In just a few hours, bloggers from the Global Voices community plus a number of groupies, fans, and supporters will be gathering for the Global Voices London Summit.
Our site has gone a long way since a smaller group of us got together a year ago... and then began to ramp up with our first global blog roundups in late April of this year. Saturday's meeting will be a chance to take stock, examine our strengths and weaknesses, discuss what works and what doesn't, and try to figure out where we go from here. Last year a number of bloggers from around the world - many of whom will be in the room on Saturday - jointly authored a powerful mission statement:
We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak -- and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.
To that end, we seek to enable everyone who wants to speak to have the means to speak -- and everyone who wants to hear that speech, the means to listen to it.
Thanks to new tools, speech need no longer be controlled by those who own the means of publishing and distribution, or by governments that would restrict thought and communication. Now, anyone can wield the power of the press. Everyone can tell their stories to the world.
We seek to build bridges across the gulfs that divide people, so as to understand each other more fully. We seek to work together more effectively, and act more powerfully.
We believe in the power of direct connection. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful. We believe conversation across boundaries is essential to a future that is free, fair, prosperous and sustainable - for all citizens of this planet.
While we continue to work and speak as individuals, we also seek to identify and promote our shared interests and goals. We pledge to respect, assist, teach, learn from, and listen to one other.
We are Global Voices.
To further that mission, here are some of the questions we'll be asking:
- What more should we to amplify the online voices of people around the world who want and need to be heard?
- How do we create a better global conversation?
- How do we foster an international citizens' dialogue online that transcends the agendas of national governments and medias?
- How do we ensure that blogging expands beyond a conversation amongst the world's techno-elites?
- How do we help people who currently do not have access to the technologies of citizens media to gain better access?
- How will Global Voices sustain a reputation of credibility, integrity, and fairness over the long run?
- What responsibilities do our editors, volunteer authors, other contributors have responsibilities when it comes to upholding Global Voices' integrity?
- How do we interact with the mainstream media and what is our relationship with professional news media?
- What tools should we be using that we're not?
- How do we expand into other languages while remaining a lightweight, distributed, and largely volunteer-driven organization?
If you're not here in person we very much hope you'll join us online, starting at 10am London time (GMT). You can listen to what everybody says via audio webcast, and join in the conversation through live IRC chat. There will also be a live blog.
We will have a designated IRC Advocate who will make sure questions and views from the online chat room get brought into the conversation.
Hope to see you there!!