Reboot9 — Alexander Kjerulf: Happiness [en]

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

[Happiness (reboot talk page)](

To be human is to be happier. No species has such a capacity to be happy (and unhappy!) as humans.

Has been helping make people happier at work.

Chief Happiness Officer

The Chief Happiness Officer

What is happiness? Let’s [ask Google](

Happiness is the most important thing in life. 50% genetic (cf. twin studies). We have control over the other half. Pick something you really want. Ask “why?” a few times, and you’ll end up with “because that makes me happy”.

This proves we are here to be happy. Everything we want is because in some way, it will make us happy. Happiness is the most basic “why”.

Happy people:

– have more friends
– are healthier (better immune system)
– live longer
– suffer fewer depressions
– are more successful.

Happiness is really easy. Epicurus: all you need to be happy is easy to get. Friendship, contemplation…

Martin Seligman: Happiness can be learned. Founder of positive psychology.

Happiness is…

– not eternal (there will be bad days)
– your responsibility
– your choice (happiness does not depend on what happens to us… completely — it’s more about how we react to what happens to us, and what we choose to do about it)

Myths about happiness:

– happy people are selfish — not so, happy people care more about others
– happy people are complacent — nope, it feels good to do good
– happiness is the absence of problems — nope, happy people in the world are not those who have no problems; Epicurus “The wise man is still happy amidst his torments”.

What makes us happy?

1. Friends, family and marriage — Love, actually.
2. Meaningful, enjoyable work
3. Living a good life, according to values that make sense to you.

Biggest threats to happiness:

– TV
– consumerism

These are links, because TV drives a lot of the consumerism. Introduction of TV in Bhutan in the 90s. Life satisfaction fell, suicide and depression rates climbed, clothing changed to what teenagers wear in the US. The news is not good on TV.

Guess where we spend most of our time: in front of TV and in the jobs that give us the money to support the consumerism.

1. sleep
2. work
3. TV

And TV is starting to overtake work. *steph-note: don’t watch TV! throw it out! haven’t watched mine in 6 months, and much happier :-)*.

Scary thing: average British working parent spends 19 minutes per day with kids.

We tend to not know what makes us happy. “I’ll be happy when…” We are goalaholics. Book: Goal-Free Living. Start by being happy, instead of “being happy when”.

The dangers of seeking happiness: two major things can go wrong.

1. Emptiness

Nothing to strive for, suddenly life is all too easy. If I’m not happy there must be something wrong with me. One area of research has really been revolutionized by happiness: economics. They should run Britain based on making the British has happy as possible, rather than growth. In Bhutan: growth of national happiness. Denmark: happiest country on earth. There is a correlation between GNP and happiness, but… USA/Puerto Rico: same happiness, different GNP.

2. Subversiveness

Happy people are the greatest danger to some of the structures that are holding us back. If you’re really happy, you don’t give a sh*t. You don’t fall for scare politics. *steph-note: yes! yes!* You don’t fall for consumerism either (“you’ll be happier if you drive this SUV”). You don’t fall for the corporate crap either, or the self-help, the cults and the gurus, religion…

Simple things you can do to be happier:

– gratitude visit
– write down three good things about your day today
– throw out your TV

Less simple things:

– put happiness first in your life (career and consumerism second!)
– know yourself (what makes you happy/unhappy?)
– base your work on happiness


1. we’re here to be happy
2. happiness is easy
3. we tend not to know what makes us happy
4. happiness is subversive and that’s how we’re going to change the world.

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Reboot9 — Jeremy Keith: Soul [en]

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

Book: “Dragons of Eden” speculations about human intelligence. Knocking down theories one by one. We aren’t actually that unique.

Soul: huge topic, since days of old. Weighing the soul. (Weigh the person at time of death: 21 grammes. Probably water vapour, but still…)

Jeremy Keith: Soul

100 bio neurons in the human brain. But we can’t say what the number of links on the web is.

Definition of soul that Jeremy likes: “the story we tell ourselves”. Right hemisphere. Introverted consciousness: thinking about *who we are*. Maybe this is what makes us human.

Language doesn’t make us unique. Naming things in the world gives us a certain kind of power. Singing the world into existence. Naming the demon to control it.

JK’s blog: [Adactio]( — then, on Flickr,, => fragmentation (not a feeling JK likes *steph-note: I don’t like it either!*). Created to collect all these pieces of himself in one place (a bit geeky…)

Narrative. Telling the story of oneself to the world — and to oneself (introspection). Blogs posts, tweets, songs, photos, links… All these elements have timestamps. RSS. Lifestream! There is a blog about lifestreams *steph-note: URL, anybody?* Jaiku pretty good to pull all these things together.

