Daily Mail Shocked by Teen Cleavage [en]

[fr] Encore une panique au sujet des photos d'ados sur les réseaux sociaux. Gardez la tête froide. Vais bloguer si j'ai le temps ces prochains jours.

[Kevin Marks](http://epeus.blogspot.com) [tweets](http://twitter.com/kevinmarks/statuses/781473328):

> Daily Mail is shocked, shocked to find teenage cleavage on Bebo; reprints it in the paper, beside *their* bikini stories

The article in question, available online, is [Millions of girls using Facebook, Bebo and Myspace ‘at risk’ from paedophiles and bullies](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=553348&in_page_id=1770&ct=5).

No time to read it in full now, or blog about it as I should, but a couple of reminders:

– Keep your head cool and [check out the facts](http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2007/05/11/just_the_facts.html)
– Don’t fall for the [online predator paranoia](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/25/myspace-banning-sex-offenders-online-predator-paranoia/)
– Here’s a link to the [source report](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_04_08_ofcom.pdf) — do your homework before reblogging the Daily Mail
– Link to [other news sources on the topic](http://news.google.co.uk/?ncl=1147768326&hl=en&topic=t) to explore
– [Some advice to parents](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/25/parents-teenagers-internet-predators-fear/)

And if you were wondering, yes, I [give talks on the subject](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/speaking/) in schools (in French or English). List of [past talks](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/speaking/past/). [More information on that in French](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/ecoles/).

I was interviewed a bit less than a year ago by the BBC around fear parents were feeling about Facebook:

If I have time, I’ll try to blog about this tomorrow, but the stack of *things to do right now* is quite high, and I’m not sure I’ll get around to doing it before this is cold.

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Please Don't Be Rude, coComment. I Loved You. [en]

[fr] J'étais une inconditionnelle de la première heure de coComment. Je les ai même eus comme clients. Aujourd'hui j'ai le coeur lourd, car après le désastre de la version 2.0 "beta", le redesign du site qui le laisse plus confus qu'avant, les fils RSS qui timent out, le blog sans âme et les pubs qui clignotent, je me retrouve avec de grosses bannières autopromotionnelles dans mon tumblelog, dans lequel j'ai intégré le flux RSS de mes commentaires.

Just a little earlier this evening, my heart sank. It sank because of this:

Steph's Tumblr - rude cocomment

That is a screenshot of [my Tumblr](http://steph.tumblr.com). And what [coComment](http://cocomment.com) is doing here — basically, inserting a huge self-promotional banner in their RSS feed — is really rude.

I’m really sad, because I used to love coComment. I was involved (not much, but still) [early on](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/02/04/cocomment-enfin-public/) and was a first-hour fan. They [were even my client for over six months](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/04/13/im-working-for-cocomment/), during which I acted as a community manager, gave feedback on features to the team, and [wrote a whole bunch of blog posts](http://climbtothestars.org/categories/cocomment/). This ended, sadly, [when coComment finally incorporated](http://blog.cocomment.com/2007/01/12/launch-notice/), because we couldn’t reach an agreement as to the terms of my engagement.

Inserting content in the RSS feeds is only the latest in a series of disappointments I’ve had with the service. I used to have a sidebar widget to show the last comments I’d made all over the place on my blog, but I removed it at some point — I can’t remember when — because it had stopped working. I tried adding it again, but for some reason WordPress can’t find the feed. It seemed very slow when I tried to access it directly, so maybe it’s timing out — and I think I recall that is what made me remove it in the first place.

I’m sad also to see blinking ads on the coComment site, confusing navigation, pages with [click here](http://www.cocomment.com/tools/owner) links, and [a blog which has no soul](http://blog.cocomment.com/), filled with post after post of press-release-like “we won this contest”, “we’re sponsoring this event”, “version xyz released”, “we were here too” — all too often on behalf of a mostly faceless “coComment Team”. CoComment used to have something going, but to me it now seems like an exciting promise that lost its way somewhere along the line.

