Monday, September 14, 2009

Second JBlogger Conference - my thoughts

Yesterday was the second JBlogger Conference -- hosted by Nefesh b'Nefesh and powered by WebAds.

The venue was different than last year's conference -- and took place at Beit Avichay in downtown Jerusalem.

I attended for 2 primary reasons.

1. I was subtly coerced into being on a panel about "Defending Israel." Honestly? I would rather not be on a panel or overtly draw attention to myself. Yet I was persuaded that it was more important to present ideas for defending Israel, than to worry about my semi anonymity. Its difficult for me to even judge how well the panel went over. I'm glad I got a few laughs out of the crowd, but the atmosphere seemed a bit too formal. Did anyone think my presentation had value? You'll have to let me know.

2. Social Networking. The more important reason to attend is to meet and see all those people from around the JBlogosphere that I rarely see. I'd much rather have an evening with almost no workshops and panels, and just have the opportunity to chat and hang out.

Its always a pleasure seeing David Bogner, so while I didn't feel the need to "be a better blogger" as was the name of his workshop, I attended anyway.

David Horowitz from the Jerusalem Post spoke well. He was entertaining -- and while constantly patting the JPost on the back, I won't complain. Their review of my panel and blog made me blush.
Introducing one particularly hotly anticipated workshop, "Defending Israel through social media tools," Yishai Fleisher of the Kumah blog said that "if the printing press made us all readers and Xerox made us all publishers, then the Internet made us all journalists."

Fleisher lauded the Internet's power and potential. "We now have the ability to reach people around the world in an instant," he said, adding that "it's important that bloggers remain opinionated - objectivity is not the holy grail; subjectivity is what it's all about."

The workshop Fleisher hosted featured Ashley Perry, an adviser to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, along with prominent bloggers Carl of the Israel Matzav blog and the anonymous "Jameel" of the Muqata blog, two of the most referenced and respected pages among the online Jewish community. (JPost)

Ron Dermer spoke as well - WikiPedia claims that Dermer "is regarded as the most influential advisor to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu."

Dermer inadvertently mentioned the Muqata as well - by crediting "the blogger" who broke the story about the photoshopped pictures in the Second Lebanon War by Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj. The Muqata blog was the first blog to mention the second doctored picture from Reuters (the first one we discussed here...)

Therefore, the logical question I asked was if the Israeli government wants our help to "Defend Israel" through the JBlogosphere (and we gladly help), why can't we get GPO Press Credentials? I was surprised that so many people applauded the question. Dermer promised he would take care of it. To help him with his promise -- if you are a serious blogger, drop me an email and I'll put together a request list to him.

Benji Lovitt was pretty funny -- I liked his line that, "You have to be careful what you write on facebook and twitter. For example, last week, I put up a status and everyone now thinks I'm gay. I wrote, "I'm very excited the HOT guy will be here soon." HOT guy -- you know, the cable company? Maybe I should switch to YES..."

It was fun seeing all these people I rarely get a chance to see. Professor Richard Landes, WestBankMama, Gidon, MominIsrael, Ruti, Baila, A Soldier's Mother, RivkA, Lurker, DoubleTapper, Bad4Shidduchim, CK from Jewlicious, Rafi G, Safraknit (I like the new name :) Elms in the Yard, My Shrapnel, The Big Felafel, Yisrael Medad, Shilo Muse, the IDF Spokespeople The Sandman, and many more. [will add links and more names soon].

Food was not as good as last year. Wish I had more time to chat with people. Overall, had a great time. The downside for me was getting beeper messages in the back during one of the presentations, of all the news that Assaf Ramon's F16 had crashed. I live blogged it -- while waiting for the official permission to publicize the details.

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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


DoubleTapper said...

Thanks for the link. It was great to see you for a change too.

I spent most of the convention walking around thinking "where's the beef?"

The food sucked. But at least we got to see each other and shmooze.

Is it just me or were there more guns then last year?