But RSS and lifestreams are short-term. How do we get a long-term narrative? Check out [](

People discarding archives: shame! Denying your past in a way. *steph-note: I agree, hate that too. Who I am in the present is the result of my past.*

We are attached to physical objects (cars, computers, mobile phones…).

Gaming is an important part of narrative (playing…).

Social networks are all walled gardens. They give access to data, but not to the relationships. Necessary to recreate all my relationships when I sign up to a new social network.

*steph-note: related post of mine is [Please Make Holes in My Buckets!](*

How can we tackle this? the rel attribute, particularly when used to describe relationships to anchors. XFN microformat.

*steph-note: problem is that the relationships are public, seems to me. related post of mine is [Groups, Groupings and Taming My Buddy List](*

*steph-note: time for my talk is coming up, not very concentrated on the end of this one I’m afraid…*

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Reboot9 — Opening Talk [en]

[fr] Mes notes de la conférence Reboot9 à Copenhague.

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

Compare the heat coming out of your laptop and the inside of your head. Laptop is hotter, even though brain power is much much greater.

Opening Talk Reboot9

Low heat: greater efficiency, because all the operations in our head are accompanied by meaning and value. Emotions are more efficient than intelligence. *steph-note: read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell*

Experiential money: people will accept to lose money to ensure fairness *steph-note: cf. Stowe’s bank system for splitting dinner costs.* The computer doesn’t understand fairness.

The gift economy is personal, whereas markets are anonymous *steph-note: Cluetrain says they are somewhat personal, though…* Gift economy has organised the scientific community. Very good at exchanging information, whereas the money/market economy is better at exchanging things. The gift economy is entirely based on relationships (relationships/emotions).

Roszak: Person/Planet — 1979 (if the planet is in crisis, the people are in crisis too). Cost-benefit vs. common sense in dealing with climate issues.

Being human means cherishing some of the irrational/intuitive/emotional stuff which machines are not capable of. Also, humans are not things. “We are like flows of water and fire.” 1.5 tons of matter goes through us every year. 98% of the atoms in our body are replaced every year. “How can the potatos I had for dinner remember my childhood?”

We are like digital media, and yet we build a world of things. *steph-note: I don’t get this “we’re like digital media” thing.* We’re misfits, we don’t look like our civilisation.

If we want to get sex, we need to save the world. A guide to saving the world and getting laid.

Civilisation 2.0 — expansion of the idea of Web 2.0. We are now at a changing point in the development of human society. Moving towards solar energy, new&old social order (P2P, bottom-up, no HQ), become nomads again.

We need to go with the flow instead of trying to stop it.

Civilisation 1.0: depots, headquarters, solid objects and things.

Civilisation 2.0: P2P, flow, links (something that started last year, 2006, when we understood the climate crisis and the importance of the internet)

Civilisation 0.5: 1.000.000 years ago (fire)

Let’s use the tools of Web 2.0 to facilitate the creation of Civilisation 2.0

This is The Link Age.

Human? Links, relations and emotions are central.

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Blogging 4 Business Afternoon Keynote: Michael Steckler [en]

Gossip: casual talking, especially about other people’s affairs.

SN are a large and highly engaged audience, so there is a great advertising and branding opportunity there. Rules?

Blogging 4 Business

75% use SN to keep in touch with family and friends.
62% for being nosey
55% express my opinions
49% meet people with similar interests

*steph-note: totally tuned out I’m afraid. I think the initial idea of viewing social networks as advertising space put me off, to the point I’m not even sure if he’s saying if it’s a good or a bad thing. Today I just feel like telling people to [ride on the Cluetrain](*

Personal spaces set up by a brand.

How do you get into that personal area?

– understand consumers’ motivations for using social networks
– express yourself as a brand *steph-note: I’m wondering if people shouldn’t just forget about brands a bit — not that they’re totally useless, but branding for branding gets tiring*
– create and maintain good conversations
– empower participants

Participation ecosystem. Recommendations based on personalities.

*steph-note: did a really shitty job of taking notes. I’m getting worse and worse today.*

Early adopters, onine mavens, online connectors (really important!), followers.

