Friday, August 08, 2008

Ha'aretz Covers J-Blogging Conference

Interesting short article in Ha'aretz on the upcoming International J-Blogger Convention hosted by Nefesh B'Nefesh in Israel. Apparently over 200 people have already signed up to attend with another 200 registering to watch online (a number I thought was a little low, though the timing may play a role, as most people are at work then). The quotes they got were interesting if unsurprising; I'm not sure why some people are surprised that an organization which is there to promote and assist people in making aliyah would primarily focus on groups where that is likely to have an effect, which tend to lean center-right. Treppenwitz said it well:
"...that demographic seems to skew somewhat right-wing religious - just as the actual aliyah statistics do."
OnTheFace had an odd complaint, wishing that Arab bloggers would have been represented as well; I think that odd considering that this is not an Israeli blogger convention, but a Jewish one. Moreover, if she felt the conference were slanted center-right, then it makes sense to encourage those on the left to attend, not the reverse.

I particularly enjoyed R' Gil's comment on the subject, which I think says it best:
"The conference is an opportunity for people who are online friends through writing and reading blogs to meet in person for the first time," said Rabbi Gil Student, one of the panelists and editor of Hirhurim, a blog about religion.

"There are times when people are more comfortable arguing with and insulting people who are just words on a computer screen. When you meet someone in person you tend to judge them more favorably and treat them with more respect." Student added that the convention "is an opportunity for people to take time out of their busy schedules and stop and think about what they do, why they do it and how they can do it better."
One of the (many) reasons we particularly enjoy having bloggers among our many guests is the opportunity to meet and understand the people behind the names. It certainly is true that it becomes much more difficult to 'fight' with someone you know and understand; issues become a lot less black-and-white. And of course, it is always a good idea to stop and think about what one is doing and why. I think this conference will have a very positive impact on the J-blogosphere as a whole. (You can register here.)