Screenshot: Interview of Joz about #V3con in AA Limelight. Thanks for covering @V3con!

While I was at UNITY, I received a request from a young writer named
Steven Cong who wanted to interview me about V3con. I spent some time
on the phone with him and this is the interview he published in AA
Limelight. Thanks, Steven!

Here’s the link:
www.aalimelight.com/2012/08/17/v3con/

Full text below…

*Tell us a little bit about yourself.*
My name is Jocelyn “Joz” Wang. I’m currently the President of AAJA Los
Angeles, which is the Asian American Journalists Association, the Los
Angeles Chapter. I’ve been blogging for ten years on my personal site,
and on various other sites. The site I’m most known for is
8Asians.com, one of the most influential Asian American blogs out
there. I’m one of the Co-Editors, but I’ve been a contributor since
almost the beginning.

*What is V3con?*
It’s an endeavor that AAJA-LA is doing for the first time in
partnership with some of the folks who planned the previous two
conferences for Asian American bloggers known as “Banana.” At that
first Banana conference in 2009, there were about 25 people there. In
2011, at Banana2, our attendance went up by tenfold when we packed the
room with 250 people. After Banana2, all these people kept asking,
“When is the next Banana?”

For us as journalists, we have our eyes on the digital world. So we
talked about how it would be possible to put a conference together
that would not just be applicable to bloggers, but really turn into a
more substantive conference, which could really help journalists, no
matter what platform they’re in. So we wanted to make sure that if we
did a conference, it made sense for our members but still build
bridges and be inclusive of the bloggers that had showed up to the
first two conferences.

What V3con is, is really a conference to highlight and expand
multiplatform AAPI communications. So this includes the journalists
and the creative social media communicators—the bloggers, the YouTube
folks and anybody who is interested in engaging in the digital
platform online.

V3con is a one day conference. It’s based in Los Angeles and it’s
hosted generously by the Japanese American National Museum on
Saturday, 8/25. But we kick it off the night before with an Opening
Awards Reception hosted at the Pacific Asia Museum.

At the Awards Reception, we are giving out some awards aligning with
our “three Vs”: Vision, Visibility, and Voice. In the “Vision”
category, we are presenting it to Jeff Yang, a lifetime achievement
award for his decades of work in covering the Asian American
community. For our “Visibility” category, we actually are giving two
awards. The first one is going to Lisa Ling, and the second to David
Choi, the YouTube musician. Though they both are influential online
and give visibility to Asian Americans, Lisa came from a more
traditional media form. David’s background is different because he
came out completely through the digital world. The third category is
the “Voice” award, and embarrassingly enough, it’s going to me for my
work on 8Asians, V3con, and Banana2 for helping Asian Americans find
their voice online. I didn’t ask for it, but I missed a meeting, and
the committee voted on this without me!

*How did the planning team come to highlight “vision, visibility, and
voice” as the focal points of the conference?*
We looked back at that tagline that came out of Banana2 (Vision,
Viability, and Voice), and we tweaked it a little bit so we looked at
the vision, visibility and voice of Asian Americans online. So we’re
no longer questioning viability, because we believe digital is here to
stay. But we wanted to talk about the vision of us as a community and
the vision of Asian Americans online. How visible are we? The digital
platform really allows Asian Americans to have the kind of visibility
that was really unthinkable before. And voice— we also wanted to focus
on the Asian American voice. The digital world obviously gives Asian
Americans a new way to put their voices out there.

*How does blogging contribute to the development of Asian American
culture and identity?*
I think Asian American culture and identity is continuously shifting,
and that’s the perfect reason why blogging contributes to that.
Blogging itself has evolved over time. Because the point of entry is
basically negligible, anybody can have a voice online. Anybody can
reach people and tell their own story in a way that traditional media
couldn’t tell, the story of folks who are traditionally
underrepresented.

So for Asian Americans in particular, a lot of us in our community
have said we’ve been invisible for many years—ignored by mainstream
media. We just want to give voice to those in our community; those
kind of social justice issues have existed over time and for
generations. Now, these issues have been turned on their head because
blogging and digital communication has given the opportunity for
individual Asian Americans to raise their voices online directly to
millions of people who are interested in what they have to say.

In traditional platforms like broadcast and print, there was limited
space— limited number of inches on the paper, limited number of
minutes on a show or broadcast. With digital media, traditional limits
don’t exist. It used to be the decisions of, “You must choose who gets
to be covered,” and Asian Americans were left at that bottom of the
barrel. Now, we don’t need to wait for a producer, we don’t need to
wait for an editor, we don’t need wait for someone else to cover us
when we can cover ourselves.

*What will be some of the issues to be discussed at this year’s conference?*
We’re covering everything from issues that are pertinent to the Asian
American community, to skill building programming to help people find
their footing in the digital space, as well as topics of interest in
areas that are interesting to Asian Americans online, such as food
blogging, beauty, sports, politics, and more. You can see our full
schedule online: v3con.com/schedule/, including our incredible
lineup of speakers: v3con.com/schedule/speakers/

*Where do you see Asian American blogging in the future?*
That’s a really interesting question because I think blogging will
continue to evolve. The next step of blogging, the next step of social
media, the next step of web 2.0 or 3.0 and all that fun stuff— it’s
hard to say! I wish I had a crystal ball.

Ten years ago, when I started blogging, I kind of only had an idea of
how impactful it would be when I realized I can just go online and
create my own blog, and just basically write whatever I wanted to. It
was easy to do and I immediately found friends and followers online. I
realized blogging could be impactful, but to what degree, I had no
idea at that time.

I think that Asian Americans will claim a bigger voice, but I think
there’s going to be increased interest in Asian Americans over time as
people start making impact in whatever they’re good at. Most people
will not be known just for blogging. They’ll be known for doing
whatever they’re good at and blogging is one way people find out about
it.

*What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day and why?*
This is going to sound really antiquated considering I’m talking about
a digital media conference, but I really love to read books, that is,
books printed on paper. The way I read is that I will read a book from
beginning to end. I don’t like to read books in chunks, so when I read
a book now, I just want to read it from front to back. So my favorite
thing to do on a rainy day is to read a book from beginning to end.

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