How to? create your own community, find influential bloggers, segment existing customers, attack the niche, start the gossip, reward customers… *steph-note: this is exactly the war-marketing vocabulary/mentality [the Cluetrain speaks against](… Eek.*

Summary: SN = large and engaged audience => huge opportunity for branded content and advertising, but there are strict guidelines to how to approach this.

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Blogging 4 Business: part 2 [en]

**Next panel: Heather Hopkins, Kris Hoet, Scott Thomson, Simon McDermott, moderated by Mike Butcher**

*steph-note: again, partial notes, sorry*

Blogging 4 Business

Simon McDermott: [Attentio]( monitoring all this social media stuff. Analyse the buzz. Identify what influencers are saying about your product. What are the popular bloggers saying? Reputation monitoring. What issues are being raised?

How to interact with this media?

– monitor and analyse brands
– identify influencers
– communicate with key influentials

Case study: Consumer Electronics Player — monitor buzz around gadget with lower momentum than other recent success story. Better understand online consumer opinion and identify key forums and bloggers. Delivered a dashboard with relative visibility and trend information, etc.

Mike’s question to Heather: what would [Hitwise]( do differently?

Heather: blogs are a rather small category. Two examples: one (Sony Playstation virus or something) story which spread like wildfire amongst the blogosphere (hardly anybody has heard about it in the audience here) and the Coke-menthos video (many more people). Use Technorati,

Kris: Microsoft go to blogger events, try to keep conversations going — for that, they need tracking (what are people saying about Hotmail?) Also use Technorati and, comment tracking *(steph-note: with [coComment]( maybe?)* Best way of tracking is to read all these blogs, of course, but it’s a lot of work.

Moderator (Mike): comments very influential!

Kris: Comments can influence what the blogger writes, so it’s important to engage there. You don’t need a blog to engage with bloggers. Leave a comment. Everybody is a customer.

… *steph-note: sorry, tuning out*

Woman from public: blogged about her Dell nightmare (computer broken after guarantee), and was tracked down two months later by Dell, comment with apologies for the delay in tracking her, got somebody from the UK office to call her, pick up the laptop, repair it free of charge, and then ask her to get back in touch if there were any problems.

Simon: if Dell had been monitoring 18 months earlier, they would probably have saved themselves some trouble — they grew very fast and customer service didn’t follow.

Question: tracking in different languages. Short of one person for tracking each language in each country, what can we do?

Simon: solution is identifying top 5 bloggers in the area we want *steph-note: not sure I agree with that*

Kris: if you’re in contact with bloggers, ask them if they know anybody else who might be interested in joining the conversation too. They know each other.

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Blogging 4 Business Conference [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence Blogging4Business à laquelle j'assiste en ce moment à Londres.

So, unless some miracle happens, I’ll be blogging this day offline and posting it tonight when I get back at Suw’s. There seems to be no wifi provided for conference attendees unless you are willing to shell out £25 for a daily pass. (Actually, it seems there were a certain number of passes available.)

I would honestly have expected an event titled “**Blogging** 4 Business” to be “blog-aware” enough to realise that providing free wifi to connected people will encourage blogging of the event. Granted, most of the people I see in the room are taking paper notes (not that there is anything wrong with that) — this doesn’t seem to be an audience of bloggers. But wouldn’t it be an intelligent move to encourage the blogging public to “do their thing” at such an event?

I missed most of the first keynote and panel, spending time in the lobby chatting with Lee and Livio of [Headshift]( (my kind hosts today), and [Adam](

**Panel 1** incomplete and possibly inaccurate notes (they’re more snippets than a real account of what was said, partly because I don’t understand everything — audio and accents)

How do you respond to crisis online? (cf. Kryptonite)

Ged Carroll: In the 90s, faulty lock was broadcast on consumer TV. Mistake: didn’t tell the blogs that they were monitoring what was being said in that space, and that they were working on a solution (they *were* in fact acknowledging the problem, but hadn’t communicated that state of things to the public).

Moderator (Paul Munford?): how do you prevent something like that from being so predominently visible (search etc.)?

Darren Strange: owns his name. Same if you type “Microsoft Office”, his blog comes up pretty quickly too. Blogs attract links, good for search engine ranking.

Question: brands need ambassadors, OK, but where’s the ongoing material to blog about Budweiser?

Tamara Littleton: brand involvement in the site keeps things alive and happening. Reward ambassadors with merchandise.

