Blogger/Podcaster Typology Survey: Please Contribute! [en]

[fr] J'essaie de mieux comprendre le profil des blogueurs et podcasteurs qui couvrent des conférences, en particulier le lien entre blog/podcast et revenu et le fonctionnement des blogs collectifs. Merci de bien vouloir prendre 5-10 minutes pour répondre à mon questionnaire. Attention, ceci est un sujet de recherche perso et non une demande d'accréditation pour LeWeb! Je vous parle du Web demain au plus tard.

In the last three years I’ve been working on blogger accreditations for LeWeb (and Web2.0 Expo Berlin before that) I have had ample time to think about how we define a “blogger” (or “podcaster”) in this context.

It used to be simple: a blogger was somebody who had a blog, and a podcaster somebody who had a podcast.

But nowadays, everybody who publishes stuff online is a blogger or a podcaster.

When an event accredits members of the press to attend, it’s pretty easy to figure out who to accredit and who not to: the press is institutionalized, its members are registered and work for this or that publication (freelancers or employees).

With bloggers, it’s much more fuzzy. Where is the line between “blogger” and “press”? (I thought I’d written about that already but I can’t dig out a blog post.) What are our criteria for deciding that somebody is eligible to come and cover the conference as an official blogger?

This is new territory, and as always with new territory, I’m constantly refining my thinking about these issues. One thing I’m trying to do in the process is better understand the link between blogging and work/income — and also, how collective publications function. To do this I’ve drawn up a little survey to try to understand the profiles of bloggers and podcasters who attend conferences and blog about them.

If you recognize yourself in this description (do you have a blog/podcast? have you attended a conference and blogged about it? you’re in) please take 5-10 minutes to help me out by filling in this survey.

This is not an application form for LeWeb’10! It’s personal research. I’m publishing a post about LeWeb’10 tomorrow at the latest. Thanks for your patience.


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Bad With Faces, Good With Names [en]

[fr] Je suis très peu physionomiste mais dès qu'on me donne un nom, je sais exactement qui vous êtes. Pensez-y la prochaine fois qu'on se croise en vitesse quelque part, à une conférence par exemple!

I have a problem. I am really bad at recognizing faces. Really very bad. Bordering on hopeless.

This makes social occasions like conferences very difficult for me, because people keep coming up to me, saying hello, and though their face might seem familiar, I have not the slightest idea who they are.

Even with people I know, it’s sometimes difficult. My good friend Kevin Marks came up to me to say hi this morning, and it took me 4 excruciatingly long seconds to recognize him.

One might think that it’s because I meet too many people, or have too many people in my network, and can’t keep up. I’m happy to say it isn’t the case — I haven’t reached such a celeb status, luckily.

How do I know that?

I know that because the moment the person who just walked up to me gives me their name, I know exactly who they are.

I am deadly good with names.

That’s why I like conference badges.

The way I explain this to myself is that my “internal database” of people I know has an index on the name column, and not the face one. It’s as if I were “colour-blind to faces”.

I’m really good at remembering people, actually. I just need names.

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Invitée de deux First de Rezonance: 15 septembre et 6 octobre [fr]

[en] On 15th September and 6th October, I'm invited to participate in two panel discussions where I will present the work done with the eclau coworking space.

J’ai le grand honneur d’avoir été invitée comme intervenante à deux First organisés par Rezonance:

Les First sont des conférences libres et gratuites — je vous encourage vivement à y participer. C’est l’occasion d’assister à des présentations et débats sur des thèmes d’actualités et de rencontrer ensuite des personnes intéressantes de la région autour d’un apéro. Pour s’inscrire, il suffit de créer un compte (gratuit) sur le site, ce qui est de toute façon une bonne idée (Rezonance est un réseau social professionnel genre LinkedIn, mais suisse romand et assez orienté entreprenariat).

De quoi vais-je parler? De l’eclau, principalement. De Going Solo, également, lors de la deuxième date.

Je pense que ce qui sera particulièrement intéressant pour moi le 15 septembre, c’est de parler du fait que l’eclau n’a pas du tout été créé dans un état d’esprit “expressément solidaire” à la base — mais que l’entraide et la solidarité qui y règnent sont le produit naturel d’une formule coworking qui privilégie les rapports humains et la diversité.

Le 6 octobre, j’espère avoir l’occasion de montrer les ponts qui existent entre Going Solo et l’eclau (l’idée de la liste Coworking Léman est née à Going Solo, et c’est cette liste qui a permis les premières étapes de la mise sur pied de l’Espace Coworking Lausanne) et aussi de discuter les différences entre entreprenariat et indépendance.

Ce ne sont pas mes premiers First: il y a trois ans environ, j’avais été invitée au First consacré à L’Age de Peer avec Alban Martin (charrette, il faut vraiment que je finisse ce bouquin, je commence à avoir la honte!) — pour ceux que le sujet intéresse, je signale en passant le First du 4 septembre, “Copyright vs. Community” à l’ERACOM à Lausanne.

Ah oui, et pendant qu’on est dans les agendas: ne ratez pas l’émission Scènes de Ménage sur la TSR1 mercredi 16 septembre vers 20h05 — on y parle des bureaux en open space, avec à la clé un sujet sur l’eclau, tourné en mai dernier.

