Global Voices is an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media around the world. It is the biggest community of bloggers to ever exist and it has been around since the year 2004. Founded by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebeca Mackinnon, it became an independent non-profit organisation in 2008.
Apart from aggregating content from member bloggers all over the world, they also have the GV Lingua which does cross translation of posts from their original language be it in English, French, German, Spanish(the four main languages) to other languages including Kiswahili.
The organisation draws from local bloggers in every country as contributing members either in form of post writing, editing or translating.
Global Voices also runs Summits in form of workshops and public discussions bring various GV bloggers together with bloggers from the host country, technologists and activists., The Summits happen after every 2 years in different countries and last from 2-3 days.
The last which was held in the year 2010 was in Santiago Chile. Being a GV contributor, I was privileged to attend it and did some lobbying to have the next summit come to Nairobi. It almost went to North Africa due to the online sparked revolutions but it seems like Kenya has also proved to be a formidable force in the online media space.
Information on the venue, speakers, topics of discussion as well as GV Contributor names is not yet available and will be posted on the official GV2012 Summit website.
The Summit comes at a time when the Kenyan Political Elite are discovering the power of internet and social media as a tool for spreading their agenda to the many young people who form a big percentage of registered voters. Many have even courted bloggers and Social media experts offering them positions as online media consultants or strategists.
It is safe to assume that the Kenyan blogging community will play a role however small in shaping political opinions. There have been growing concerns within the blogging community with the Kenya Association of Bloggers (BAKE) urging its members to practice responsible blogging.
There has also been immense growth in the number of Kenyans who have internet access with Kenya recording the fastest growth in the number of Facebook and Twitter users. This growth can be channeled to building capacity in the number of Citizen Journalists who are able to become good sources of alternative news and information not just to the local mainstream media but even to international media.
I am therefore hopeful that the GV Summit will help increase the number of bloggers as well as provide information to existing ones on thriving as a citizen journalist by painting a picture of the future for this media.
Enjoy some photos I took in the GV Chile Summit.