Social, Plural of Personal (or When Personal Scales) [en]

[fr] Grâce à JP et sa série d'articles, je viens de me reconnecter avec ce qui fait la fondation de ma passion pour le web et les médias sociaux: qu'ils mettent les gens en contact direct, et dans le contexte de l'entreprise, humanisent celle-ci. A lire.

Today I am going to send you to read JP Rangaswami, after my latest spree of ranty pots. JP is writing a series of articles around the idea that social is the plural of personal. And he is so spot on.

I was so happy when I read JP’s first article, because it made me remember what attracted me to social media in the first place (at the time, “blogs” or “social software”) and helped me understand the growing dissatisfaction I have developed about the field over the past years.

What I find interesting about social media in a business setting is how it helps humanize the organisation/company. How it puts human beings back in touch with human beings. And how in the context of an authentic relationship, you need to care for things to work out.

I am so frustrated that French does not have a good word to translate “care”.

I had a revelation when I went to the very first Lift Conference, in 2006. Here are the posts I wrote during the conference (see how blogging has evolved since then — this was before Twitter and Facebook). My memory tells me that I owe this revelation mainly to the talks of Robert Scoble and Hugh MacLeod, and the conversations we had during the conversation. I remember that it was this pivotal moment which made me understand what use blogs (at the time) were in a business context, and therefore that there might be a way to earn money with what was fascinating me.

Update: link to lift06 videos.

Six+ years later, well, you know the story.

I’m trying to remember if I also met Euan Semple that year at Lift, or if it was somewhere else, or later. Do you remember, Euan? Anyway, a few weeks before reading JP’s post, I had ordered Euan’s book, “Organizations don’t tweet, people do”. I haven’t yet started reading it but I’m really looking forward to diving in. Same thing: it’s all about putting people, and personal, and relationships, and trust, and authenticity back in front of the scene.

Somewhere along my business life, with all my freelancer insecurities, the pressure to actually earn a living through my activities and interests, I seem to have lost touch with the core of my passion for the living web. Not to the point where I’ve sold out to some ad agency and started spewing out viral videos or whatnot. Not so much in my actions — more just that I forgot.

But I remember now.

Thanks, JP. Thanks, Euan. And thanks to all of you along the way who have not let go and are not letting go, and are working to make our organizations more human-friendly.

#back2blog challenge (7/10):

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Lift12, Development, Redevelopment: Farida Vis, Twitter Usage During the UK Riots [en]

[fr] Je suis à la conférence Lift12 à Genève ces prochains jours. Voici mes notes de sessions.

Live-blogging from Lift12 conference in Geneva. These are my notes and interpretations of Farida Vis’s talk — best effort, but might be imprecise or even wrong!

lift12 1100301.jpg

Genesis of the riots, numbers, history. Very large scale (22 out of 32 boroughs affected). Day 3, spread to other towns.

Why were people doing this? It spread like wildfire, people didn’t really understand why. Politicians: this is just people being criminal. Government: no need for an enquiry, nothing to see.

Snap analysis: social media blamed, BBM=Facebook=Twitter. BBM actually played a significant role, being a closed network and cheap technology.

Accusers were the usual suspects: Cameron discussed whether people should be banned from using social media. Louise Mensch, Conservative MP, saying social media might have to be “switched off” during riots or crisis. (Think: Egypt.)

People got arrested for posting messages on Facebook etc. Very swift and very harsh. Two young men posted a message on Facebook trying to organize a riot (unsuccessful). Only the police showed up, and they got 4 years.

Police actually defended social media, saying it was a valuable communication platform for them, particularly police.

General public very much in line with politicians. Biggest support for switching off came from people over 65.

Guardian set up a study called Reading the Riots. Farida’s project is part of this, looking at Twitter. Twitter donated 2.6 mio “riot tweets”.

  • role of rumors?
  • did incitement actually take place?
  • in which ways did different users come to prominence and use the platform?

Use of local hashtags. Riot Clean Up.

Rumors: there were some really outlandish ones. One rumor: animals released from the zoo. What kind of information were people distributing about that rumor?

First, people repeating the rumor (green dots). Red, refuting. Yellow, questioning.

