com/silicon_hutong/
    What I got is that the sheer numbers of people blogging is huge. I was also told that bulletin boards are huge. Censorship is a serious issue and companies are very wary, to say the least, about corporate blogging, especially because of the speed and volume of comments that get generated and the perceived risk in that.

  3. Wow. A whole post about Chinese bloggers and no mention of the pressure they face from their government. I am sure there bloggercon will be a bit more serious than ours.

  4. Wow. A whole post about Chinese bloggers and no mention of the pressure they face from their government. I am sure there bloggercon will be a bit more serious than ours.

  5. Re: topic #1

    Automatic translation has a long way to go (despite getting continually better) , but honestly, the only way for more real translation to occur is for masses of English speakers to learn Mandarin !

    One of the best environmental news blogs on China, http://www.chinadialogue.net publish everything, articles and all comments in both Chinese and English … but that rests entirely on a large group of dedicated unpaid volunteers that are mostly ethnic Chinese.

    Maybe it’ll be the rise of the Chinese blogosphere and the Chinese web that’ll really get North Americans into learning 2nd and 3rd languages. English will certainly be #1 for the foreseeable future, but keeping the most common mother tongue in the world as some sort of “secret code” is far too big an advantage to give to the Chinese. It really ain’t that difficult to learn, it just takes time.

    如果你看不懂,你應該快一點學!

    Oh yeah, Unicode also really needs to become more mainstreamed … nothing more annoying than seeing garbled up Chinese script.

  6. Re: topic #1

    Automatic translation has a long way to go (despite getting continually better) , but honestly, the only way for more real translation to occur is for masses of English speakers to learn Mandarin !

    One of the best environmental news blogs on China, http://www.chinadialogue.net publish everything, articles and all comments in both Chinese and English … but that rests entirely on a large group of dedicated unpaid volunteers that are mostly ethnic Chinese.

    Maybe it’ll be the rise of the Chinese blogosphere and the Chinese web that’ll really get North Americans into learning 2nd and 3rd languages. English will certainly be #1 for the foreseeable future, but keeping the most common mother tongue in the world as some sort of “secret code” is far too big an advantage to give to the Chinese. It really ain’t that difficult to learn, it just takes time.

    如果你看不懂,你應該快一點學!

    Oh yeah, Unicode also really needs to become more mainstreamed … nothing more annoying than seeing garbled up Chinese script.

  7. Yeah i too kinda wish somebody would Pay to fly me out there + toss in some Spending $$$!!

    I would even go to China*

    always amazes me how little we know about that Huge country*

    I bet most North Americans can’t name more than 3 Cities in China + about the same in Russia* Completely Insane*

    They did a fine job of keeping the Iron + Bamboo Curtains shuttered tight*

    ;))

    where’s yer Link Blog U were talkin’ bout on Twitter?? (those are English Question Marks + not Chinese!! ;)

  8. Yeah i too kinda wish somebody would Pay to fly me out there + toss in some Spending $$$!!

    I would even go to China*

    always amazes me how little we know about that Huge country*

    I bet most North Americans can’t name more than 3 Cities in China + about the same in Russia* Completely Insane*

    They did a fine job of keeping the Iron + Bamboo Curtains shuttered tight*

    ;))

    where’s yer Link Blog U were talkin’ bout on Twitter?? (those are English Question Marks + not Chinese!! ;)

  9. After all the bad comments you have said about China I doubt the consulate will grant you a visa. Maybe you applied, were denied and it’s easy for you to say you won’t be going, why ? ’cause of whatever lame reason.

  10. After all the bad comments you have said about China I doubt the consulate will grant you a visa. Maybe you applied, were denied and it’s easy for you to say you won’t be going, why ? ’cause of whatever lame reason.

  11. Carrie: I’ve been to China once and asked government officials and students about Tiananmen Square there in Shanghai. I’m sure they’d let me back in today. I know families there with quite a few connections.

  12. Carrie: I’ve been to China once and asked government officials and students about Tiananmen Square there in Shanghai. I’m sure they’d let me back in today. I know families there with quite a few connections.

  13. @9. Why would they? You apparently don’t know where Tianamen Square is. You are making Billy’s point. Shanghai? Are you sure that was Tianamen Square you were at?

  14. @9. Why would they? You apparently don’t know where Tianamen Square is. You are making Billy’s point. Shanghai? Are you sure that was Tianamen Square you were at?

  15. Thanks for the link Robert. Hope you and the family are all doing well. Not sure why you are so surprised. We worked out asses off and got a lot of help from the blogosphere including you 8).

