Sunday, December 12

Blog Forum Gdansk

So, as I sit in a room full of bloggers and journalists and practitioners from different backgrounds mostly from Poland, we are just coming to an end, of the first ever Blog Forum held in Gdansk, Poland. The city represents many different things- ideas, colors, values- just like blogs but above all this city is the symbol of Freedom. A concept much valued and respected in this city if not in the whole of Poland.

But I will be writing more about the city I saw and impressed me deeply later. And so this has been an important event for Gdansk, for its resident bloggers, and bloggers coming from all around Poland with some foreign guest speakers and panelists joining this interesting and significant event. The event itself is taking place at the Instytut Sztuki Wyspa (Wyspa Institute of Art), which used to be basic shipbuilding school in the grounds of the Gdansk Shipyard. The institute itself is part of the series of the initiatives to re- brand the city especially given the city's plans to become the European Capital of Culture for 2016. The motto is "Freedom of Culture, Culture of Freedom".

Back to the forum, the speaker- Jarek Rybus- talking now is one of the brains behind a documentary movie on bloggers in Poland. Here is the official website, though in Polish it might give you some idea of the upcoming film. As I watch the short clippings from the movie it makes me wonder whether we should or could do one of these in Azerbaijan, or something like this on the Caucasus. Could be an interesting initiative.

The event itself been interesting to me personally as it was possible to see what bloggers in a different part of the world consider important or interesting and what topics interest their readers. The panel I was speaking at was on Freedom of Bloggers and it happened that part of the discussion went around the question whether bloggers are free if they host advertisements on their blog. I have to say, it was an interesting panel, especially seeing how the discussion span off.

The even was discussed on Twitter (#blogforumgdansk), Facebook (and a separate page on Facebook with the videos and live stream from the event), Blip, and YouTube.

Overall, I enjoyed the whole thing, there have been some very interesting presentations but my favorites were Sami Ben Gardhia and Brian Solis. The full list of speakers and panelists can be found here.

And I would like to thank the organizers for a great event and extending the invitation to me. Special thanks to Jakub Gornicki :)

The images in this post except from blogersi are my own. 


Tomasz Topa said...

Thank you for being here in Gdansk and sharing your experiences. I hope you liked the city and enjoyed your stay, even with the not so welcoming weather conditions in the last few days :)

Sami's presentation and your story about the arrested bloggers made us aware that, unfortunately, there are still some places in the world where the freedom of speech can't be taken for granted. The freedom as we understand it.

The direction in which the discussion went clearly showed that if the matter of ads on some blogs is our biggest "problem", we should consider ourselves extremely lucky and free people.

And everything in just 20 years after the collapse of communism, which also involved censorship, oppression and imprisonment. The vast majority of people at the conference were relatively young, not remembering much from the previous system and not being "hurt" by it. I'm 24yo and I can only get some picture of that times based on stories heard from my parents and grandparents.

And blogs, microblogs and social network sites - or the internet in general - are great tools that help spread our thoughts all across the world. They are just means of communication and the actual people are the most important parts of the whole internet ecosystem.

Arzu Geybulla said...

Dear Tomasz,

Thank you for this great comment. Indeed the audience of bloggers was young, but that is good in a way. It shows that there is future full of diverse bloggers focusing on diverse topics.

And yes, you might as well consider yourselves very lucky if your "biggest" problem as you say is having or not having ads on blogs :))

At the end of the day, as a blogger you are the author of your blog and you are the one generating your content and its completely up to you how you do it as long as you do it with honesty :)

Thanks again for your comment.

Hiena said...

I hope you didn't have any delays during the flights. The world outside is very very white now, so you actually got the last chance to fly home.

It was nice to meet you and it was quite an experience to translate for you.


Arzu Geybulla said...

Hey Wiktor,

Nope, it was fine, no delays. just a minor one in Gdansk, but i don't call that a delay anymore :)

Ah, it must be nice out there. we were promised some snow in istanbul as well so maybe we too will celebrate new year in a white city.

thanks for all the hard work and translation!

take care and hope to meet again soon,

Saint Facetious said...

In regards to if bloggers are free or not if they have advertising... of course, that depends on the advertising. Is it just one of those Google adbanners that pulls up random words and thus random ads, or is it a targeted campaign that seeks to control the content of whatever blog to favor its own image? Of course, both exist, but I think that's the determining factor. A blogger can be free and still make money. Even moreso if he finds an ad campaign that he agrees with and chooses to advertise for.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arzu.

What a pitty I've couldn't arrived to Gdańsk, meet you and chat with you. We, people in Poland, sometimes are forgetting our past, fact that our country for many years wasn't free and some of us doesn't even remember that time. So your lecture was great opportunity to get sober and be grateful for freedom. I've written about Blog Forum Gdańsk (I've followed all events by live broadcast) on my blog . I write in Polish but there's a translation opportunity when you look at right. It isn't the best but It's still good enough.


Marcin said...


it was a great pleasure to meet you and listen to your lecture.

I hope that one day in Poland, we gonna have much more blogers like you. People with an open mind, and a force to fight for their rights.

Best regards, and C U next time :)

Arzu Geybulla said...

Dear Marcin,

Thank you :)

it was a pleasure to meet you and everyone else at the Forum. To me it was a great experience. And i really hope I am there next time there is a new forum somewhere in Poland :)

All the best and thanks for the comment once again.


call Poland said...

Thank you for the great read.
It's good to have you.
Keep up the good work.

Arzu Geybulla said...

@call Poland. thank you :)