First, green, then people start refuting, and explaining why not (e.g. tiger in photo is from Italy). But the green bubbles keep on growing. People have their own little networks on Twitter, they don’t see everything (e.g. new people log on, see the tweet, and repeat).

At some point people started using the project hashtag to claim starting rumors (oops).

Also found a lot of vitriol against the looters. Dark side.

@RiotCleanup number one mentioned account during the riots.

Most dominating cited group: mainstream media, followed by journalists. Then, riot accounts (including cleanup). Category 19: spoof accounts. Emergency services low overall.

In the spoof accounts, “The Dark Lord”, “Professor Snape”, “The Queen” — wtf are they doing in there? A lot of satire, commentary. A lot of crossover comments with News International, planking…

Conclusions? There are a lot of things we need to understand better. How rumors evolve, the rise of individuals, understand the context/local context, role of emergency services, downside of police on Twitter…?


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Lift12, Technology vs. People: Gordan Savicic, Digital 2.0 Suicide [en]

[fr] Je suis à la conférence Lift12 à Genève ces prochains jours. Voici mes notes de sessions.

Live-blogging from Lift12 conference in Geneva. These are my notes and interpretations of Gordan Savicic‘s talk — best effort, but might be imprecise or even wrong!

Are we the slaves of our online presences?

Facebook’s physical manifestation, serverfarm in Prineville. Uses energy, needs to be protected…

How many friends on Facebook? not all friends: business contacts, random people met in a bar… Project an avatar image of themselves.

When you try to shut down your Facebook account, you’re told your friends are going to miss you (as if you were actually going to lose their friendship) — then you have to fill in a questionnaire, explain why you’re leaving… Facebook has a response for every reason you give… Hard to deactivate!

Created an easy solution: the web 2.0 suicide machine. It actually cleanly cuts all connections, changes your password, etc etc — you’re sure you can’t go back.

“Unfriending”: word of the year in 2009!

In Rotterdam, they set up a web 2.0 suicide night. Including a memorial page. Facebook banned their servers. That led to catchy titles in the press, like “Facebook killed the suicide machine”. They got a cease and desist letter: aren’t allowed to scrape content or use somebody else’s credentials. Consulted a lawyer: actually, they never agreed to the ToS, it’s actually the user breaching the ToS…

Reclaim your data! Their example: a small group of people actually managed to create quite a big disturbance to reclaim theirs.

Make love, not spam!

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LIFT08: Bruce Sterling [en]

[fr] Notes prises lors de la conférence LIFT08.

*Note: live notes, probably incomplete, possibly misunderstood.*

What’s the punchiest thing one can say about the past year? That’s the way it was, now get out!

Europeans: historical sense.

LIFT08 017 Bruce Sterling

2008 is not going to be the total revolutionary year (no year is, we always thing it’s going to be, but it doesn’t happen).

Economic downturn. China under piles of dirty laundry. India surrounded by crazy mujahidins (spelling?).

Global warming is a slow, 200-year-old problem. Is it really exciting to watch Microsoft eat Yahoo?

Bruce would like to offer us a piece of futuristic insight, a nice prophecy.

Carla Bruni. Sarkozy who wants to civilize the Internet from a French perspective, by repressing P2P on French soil.

Carla isn’t here at LIFT. She has a whole lot of reasons to be here. She’s a [Black Swan]( But Black Swans can be beautiful — Carla is gorgeous! *steph-note: snip some comments about Black Swans, positive and negative.*

There isn’t a single journalist around who can’t write a Carla Bruni story.

Two driving purposes (Carla and Sarkozy): ambition and publicity. First Diva de France. She’s certainly never been a politician. *steph-note: follow scenarios of Nicolas and Carla etc.*

Carla is a pop star with the power of state behind her.

Predict the future: Carla and Nicolas don’t know the future any more than you do.

Empress of Europe: 35% (fantastic success is a much better story — Bruce is a journalist!)

The Internet is a Black Swan too.

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Come to LIFT'08 [en]

[fr] Si vous ne pensiez pas aller à LIFT dans deux semaines, j'aimerais vous encourager à vous inscrire pour nous y rejoindre.