    For the record, Keynoters are Mark Cuban, Matt Mullenweg, Leo Laporte, Larry Benet (who is an amazing guy) and a panel with Jason Shellen (Blogger & Google Reader), Richard Jalichandra (Technorati), Jeremy Wright (b5 media), Roger L. Simon (Pajamas Media), and Brad Hill (Weblogs Inc). You really have to see the list of over a 100 other speakers many of which are also keynote worthy to get an idea of the scope of the conference.

  16. Thanks for the link Robert. Hope you and the family are all doing well. Not sure why you are so surprised. We worked out asses off and got a lot of help from the blogosphere including you 8).

    For the record, Keynoters are Mark Cuban, Matt Mullenweg, Leo Laporte, Larry Benet (who is an amazing guy) and a panel with Jason Shellen (Blogger & Google Reader), Richard Jalichandra (Technorati), Jeremy Wright (b5 media), Roger L. Simon (Pajamas Media), and Brad Hill (Weblogs Inc). You really have to see the list of over a 100 other speakers many of which are also keynote worthy to get an idea of the scope of the conference.

  17. @15. My apologies. But when I read:
    “asked government officials and students about Tiananmen Square there in Shanghai.”

    Grammatically, that suggests you were asking about Tiananmen Square “there in Shanghai”. I have trouble deciphering poor grammar, but I’m working on it.

  18. @15. My apologies. But when I read:
    “asked government officials and students about Tiananmen Square there in Shanghai.”

    Grammatically, that suggests you were asking about Tiananmen Square “there in Shanghai”. I have trouble deciphering poor grammar, but I’m working on it.

  19. I had the pleasure of participating in the panel ably moderated by Des Walsh at ad-tech beijing (Oct. 17, 2007). Des makes some important points in his comment above. I’d add to that: go to China to experience what the widespread adoption of blogging and social media means. Everybody with access to a computer is online and participating, including professionals in their 40s and 50s. This is not just a game for the young and tech-savvy. Yes, there is censorship but it is a gray area and highly nuanced, as well as being unpredictable.

    A couple of examples of how pervasive social media is in China: the guide I hired to hike the Great Wall told me she met her husband in an online discussion group. Readers left close to 3,000 comments on a blog post about the “Forbidden Starbucks” (the Starbucks inside the Forbidden City – now closed). That same blog entry got over 500 million page views. See screenshots here: http://www.blogwriteforceos.com/chinatour/2007/10/after-562333-co.html

    According to our fellow panelist at ad-tech, Jason Ge (an executive with Sina.com), a sofa company ran a blog marketing stunt offering to give away a sofa after every 1,000 comments left by readers. The company stopped after giving away 18 sofas. (Des and I were listening to Jason through simultaneous translation so this may not be exact).

    Bottom line, China is THE happening place if you’re interested in social media and how it’s affecting business and consumer behaviour. My recent two weeks there were mind-blowing. If you have a chance, go!

  20. I had the pleasure of participating in the panel ably moderated by Des Walsh at ad-tech beijing (Oct. 17, 2007). Des makes some important points in his comment above. I’d add to that: go to China to experience what the widespread adoption of blogging and social media means. Everybody with access to a computer is online and participating, including professionals in their 40s and 50s. This is not just a game for the young and tech-savvy. Yes, there is censorship but it is a gray area and highly nuanced, as well as being unpredictable.

    A couple of examples of how pervasive social media is in China: the guide I hired to hike the Great Wall told me she met her husband in an online discussion group. Readers left close to 3,000 comments on a blog post about the “Forbidden Starbucks” (the Starbucks inside the Forbidden City – now closed). That same blog entry got over 500 million page views. See screenshots here: http://www.blogwriteforceos.com/chinatour/2007/10/after-562333-co.html

    According to our fellow panelist at ad-tech, Jason Ge (an executive with Sina.com), a sofa company ran a blog marketing stunt offering to give away a sofa after every 1,000 comments left by readers. The company stopped after giving away 18 sofas. (Des and I were listening to Jason through simultaneous translation so this may not be exact).

    Bottom line, China is THE happening place if you’re interested in social media and how it’s affecting business and consumer behaviour. My recent two weeks there were mind-blowing. If you have a chance, go!

  21. Glad to hear you see the need in building bridges between what’s going on in China with the rest of the world.

    There’s a recent interview I did on my China Business Show called “Why American Tech Companies Fail In China”

    A group of us in China (I’m now based back in the U.S.) have been talking about the need to put on an east meets west type of conference as there’s a big divide that could be easily bridged if the right people got together.

    Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with some great people over there.

    Christine
    The China Business Network
    http://thechinabusinessnetwork.com

  22. Glad to hear you see the need in building bridges between what’s going on in China with the rest of the world.

    There’s a recent interview I did on my China Business Show called “Why American Tech Companies Fail In China”

    A group of us in China (I’m now based back in the U.S.) have been talking about the need to put on an east meets west type of conference as there’s a big divide that could be easily bridged if the right people got together.

    Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with some great people over there.

    Christine
    The China Business Network
    http://thechinabusinessnetwork.com

  23. I was grounded by a virus and really regret that I could not make it…

    One of the best multi-lingual blogs here, that give a balanced view of events, is EastSouthNorthWest (http://zonaeuropa.com )and you have already mentioned the best of breed in John, Rebecca, Jeremy, Dan Harris and Luyi Chen (read his article on the huge innovations going on at QQ,and Kaiser Kuo among others….Some of the best writers on the web are here in China…and yes, a lot of different concerns pervade our meetings, but great humor arises out of the controls that the Net Nanny tries to impose (see Rebecca’s post: http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2007/11/chinese-blogger.html )

    Des Walsh did indeed do a great job of chairing the panel at AdTech that Debbie mentioned and he spent a important time listening and learning about a culture he had just encountered. Debbie Weil, after only three days in country felt qualified to comment on the state of the blognation here and missed the boat at AdTech. Sina.com, for whom her buddy Jason works, was the only attendee that denied blogger access to its brass. Debbie, in the blogging panel session, openly defended their decision to only be interviewed by Mainstream media as we bloggers are, after all, not trained journalists and she is not an advocate of live blogging at conferences by amateurs….

    On translation and east-west interface: Just this week we pooled the talents of four media groups, an SEM team and a digital internship program at Sun Yat-sen University to form CultureFish Media. We translate material from from ten languages and help clients market in Mandarin, Cantonese and 20 some ethnic dialects across China. Four of our first few projects are landing pad and blog translation into
    Chinese and Japanese….

    If you get down south, stop by….The food is great…

    BTW: you are blocked in China…I am here courtesy of anonymouse.org….:-)

    LBH

  24. I was grounded by a virus and really regret that I could not make it…

    One of the best multi-lingual blogs here, that give a balanced view of events, is EastSouthNorthWest (http://zonaeuropa.com )and you have already mentioned the best of breed in John, Rebecca, Jeremy, Dan Harris and Luyi Chen (read his article on the huge innovations going on at QQ,and Kaiser Kuo among others….Some of the best writers on the web are here in China…and yes, a lot of different concerns pervade our meetings, but great humor arises out of the controls that the Net Nanny tries to impose (see Rebecca’s post: http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2007/11/chinese-blogger.html )

    Des Walsh did indeed do a great job of chairing the panel at AdTech that Debbie mentioned and he spent a important time listening and learning about a culture he had just encountered. Debbie Weil, after only three days in country felt qualified to comment on the state of the blognation here and missed the boat at AdTech. Sina.com, for whom her buddy Jason works, was the only attendee that denied blogger access to its brass. Debbie, in the blogging panel session, openly defended their decision to only be interviewed by Mainstream media as we bloggers are, after all, not trained journalists and she is not an advocate of live blogging at conferences by amateurs….

    On translation and east-west interface: Just this week we pooled the talents of four media groups, an SEM team and a digital internship program at Sun Yat-sen University to form CultureFish Media. We translate material from from ten languages and help clients market in Mandarin, Cantonese and 20 some ethnic dialects across China. Four of our first few projects are landing pad and blog translation into
    Chinese and Japanese….

    If you get down south, stop by….The food is great…

    BTW: you are blocked in China…I am here courtesy of anonymouse.org….:-)

    LBH

  25. I have suggested to the organizers at AdTech that they take a look at add more practical panels that tell guide bloggers and companies to translation and cultural bridging services.

    You are absolutely right about the wealth of blogging talent here: Jeremy, John, Rebecca, ESNW (http://zonaeuropa.com ),Luyi Chen, Bokane, CBN (http://thechinabusinessnetwork.com ), Dan Harris and several others would make a blogging tour of China a mandatory sebbatical for at least several weeks….

    Des Walsh did indeed do a good job at AdTech and humbly sought out as much information as he could about this mysterious market. Debbie Weil, on the other hand, was speaking with great authority about the blogstate here with a staggering three days in-country. There is great irony that she was on the blogging panel at Adtech yet supported Sina.com’s refusal to be interviewed by bloggers. In fact she was quite clear that only trained journalists should be live blogging/reporting from conferences. Her support of any measure of access denial for bloggers is, for many of us, akin to aiding and abetting the censorship enemy in China. And yes, out talk (and black humor) finds us directly or obliquely confronting the challenge of censorship which is indeed “unpredictable”, but hardly “gray” (see Rebecca’s delightful remarks here: http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2007/11/chinese-blogger.html

    As you know our site is blocked here. I am here courtesy of anonymouse.org….

    On your blogger tour please drop by! We have arguably the best food in China!!!!

  26. I have suggested to the organizers at AdTech that they take a look at add more practical panels that tell guide bloggers and companies to translation and cultural bridging services.