DoubleTapper, blogging on Guns Politics Defense from Israel

YMedad said...

a) DT = no, it's just you. It's called fixation. ;->)

b) Jameel: same here. You did okay. Poor David B. Trep, he just absically had to repeat last year's presentation I heard.

c) definitely more shmooze time required, perhaps by categories: politics, absorption, religion, female, economics, etc.

Jack Steiner said...

Growing pains are not always a bad thing.

Tehillah said...

Jameel, I thought your presentation was great - you were the only one who came prepared with slides! It was really nice getting to match a face to your blog (BTW, I did delete the photos from my camera).

I originally found your blog through Treppenwitz and have since subscribed - thanks for entertaining and informing.

Lurker said...

I thought your talk was very good, too.

Btw, I hear that the Drudge Report is about to put up a massive "Muqata expose" full of photos and videos of Jameel, smuggled out of the panel session by spies that he sent.

Bribe him with waffles now, before it's too late...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Tehillah: thanks for deleting the pix :-)

Glad you like the blog (and the presentation!)

If I do this again, I'll have to much more thought into it -- and give a real Web 2.0 presentation.

Plus, Yishai really threw me for a loop when he mentioned about the "slice of life" stuff on my blog. It hadn't occurred to me to focus on that (which I would much rather have done, and on aliya, etc.) than talk about "defending Israel"...

Oh well.

DoubleTapper said...

YMedad- I am not fixated. But I did notice you'd left your pistol at home.

BTW I counted 27 pistols including some suspicious bulges.

Lurker- I had to eat 2 steaks when I got home just to get the aftertaste of the non meat buffet out of system.

DoubleTapper, blogging on Guns Politics Defense from Israel

Bulges Anonymous said...

DT - you were looking at people's bulges? I just lost all respect for your manhood! :-) Do the guns make up for that??

Litvshe said...

We didn't break the Green-Helmet guy thing. Maybe we popularized it, but it was the EU Referendum blog. We did get the scoop on the second photo kill story. I kind of felt sorry for the Reuters PR lady I spoke too. She sounded a bit harried. On second thought, that's what you get for working for a media company with no morals.

Batya said...

I liked the food. It was better than last year. Much better salads, though I think they forgot the protein.

Unknown said...

Jameel, it was too bad we didn't get to talk shop. I agree that more time should be alotted to mingling.

A Soldier's Mother said...

I had several complaints - none directed at your presentation. My complaints have already been expressed to NBN and others, so I'll skip them here, but I think you and others did a very good job. I would have liked to have seen a "success" story and tachlis ways in which people can make a difference, but overall, your session was very good (even worth risking your semi-anonymity) - besides, everyone knows your name is Jameel Rashid, so really, it's fine that people know you're behind the Muqata!

David did a great job in his session; Ron Dermer was great, though I think he missed some key points and I wish we'd had time to discuss things with him more, but at least he talked TO the crowd rather than AT it, as Netanyahu did last year.

All in all, much to improve for next year, but a great format, great venue, great effort.

A Soldier's Mother said...

Oh, and thanks for the link...and it was nice meeting the Lurker...

Baila said...

What exactly is a "serious blogger"?

I came in late for your presentation, was glad to hear part of it. I think alot of the convention was preaching to the choir and I definitely wanted more socialization time.

Maybe we should make it over a Shabbat. Perhaps at the Muqata?

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't the food Mehadrin? How do they make such a major mistake? Doesn't NBN care who their audience is?
I saw the 50 shekel entry fee on the website so I wasn't suprised, but 50 shekels for a dairy meal that I coudln't even eat, that's not right.
And why didn't NBN send me a confirmation letter with the location in a normal time. If I hadn't gotten a letter a few hours before the convention I wouldn't have known where to go.
That is some pretty messed up logistics.

But to be say something positive, the workshop subjects and teachers were great. So they did something right.

Jewlicious said...