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Réflexions freelance [en]

[fr] Musings on my work as a freelancer. I'm thinking about concentrating my communication/promotion efforts on a limited number of things (my problem with being a "generalist internet expert" is that I do lots of different things, could do even more, but feel a bit stretched and unfocused at times). So, here goes:

  • coaching/training: from "learning to use this computer" and "getting the printer to work" (grandma or your uncle) to "learning all about social media/tools" and "publishing my stuff online". A one-on-one setting, and a general focus on "learning to understand and use the internet (and computers) better".
  • creating simple websites: I'm asked to do this a lot, and after years of struggling with clients to try to get them to "do things right" (easy to win them over, but it doesn't change the amount of budget available), I've switched over to a Trojan Horse technique. Give them what they want (a brochure-like website), but based on WordPress (my CMS of choice right now), which means they can learn to update the content, add a blog, etc. etc. Using WordPress as CMS is my Trojan Horse for getting clients further into social media.
  • speaking, in particular in schools: I gave a few talks at the ISL a month ago and they were very well received. A little promotional material would probably get me way more similar speaking engagements.

This doesn't mean I'm abandoning all the other things I do (and get paid for) or would like to do (and get paid for). It just means I'm going to concentrate my proactive efforts on those three things, which have proved to be realistic ways for me to earn money.

Going Solo Leeds is of course taking up quite a bit of my time, and I'm soon going to start actively looking for a business partner (a sales-oriented doer!) for Going Far. Stay tuned!

Ces temps, je pense pas mal à mon choix de travail/carrière. Parce qu’à part les nombreuses heures que je passe à préparer la conférence Going Solo (qui pour le moment ne rapporte pas tellement d’argent, on peut dire ça), je reste une indépendante dans le milieu parfois un peu brumeux des nouvelles technologies.

Moi qui suis quelqu’un qui frémit à chaque fois qu’on lui demande “et tu fais quoi, comme boulot?”, je me suis trouvée l’autre jour (lors du pique-nique mensuel des couchsurfeurs lausannois) avec aux lèvres une formule qui me plaît assez:

J’aide les gens à mieux comprendre et utiliser internet.

C’est vaste, oui, mais ça recouvre assez bien ce qui m’intéresse — et ce que je fais.

Mais bon. Ça fait un moment que je me sens dispersée. Je n’ai pas de message clair à donner pour faire comprendre au monde mes compétences et ce que je fais. En plus, il y a “ce que je fais déjà” et “ce que je pourrais faire”. Donc… je me dis que je devrais me concentrer (côté stratégie de communication en tous cas) sur un nombre limité de trucs. Surtout quand l’argent ne rentre pas à flots. Lesquels?

Qu’on me comprenne bien, je ne suis pas en train de songer à “arrêter” quoi que ce soit de mes activités. Je me demande simplement où concentrer mes forces. Si on fait appel à moi pour autre chose, pas de souci — je serai là.

Une chose que je me retrouve régulièrement à faire, et que j’aime beaucoup, c’est de la formation (ou du coaching) individuelle. Ça va de “apprendre à utiliser l’ordinateur et faire ses premiers pas sur internet” à “bloguer mieux” en passant par “démarrer un blog” et “maîtriser les outils sociaux”. Particuliers, indépendants, ou petites entreprises sont mes clients types pour ce genre de service.

Donc, j’aime faire ça et il y a de la demande. Il m’a fallu longtemps pour “publiciser” ce genre de service/formation, principalement parce que les tarifs que je me retrouvais à devoir fixer me semblaient vraiment chers pour des “cours d’informatique”. En attendant, il semble que je fais ça plutôt bien, j’ai un éventail très large de compétences à transmettre ou à mettre à disposition (je peux dépanner l’imprimante, installer l’anti-virus, donner des conseils stylistiques pour la rédaction d’un article, discuter d’une stratégie de publication, raconter les réseaux sociaux, les blogs, ou les CSS, bref, un produit tout-en-un), et je m’adapte à tous les niveaux (de la personne qui découvre tout juste l’informatique — et il y en a! — à l’utilisateur chevronné qui veut parfaire ses connaissances en matière de publication web, par exemple).

Pour les particuliers, disons que c’est un peu un service de luxe (je ne dis pas ça négativement), et pour les indépendants et petites entreprises, l’occasion d’acquérir des compétences avec un suivi très personnalisé (et compétent/à la pointe…).

Voilà — je me dis que je devrais probablement mettre en avant un peu plus ce type de service.

Dans le même ordre d’idées, on m’approche souvent pour “faire un site internet”. Durant longtemps, je crois que je m’y suis prise un peu maladroitement. “Non, je ne fais pas de site internet, mais je vous apprends à le faire et vous accompagne durant le processus.” Alors oui, bien sûr, je peux toujours faire ça. Mais il ne faut pas rêver — le client qui m’approche pour que je lui “fasse un site internet”, même si je le convainc de ce “faire ça bien” implique (pas un problème en général, dans ce sens-là je suis une assez bonne “vendeuse d’idées”), il n’est probablement quand même pas prêt, au fond, à faire le pas (que ce soit, bêtement, en termes de ressources et d’argent à investir).