[Last August](http://blog.cocomment.com/2007/08), the [version](http://www.myopenletters.com/2007/08/08/smooth-move-cocomments/) [2.0](http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2007/08/the_last_week_h.html) [beta](http://blog.fupps.com/2007/08/21/cocomment-apologizes/) [disaster](http://blog.cocomment.com/2007/08/21/were-sorry/) made me cringe with embarrassment for my former love (who on earth takes all their users [back to beta](http://blog.cocomment.com/2007/08/03/cocomment-v2-beta-update/) when 1.0 was stable?) and left many blogs paralyzed, including my own. I started writing a blog post, at the time, which I never published, as other things got in the way. Here’s what I’d written:

> I reinstalled the extension yesterday (I’d removed it a few months ago because I suspected it might be involved in a lot of browser hang-ups) but had to uninstall it a couple of hours later:

> – too many non-comment textareas get the coco-bar
– blacklisting seems broken
– pop-up requesting info confirmation for website blocking form submission of non-comment forms, even though coco-bar was removed AND extension was deactivated for the page.

> It would be nice to be able to read some clear and detailed information about these issues and their resolution on the blog, so that I know when it’s worth trying the extension again.

> Also, a **major** issue is that when the coComment server isn’t responding, people cannot leave comments on integrated/enhanced blogs (like this one, or my personal blog). I had to remove coComment integration from my blog so that coComment downtime doesn’t prevent my readers from leaving comments.

***Update:** in case this wasn’t clear first time around, these problems have since then been solved and [coComment apologized for the mess](http://blog.cocomment.com/2007/08/21/were-sorry/). It doesn’t erase the pain, though.*

So, coComment — and Matt — are you listening?

You’re in the process of alienating somebody who was one of your most passionate users — if you haven’t lost me already. I cared. I forgave. I waited. I hoped. But right now, I don’t have the impression you care much about me. I’ve seen excuses, I’ve even seen justifications, and now I see large ugly banners in my Tumblr. What happened to you?

*You’ll have understood, I hope, that this is not just about me. This is about the people who use your service. The service you provide is for us, right?*

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A Theory About Freelancers in the Internet Industry [en]

[fr] Une petite théorie à moi qui tente d'expliquer pourquoi l'industrie du web attire tant d'indépendants. En deux mots, c'est une industrie qui bouge très vite, donc les grandes entreprises, plus inertes que les individus, manquent de postes adaptés aux nouvelles compétences qui se développent. (Vous connaissez beaucoup de grandes boîtes qui ont des postes dédiés au "social media", ou qui engagent des "experts en blogs et disciplines associées"?)

De plus, ces indépendants sont souvent autodidactes: la formation, elle aussi, a inévitablement un temps de retard sur les nouveaux développements qui ont lieu au sein de la culture numérique. On se met à son compte non pas parce qu'on a des compétences extraordinaires côté business ou management, mais parce qu'on sait faire des choses pour lesquelles il y a un marché, et qu'on est attiré par la liberté qu'offre une telle "formule".

*This is some copy I wrote a while back, and which I wasn’t quite happy about. I’m publishing it here, however, because it contains a little theory of mine about why there are so many soloists in the internet industry. Reactions welcome on [the Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net/2008/03/30/a-theory-about-freelancers-in-the-internet-industry/), where it was initially posted. Reminder: today is the last day of March, and [Early Bird prices for Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/registration/) end at midnight, GMT+1 — that’s in a few hours.*

The internet industry generates an important number of freelancing professionals. There are two reasons to this, both related to how fast the world of technology is evolving.

First, formal education inevitably tends to lag behind cutting-edge developments. Though this is true for any industry, it is of particular consequence for a very fast-moving one like the web. The most skillful people in such an industry are often passionate amateurs, who at some point decide to turn their passion into a full-time job.

Second, large companies suffer from the same kind of inertia as education. Many highly competent professionals feel frustrated by the fact that the institution for which they work is not yet ready to take full advantage of what they could offer, and as a result, can be tempted by the more stimulating prospect of going solo and freelancing—or setting up their own business.

The fact that education and corporations move more slowly than pioneers is something which is inherent to their nature. To some extent, it is a problem we must try to act upon, but mainly, it is simply the way things are.