J'avoue qu'une des raisons que j'entends souvent de la part de gens qui me disent ne pas y aller, c'est le prix. Un peu plus qu'un iPhone, et moins qu'un vol à destination de San Francisco (à plus forte raison, meilleur marché également que deux grandes conférences technologiques ayant récemment eu lieu en Europe: Web2.0Expo et LeWeb3).

LIFT est un événement extraordinaire. 3 journées dont une de workshops, la fondue, deux événements supplémentaires gratuits (venture night et sustainable dev), ainsi que la fête -- et vous repartirez proprement "liftés". LIFT est une conférence qui change la vie des gens. Elle est au carrefour des questions de société et de la technologie, d'une pertinence incontestable par rapport aux problématiques de notre temps.

J'explique dans cet article plus en détail pourquoi je vous encourage absolument à venir à LIFT (il est encore temps). C'est un investissement qui sera largement récompensé. Quel que soit le domaine dans lequel vous travaillez, prendre 3 jours sur l'année pour s'informer à la source sur les problématiques de notre société liées à la technologie n'est pas un luxe.

The [LIFT Conference]( is taking place in just two weeks from now in Geneva.

If you’re free on those dates and haven’t considered attending, I’d like to encourage you to [register]( and come and join us. It’s really worthwhile. And if [the price tag]( is making you hesitate, think again. Here’s what’s included in your registration fee for this three-day event:

– a full day of [workshops](
– [two days of conference]( (more about that below)
– nice buffet lunches (upgraded since last year!), [fondue]( evening, open bar [party](
– [venture night]( and [sustainable dev]( sessions
– [lots of WiFi](

So, here we are. 850 CHF (that’s $781.50, 530.80€ or £396.30 [as of today]( for three days. Even though it is a sizeable chunk of money for many people (I’m not talking about you lucky ones who get sent to great events like LIFT by their employers), it’s not that expensive, when you think of it (just a little perspective):

– an iPhone: 399€
– the MacBook Air: $1799
– LeWeb3 (Paris): over 1000€
– Web2.0Expo (Berlin): over 1000€
– a cheap flight to San Francisco: $800 (you spend only 2 days on the plane, and it’s way less fun)

Now, as that is out of the way, let’s get to the meat. Why is LIFT worth so much more than what you pay for it? I’d like to add my two cents to [what the organizers already say](

– **new speakers:** the LIFT team goes to great lengths to introduce speakers that you haven’t already heard at all the other conferences you go to. I’m told it’s becoming a habit for other conference organizers to do their “speaker shopping” at LIFT. (Insider scoop, from Laurent himself: Eric Favre, the inventor of Nespresso, is one of the latest confirmed additions to the speaker list.)
– **great talk quality:** heard of [TED Talks]( They gather the best speakers around the world, and last year, started including talks from partner conferences. [LIFT is one of the four events]( they chose to select talks from.
– **at the crossroads of Life and Technology:** this, I think, I the top reason I really love LIFT. It’s about technology, but it’s also about people, society, and the world we live in. It lacks the dryness of the all-tech conference. It’s visionary. It blows your mind and lifts you up. It changed my life, and I’m not the only one.
– **non-commercial:** though I’m not against profit ([Going Solo]( is, after all, a [commercial event]( “A little background.”)), the fact LIFT is a non-profit labour of love does reflect in the overall atmosphere and quality of the event. No pitches or sponsors on stage. It’s about ideas and about us. It’s friendly and welcoming and human.
– **more than the stage:** LIFT is about what happens during breaks, in corridors and doorways. Yes, the most value one gets out of an event is generally in networking. LIFT has however taken this awareness a step further, investing a lot in [LIFT+](, activities and exhibits that populate the “in-between” spaces.

I hope it’s obvious from what I’m describing: LIFT is truly an event beyond all others. It’s well-organized and touches topics which are over-important for understanding the world we live in: technology has taken an increasing place in our society (all societies, actually), and this is a chance for geeks and “humanists” both to take a few steps back and think about the “big picture”.

Still not 100% sure you want to [register](

If you’re used to the conference circuit: LIFT will be a welcome change from what you’re used to.
If you don’t usually go to conferences: if you go to one event this year, it should be LIFT. (Well, you should give Going Solo a go too, but it’s [a rather different kind of conference](

If you are attending, it’s still time to spread a bit of [link love]( for LIFT — have you done it yet?