J’ai fini par comprendre qu’il fallait s’y prendre autrement. Etre un peu pragmatique. Donner aux gens ce qu’ils veulent, même si on croit qu’il est dans leur meilleur intérêt de faire directement autrement. C’est la technique du Cheval de Troie (un bon cheval, dans ce cas): oui, donner ce qui est demandé initialement, mais sous une forme qui permet ensuite d’aller facilement dans la bonne direction.

Une petite digression/parenthèse à ce sujet. C’est une stratégie qui fait un peu usage de manipulation — mais assez légère, explicite, et dans l’intérêt du client. Elle est de cet ordre: c’est la différence entre demander “pouvez-vous SVP signer cette décharge qui nous autorise à mettre des photos de vous prises à cette fête sur internet” et dire “on va prendre des photos et les mettre sur internet, si cela vous pose un problème, merci de nous contacter au plus vite.” Vous voyez l’idée? C’est comme une de mes amies/collègues, qui répondait, quand on lui demandait comment convaincre un employeur de nous laisser bloguer, en tant qu’employé: “ne demandez pas; faites-le, faites-le intelligemment, et quand il commence à y avoir des retours positifs, votre employeur verra de lui-même que ce n’est pas dramatique, d’avoir un employé qui blogue.” (Ce n’est pas une tactique garantie à 100% sûre, mais elle a son mérite — on dit souvent “non” à la nouveauté un peu par principe ou par peur du changement, c’est une réaction normale.)

Donc, quelle est l’idée? Pour une somme relativement modeste (contrairement à d’autres solutions — avant de m’approcher, un de mes clients avait reçu une offre à 2500.- CHF pour un site statique de 5 pages, sans qu’il y ait d’exigeances particulières côté design!) je crée sous le site que désire le client, avec un design “standard” quelque peu personnalisé (logo, image d’en-tête), et le contenu que m’aura fourni le client.

Et c’est là que ça devient intéressant — et pour le client, et pour moi. Le client a son site, et **bonus**:

  • il peut le mettre à jour lui-même facilement (une fois qu’il a appris, ou bien s’il est débrouille)
  • le jour où il décide de se lancer dans l’aventure “blog”, c’est tout prêt pour
  • s’il veut ajouter des pages, c’est facile et il peut le faire lui-même
  • s’il désire par la suite se payer un design “sur mesure”, il n’y a pas besoin de toucher au contenu (Corinne fait de très beaux thèmes WordPress, par exemple)
  • s’il veut étendre les fonctionnalités du site, tout le contenu peut être migré sur une installation WordPress “serveur”, où l’on peut installer des plugins ou faire tout ce qu’on veut.

Donc, site mis en place à bon marché, et très évolutif.

En ce qui me concerne, si le client s’en tient là (je lui donne les codes d’accès, voilà) je m’y retrouve déjà: mettre en place un site avec du contenu qu’on me fournit est typiquement une prestation pour laquelle je suis payée plus pour mon expertise et mon expérience que pour le temps que j’y passe.

Si le client désire aller plus loin, par exemple être formé à l’utilisation de l’outil (s’il ne s’y retrouve pas par lui-même tout de suite), être coaché pour améliorer le contenu ou en rajouter, découvrir d’autres outils de communication en ligne… Eh bien, vous l’aurez deviné, je me retrouve dans la situation formation/coaching décrite plus haut.

Et si le client désire aller encore plus loin, j’envisage même d’offrir des formules “accès libre” (Martin nous expliquait lors de Going Solo qu’il faisait ça avec certains clients), où le client paie une certaine somme par mois (à négocier) en échange d’un accès “illimité” à mes services. J’ai mis des guillemets, parce que soyons réalistes, il faut tout de même mettre un cadre (je ne deviens pas l’esclave de mon client!) mais cela lui donne la possibilité de faire appel à moi pour séances, coaching, dépannage, e-mails, téléphone, mises à jour tant qu’il a besoin. La base de discussion pour le tarif d’un tel service sera la valeur qu’il a pour le client.

Donc, nous voilà avec deux axes: coaching/formation (très large, “mieux comprendre et utiliser internet, tant du point de vue technique que stratégique”) et fabrication de sites web “simples” (sans fonctionnalités nécessitant du développement particulier).

Il y en a un troisième: les conférences. Que ce soit dans les écoles ou bien ailleurs, c’est quelque chose que je fais depuis le début de ma carrière d’indépendante et pour lequel il y a une demande régulière. Je me dis que du côté des écoles en particulier, je peux être sans difficulté un peu plus proactive à vendre mes services. Un petit explicatif A4 bien présenté que je pourrais faire circuler m’amènerait sans doute plus de mandats de ce genre (jusqu’ici, je n’ai jamais fait aucune promotion pour ça, mis à part annoncer sur mon site que je le faisais).

J’ai donné il y a un mois environ une série de conférences à l’ISL — même si ça faisait depuis février que je n’avais pas parlé sur le sujet, tout est allé comme sur des roulettes et elles ont été extrêmement bien reçues. Je note que ce ne sont plus les blogs qui préoccupent les autorités scolaires (en tous cas en milieu international), mais bien Facebook — un changement de nom, mais la problématique reste largement la même. Je vais devoir me rebaptiser “experte Facebook” pour attirer leur attention 😉

Si vous m’avez lue jusqu’au bout, merci. C’était un article un peu “au fil de mes pensées”, mais ça fait un moment que je rumine ça et je crois que j’avais besoin de le mettre par écrit.

