VBB: Friday Night Dinner

I said I was going to post notes about the Friday dinner at Votes, Bits, & Bytes, so here they are. I waited far too long to write these. Most of my memories about the conversations and what I wanted to record are gone. Oh, well.

I went to dinner as part of Hoder’s table. Hoder blogs about Iran in English and Persian. He’s been a very active force in encouraging more Persian-writers to blog, including translating the English instructions to help them establish weblogs. He’s also someone who has been threatened publicly because of his work. He is incredibly well-respected in the blogosphere.

I chose to sit at his table over the other options because I wanted to learn more about blogging in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the long table and noisy atmosphere prevented me from even really trying to have a conversation with him. I was lucky enough, however, to sit across from Jeff Jarvis. The next time I have to be in a noisy bar, I want to be near someone with a voice like Jeff’s: he has a sonorous, deep voice that carries easily. Jeff is very intelligent. When he sat across from me, I knew I would learn a lot just in the course of the dinner conversation.

Sitting next to Jeff was a journalist considering an article about blogging on an international scale. Jeff spent most of the time providing him background information about several of the international bloggers at the conference, like Ethan Zuckerman, Rebecca MacKinnon, and Hoder, and discussing technology. I admit that at first, I wasn’t paying much attention because I was trying to join the conversation on my right, but Jeff is the kind of speaker who looks directly at people around him when he’s talking. Within a few moments, I was drawn into his conversation. His voice was the only voice I could clearly hear at the table and what he was telling the reporter was quite interesting.

Soon, I joined the conversation about technology. When Jeff started to explain feeds and the reporter looked puzzled, he asked me if I wanted to give it a shot. I gave the guy a fantastic two minute definition of feeds I’ll never remember. Jeff told me it impressed him. I tried to work it into the feed documentation I submitted to the Feedster Developers Contest.

I didn’t know much about blogging on an international scale, so I was thrilled to be able to eavesdrop on Jeff’s introduction to the columnist. I was much better prepared for the rest of the conference because of it.

I only really caught snippets of the conversation to my right. There were a few times I tried to make comments, but now I can’t even remember the gist of the discussion.

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