I’m looking forward to seeing you there. I’m part of the [electronic media crowd](, though, so if you see me [live-blogging]( like mad, don’t be [offended]( if I’m [not very chatty](

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Daniela Cerqui — Cyborgs: what kind of human being are we building? [en]

Kevin Warwick: implant in arm (real surgery!), measure signal when opening closing hand, to see what the right signal for it is. => able to control a robotic hand with his brain (by moving his hand).

Question of feedback. Sensors => capacity to get feedback from the robotic hand.

Applications: blindfolded, used the hand to “feel” something at a distance.

Wife: electrode fired into nerve, no anesthesia, really painful! Brain-to-brain interface, two human systems linked to each other. When he moved his hand, a signal would appear on his wife’s system.

Controlling robotic hand in the UK (from the US) by sending signal through the internet. Implications? will we one day be considered “disabled” if we cannot control a robotic hand across the ocean? We get used to technology and our ethical boundaries shift. What does normal mean?

*(steph-note: lots of photos, very evocative)*

Commercial applications: 2004 nightclubs in Rotterdam and Barcelona use membership implants instead of cards (and Kevin had his first in 98 — just a few years before!)

Kevin’s point of view: if it is used now, then I was right to develop it.

Humans are flexible. Get used to almost anything. Can we redifine ourself without boundaries. When do we become “other than human”?

Kevin looks towards enhancements. Happy with the idea we might become other than human. Promoting cyborgs as a new species.

Often, people draw the line between medical and non-medical applications, but it’s usually impossible to draw the line between therapy and enhancement.

Kevin is not *such* an exception.

We are on the same path as Kevin, whether we like it or not (connecting brains to machines and brains to each other). In our society, being “normal” means being connected.

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More LIFT Notes: Sampo Karjalainen, Lee Bryant (and Stowe again) [en]

***As always, can contain inaccurate material.***

#### Sampo Karjalainen

Habbo: hang-out place. You get a character, you can configure it. *steph-note: looks like a very lo-res version of Second Life*

Sampo Karjalainen

There are games inside Habbo.

What makes people come back? People can create their own room/spaces. Can buy furniture (in-game credits), pets, kissing booths, armies, banks. *steph-note: this **really** looks like pixelised Second Life. Question: can you create stuff and objects as you can in Second Life? People seem to be having a ball in Habbo, in any case.*

Playful environment, though people might find it “uncool” to say they’re “playing” in there. A part of unexpected in what people did with Habbo.

Provide building/playing blocks. Intuitive interaction. Get people in the mood for play.

#### Lee Bryant: Collective Intelligence for the Enterprise

Brain Leak

*[Original photo by Violator3 on Flickr](*

Basic problem: wasting a lot of brain power in large organisations.

Our IT systems don’t understand how we work. People are great at pattern matching. We don’t go “yellow object, subset with large hairy objects, teeth => lion” — we just shout “Lion!”.

We need to feed our minds, not the machine. *steph-note: Lee has got **much** better at slides since BlogTalk 2004*

Many intelligent people inside organisations are surprisingly open to using social tools.

Lee Bryant

Usually, enterprise tools get worse the more people use them. Social tools get better the more people use them.

There is no such thing as a global collective intelligence. Collective intelligence exists only within a defined community.

Large large companies (>1k) have enough scale to make these things work, and do internal versions of these tools.

Bottom line for doing social stuff:

– potential cost savings if we work in a smarter way
– multiplier effect on productivity
– greater peripheral vision
– less duplication of effort
– closer, more responsive client relationships

Basic principles: reading, writing, filtering.

Over time, information starts to find you. If I miss something in my news reader, it’ll probably pop up again, because somebody else in my network is going to blog/link/ it.


– feeds everywhere
– feed library management
– filtering tools
– clipstream tools
– social search

Importance of engagement and context. There is no magic tool. Adapt the solution to the context and situation.

Engaging people with new ways of working is not easy.

There is *perception* of dangers, risks, security — and the “real” evalutation.

#### Stowe Boyd

This is a shorter version of the [workshop notes](, so I’ll send you there. Or read [Bruno’s notes], which, as always, are quite complete.

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