En parallèle, bien entendu, je continue ma vie d’entrepreneur avec Going Solo Leeds (12 Septembre) et les événements à suivre, organisés par Going Far (entreprise en cours de fabrication légale… enfin un de ces jours). Je vais bientôt me mettre à la recherche d’un (ou une!) partenaire business, dans le genre “qui fait les choses et est orienté vente” — toute une aventure dont je vous tiendrai au courant.

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From LIFT06 to LIFT08 [en]

[fr] Un petit coup d'oeil sur les différences majeures entre mon expérience de LIFT06 et de LIFT08, à deux ans d'écart.

As I said in my [open stage speech](, two years (and a few days) ago I was sitting in the CICG conference hall, but things were very different from today. [LIFT06]( was, if I remember correctly, my second conference. I’d been to [BlogTalk2]( in 2004 and met a few people there ([live-blogging already!]( So, in 2006, there were very few people at the conference which I had actually met. I knew Lee Bryant. I knew Martin Röll. I knew Laurent Haug. I knew [Björn Ognibeni]( (I *think* he was at LIFT06, but couldn’t swear it). I knew a few local bloggers, and some people from online. (My memory is a bit fuzzy.) But most of the people who make up my *network* (both online and offline, personal and professional) were not part of my world yet.

LIFT06 is where I met [Robert Scoble](, [Bruno Giussani](, [David Galipeau](, [Euan Semple](http://), [Hugh McLeod](, and a bunch of others. It’s where I got to know [Anne Dominique Mayor]( (we both sat down smack in front of Robert Scoble by pure chance, because we were going for power sockets — that’s how I met him), and she has since then become part of my close circle of friends. LIFT06 felt a bit [like San Francisco felt a year later]( my online world had suddenly materialized offline.

Retrospectively, I’d say that in 2006, I was introduced to people, but that today, in 2008, it is people who introduce themselves to me. It’s not as clear-cut, of course, but it’s the general trend.

At LIFT08, I’ve lost count of the people present whom I’ve already met. There are almost too many for me to say hello to each one. I’m holding a workshop, and giving an open stage speech, so I’m much more public — more people know me than I know them.

It’s a bit scary. I don’t know who I want to spend my time with anymore, for one (old friends? new, unknown people?) — and my brain just can’t keep up. I forget who I’ve met. I try giving [Going Solo]( moo cards to old friends more than once. I feel like I’ve become a networking automaton, and I don’t like it. I’m not good at faking it, I’d rather tell people that I’m over-socialized and that I have trouble processing all this.

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Qu'est-ce que je fais, au juste? [fr]

[en] Roughly the French equivalent of the post Working on My Professional Site, with an added question in the end. I'd like to provide a list of the talks I've given and clients I've had. Most of my commercial clients have been public about my involvement, so that's not the issue -- it's more the dozens of schools I've spoken in. Some were long ago, I've lost my contacts, so I'm quite tempted to simply put the list online, and remove names if I'm asked to. Do you think it's blatantly unprofessional to do so?

Je suis en train de donner un coup de peinture fraîche (enfin, plus qu’un coup de peinture, parce qu’il s’agit de contenu) à mon pauvre site professionnel. Qu’y mettre? Voilà la grande question. Donc, je brainstorme.

Voici un peu où j’en suis. Si quelqu’un a une bonne traduction pour “social media”, je suis preneuse. Pour l’instant, je vais utiliser le vaguement douteux “nouveaux médias”. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus. Attention, c’est brouillon et redondant.

### qu’est-ce que je fais?

– j’aide les gens à comprendre des trucs au sujet d’internet (nouveaux médias)
– j’apprends aux gens comment utiliser ces nouveaux médias
– j’aide les entreprises à voir comment elles peuvent utiliser les nouveaux médias
– je donne des conférences
– je connecte les gens
– je veux donner les moyens aux gens d’avoir une voix sur internet
– je fais profiter ceux qui en ont besoin de mon expertise sur la culture internet
– j’aide les entreprises à repenser leur stratégie de communication
– j’organise des événements (journées de conférences, congrès)
– j’aide les gens à démarrer avec les blogs et outils associés
– j’initie les gens à la gestion des aspects techniques de l’installation et la maintenance d’outils comme WordPress

### qu’est-ce qui m’intéresse?

– les questions linguistiques sur internet (multilinguisme)
– les adolescents et internet
– les nouveaux médias et comment ils changent la façon dont les entreprises, institutions, et personnes communiquent
– les “social tools” (“outils socialisants”?), comment nous les utilisons, à quoi ils servent, et comment ils fonctionnent

### qui sont mes clients?

– gens normaux qui veulent en savoir plus (sur les blogs, les ados sur internet)
– écoles et associations travaillant avec les adolescents
– personnes occupant des positions-clés côté médias et communication dans de grandes entreprises
– petites entreprises ou indépendants
– médias
– gens du marketing, de la pub, ou de la comm
– webmasters ou techniciens

### qui suis-je?

– polyvalente
– je connais bien internet (de l’intérieur et de l’extérieur)
– je comprends également bien le fonctionnement des gens et des cultures
– blogueuse depuis belle lurette, citoyenne du net
– compétences: expliquer, enseigner, inspirer, assister processus de décision ou de pensée, conseiller

De là où vous êtes, j’ai raté quelque chose?

