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Here are my notes from the Blogs and Blockades: Forging a True Global Internet panel - specifically Hossein Derakhshan talk on Iranian Blogs. There are over 70,000 Iranian blogs in Persian and they've become an amazing cultural and political force in Iran.

70,000 Iranian weblogs in Persian
most are censored/filtered
started weblog 2 weeks after 9/11

3 metaphors for weblogs in Iran

1) blogs as windows -- raw and (unfiltered?) view of iranians to outside world and themsleves? iranians have new values, shows in weblogs. no activism to metaphor, just showing. like journalism. that's why foreign journalists feel threatened by foreign weblogs - weblogs in local language are important and western journos are behind.

2) bridges. cultural bridges. because of rapid social change in iranian society, there are several islands - social groups getting far from each other because of rapid change. weblogs & internet are bridging between different island. eg - between genders. there are a lot of women blogging in Perisan in Iran - showing how they see the world. Very important, historically Iranian men haven't had the ability to know exactly how Iranian women think and how they see the world.

Between generations. Parent can read their teenagers weblogs to see what's going on, they rarely talk about issues in real life.

Political bridges between leaders/politicians and common citizens. Iranian former VP has a weblog in Persian and English. Webnevesht. Consciously trying to break some taboos; pictures behind the scenes of Iranian politics. "Best way for Iranian politicians to see what's going on in Iranian society is to read weblogs." Esp. reformist - next elected reformist will probably have a weblog.

Iranian expatriots and Iranians inside Iran. 4 million expatriots outside Iran, many in U.S. Without going back to Iran (which many connot) this is the best way to stay in touch with what's going on in their home country. And many of them have weblogs as well.

3) Weblogs as cafes. Habermas idea of "public sphere" in which people have equal access to information and can all contribute to political debate. Iranian nuclear program - why are they supporting this even though they have oil, etc. for energy? Why no concern about environmental impact of nuclear energy? The government has monopoly on this issue so the public doesn't know about the downsides of nuclear energy. Weblogs are they only place where this debate can happen.

** "Hundreds of Iranian webloggers were fired because they were (openly) gay."

** "We're talking about censorship in Iran, but we're also talking about censorship in the U.S. - It's very sad." (in response to a question from Andrew about political linking possibly being censored.)

** "Godaddy.com doesn't allow Iran, Iraq, N Korea to register domains. Very stupid because -- who are you limiting? This is limiting IRANIANS, not the Iranian government."

** "These bloggers are called bridge bloggers. People blogging in two languages, or trying to get the ideas and topics from one language sphere to another one. The best thing American bloggers can do to help these movements and other blogospheres is to LINK to them. Link to their interesting topics, summarize what they've said, promote them. If they don't have enough readers they can't do much because nobody will notice them."

** "Unicode. Imagine if Google had a search translation option. If you could type in 'urban life transition' in English but get results from Chinese blogs, that's be very cool."

** Somebody is working on a Technorati-like tool for (Chinese?) weblogs. Thermasphere - trying to build comprehensive link to Iranian weblogs. It would be nice if someone who built automatic tracking tools to allow them to use it and track Iranian weblogs.

March 12, 2005 at 04:14 PM in SXSW 2005 | Permalink


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» Notes from Panel on Blogging and Censorship from Nick Lewis: The Blog
Blogumentary posted some fantastic notes from the last session. Take a read if your interested in bloggging, censorship, and cultural barriers. [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 12, 2005 5:23:00 PM

» Clickable Culture - Notes: Blogs and Blockades from Alex Kessinger.com

This clickable Culture person is defently being added to the opml file. There notes are great and up to date. They are using the notes system as well.

This is talking alot about the Iranians and The Chinese talking about he myths of censorship [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 13, 2005 4:57:53 AM