I get a mention but no link? Given that, is it a good idea that we go handle guns in each others presence next week?

I loved the food. But then again, I don't eat flesh so...

Good seeing you again Jameel!

Avromi said...

Whose idea was it to place Yonasan between 2 women? He was clearly the best panelist. When finally someone thinks to offer representation to us more religious bloggers they go and make him uncomfortable like that!

Benji Lovitt said...

Thanks Jameel! Good to see you! How'd you like to be my new opening act!


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Benji: Lets discuss it over lunch :-)

Avromi: As soon as I saw R' Yonatan seated between 2 women, I cringed on his behalf, but he is mentsch enough to not make a big deal over it.

Jewlicious: Had no time to enter in all the links! (but it was great seeing you as well) Oh, actually, now I remember. I left your link off on purpose, so my kids wouldn't be easily able to click on it! :-)

Baila: A Muqata Shabbaton needs the express approval of my wife Jameela. I'll ask her (or maybe she's reading this)

QuietusLeo: I was interviewed on Arutz Sheva by Yishai Fleishcer yesterday. He asked me if there were any bloggers I hadnt met that I was happy to meet in person. You were on the top of the list of people I mentioned (on-air!)

We'll definitely need a less formal get together at some point.

Thanks Tehilla!

To the anonymous commenter about the Mehadrin food -- yes, I agree that that's a serious logistics SNAFU. Of the different needs improvement points about the conference, I think that the Mehadrin food aspect is the most important because people trusted the convention's food (and paid for it!!!)

Rafi G. said...

I had a great time. except for the first panel which was pointless, the rest of it was great. The food was a problem in the fact that it was dairy (I was not even tempted to eat despite the lack of mehadrin).

My regret was not being able to make it in time for the workshops. Also, it would have been nice to have more professional workshops, like monetization and SEO issues, rather than just basics.

One more point - I found it strange that the gift in the packet was a travel kit with a pen and paper, and a sewing kit. For a bunch of bloggers? I know it was not webads or NBN, but a sponsor, but still - no thought was put into that. A bit of a more tech savvy kit would have been useful. Maybe a disk on key or a usb travel mouse, or something along that line, but a sewing kit?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rafi: I think the Jewish knitter bloggers would take offense! :-)

You obviously don't travel that much - ive used sewing kits MANY times.

A Disk on key would have been great...but we need sponsors for those.

Don't worry - I'll make sure that next year we'll have high tech sponsors giving away ipods and laptops ;-)

Rafi G. said...

and press passes

Jack Steiner said...

Don't worry - I'll make sure that next year we'll have high tech sponsors giving away ipods and laptops ;-)

Can't way to see the criticism of the iPods. Some people love to complain.

Baila said...

I didn't get a sewing kit. I got a big fat pad, a pen and a luggage tag.

I didn't even know the food wasn't Mehadrin. Will the convention be more expensive next year because of the Mehadrin food?

Anonymous said...

Slide the luggage tag open!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

btw - RivkA at is organizing a blogger picnic Sukkot-time.

Check out her blog.

tafka pp said...

More guns than last year?! How is that possible??

I guess it's a good thing I couldn't make it, then!

Alissa said...

I thought the food was great - what I was able to get to. There was only so much time to meet people, which left only so much time to I didn't eat much, and I didn't get to meet nearly as many people as I would have liked.

I really enjoyed your presentation, Jameel, and despite having to keep your identity a national secret, it was nice to put a face to the blog. I won't tell, promise.

I though Ron Dermer was great, also felt bad for R'Yonasan, and really want to know why so many panelists weren't bloggers. At a bloggers convention.

And of course, Everybody Loves Benji :)

RivkA with a capital A said...

Hey Jameel!

So, I want to be on the list for press passes. I want to cover the health beat! ;-)

Having to fund my own mecication for a year makes me qualified, don'tcha think?

Thanks for the link and the plug for the picnic.

I'm just trying to find out what parks in town have a succah.

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