*steph-note: on my way to London, I was reading the Cluetrain Manifesto (yeah, I’m a bit late on that train) and was particularly inspired by the part about how most of traditional marketing is trying to get people to hear a “message” for which there is actually no “audience” (nobody really wants to hear it), and so ends up coming up with ways to shove it into people’s faces and make them listen. This idea is kind of trotting in the back of my mind these days, and it’s colouring what I’m getting out of this event too.*

Question: transparency is a big thing… “creating ambassadors” (*steph-note: one “creates” ambassadors?!)… where is the space for disclosure?

Tamara Littleton: it’s about creating an environment, not saying “if you do this you’ll get that reward”. Rewards could be access to information about the product. Invite people to take part in something.

Ged Carroll: two types of rewards: merchandise etc, and also reputation-ego. Doesn’t have to be tangible.

Darren Strange: trying to have non-techie people try new releases of Vista, etc. Installed everything on a laptop, shipped it to the people’s house, and gave it to them. “Take the laptop, use it, blog if you want to, write good or bad things, or send it back to us, or give it to charity, or keep it, we don’t really care.” Huge debate about this. Professional journalists will be used to this kind of “approach”, but bloggers are kind of amateurs at this, they don’t know how to react. Disclosure: just state when you received something. *steph-note: and if you’re uncomfortable, say it too!*

**Panel: Lee Bryant, Adam Tinworth, David ??, Olivier Creiche**

*steph-note: got wifi, will publish*

Blogging 4 Business

Lee presenting first. Headshift have quite a bunch of nice products in the social software department. “It aint what you do it’s the way that you do it, and that’s what gets results.” (Bananarama)

Concrete business use cases.

Olivier talking now. “To blog or not to blog?” Simple answer: blog. Serious Eats. Citrix: a lot of knowledge disappeared when people left the company — a lot of knowledge out there that is only waiting to be gathered out of people’s e-mail boxes. Used Movable Type for that.

Another case study: AEP, also wanted to prevent e-mails from being the central repository of company knowledge (e-mails are not shared spaces!) Start small, experimental. Need to find the right people to start with. Another one: Arcelor/Mittal merger. Decided to communicate publicly about the lot of stuff. Video channel. Wanted to be very open about what they were doing and how, and answer questions. Good results, good press coverage.

David: allowing lawyers to share their knowledge and expertise, not just in their offices. Blogs, RSS, wikis allows time-critical sharing of information. *steph-note: like I’ll be publishing this as soon as the panel is over…* Catch things on the fly and make them available over a very short period of time.

Adam: starting to roll out business blogs just to allow communication. Bringing about profound change. *steph-note: very bad account of what Adam said, sorry — audio issues.* Other problems: educational issues. Best to not force people to use this or that tool, but open up. Share. Get people inside the teams to show their collegues what they’re using.

Question (moderator): a lot of evangelising going on in terms of blogs. Do blogs/wikis etc deliver on the promise of breaking down barriers, etc, when it comes to internal communication.

Lee: not a simple black/white situation. It comes down to people. Big problem: people bear a high cost to interact with communication systems and get no feedback. But with social tools (lightweight), we get immediate feedback. Integration with existing corporate systems.

Question: is social media the end of communications as we know it.

Lee: every generation of technology sees itself as a ground-breaker. But they’re all layered on top of each other. We have technology that delivers on the initial promise of the web (equal publication, sharing, etc) *(steph-note: yay! I keep saying that!)*

*steph-note: more northern English please ;-)*

David: now, using the web to create communities of practice, getting lawyers to communicate with people unthought of before.

Question: how do you deal with outdated material.

Lee: with mature social software implementations, any piece of information gathers its own context. So what is relevant to this time tends to come to the surface, so out-dated material sinks down. More about information surfacing when it’s time than getting out-dated stuff out of the way.

David: social tools make it very easy to keep your content up-to-date (which was a big problem with static sites).

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BlogCamp: Multilingual Blogging Session [en]

[fr] Mise par écrit des notes de préparation pour ma présentation hier au sujet des blogs multilingues, lors du BlogCamp à Zürich. En deux mots: il faut des gens pour faire le pont entre les îles linguistiques sur internet, et la façon dont sont conçus nos outils n'encourage pas les gens à être multingues sur leurs blogs. C'est pourtant à mon avis la formule la plus viable pour avoir de bons ponts.

