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The Art of Conversations

London: Guardian Activate Summit 2010

One of the highlights from the Guardian newspaper Activate 2010 Summit in London, a day that included amongst others presentations from Mike Migurski, Clay Shirky and Google CEO Eric Schmidt, as well as your truly.

Something dear to my heart – and lucidly articulated by Ethan Zuckerman was his presentation about the change in the direction of conversations. Whilst it wasn’t the core of the talk he mentioned Yeeyan.com – a Chinese website that brings together a community to translate English langauge articles into Chinese. Yeeyan has ~10,000 active users from a pool of ~150,000 who are registered. (The Nieman Journalism Lab covers the site here).

China is already has the largest internet population of any country with over 384 million internet users – official stats here. What does it say about your and my priorities that there is no comparable groundswell of volunteers translating Chinese content into other languages? As Ethan concluded “I’d like to think that 300 million Chinese on the internet have something interesting to say”.

A couple of other stand-outs from the day that you might not have come across: Jamal Edwards aka SB sbtv – the UKs most popular youth broadcaster that started by using ‘only’ a video camera and YouTube to get the message out – to paraphrase “I’ll consider doing TV if its prime time”; and Nick Moon the Co-Founder of Kickstart talking talking about the hard work behind sustainable business models.

Videos of many of the talks will be posted on the Guardian’s web site.

I’ll leave you with the following quote, also from Ethan: “We need to stop patting ourselves on the back for lending 100 pounds, and more about how to solve some of these greater macro-economic problems [infrastructural, legal, …]. We cannot kiva ourselves to economic development.”