J’ai aussi commencé à compiler une liste de toutes les conférences que j’ai données (et il y en a un paquet, je peux vous dire). La part de moi qui a un peu froid au pieds me dit que je devrais demander à tous mes “clients” (surtout des écoles pour les conférences “privées”, en l’occurence) leur accord avant de mettre leur nom sur une liste publique. (La plupart de mes contrats commerciaux sont déjà publics d’une façon où d’une autre.)

Je suis cependant bien consciente d’une chose: en “demandant la permission” de rendre quelque chose public, on court bien des risques de se heurter à un “non” prenant racine dans des peurs infondées ou simplement du “on sait jamais, soyons prudents”. Alors que mis devant le fait accompli, probablement que personne ne trouverait quoi que ce soit à redire. Ce n’est pas un processus nouveau, clairement.

Que feriez-vous à ma place, sachant que bon nombre datent d’il y a lontemps, que je n’ai plus forcément les contacts de l’époque, et que je suis prête à courir le risque qu’on me demande de retirer un nom ou deux de la liste après-coup?

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November 2007 Recap [en]

[fr] Un résumé des divers billets que j'ai écrits en novembre 2007. Je sens que je devrais faire une version française complète de cet article... mais honnêtement, pas le courage de m'y remettre juste là!

A few days ago, I had an idea: why don’t I write a “recap” post of what I wrote during the month? Sometimes I go on writing binges and it gets a bit hard to follow, so maybe this will help. *Note that some of the links here point to older posts, I’m not being 100% strict about “November” — but everything is indeed related to that month.*

So, what was the deal for [November 2007]( Looking back, it was a busy month. Mainly conferences, as I travelled to Berlin for Web2.0Expo, Serbia for BlogOpen, and Paris for ParisWeb in the space of two weeks, giving a talk each time — and [a fourth in Zurich]( when I got back. I also decided and announced that I was [starting a company](, and [moved CTTS]( back to my server, [upgrading WordPress]( while I was at it.

### Talks and Conferences

#### Berlin, [Web2.0Expo](

Although I did [live-blog]( quite a few of the sessions that I attended, I didn’t write a “summary” post like I did for [FoWA]( or [WordCamp]( earlier this year — heading off for Serbia and Paris right after, **and** being sick, I guess, didn’t exactly make for ideal conditions to be a model blogger. So, here’s a list of the sessions I blogged about:

– [Kathy Sierra: Creating Passionate Users Workshop](, and also [her Keynote]( the next day (I got personal thanks from her for these notes, and many people seemed to appreciate them)
– [Jeremy Keith: The Beauty in Standards and Accessibility]( (I really enjoyed his talk)
– [Jesse James Garrett: Delivering Rich Experiences]( (only got the end of the talk, unfortunately)
– [Ankur Shah & Gi Fernando: (Facebook API) Disrupting the Platform](
– [Lars Trieloff: i18n for Web 2.0](
– [Cory Doctorow: Europe’s Copyright Wars – Do We Have to Repeat the American Mistake?](

My [talk proposal]( didn’t make it, but I had a chance to give [“Waiting for the Babel Fish” at Web2Open](, the parallel unconference running during Web2.0Expo, in the Expo area. Somebody filmed a part of it, but unfortunately it never made it to me. It was fun, though — starting out with three people, and finishing with about 20 (the room was clearly hard to find, I myself got quite lost on the way).

I took [photos of the conference (and a few of Berlin)](, of course.

#### Novi Sad (Serbia), [BlogOpen](

I was [invited to Novi Sad in Serbia]( to give a talk about [my experience as a blogging consultant]( I had a great time giving the talk (and before that, taking [silly facial expression photos]( to illustrate my slides) and was taken good care of by [Sanja](, who volunteered to act as my host during my stay.

Unfortunately I fell ill there (food poisoning), but did have time to go out and catch [some photos of Novi Sad](, in addition of [those of the conference](

My talk got [quite a lot of coverage]( (in Serbian!), including [two short video snippets]( (thanks again!).

My departure from Berlin had been quite hectic (wrong airport!) and I was provided with the most scary landing experience in my life, courtesy of JAT airways, when we arrived in Belgrade. Leaving through Belgrade airport to go to Paris was not exactly a fun experience, either. I tell it all in [Berlin, Belgrade: Two Contrasting Airport Experiences](

#### Paris, [ParisWeb](

It was nice to be in Paris, see my friend [Steph]( again after many years, and meet all the fine people behind ParisWeb and the francophone web standards movement — some of whom I’ve known online for years through their involvement in [](, a [web standards-oriented translation magazine I founded]( way back in 2001.

I was pretty ill though and just wanted to go home — no live-blogging, and not many photos. More than half of the photos in my [ParisWeb set]( were kindly taken by [Fabien]( while I was pretending to be a window for [Chris Heilmann’s demonstration of Javascript event listeners]( (( You should definitely check out [Fabien’s photos]( rather than mine if you want some visuals from the conference.

