Iranians on the Internet: Post-Mortem

So it’s been more than a week since the Iranians on the Internet conference happened in SF, and here are my thoughts, which I’ve been mulling over pretty much all this time:

1. Could blogs be the best teach-yourself-more-Persian tool for Iranian hyphenates? I think so! Some of the bloggers read some really good writing, particularly Leva Zand, whose profanity-peppered, satirical short story taught me at least one new choice word. (Sort of – I’m still trying to get someone to explain to me exactly what it means, but I’m not really sure who to ask because, well, it’s a bad word but I don’t know just how bad.) So while I’m not abandoning my efforts to find a good Persian book to read, I’ll be adding some Persian blogs to my feed reader. They’re much easier to read than news sites, seeing as blogs don’t generally employ the same horribly stilted, formal language of, say, Iranian newspapers.

2. Gathering does not equal conference. My expectations of the day were my own fault, because I expected a conference format – for instance, panels of bloggers instead of individual readings of blog posts. The event’s flyer clearly called it a gathering, though, which is what it was: a group of people who mostly knew each other from the online world, coming together offline. Gatherings and conferences are very different things. But regardless, two things that I was expecting from the day didn’t happen and I still wish they had. The first was an actual panel on Iranian.com, which I thought was going to happen because of the advertising about the day, but which actually turned out to be a surprise award ceremony with speeches about the site from various contributors. Jahanshah Javid definitely deserved the recognition but perhaps there could have been a panel talking about the site and its impact, and then the award? The second was a Balatarin.com presentation, which didn’t happen at all and which I’d really been looking forward to.

3. The music was awesome. Hamed Nikpay has some pretty legit pipes, man. I missed the first half of his performance because I was taking a breather outside and then kicked myself for it when I saw how good he was. And he had a non-Iranian guy playing the daf and miscellaneous accompanying percussion. Arash Sobhani of Kiosk was there, too, but unfortunately there was no singing from him.

4. Iranian bloggers = friendliest bloggers ever? Again, I think so. It was such a giving, open, friendly, and forthcoming group. I liked the questions people asked each other after each blog reading, and several times what I heard was that blogging was a crucial part of community building for recent immigrants of Iran to the U.S.

Also – lots of coverage of this event, which is cool… though I still wish they had a website for it all! See Iranican’s coverage below:
Part 1


Part 2
Also, photos: take a look at Talieh Shahrokhi’s pictures of the event.

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