With the birth of new technologies emerged a necessity for new media tools. These editorial and marketing instruments are used widely worldwide in modern media. This month Mtatsminda Park hosted the “New Media Forum 2009” for roughly 200 journalists, students, marketing experts and other professionals, offering a wide range of lectures on new media.
“We succeeded in gathering bloggers, journalists and people interested in electronic media in an interactive space over two days,” Open Society Georgia Foundation Executive Director and event organizer Keti Khutsishvili told Georgia Today.
“The blend of Georgian bloggers and international experts popular on social media platforms inspired the media community to engage in interactions, discussions, presentations and networking.”
Several novelties for Georgia were also seen during the forum, including the innovative portal http://www.blogroll.ge, which helps bloggers find each other and assists them in organizing their efforts.
Besides new blogs and Web sites, experienced blogs were also reviewed. Radio Free Liberty journalist Niko Nergadze talked about a blog, which he has been running for over a year. After the lecture, he told Georgia Today that the participants were very active at the forum. “The important thing is not what, but how this forum will be held,” he said. “So far what I see is really good. A lot of people are taking part in the forum, which is defining the quality of the event.” Nergadze added that forums like these are important for Georgia as new media exists, but is limited. “Still we are very far from claiming that the Internet and new media have a serious influence on events. But we are heading toward something,” he said.
Ruso Panozashvili, a journalist and another forum participant, agrees with Nergadze about the event’s importance. “The importance of new media is high in Georgia where television and so-called traditional media outlets are strongly controlled,” she said. “This is not good for quality. This is why it is important to develop media with alternative tools, which in this case is new media.”
“The Power of Personal Blogs,” “Gutenberg vs. Twitter,” “Global Voices,” and “The Social Impact of New Media” were among the many lecture topics during the event. WordPress and Blogspot, Facebook and My Space were also discussed as media spaces. Most lectures did not consist only of a report by a lecturer, but were rather interactive events where everyone took part.
The global gathering of journalists and other media professionals ended with the participants moving to their blogging or other media spaces where they continue to interact with each other and wait for the next forum in 2010. “We plan to conduct a similar forum next year,” Khutsishvili said. “Stay tuned for future developments.”