On Friday, February 18, 2006 in the premises of the Foundation Metamorphosis an informal meeting about blogs was held. The meeting was initiated by the editors of the blogs Communications and Razvigor and about 20 bloggers from Veles and Skopje attended the meeting.
The meeting was organised to talk about blogging and possible activities related to blogging. The group was heterogeneous to a large extent, with people from 20 to 50 years of age that reflected on the variety of topics discussed at the meeting.
Filip Stojanovski informed about the idea of the Foundation Metamorphosis for organisation of public panel debate on blogging as a method of increasing content in local languages, which is stressed as a priority in the National strategy for development of information society and in the realms of series of events related to the National strategy. Participants accepted the idea in general, stressing that the format for such event should be as opened as possible.
Ivica Antevski shared the opinion about the need of developing solidarity among bloggers that would provide support in cases of pressure and jeopardizing the right of free speech. In similar direction was the discussion of the author of the blog Etna.
Many of the present bloggers stressed the need of bridging the divide between the bloggers and general public, especially the one presented in so called main stream media – newspapers and TVs. Low rate of internet access among citizens, from the dormitories to the complete territory of Macedonia, was pointed to be the key problem.
Branko Gerovski, editor-in-chief of Nedelno Vreme shared his experience from publishing content from the blogs in printed medium in the column New Wave. Gerovski stressed that journalists need to be familiar with the new technologies as a precondition for greater participation in the media.
Various speakers noted the ideas for establishing newspapers (as the Dutch example) and TV shows that would monitor the blogosphere. As an example of positive influence from the media attention Aleks Bukarski shared the information that after his appearance on TV his average visits rate is not below 200, compared to 100 visitors before. He stressed the importance of attracting visitors, while Darko Buldioski and Stojanovski noted the inclusion of scientific public in research of this phenomenon, that would contribute for affirmation in the academic sphere.
Petar Kajevski, crator of the search engine Najdi! shared some his experiences with the Macedonian blog aggregator, as well as few advices for greater presence in other search engines. He said that the chances for the presence of Google are increasing if, apart form being in Cyrillic, the posts are in Latin alphabet, since most of the Macedonian internet users use that alphabet. Some of the participants (like Bi who said that she does not need visitors that do not use Cyrillic alphabet) shared their discontent stressing that Blogeraj served to educate many people to finally start to use the Cyrillic alphabet. Buldioski stressed the importance of implementing tags for promotion of a given blog.
Damjan Janevski, Blogeraj administrator express the preparedness of the service to include elements or methods that would provide enhancing the quality of the content, as well as methods that would allow filtering according to the needs of the readers.
Many other bloggers, among them the representative of the collective projects Linux Planet, r-Evolution and m-Soulz expressed their opinions related to their work so far. Varios challenges were mentioned, from technical, through motivational (becoming columnists, for fun) to pedagogical (great number of demands for linking in blogroll that popular bloggers receive, especially from younger colleagues).
General impression was that the established communication can be continued through meetings, but also through mailing list (reactivation of the Macedonia Blogger Community or establishing new one).