I presented a session about multilingual blogging at [BlogCamp]( yesterday in Zürich. Thanks to all of you who attended (particularly as I was [competing]( with [Xing’s Nicolas Berg](!) and wrote about the session ([Bruno]( of course, [Sarah](, [Sandra](, [Maira](, [Jens-Rainer](, [Waltraut](, [Jokerine](, [Antoine](*…let me know if I need to add you here*), and to [Greg]( in particular for [filming the session](

Although I’m rather used to [giving talks](, this was the first time my audience was a bloggy-geek crowd, so it was particularly exciting for me. I prepared my talk on the train between Lausanne and Bern, and unfortunately prepared way too many notes (I’m used to talking with next to no notes), so I got a bit confused at times during my presentation — and, of course, left stuff out. Here’s a rough transcript of [what I prepared]( Oh, and don’t forget to look at this [photo of my cat Bagha]( from time to time to get the whole “experience”.

Steph giving her talk.
Photo by Henning

**Talk notes**

In the beginning there was the Big Bang. Space, time and matter came to exist. (Physicists in the audience, please forgive me for this.) We know it might end with a Big Crunch. Internet looks a bit like this Big Crunch, because it gets rid of space. With the right link to click on, the right URI, anybody can be anywhere at any time.

However, we often perceive the internet as a kind of “space”, or at least as having some sort of organisation or structure that we tend to translate into spatial terms or sensations. One way in which the internet is organised (and if you’re a good 2.0 person you’re acutely aware of this) is **communities**.

Communities are like gravity wells: people tend to stay “in” them. It very easy to be completely oblivious to what is going on in other communities. Barrier to entry: culture. Language is part of a culture, and even worse, it’s the vehicle for communication.

What is going on in the other languageospheres? I know almost nothing of what’s going on in the German-speaking blogosphere. The borders on the internet are linguistic. How do we travel? There is no digital equivalent of walking around town in a foreign country without understanding a word people say. **Note: cultural divides are a general problem — I’m trying to focus here on one of the components of the cultural divide: language.**

Who speaks more than one language? In the audience, (almost) everyone. This is doubly not surprising:

– Switzerland is a multilingual country
– this is the “online” crowd (cosmopolitan, highly educated, English-speaking — though English is not a national language here)

Two episodes that made me aware of how strong language barriers can be online, and how important it is to encourage people to bridge the language barriers:

– [launching]( []( because at the time of the [browser upgrade initiative]( I [realised]( “Look at all those English language links I pointed my poor French readers to.”) that many French-speaking people didn’t have access to all the material that was available in Anglophonia, because they just didn’t understand English well enough;
– the very different feelings bloggers had about [Loïc Le Meur]( when he first started being active in the blogosphere, depending on if they were French- or English-speaking, particularly around the time of the [Ublog story](

A few questions I asked the audience (mini-survey):

– who reads blogs in more than one language? (nearly everyone)
– who blogs in more than one language?
– who has different blogs for different languages?
– who has one blog with translated content in both languages? (two courageous people)
– who has one blog with posts in various languages, mixed? (half a dozen people if my memory serves me right)
– who feels they act as a bridge between languages?

So, let’s have a look at a few multilingual blogging issues (from the perspective of a biased bilingual person). Despite the large number of people out there who are comfortable writing in more than one language (and the even larger number who are more or less comfortable reading in more than one language), and the importance of bridging cultural/linguistic gaps, blogging tools still assume you are going to be blogging in **one language** (even though it is now accepted that this language may not be English).

What strategies are there for using more than one language on a blog, or being a good bridge? Concentrate first on strategy and then worry about technical issues. Usage is our best hope to make tool development evolve, here.

*A. Two (or more) separate blogs*

– not truly “multilingual blogging”, it’s “monolingual blogging” twice
– caters well to monolingual audiences
– not so hot for multilingual audiences: must follow multiple blogs, with unpredictable duplication of content

*B. Total translation*

– a lot of work! goes against the “low activation energy for publiction” thing that makes blogging work (=> less blogging)
– good for multilingual and monolingual audiences
– technical issues with non-monolingual page (a web page is assumed to be in a single language…)

*C. Machine translation!*

– getting rid of the “effort” that makes B. fail as a large-scale solution, but retaining the benefiits!
– problem: machine translation sucks
– too imprecise, we don’t want *more* misunderstanding

*D. A single blog, more than one language (my solution)*

– easy for the blogger, who just chooses the language to blog in depending on mood, bridge requirements, etc.
– good for the right multilingual audience
– technical issues with non-monolingual pages
– how do you take care of monolingual audiences? provide a summary in the non-post language

“Monolingual” audiences are often not 100% monolingual. If the number of people who are perfectly comfortable writing in more than one language is indeed rather small, many people have some “understanding” skills in languages other than their mother tongue. Important to reach out to these skills.

