We need you! Here is how you can help the Net

We need you!There is a big meeting on the future of the Internet in London tomorrow, run by Nominet, where I will be acting as the “chief blogger”. As such, I need your help.

In fact, I am the official chief blogger for the Internet Governance Forum itself in Athens at the end of this month. That basically means that I will spend a good chunk of the conference reading what others have to say about the meeting online and I will occasionally be asked to summarise to the room what is being said by the rest of the world. At which point I will read out the most interesting and incisive blog posts to the assembled masses.

I actually see this as a vitally important role as it gives a voice to the people that haven’t flown to Athens and who have nothing more than a Net connection and a good point to make. That’s why I accepted the role and now I need your help to make the most of it.

Update: You can now see exactly what is happening at the IGF meeting, and simply and easily interact with events there through a website at IGF2006.info.

The role of a chief blogger was actually created by IGF head Nitin Desai when he attended the We Media conference in London in May and they had a chief blogger there (Alf Hermida, the BBC’s online news editor) reading out people’s responses from the wider Internet.

The advantage that We Media has over the IGF though was that We Media was very much a media event since media companies had invested large sums of money in it. And media folk love nothing more than writing about themselves and their friends in the media. The IGF however has been notable by people’s reluctance to provide money and does not have any big media companies in tow so the ready availability of bloggers is in question.

The IGF is in fact incredibly and wonderfully important – it is the first time that governments, business and everyday ordinary folk will sit down as almost-equal partners in something that hasn’t been pre-decided. It is a vast experiment and everyone is watching to see if the chemistry either creates an incredible new compound or blows up.

I think it’s important enough to involve myself a little deeper than I am usually comfortable with since I like to remain an independent observer. But then no one else appeared to be able to get stuck in and be in the middle of things, reflecting what the wider world things of United Nations discussions.

To get very rapidly back to my point – Nominet is having an IGF meeting tomorrow. The agenda is here [pdf], and it will be webcast here. I implore anyone who is interested in this area (i.e. anyone who cares about where the Internet goes) to check it out and to write their feelings about it – and then make me aware of the those feelings so I can tell everyone in the room.

To this end – and for the bigger IGF meeting in Athens, I have set up an open blog which I hope will serve as an interesting discussion point. You can find it at http://igf2006.info/blog/, and the site itself (http://igf2006.info) will soon have a range of interesting collaborative tools.

Get involved. Listen to what people have to say, then write what you think, and I will do my best to make sure that everyone knows what it is.

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