Being a first-time delegate at the Global Voices (GV) Summit, I was amazed at how much work is done by the Global Voices authors, translators, editors and the leadership team. This became clear to me during the second day of the Global Voices Internal meetings which further helped me to understand the complexity of issues we deal with at a global level while at the same time just how we simplicify them for the reader.
One thing worth-noting was that GV has grown and stills grows very fast. For instance, I had no idea that GV was this big until it was announced that the stories are published in 15 languages! In recognition of such growth, members suggested and discussed ways to sustain quality of services as well as funding.
Among key issues for the meetings were the organizational structure and funding issues for the Global Voices. As a co-founder, Ethan Zuckerman took some time to explain the broad picture of the virtual organisation to the over 70 members in attendance in these closed discussions.
Apart from the organisational issues, the members had a time to fill their knowledge gaps through short workshops. The sessions covered mostly technical, production and content management skills. This included skills like how to make a mash-up, how to record, edit and use video for blogs, how to use micro-blogging tools like twitter, skype, etc. Members scrambled for literally every session and the only challenge was time.
This was a moment to share and gain (in person) needed skills that are so crucial to keep GV running as website with content fit for online use.
I settled for the session on mash-ups and I learnt how to combine data from different online sources and in our case using Googlemaps. I thought this is something I needed to know to improve presentability of locations and items on the blogs.
The facilitators came from among ourselves and this exercise impressed me as I realized that GV is endowed with great professional skills amongst its members.
By the end of the various sessions, it was members seemed happy that GV is committed to being an efficient organisation that produces relevant content in a technical process meeting the standards of the online citizen media.
It is no exaggeration that members came out of all the sessions invigorated and inspired to be key links in the global conversations. And that too is my commitment especially in my small way in looking at Malawi.
The day also offered us a chance to have fun, laughter and share the conversations in person. Being a virtual organization that it is, this was a rare time to talk face-to-face. Many thanks to the various sponsors for making the global conversations mash-up in person!