For example, I’ve studied German at school, but I’m not comfortable enough with it to read German-language blogs. However, if I know that a particular post is going to be really interesting to me, I might go through the trouble of reading it, maybe with the help of some machine translation, or by asking a German-speaking friend.

A summary of the post in the language it is not written in can help the reader decide if it’s worth the trouble. Writing in a simple language will help non-native speakers understand. Making sure the number of typos and grammar mistakes are minimal will help machine translation be helpful. And machine translation, though it is often comical, can help one get the gist of what the post is about.

Even if the reader is totally helpless with the language at hand, the summary will help him know what he’s missing. Less frustrating. And if it’s too frustrating, then might give motivation to hunt down a native speaker or do what’s required to understand what the post is about.

Other bridging ideas:

– translation networks (translate a post or two a month from other bloggers in the network, into your native language)
– translation portal (“news of the world” with editorial and translation work done) — check out [Blogamundo](

Problem I see: bloggers aren’t translators. Bloggers like writing about their own ideas, they’re creative people. Translating is boring — and a difficult task.

Some more techy thoughts:

– use the lang= attribute, particularly when mixing languages on a web page (and maybe someday tools will start parsing that)
– CSS selectors to make different languages look different (FR=pink, EN=blue for example)
– language needs to be a post (or even post element) attribute in blogging tools
– WordPress plugins: language picker [Polyglot]( and [Basic Bilingual](
– excerpt in another language: what status in RSS/atom? Part of the post content or not? Can RSS/atom deal with more than one language in a feed, or do they assume “monolingualism”?
– [indicating the language of the destination page a link points to](

**Extra reading**

The nice thing about having a blog is that you can dive back into time and watch your thinking evolve or take place. Here is a collection of posts which gravitate around language issues (in a “multilingual” sense). The [Languages/Linguistics category]( is a bit wider than that, however.

Blogging in more than one language:

– [Writing]( — translation is just too much work; bilingual desires, but daunted by the workload
– [Bilingual?]( — the day (four months after its birth) this weblog became officially bilingual
– [Multilingue!]( — how to indicate the language of a link target using CSS
– [Life and Trials of a Multilingual Weblog]( — written after some discussions on the topic at [BlogTalk 2.0](
– [Basic Bilingual Plugin]( for WordPress
– [Thinking About Tags]( (and languages)
– [Requirements for a Multilingual WordPress Plugin](
– [Multilingual Proposals (Reboot, BlogCamp)](

About the importance of language, etc.:

– [Multilingual Dragon](
– [SwissBlogs Needs Your Help]( — [SwissBlogs](, oldest Swiss blog directory (and multilingual already), call for help. *(I mentioned during my session that I would not comment on any ideas about Switzerland needing a “national blog directory” of any type… part of the story here if you want to dig.)*
– [SpiroLattic Resurrection]( — some background on a short-lived multilingual wiki experiment
– [Vous parlez de blogosphère suisse?]( — a tag proposal to try and give the fragmented “Swiss blogosphere” some cohesion
– [About the Swiss Blog Awards (SBAW)](
– [English Only: Barrier to Adoption](
– [Not All Switzerland Speaks German, Dammit!](

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BlogCamp: Bruno Giussani — Bondy Blog Story [en]

[fr] Bruno Giussani nous raconte l'histoire du Bondy Blog. Naissance d'un média qui est devenu national, mais de la perspective des banlieues.

*notes from presentation. may be inaccurate.*

[Bruno Giussani]( special projects for [l’Hebdo]( => involved in [Bondy Blog]( thing.

Bruno Giussani speaking about Bondy Blog

**The Story**

Riots for 3 weeks. 9000 cars burned. 2921 people arrested. Outskirts (suburbs).

Special reporters flocking there from everywhere, and then disappeared (as soon as the curve of violence started going down).

Suburbs: journalists stay in a nice hotel in Paris, eat there, go out reporting during the day, then back to nice hotel. Don’t actually *stay* there.

L’Hebdo did things differently: chose Bondy, one town in France, to do old-fashioned reporting. They sent their 20 reporters there (weekly rotations). Set up an office in the local football warehouse thing, slept there, with a DSL connection.


– write about the situation in that city for the magazine
– blog between magazine issues

What happened?