A video of the talk I gave should be available in a few weeks.

#### Zurich, ASCI

After the success of my talk [How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications]( in September, I was invited to Zurich again to give a similar talk focused on internal communications: [Blogging in Internal Communications](

### Starting a Company

November was a busy month not only because of all the speaking and the travelling, but also because I took the decision to become a full-fledged business woman and create my own company. I [announced this]( and also blogged some of my first musings as an entrepreneur: [Competition, Colleagues, or Partners?]( Way more about this in December or under the [Going Solo tag](

### Geeky and Other Stuff

I didn’t just blog about conferences and business stuff. As I mentioned, I also [changed servers]( and [upgraded WordPress]( on this blog, leading to [an update of my Basic Bilingual plugin]( (update which was actually [broken, but has since then been fixed]( — please upgrade if you haven’t), and some [tortured thoughts about cleaning up categories on CTTS]( (I still haven’t done anything about this).

I also [tried creating a Netvibes widget]( (a rather disappointing experience, in hindsight, though it was some fun geeking out).

Last but not least, I [created a focus page on experiential marketing]( after a [quick round-up of Stowe Boyd’s writings on the topic]( (I’ve done some more thinking since then and need to update the page, by the way).

### Selection

If you were to read only three posts?

– [Kathy Sierra: Creating Passionate Users (Web2.0Expo, Berlin)](
– [Being a Blogging Consultant](
– [Experiential Marketing](

Five? Add these two:

– [Blogging in Internal Communications](
– [I’m Starting a Company](

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Why Events? [en]

[fr] J'explique dans ce billet pourquoi je me lance dans l'organisation de conférences-événements. (Le français c'est ambigu: une conférence ça peut être un blabla par une personne, ou bien une journée entière avec plusieurs intervenants. Je parle de ce dernier cas de figure. Faites signe si vous avez un meilleur mot.)

J'ai perdu le compte des conférences auxquelles je suis allée assister au cours des derniers 18 mois. Au point que j'en ai un peu marre, j'avoue. Les organisateurs de conférence commencent à avoir l'habitude de lire mes critiques au sujet de leurs événements, donc je sais qu'on va m'attendre au contour.

Donc, je commence à voir un peu de quoi c'est fait, ces fichues conférences. C'est l'occasion de me lancer dans un projet un peu plus à long terme que ce que je fais d'habitude, de m'entourer de personnes compétentes (parce que finalement, je me rends compte que j'en connais une pile), et d'utiliser ma connaissance du milieu web/tech pour monter un programme qui non seulement tienne debout, mais danse la valse.

Donc, voilà. Comme je l'ai déjà dit, cela ne veut pas dire que je mets un frein à mes activités de consultante ou de conférencière (j'ai d'ailleurs des idées à ce sujet que je vais développer dans un prochain billet).

The idea of [starting a company]( and organising conferences like [Going Solo]( is the result of a conversation I had a bit over a month ago, just before Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin.

Even though it sounded like a wacky idea to me at first, organising events now really seems like the “right thing to do” today. I’ve been to more conferences during the last 18 months than I can remember, so I’m starting to get a good sense of the ingredients. I have a good network. I have a “generalist’s” view of the web/tech world. I’m also a detail-oriented person. It’s also time I became more active in my professional life (ie, “taking things into my own hands”), and I like the idea of building something over the long term (well, long term by my standards).

If you’re a reader of this blog, you know I’ve become a bit [conference-weary]( lately. I’m also known (to conference organisers, at least) for my sometimes nasty (but heart-felt!) feedback on their events. So, rather than continue complaining, I’m going to organise **conferences I’d like to attend**. I’m perfectly aware that given my track-record for finding fault with conference organisation, you’re all going to be waiting for me when I do mine. So be it ;-).

I believe it isn’t possible to please everybody: my intention isn’t therefore to organise the “perfect event”, as I know that it doesn’t exist. However, I’m strongly committed to getting **all** the basic stuff right, and to providing something slightly different from what already exists. More will unfold about that over the next weeks.

I’d like to state again that **I am continuing with my speaking and consulting business** (I actually even have plans for it in the near future, particularly in Lausanne). I know organising a conference is a lot of work (and luckily I’m not alone for that, I have two great partners and a bunch of very precious advisors), but that doesn’t mean I’m dropping everything else while I organise it.

*Going Solo* will be my first event, but I already have ideas for events to follow on other topics. The responses so far to my desire to organise an event for freelancers and very small businesses as been very encouraging, and has caused me to start thinking about what else I could set up for this audience/public (which I’m part of).

So, please, keep the feedback coming — I’m off to start writing my next post. (Feeling like a serial blogger just now.)

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Badges at Conferences [en]

Laurent Haug blogs about [conference badges]( and his desire to make [LIFT]( a badge-free conference.

Funny, I was also thinking of badges at LeWeb3. But actually, the main thing I was thinking was: when are conference organisers going to stop making one-sided badges dangling at the end of a thingy that is designed to let them rotate freely?

I personally like badges and would be quite unhappy without them, because I’m a *very* bad physionomist. I index “person data” by name. Dozens of times at conferences, people come up to me saying “hey, Steph, how’ve you been?” — sometimes their face looks familiar, others it doesn’t even ring a bell. Half the time, I’m saved by the badge. I catch a glimpse of their name, and all I know about them, our shared history if we have one, comes back to me. I index people by name.

