V3con is the evolution of the Banana Asian American bloggers’ conference: Visibility. Vision. Voice.

Banana 2

The first Banana conference of Asian American bloggers back in November 2009 — almost an eternity in Internet years — was a revelation to me. Although I was familiar with some AAPI blogs, I didn’t feel like I was a part of a community of people like me, toiling away on our computers to pass on information and express our opinions on issues that matter to Asian Americans.

It was cool to meet some people face-to-face that I’d only I connected with online, and some bloggers who I admired, and make new friends.

Erin and I were invited to be panelists at Banana 1. It was a small gathering – in fact, organizer Lac Su didn’t want to call it a conference, he used the term “gathering” – held on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Su, the author of “I Love Yous Are for White People,” and co-founder Steve Nguyen (a filmmaker of ChannelAPA.com) came up with the idea to showcase the diversity of Asian American perspectives online.

Erin knew Lac from her emotional intelligence training — when he’s not promoting AAPI bloggers, Su is a psychologist, the founder and vice president of marketing for TalentSmart, a global think tank and management consulting firm based in San Diego. But I only knew him from his excellent book, a memoir of his upbringing in a refugee family that fled Vietnam for the U.S.

The gathering was planned quickly, but 20 bloggers showed up to be panelists, representing the well-known (Angry Asian Man, 8Asians) to the lesser-known but notable (Kimchi Mamas, Big WOWO). Phil Yu of Angry Asian Man was given an achievement award for his blog, which is a must-read for anyone interested in Asian America.

Banana 1 was a little raggedy, but real. It was an ad-hoc affair that attracted about 50 audience members, many of them also bloggers, and there was a lot of interaction between panelists and audience members. There was only one extended conversation that took much of the afternoon, with panelists fielding questions from Su that ranged from the provocative (women’s perspective in blogging) to confusing (if childhood traumas motivated us). The political bloggers criticized the pop culture bloggers for being shallow, and the lone Canadian on the panel criticized the event’s U.S.-centric worldview.

In the end, it was an inspirational afternoon of thoughtful conversation, and everyone left feeling like we were a part of something bigger than just ourselves and our blogs. It was a validation of our voice.

I wrote after attending Banana 1 that it felt like the start of something that would continue and grow.

It took a little over a year to organize, but Banana 2 took the inspirational spirit of the first conference and turned it into a terrific event for a couple-hundred people.
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On blogging: Nikkei View, and my other stuff on Posterous and Tumblr

I’ve been using Posterous and Tumblr as blogging outlets for posting about topics that don’t fit Nikkei View, and I’m especially loving Posterous. I use my Posterous blog for pop culture stuff (Asian or non-Asian related) and Tumblr for new media and journalism stuff. Take a look:



The best thing about it is the ease of posting: I just send an email with photos attached or video embedded, and it appears within a minute or two online. And it posts the headline onto Twitter which then posts the update to Facebook.

Tumblr is more popular with media companies but it’s a little more work to post. They can do emails too but the email address is harder to remember, and the formatting gets all jacked if you submit via email.

Both platforms are great for short, snippy comments and observations, stuff that I don’t want to write long essays about. Or, I can write something longer too, if I want.

If you’re a blogger or just considering blogging, I highly recommend them. It remains to be seen if these inspire me to write more on this Nikkei View blog, or if I abandon longform blogging altogether… (not likely!)

A quick note to readers…

Yes, I know I’ve been slacking off my Nikkei View scribblings for more than a month now. Sorry about that. I’ve been busy with the day job (which I enjoy a lot, working on Internet and new media stuff for MediaNews Group Interactive, the parent company of The Denver Post, San Jose Mercury News and 70-some other newspapers across the country. And Erin’s now executive director of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (expect a blog post about that soon) and I’ve been helping out with CDBF’s website and social media efforts.

Those are all excuses, of course — I have time if I make time. I made time for the next visualizAsian.com call today, so I figured I should check in with you all, and let you know I have stack of topics to write about. If you’ve sent me a CD, a DVD or book recently, I owe you extra apologies. They’ll all get their due in the days to come, I promise!

Blogging’s a great outlet for me and I won’t stop, but I do end up taking breaks from time to time when I get busy elsewhere. Life gets in the way….

If you want to keep up with my babbling even when I’m absent from the Nikkei View, check in with me on Twitter or Facebook, or even FourSquare. At the very least, you’ll know where I’m eating all the time! I find these other outlets a faster and more convenient way to post links and make quick comments. I often intend to follow-up on stuff I Tweet about as blog posts, but then I get swamped and don’t get to them and it seems like old news by the time I turn to the blog.

So, there you have it. I’ll try to post something and clear out the backlog this week.

Thanks for hanging in there, and being patient!