– journalists used to a weekly rythm started reporting on stuff on the blog they would never have talked about. “Smaller things” which are part of Real Life and never ends up in the press. Or big things (“Les filles de Bondy parlent”) which fired national controversy.
– journalists would come back completely enthusiastic (journalistic freedom recovered) when they left because they “had to”

Everybody wrote about this story. Old media. Curious about what is going on in the blogosphere but don’t know how to handle it. And suddenly this small magazine does something and everybody wants to copy/learn/understand. (Here, being “Swiss” had an advantage.)

Once the newsroom ran out of journalists, what to do? Successful blog, tons of comments… can’t let it die. Instead of sending people again, reached out to young people in Bondy to see if they would take over.

Brought them all to Lausanne for a week of blog/journalism training, then were given the password to the blog and were sent back. Midway between classical blogging and journalism. Have a weekly meeting, etc.

About a dozen bloggers now, covering their life. For the first time, this 50’000 person town has a local publication. Telling their story in their own voice.

Started doing reverse reporting (sending their people to rich neighbourhoods in Paris, for example).

Financed by turning part of the content of the first year of blogging into a book.

Important consequence: the banlieue had a voice at the beginning of the presidential compaign! Dec. 15, Bondy Blog guy asks Sarkozy for his phone number at a press conference, and actually gets it!

Sponsored by Yahoo France now. Have been building a network of correspondants in 15 different banlieues in France. A national media from the banlieue perspective!

Journalism in the P2P world is not about antagonism (old vs. new, professionals vs. amateurs, paying vs. free, controlled vs. open) but it’s hybrid, being complementary.


Roughly 6000 visitors a day when they switched to Yahoo.

Background: where did the idea come from? came up during a news meeting, but the year before they had a kind of blogcamp for the newsroom.

New projects in this direction? L’Hebdo launched [8 blogs]( since then. Has influenced how the journal thinks.

Bruno is a little more radical about how magazines should do things *(steph-note: hope I understood this right)*: shouldn’t have a traditional website (but journalists should blog, of course, and put the magazine content online for free), but should invest heavily in this kind of operation, **including training**. (Throwing blogs at people doesn’t work, we’re starting to know it.) Big problem in the newsroom: publication brand vs. personal (journalist) brand.

Bondy blog (network) become a sort of training ground for banlieue people to become recognised as contributors, and Bruno guesses that probably some of them will be hired by “old media” once the elections are over.

Bruno: l’Hebdo never planned for all that. It just happened, organically.

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Technological Overload or Internet Addiction? [en]

[fr] Les vidéos du fameux débat sur la surcharge technologique à LIFT'07 est en ligne. Du coup, l'occasion de rappeler mes deux billets sur le sujet, et de rajouter quelques pensées suite à ma participation à la table ronde sur les cyberaddictions à Genève, entre autres sur la confusion entre dépendance et addiction parmi le grand public, et le fait qu'on perçoit souvent l'objet de l'addiction comme étant le problème (et donc à supprimer) et non le comportement addictif. Mes notes sont à disposition mais elles sont très rudimentaires.

For those of you who enjoyed my [Technological Overload Panel]( and [Addicted to Technology]( posts, the ( is now online.

Since I wrote them, I participated in a panel discussion about cyberaddictions (that’s what they’re called in French) in Geneva. It was very interesting, and I learnt a few things. The most important one is the difference between “addiction” and “dépendance” in French. “Dépendance” is physical. The cure to it is quitting whatever substance we are dependant to. Addiction, however, lies in the realm of our relationship to something. It has to do with *how we use a substance/tool*, what role it plays in our life and overall psychological balance. And it also has a component of **automation** to it. You don’t *think* before lighting up a cigarette, or compulsively checking your e-mail.

I think there is a lot of confusion between these two aspects amongst the general public, which leads to misconceptions like the [“cure” to alcoholism being complete abstinence]( Sure, abstinence solves the substance abuse problem and is better for one’s health, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the *addiction* problem.

Addictions which are linked to otherwise useful tools are forcing us to look deeper (and that is actually what I’m trying to say in the [Addicted to Technology post]( The problem is not the substance (ie, alcohol, or even the drug, or in this case, technology). The problem is in the way a person might use it. Hence I maintain that the solution lies not in the **removal of the tool/technology**, as the panel moderator suggests twice (first, by asking us to turn off our laptops, and second, by asking “how to unplug”), but in a careful and personalised evaluation of what one uses technology for (or what one uses technology to avoid).