    You are absolutely right about the wealth of blogging talent here: Jeremy, John, Rebecca, ESNW (http://zonaeuropa.com ),Luyi Chen, Bokane, CBN (http://thechinabusinessnetwork.com ), Dan Harris and several others would make a blogging tour of China a mandatory sebbatical for at least several weeks….

    Des Walsh did indeed do a good job at AdTech and humbly sought out as much information as he could about this mysterious market. Debbie Weil, on the other hand, was speaking with great authority about the blogstate here with a staggering three days in-country. There is great irony that she was on the blogging panel at Adtech yet supported Sina.com’s refusal to be interviewed by bloggers. In fact she was quite clear that only trained journalists should be live blogging/reporting from conferences. Her support of any measure of access denial for bloggers is, for many of us, akin to aiding and abetting the censorship enemy in China. And yes, out talk (and black humor) finds us directly or obliquely confronting the challenge of censorship which is indeed “unpredictable”, but hardly “gray” (see Rebecca’s delightful remarks here: http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2007/11/chinese-blogger.html

    As you know our site is blocked here. I am here courtesy of anonymouse.org….

    On your blogger tour please drop by! We have arguably the best food in China!!!!

  27. [...] China BloggerCon 2007 in Beijing has to be one of the best events I have attended. It’s a great environment and everyone knows everyone and if not, you will by the end of the conference, that’s how casual and friendly environment it is. I can’t say much about the previous two conferences, but this one had as many web startups as there are bloggers, so hitting this show should be on everyone’s calendar (it’s even on Scoble’s calendar). [...]

  28. There is no point in asking a question like “Who is the Michael Arrington of China”; that shows too much US-centricism and would be like asking “Who is the Deng Xiaoping of the US?” So what if you knew who that is? How does it contribute to the dialogue? How does it contribute to overall understanding?

    The fact is that the Internet in China has developed in vastly different ways from the US because of social and technological conditions.

    If you are going to get serious about China, make the time investment to study it _in depth_.

    There is way too much superficial stuff which passes for knowledge passed off in the form of sound bites, and there is not a need for anymore of it.

    If anything, I would say that there is much more intelligent information getting passed around in China than there is in the US, and they are sharper than US commentators.

    Just a few are:
    Keso
    Isaac Mao
    Laohu Miao
    Laolao
    Tangos Chan

    So let’s get past the “Who’s the Michael Arrington of China?”, OK? How about “Who’s the Laohu Miao of the US?”

    I would say there isn’t any…

    Enough superficial cultural comparisons…

  29. There is no point in asking a question like “Who is the Michael Arrington of China”; that shows too much US-centricism and would be like asking “Who is the Deng Xiaoping of the US?” So what if you knew who that is? How does it contribute to the dialogue? How does it contribute to overall understanding?

    The fact is that the Internet in China has developed in vastly different ways from the US because of social and technological conditions.

    If you are going to get serious about China, make the time investment to study it _in depth_.

    There is way too much superficial stuff which passes for knowledge passed off in the form of sound bites, and there is not a need for anymore of it.

    If anything, I would say that there is much more intelligent information getting passed around in China than there is in the US, and they are sharper than US commentators.

    Just a few are:
    Keso
    Isaac Mao
    Laohu Miao
    Laolao
    Tangos Chan

    So let’s get past the “Who’s the Michael Arrington of China?”, OK? How about “Who’s the Laohu Miao of the US?”

    I would say there isn’t any…

    Enough superficial cultural comparisons…

  30. Robert, my associate Min Guo attended CNbloggercon this year and last year. We have some ideas about conducting some video interviews and translating them to make the Chinese blogosphere (writing in Chinese, not counting the great blogs like danwei.org, chinalawblog.com, etc) more accessible to non Chinese speaking world. Any interest in giving us your 2 cents (or even 2 kuai?) :) Impressed by the star-studded cast of commenters here.

  31. Robert, my associate Min Guo attended CNbloggercon this year and last year. We have some ideas about conducting some video interviews and translating them to make the Chinese blogosphere (writing in Chinese, not counting the great blogs like danwei.org, chinalawblog.com, etc) more accessible to non Chinese speaking world. Any interest in giving us your 2 cents (or even 2 kuai?) :) Impressed by the star-studded cast of commenters here.

  32. The commenters have lots of great English blogs, but there needs to be a reverse to a site called YeeYan that does English to Chinese translation on a volunteer basis. Global Voices does this to some degree, as does ZoneEuropa (mentioned above). But there could be more! Thanks for your post on this.

  33. The commenters have lots of great English blogs, but there needs to be a reverse to a site called YeeYan that does English to Chinese translation on a volunteer basis. Global Voices does this to some degree, as does ZoneEuropa (mentioned above). But there could be more! Thanks for your post on this.