So, take away the badges, and I have to use the awkward “excuse me, before we say anything more, would you mind telling me your name, because I’m so bad with faces?” — I do it (I’m not one of these people who can pretend very well), but I really prefer the badges. I’m one of these rude people who’ll turn your badge around to read your name — but the presence of the badge makes it easier, because it suggests that we’re going around reading people’s names.

Also, I know a lot of people online without knowing their faces, and badges do help with that.

There are things I do not like about badges, though. I’d like to highlight two of the “cons” Laurent points to, because I agree with him:

> – Chest navigators. People who walk through the conference starring at badges looking for keywords like “CEO”, “Facebook” or “Press”, usually for bad reasons. You end up losing your time with these 95% of the time.
> – Misconceptions from titles. This is especially painful for people working for big companies where you HAVE to have a lousy and arrogant title. From a really cool dude I met at Leweb working for Microsoft: “People see Microsoft on my badge, so their crap filter goes up one level. Then they see Marketing and they start to draw strategies to get away from me”. The guy is brilliant, open, helpful, all the opposite of the stereotype that his badge could push you into.

Laurent Haug, “Badges”

I would definitely go for the following:

– get rid of “castes” on badges
– get rid of formal company names or job titles: let people choose what they want written on their badge
– print them on both sides!
– look for creating solutions like headwear — or maybe stranglers?! — to get badges off people’s chests
– absolutely avoid pin-on or sticky badges (as a woman, I have to say I really don’t like putting them smack on my breasts, I’d rather have something hanging around my neck)

Some thoughts in the “Devil’s advocate” department, though:

– there are situations where it *is* useful to know what company the person you’re talking to works for, or what position they have
– badges printed on only one side are handy: write something on the back, stick business cards in, or the programme of the day
– no badges adds serendipity to networking, which is good.

Feel free to share your badge thoughts and experiences.

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Too Many People [en]

[fr] J'ai atteint un point où je n'ai plus envie de faire de nouvelles connaissances. Je n'arrive déjà pas à voir les gens qui me sont chers autant que je voudrais. En ligne, les relations "délicates" (asymétriques, par exemple) sont plus faciles à gérer qu'hors ligne. De plus, les outils de "réseautage en ligne" nous aident à rester en contact avec plus de personnes qu'il ne nous serait normalement possible. Quand tout ça passe hors ligne, cela frise l'overdose.

This is a post in which I expect to be misunderstood, judged, and which will probably upset some. But it’s something that needs to be spoken about, because I’m certain I’m not the only one going through this, and I think it’s strongly related to what changes the internet is bringing into our lives when it comes to relating to people.

I’ve argued many times that online relationships and behaviors in general reproduce what goes on offline, so it may seem that I’m contradicting myself somewhat. But I think it’s also clear for everybody in this space that technology does change the way we live with others. Right now I see that our world is changing — it’s a bit blurry ahead, and actually I’m quite scared to see more clearly — and in our lifetimes, chances are the nature of human relationships will be deeply impacted by the technologies we are using and developing.

If all this doesn’t make sense, don’t worry. I’m not sure I understand what I’m saying myself. These might just be the tired rantings of a burnt-out and frustrated node in the network.

“Being an online person”, as I call it, means two things:

– there are people out there who know you, sometimes quite well, but that you have never heard of
– the “presence” dimension of our social tools allow you to keep in touch with more people (and better) than you would be able to offline

With their consequences, when your “online social life” goes offline:

– micro-celebrity, micro-fame, fans
– more relationships to nurture than the limited space and time permits

Our online social network does not necessarily translate well offline.

Let’s have a look at a few aspects of our relationships with others that we are maybe not necessarily the most proud of:

– we like (or even love) some people more than others — or perhaps simply differently
– we find some people more interesting than others
– some people we are happy to spend long periods of time with, but infrequently — if we saw them every day they would drive us up the wall
– some people we are happy to see a little each day, but would not want to spend a whole afternoon with
– we sometimes want to spend time with one person (or some people) at the exclusion of others (others who can be people we care about, too)
– we keep in touch with some people or are nice to them because they are *useful* to us
– we like some people less than they like us (and vice-versa)
– some people are business contacts to us, but would like to be our personal friend (or even get into our pants)

I think that if you look honestly, you will recognize yourself here. These facts about our social life are uncomfortable to deal with, and awkward. We don’t like thinking about them, much less talking about them. And we very rarely deal with them directly in the relationships they apply to.

Offline, we deal with a lot of this social awkwardness by avoiding it. This is why I argue that contact tagging, if done to structure our personal social network, must remain [a private matter]( We don’t tell some people certain things. We don’t mention that we’re meeting with Judy after lunch. We act a bit more distant with Tom than with Peter, hoping he’ll “get the message”. We tell Susie we’re too busy to see her, but drop everything when Mike invites us on a date.

Online, it’s even easier. We don’t respond to IMs or e-mails. We read certain blogs but not others. We chat absent-mindedly with Joe who is telling us his life-story, while we have a heart-to-heart discussion with Jack. We mark our status as DND but still respond to our best friend. We receive Twitter notifications on our phone from a select few, and keep a distracted eye on others’ updates. We lie more easily.

