Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Living Blogging the Blogging Conference

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

I'm at the Nefesh b'Nefesh / International Jewish Blogging Conference in Jerusalem right now - and I'll be live blogging and posting photos during the event. Stop back at this post for periodic updates!

5:45 PM - The room is packed, I've met a number of bloggers I've corresponded with over the years. One of the surprises is the amount of press present. I don't think most bloggers have come to realize the level of impact they are having.

And the bloggers gather...


6:00 PM - Only took 15 minutes to get everyone to take their seat. They announced they had over 600 Jewish bloggers register, though the physical facility is limited to around 200-300. Hundreds are logged into the online video and chat room.

I'm honored to be sitting next to IsraelMatzav and IsraellyCool.

6:10 PM - Various intros and sponsors presented. A surprise guest is former Israel PM Binyamin Netanyahu. The first speakers are My Urban Kvetch, Hirhurim, Jewlicious, Treppenwitz, and IsraelMatzav, with Esther of My Urban Kvetch moderating the panel. Here's some new pictures...


6:15 PM - The introducers and the speakers seem a little nervous, mentioning that the crowd has been much larger than expected. The first panel started off with Hirhurim. R. Gil opened with a word of Torah, tying the conference to the parsha of the week. A good way to start off a Jewish blogging convention.



Ahh, they're taking my picture! Apparently liveblogging a bloggers conference is a site to behold (or maybe it's the black hat and beard with the laptop?) Close up's of me? Who wants to see that?

An update from earlier, they said they have over 600 people live online right now following the conference.

6:25 PM - "We don't just take from the blogosphere, we give. It's a community." Talking about blogrolls, comment interaction, and links to other's articles to create a model of communal interaction. - Jewlicious. Nice points, surprising the amount of offline events they've done (a birthright trip, a conference, and more).

Speakers are having trouble staying within their time allotments, find themselves being cut short (none is actually going over). They find themselves rushed.

6:30 PM - While Treppenwitz is speaking, Binyamin Netanyahu has arrived. He got a front row seat, his security behind him in the second row. I got a great picture of the back of his head.

6:35 PM - They cut the panel off after Treppenwitz to allow former PM Netanyahu to speak. He read the panel names and got into a little give and take with Jewlicious, asking what kind of name was that. Jewlicious asked right back, and what kind of name is Netanyahu. Everyone cracked up.



He shared a line that we are in our city, and Jerusalem will remain our city. That received a lot of applause.

He was asked about hasbara - Israeli PR and if they are making any effort to blogging. He said: No, but it should be. He then started to get technical, about how he learned about blogging and info sharing at CERN (the particle accelerator in Switzerland), and asked if we were actually interested in hearing about it. The majority quickly responded yes, and he proceeded to talk for about 3 minutes on fiber optic network switching - then moving to information sharing. "We are the talking creatures."

"We should use the internet in an organized way to spread truth - just respond to them."

6:55 PM - Netanyahu is still speaking, bloggers are being allowed to directly ask questions. Israeli Army Radio has arrived, their reporter is recording the event. IsraelMatzav got a question in, as did IsraellyCool. Much of the discussion is around hasbara - Israeli PR - and blogging, and the complete failure of the Israeli government to either use blogging or use the resource of bloggers to boost the Israeli message and position. Netanyahu seems very up on these issues, including having real statistics on attitudes towards Israel and the Palestinians from around the world.

Photo - Israeli Army Radio reporter...


Bibi is a great speaker, went long on answers and was finally asked to wind up. He's pretty reasonably informed on internet and blogging topics, but also sounds like a campaign commercial. Hey, he's a politician, so I guess that's expected.

...UNFORTUNATELY, the WiFi connection was lost at the conference center (perhaps overloaded as many on site bloggers unpacked their laptops). A follow up post soon with more photos and conference info.

More pictures and thoughts in my after-conference post, here.

Free Home Delivery! - From Mystical Paths,


DemoCaster said...

Thank you for doing this. It's better than the live feed!

Ben-Yehudah said...


I see a rat in the fourth photo down. Do you see him?

Ben-Yehudah said...

Well, I guess the "theory" that this conference was too frum goes out the window.

One of the reasons I didn't go,...the seating arrangement,...and dress code, or lack there of.

DoubleTapper said...

I can't believe you posted this without my picture.

DoubleTapper, blogging on Guns Politics Defense from Israel

Lady-Light said...

I was there, virtually. It should become an annual event. Maybe we bloggers can positively contribute to Tikkun Olam (pun intended).

frumhouse said...

Great coverage! I really enjoyed reading your take on the event - I especially liked the photos!

Akiva said...

Make sure to go to the next post for more on the conference.

muse said...

Bibi's knowledge is impressive. No, that doesn't mean I support him. I don't think he could talk to Israeli educated adults on the level he spoke to us. I wish he would understand that fixing the educational system, I wanted to ask but they didn't choose me, would demand major curriculum changes.
I don't think there are many teachers in the system who know enough, but that's another story...

YMedad said...

But you left out Bibi's comeback: "But Netanyahu is in the Bible". And you glossed over Esther moderating and talking that first panel. 'Cause she's a female?

My post is here

Akiva said...

Just because of my angle, Esther didn't show up in my pictures, and at that stage I thought she was an NBN moderator - I didn't know she was a blogger until later. (And I don't know what blog?)

On Netanyahu, hey, I was liveblogging, there's only so fast you can actually listen and then type.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Akiva, it's fine...I realized we didn't have a lot of time so I didn't hog the spotlight the way a good self-promoter should. I blog in lots of places:,, and Jewlicious, to start with...

Akiva said...

Fortunately, articles can be easily adjusted :-).

Missing Esther? I have no idea what you're talking about.

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