I had a talk after the panel with one of the people there, who told me of some rough numbers he got from a consultation in Paris which is rather cutting-edge when it comes to dealing with “internet addiction” amongst teenagers. I think that out of 250 referrals (or something), the breakdown was about the following: one third were parents freaking out with no objective reason to. Another third were parents freaking out with good reason, for the signs that brought them there were actually the first indicators of their child’s entry in schizophrenia. I can’t remember the exact details for the last third, but if I recall correctly the bottom line was that they had something like a dozen solid cases of “cyber addictions” in the end. (Please don’t quote me on these numbers because the details might be wrong — and if you *have* precise numbers, I’d be happy to have them.)

This confirms my impression that people are [a bit quick in shouting “internet addiction”]( “5-10% sounds like way too much.”) when faced with heavy users (just like people are a bit quick to shout “pedophiles!” and “sexual sollicitation!” whenever [teenagers and the internet]( are involved). I personally don’t think that the amount of time spent using technology is a good indicator.

I took [some very rough notes]( during the panel I participated in (half-French, half-English, half-secret-code) but you can have a peek if you wish.

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Technological Overload Panel [en]

Technological overload (oh, I hadn’t realised this was a panel!) — again, [Bruno has some nicely-written notes]( to share.

Fun crackberry video from YouTube.

The moderator loves his crackberry, but he’s an addict.

The panelists don’t blog! What a shame! Not much IM either… *(that was a steph-note)*

*steph-note: We’re asked to close laptops for Nada Kakabadse’s presentation. Reminds me of “Le Test du Moi” where they wanted to take my laptop away for a week — not realistic given my line of work. In my case, I’m using the computer to take notes because my handwritten notes are illegible because of my RSI. => no notes on the first part of the presentation, but I took photographs of the slides.*

Internet Addiction Slides 1

Internet Addiction Slides 2

Internet Addiction Slides 3

Internet Addiction Slides 3

Internet Addiction Slides 5

Panelists seem to agree that one can’t assume people are “addicted” because they resist closing their laptops in a given situation (I resisted, saying I was using it to take notes, but was asked to close it).

Stefana has seen the private come into the workplace much more than the opposite, carried by technology (e-mail, IM, etc). Keeping our social network alive at work too.

Trick question: how many of you use e-mail for personal use during work? Trick, because the line between personal and private is not clear. *steph-note: agreed — I didn’t raise my hand. In my situation, it’s worse, because my “private life” and “work” have merged to a great extent.*


Information overload, burn-out, addiction: are we mixing things up here?

Sharing: burn-outs? addiction? “My name is … and I’m an internet addict.” *steph-note: is this turning into an AA session?*

Robert Scoble: too many feeds, too many e-mails. Solution? Maybe addiction, but also allows him to do his work, and happy about that. *steph-note: if I got that correctly, Robert…*

Risk in curing addiction: reduction of productivity. (Stefana)

“poorer” channels actually have something that allows more than “richer” channels like VoIP (people have Skype, but continue to chat hours a day). (Stefana)

Bruno Giussani: where exactly is the addiction? not to the Blackberry.

Stefana: average number of contacts for non-social-networking person is around 20. The digital channels actually *allow* people to maintain this high number of contacts. *steph-note: wow, technology actually allows us to handle more relationships…*

Quality of online/offline relationships? Stefana: there is anyway a multiplicity of qualities of relationships.

Question: can we really multitask? (cf. continuous partial attention, etc *steph-note: done to death imho*)

Stefana: with routine, things that seem to require attention actually have become only monitoring.

*steph-note: wow, all this talk about addiction. Looking forward to my talk at the Centre for Addictions in Geneva very soon.*

Stefana: real issue = what is the acceptable response time for an e-mail (20 minutes, half a day, a day, a week?) The pressure comes from what **we** consider an acceptable response time. For IM? *steph-note: you can **not** respond, cf. Stowe*

Wrap-up: how do you unplug?

Stefana: what is the cost of unplugging? it can be compared to “stop talking to everyone!” *steph-note: totally agree*

Fred Mast: no need to switch off, we can be addicted and happy *steph-note: don’t agree, “addicted” contains unhappy — if you’re not unhappy, you’re not addicted*

Nada Kakabadse: upto each and every one.

*steph-note: “quality-time” **can** also happen online, folks. This session is getting me slightly worked up.*

Stefana: keep in mind the overload issue is touching a tiny amount of people, most people would be thrilled to have 7 instead of 5 e-mails a day!

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