So, online, we actually have more freedom of movement (mainly because our emotional reactions are not so readily readable on the moment) to deal with some of these “awkward relationships” than offline — particularly, I would say, what I’d call the asymmetrical ones. From a networking point of view, being online is a huge advantage: the technology allows you to “stay in touch” with people who are geographically estranged from you, with a greater number of people than you could actually manage offline (“[continuous partial friendship](”), and it also allows you to keep in your network people who would probably not be in your offline circle, because it helps you tone down relationship awkwardness.

Conferences have lost their magic for me. I know, I know, I’m coming to this 18 months after everybody I know (I mean, I know I’m not alone and this is a normal process — but I’m still interested in analysing it). The first conferences I went to were bloody exciting. I got to meet all these people who were just names in my online universe, or with whom I’d been chatting for months or years, or whose blog I’d been reading in awe for ages. I made a lot of friends. (Maybe they wouldn’t agree, but that’s what it was like for me.) I met many people that I found interesting, likeable, wonderful, even. Some of them who also seemed to appreciate me back (as far as I can tell).

Over the last six months, conferences have become more and more frustrating. I’m speaking only of the social/networking aspect here. A dozen if not twenty people I really like are in town, sometimes more. Getting to see them offline is a rare occasion for me, and I’d like to spend half a day with each of them. But there is no time for that. People are here, and gone. They also have their other friends to see, which might not be mine.

To some, maybe, I’m “just another fan” — that I can live with, even if nobody likes being “just another fan”. But does one have to make conversation and appreciate every reader of one’s blog? If you like somebody’s blog, does that automatically mean they’re going to like you? Find your presence or conversation interesting? The hard reality of celebrity and fandom, even micro, is that the answer is “no”. It doesn’t mean that as a fan, I’m not an interesting person in my own right. It doesn’t mean that if I got to spend enough time with the person I’m fan of, they wouldn’t appreciate my company and find it enriching. But the fact I’m a fan, or a reader, doesn’t earn me any rights.

And increasingly, I’ve noted over the four or five last conferences I attended that there seem to be more people who want to get to know me than people I want to get to know. Or people who are interested in me for business reasons, but of the type where they get something out of me, and I don’t get much out of them. Or people who have been reading my blog for ages and are happy to be able to talk to me, but I know nothing of them.

I’ve reached a point where **I don’t want any more people**. I can’t keep up with *my people*, to start with. I feel spread too thin. I want to deepen relationships, not collect superficial ones. *Contacts* are useful for business, and though I’ve said many a time that the line between business and personal is more and more blurred, *business contacts do not have to become personal friends*. I know there are lots of wonderful people out there I don’t know. Lots of wonderful people I’ve maybe brushed aside or pushed away when suffering from “people overload”, when all I want to do is climb into my cave and stay there.

But you know, there are way too many great, interesting, fascinating people in the world to give them all the attention they deserve. Even if the *world*, here, is just “Web2.0-land”. But there is also a limit to how many meaningful conversations one can have in a day, and to how many meaningful relationships one can fit in a life. Those limits are personal. They vary from person to person. Some have them low, some have them high. But when the limit is reached, it’s reached.

So at some point, I need to choose who I spend my time with. In a very selfish way, I choose to give priority to the people in my life that I care for, and who bring me something. I’m there for me first, others after. I consider that one can only truly give and bring value to others when it is not at one’s own expense. I think this is valid in the economy of social relationships too. Being spread too thin impairs my ability to care — and I don’t want that.

Choosing who I spend my time with online is rather easy. I can tell the umpteenth guy who wants to “be friends” with me on IM that I have enough friends, I’m not looking for more, don’t chat with people I don’t know, and really can’t chat with him now. If he insists, I can ask him to leave me alone, and tell him that if he doesn’t, I’m going to have to block him. I can keep him out.

Offline, in a conference, it’s way more difficult. Maybe we need to take inspiration from [Aram Bartholl]( and hang status messages around our necks, or chat windows (with curtains?) that we can close. I’m kidding, I honestly don’t think there is a real solution apart from being honest — in a socially acceptable and non-rejecting way (easier said than done).

I think we need more awareness of the complications offline to online transitions bring about. Maybe we’re going to have to start being explicit about these “social awkwardnesses” that I mentioned above — because changing the setting from online to offline makes it much more difficult to resolve them by ignoring them.

We’ve all been through the very unpleasant experience of being “stuck” in a conversation we don’t find interesting, but which is obviously fascinating for the other party. It happens even with our friends: I’m talking with Jill, and hear with my spare ear that Bill and Kate are talking about something much more interesting to me, but I can’t just dump Jill, can I? But what if Jill is somebody I’ve met 3 minutes ago — does that change anything? And of course, this dreadful thought: heck, could it be that I’m his/her Jill? Have I been the dreadful boring person one tries to shake off, without noticing?

These are human problems — they’re not technological. I feel I’m getting tired now and before I ramble too much (I feel I’m not very coherent anymore), I’ll don my flame-retardant suit (you never know) and hit publish. I’m looking forward to reading your reactions — whether you agree or disagree with me, of course.

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