Robert Scoble is already global

Kenya election riotsVia Techmeme, I saw a post by Louis Gray entitled Mashable Uses A-list power to Steal B-list buzz alleging that Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins of Mashable stole a quote without attribution.

Aside from getting me a bit indignant about the plight of the little guy, the post reminded me of a Mashable post from Mark bashing the tech blogosphere for being obsessed with Robert Scoble’s Facebook erasure versus the violence and disputed election in Kenya. Which then spun out-of-control into criticism of Robert Scoble himself. Which then resulted in Scoble defending himself and explaining why he doesn’t blog about Kenya. Via RConversation, I also read Global Voices co-founder Ethan Zuckerman’s defense of Scoble that also does a great job explicating the “known bug” of the blogosphere that people write and read about what they know about, and they often don’t know and don’t care about international issues like the Kenyan post-election events. If you read this, please take the time to read Ethan’s post now!

In fact, Robert Scoble is already global, and his post on wanting to go to CNbloggercon was one reason why we opened this blog. He has also repeatedly tried to share his blogger fame and fortune generously with Global Voices’ founders Ethan and Rebecca MacKinnon. He is already a globalist. So we emailed Scoble late last year and asked him what he wanted to learn about China.  This is what he had to say:

  1. Who are the best tech bloggers in China and how do they differ from bloggers elsewhere in the world?
  2. What is being a blogger in China like? What perceptions do you have of bloggers elsewhere in the world?
  3. Take us around your local technology store and give us a tour.
  4. How do you perceive American companies like Microsoft/Yahoo/Google/Sun Microsystems and how are they behaving in China?
  5. What are the big topics in China? News we should pay attention to?

(I didn’t get advance blogging permission on sharing this so I hope its ok Robert that I share this!)

These are the issues that we intend to cover at CNReviews. We want to create greater awareness and cultural understanding. We are not sure what the dividends are but it will be surely goodness.

Internet cafe 网吧At the same time, we want what we do to have reach and to generate profits, and agree with Ethan’s view that the problem is on the demand side, not the supply side. I also engaged in a great dialog about this subject with Kai Pan at Tripdingo.com (disclosure: I work at Kango and Tripdingo.com is a Kango sponsored blog) where he shared some similar insights about what people really gravitate toward and some tough questions about who our target audience is. In Beijing, I also had one of the best chocolate croissants in my recent life in Chaoyang (contact me if you want to find out where!) with Kaiser Kuo where he shared a data point that one very respected China blog is only getting about 1000 unique visitors/day, and only has about 1000 RSS subscribers. That was a bit depressing because I really viewed this blog as a giant in the field. There is clearly a demand problem.

So I’m excited about 2008 and the journey that we are on with CNReviews. I know we can make a contribution, and I know we can engage with some great blogs and some great bloggers. I hope we can get some people to read the blog too! In the meantime, we’ve got some great feedback from Robert Scoble and hope to tackle some of these issues in the months ahead!

Photos with CC license for commercial reuse: DEMOSH from Kenya; Kai Hendry from China

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