Thursday, November 05, 2015

Bloggers Conference in Paro

The Second Bloggers Conference held in Paro College on 25th October 2015 was a huge milestone for the Community of Bhutanese Bloggers. We were able to bring the event to a magnificent campus, get a notable sponsor and draw a decent crowd.

Venue: Paro College of Education
Sponsor: National Airlines Drukair
Supporters: iBest Institute and Bank of Bhutan
Speakers: Karma Choden, Dorji Wangchuk, Nima Dorji and me
Format: 15 minutes speech with presentation followed by 10 minutes Q&A for each speaker
 
Attendance 
The event took a special place in my heart because it happened in Paro, my home ground for the first time. Every other event, formal and casual, related to bloggers had happened away from me in the past and I had to travel the longest. This time everyone travelled except me. We had bloggers attending from Wangdue, Trongsa, Tsirang and of course mostly from Thimphu.

I was given to talk on Social Media. I got excited because it was something I use each day more than the restroom. It was my cup of tea but when I sat down to write my 15 minutes speech I realized my cup of tea had no bottom. It was like the black hole and still growing.  

Then I decided to confess my ignorance about the depth of the subject and talk about how an ordinary person could use it each day to enrich our lives and things around us.

But I didn’t surrender easily because even the unknown could be defined as unknown, so I gave a brief background on the ever growing power of social media.

“A few years ago, only privileged individuals on TV and Radio could talk to thousands of people at a time, and people who wrote in newspapers were read by thousands, as a teacher I had the privilege of speaking to an assembly of over 700 students once every two month when I was the teacher on duty (TOD) but other than that our usual conversations were between two persons or a small group.
 Today, in the age of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and of course blogging each one of us is as privileged as a newspaper journalist or a TV anchor. Any minute we can take out our phone and write something that will be read anywhere in the world by the time we get out of this hall.
 There is a new dimension to social media that wasn’t there in mainstream media, which is the ability for your audience to respond to you and share your content among their friends. This new dimension works like nuclear power, thus making it the most powerful form of media.
 Social Media gives ordinary persons like you and me the means to influence the world from our toilet seat using a mobile device that can be held in one hand and operated with a thumb. Social Media has given each one of us the power that we don’t fully understand yet. This world will be a great place if this power was given selectively to all the good people but the bad news is it is given to everybody. “

I categorized people on earth into four groups, because as is on social media we are no more divided by geographical boundaries:
  1. The Users, people who use social media as tools to do good
  2. The Abusers, people who abuse social media as weapons to cause harm
  3. The Clueless, People who don’t know what they are doing on social media and therefore become the victim.
  4. The offliners, People who are not on social media.


I then described myself as a user who has thus far made the best out of social media. I told stories of my blog, my Groups and Pages on Facebook that are geared toward enriching our social lives and spreading positive energy and I fondly talked about Bhutan Toilet Organization that began on Facebook.

The speaker before me, Ms. Karma Choden spoke about Leadership of Self, the foundation of which was the words of his majesty the king;

“What we need is not a Leader to lead the Masses – we need Leadership of the Self.”
“How does Leadership of the Self – being better human beings – translate to a better world? “
“No one should be left behind. This we must achieve without waiting for some great leader or genius who may or may not ever emerge – we should instead seek to do so, each of us, on our own.”

And when I spoke of social media as power in our hands I could easily relate the leadership of self as the guiding principle each time we deicide to hit the post button.

The third speaker Mr. Nima Dorji, a lawyer and blogger, spoke on the thin line that exist between the Right to Reputation and Right to Freedom of Speech -that is the law on defamation. This topic was something everyone on social media must know at this time and age, because we really must know how far to push our freedom of speech into other’s right to reputation.

The final presenter Mr. Dorji Wangchuk, a senior journalist, blogger, professor and activist, talked about his model of journalism—The Middle Path Journalism. He boldly declared that our media is directionless at the moment. The journalist trained in different parts of the world imported the models and therefore even in one media house we could see various forms of voices. He took us down the historical journey of development of media in different parts of the world including Bhutan and shared with us how media in each region were shaped by history; by colonialism, civil war, the world wars, the cold war, the industrial revolution, etc. He then asked which country’s model would work for Bhutan, the country with entirely different history and values. Following is what he shared about varying values and I think this is a food for thought for the media fraternity, and for the blogger community.

Ê Western Values = rights, justice, equality, liberty, freedom
Ê Western Civilization = Individual
Ê Eastern Civilization = collective
Ê Bhutanese Values = tha damtsi (Commitments), tsam tsay (Contentment), maang and Za Saang (Community/Family), Nyinzhay (Compassion/Empathy), Lay Jumdray (Cause/Effect)   

Hon’ble Sangay Khandu, MP in National Council from Gasa moderated the conference and he was someone who could add value to every talk. More than anything I hold the highest regard for the man for being there in every little event, no matter how far, and spent his valuable time with us, and at times even paying for our lunch (lol).
At Drugyel Dzong!


To make the event even more memorable we headed to Drukgyel Dzong in the afternoon and spend quality time talking about life and history, until it became so cold and dark. Except for a few Paro College students and me the rest of them had to travel back to Thimphu and as we parted we decided that between this and the next conference in 2016 we should have an Annual Dinner in Thimphu. All the members of CBB are invited. It shall be after December 17.

At Drugyel Dzong, with our invention- The lamp!

2 comments:

  1. I am still impressed since the first Bloggers Conference was held in Bhutan. It makes me wonder if we should have one of this scale in our multi racial country. It is good to share one's views and stay united in blogging to bring it to higher levels. I myself, have started enjoying to read the blog postings from Bhutan. You guys write beautiful English and express well.

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  2. Looks like it was interesting and you guys had fun with fellow bloggers. A good initiative though. Cheers.

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