Many freelancers find themselves in this business because of a passion for what they get paid to do. Unfortunately, having great skills in an area there is some demand for is not sufficient to sustain a successful freelancing career. One also needs to be good at dealing with the business side of things: setting rates, finding the right clients, defining what has to offer in the current state of the market, dealing with accounting, taxes, and various laws, as well as managing to find a sense of balance in a life which is very different from a 9-5 with a clear distinction between work and non-work, holidays, and a regular paycheck at the end of the month.

Most freelancers go solo because they are good at doing something that people are willing to pay for, and attracted by the freedom of being one’s own boss and the perspective of possible lucrative earnings. Business skills are not usually paid much attention to until they are suddenly needed, although they are what will determine how successful one can be in the long run. At that point, it’s common for the soloist to feel lost and isolated.

[Going Solo is a one-day event](http://going-solo.net) that was designed to address this issue. We will gather 150 soloists and small business owners around a core group of speakers who are experienced freelancers and will share their knowledge on a variety of business topics. We also want to give freelancers an occasion to come in direct contact with others like them and build a European community where they can support each other.

*Cross-posted from [the Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net/2008/03/30/a-theory-about-freelancers-in-the-internet-industry/).*

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End-Of-Travel Musings [en]

[fr] Peu de photos, d'articles, ou encore de vidéos de mon mois de voyage en Irlande, au Texas, et à San Francisco. Thierry trouve dommage, mais pas moi. J'apprends à prendre la vie un peu plus à la légère, à ne pas me mettre sous pression plus que nécessaire pour tirer toujours le maximum de profit de tout ce que je fais, tout ce que je vois, tout ce que je visite, chaque personne que je rencontre. A force de documenter sa vie, on court le risque d'oublier de la vivre.

Retour de San Francisco le coeur un peu lourd, car j'aime cet endroit et il abrite des gens qui me sont chers, mais heureuse de rentrer à Lausanne, que j'adore, et de revoir mon chat, bêtement. J'ai appris à "lâcher prise" concernant mon réseau social éclaté, à moitié en ligne, et dispersé aux quatre coins de la planète. On se recroisera, je le sais. Dans une conférence, lors de mes voyages ou des vôtres. On est à quelques clics de souris en ligne, jamais très loin. On est partout, au fond.

These two weeks here in San Francisco have been really nice. I got to relax and catch up with some friends (not all of them, unfortunately, and some less than I wanted to), make a few new ones, and also make good progress in the work department. I caught up with most of the stuff I’d fallen behind with during the previous month (stress and travel), and amongst other things, this means that [Going Solo is now ready to accept sponsorships](http://going-solo.net/2008/03/26/be-a-going-solo-sponsor/). It’s also time for us to strike up some media partnerships — get in touch if you’re interested. For media partnerships: [email protected] — that’s me! — and for sponsorships, [email protected] — Lily Yacobi is managing sponsor relations (she’s great!).

My travels started in a rather intense manner, with BlogTalk in Cork and SXSW in Austin. Two conferences back-to-back, one presentation on a new topic to speak about for me, two panel moderations (I’d never moderated a panel before), and a conversation to co-host (great format, by the way). Lots of people, new and known, two 2-hour nights before even landing in the US — I can tell you I reached Austin in a sorry state. Thank goodness I had a little halt in Dallas (thanks again, Adam!) to help me land.

[As I mentioned](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/03/14/conference-experience-evolution-and-the-paradox-of-choice/), the solution I found to survive SXSW without burning out was to keep a low profile and go with the flow. I kept that up somewhat in San Francisco: not too many plans, low expectations on what I wanted to accomplish, no frantic blogging/photographing/visiting/videoing. Some people [think it’s a shame](http://seesmic.com/v/9GNlZx3cPG), but I don’t.

Sometimes documenting your life can get in the way of living it, and I know that the pressure I put upon myself to “make the most” out of every occasion, every trip, every conference, every visit, every relationship, and simply every moment of life is wearing me down. I’ve been learning, over the past six months, that I need to cut myself some slack. Miss out on things.

So this trip, I hardly took any photos. I didn’t do any tourism. I stuck with what and who I knew, mainly. There is a whole bunch of people and businesses I regret not seeing/visiting (have I said it enough), but I don’t regret pacing my life so that I can leave here more rested than I arrived, and less stressed.

[Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is a lot of work, but though I have a great [team of advisors and helpers](http://going-solo.net/about/), I remain the only one in charge, and I’m slowly learning how to delegate. Delegating is not something I’m familiar with or ever really had to do in my life, so I’m learning the skill — and it’s not easy for me. In the end, I end up with the feeling that I’m carrying too much weight on my shoulders, and that giving some of it to others creates even more. (See the idea?) Not to be dramatic, it’s a great experience and I think I’m doing well with it — it’s just not a trip to the beach (who would have thought that!?)

So, here I am, terminal A of San Francisco airport, at the Firewood Grill, where they make pretty decent cheeseburgers. I’ve eaten here before, I remember, a bit over a year ago after [my first trip to San Francisco](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/12/im-really-liking-san-francisco/) “in this life”. I like the music they’re playing on the radio, and I’m trying to sort through the mixed feelings in me.

I’m looking forward to going home, of course. I’m very attached to my hometown, as many of you have noticed, and whenever I’m away, I miss my cat a lot. It’s silly, but oh well. My brother will be home too, after a year spent in South America. It will be good to see him again.

But I’m leaving San Francisco with a heavy heart, too. I’m leaving behind the sunshine and people who are dear to me, as well as a community (however you want to understand that word) which means I get to bump into people I know when I go to parties. This happens in Lausanne, too, of course — bumping into people I know. Lausanne is a small village. But strangely, the San Francisco geekworld seems even smaller. And I like it. To state the obvious, “things are happening” here and it’s nice to be around. I like the city, too — even if I sometimes struggle a bit with the differences in culture between here and where I grew up and live.

I think I’ve become more relaxed about when I’ll see people again. I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I will be. I’ll bump into you at a conference, or at a geek dinner somewhere when we’re both travelling. Maybe we didn’t get to say goodbye, but we’re just a few keystrokes away online anyway — so is it really that important? I don’t know what my life will be like in a year, and neither do you, probably. We live and work in this fast-changing world, somewhere on the edge, and we eat [Black Swans](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/15/reading-the-black-swan/) for breakfast.

We’re everywhere.

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Thinking About The Next Going Far Events [en]

[fr] Alors que je commence à penser aux conférences que j'organiserai après Going Solo, je me retrouve saisie par l'angoisse de la transparence. Même si je prêche l'authenticité et la transparence à mes clients, cela ne m'empêche pas d'être moi aussi sujette à la crainte d'en dire trop.

Je commence aussi à sentir le besoin de véritablement créer une entreprise. Il y a trop de travail pour moi seule. Je perçois quel devra être le profil de mon/mes associés: bon vendeur (je suis une bonne marketeuse, mais pas très douée pour clore et vendre), bon dans l'opérationnel, et qui ne rechigne pas aux tâches administratives. Il y en a probablement pour plus d'une personne, là. M'enfin, je réfléchis.

There hasn’t been much going on here, I have to admit, as I decided to postpone the actual incorporation of Going Far until Going Solo was off the ground. So, head over there (if that’s not where you’re coming from) to catch up, if necessary.

As Going Solo is taking shape, I’m really awed by how much support and how many positive responses and comments I’ve received, both from old friends and new contacts. It feels good to not be the only person to believe in what I’m doing. I have a great team of advisers, too, which has taken shape over these last months.

As I start thinking about the next events I want to organize, I find myself facing (once more) what I’m going to name “The Angst of Transparency”. Although I’m 100% sold on the idea of being transparent (the Cluetrain kool-aid and 8 years of blogging) I still find myself unsure about how much to say when business is at stake. It’s as if, when it came to myself and my own actions, I didn’t really believe what I was preaching to others. I find myself afraid, just like I sense others are afraid when I tell them transparency is the way to go. How transparent is too transparent?

I have a pretty good idea for what two (maybe three) of the next Going Far events are going to be. I’ve mentioned them in passing to a few people. I also have ideas for developing Going Solo, if the event on May 16th turns out to be the success it seems to be promising to be.

But I’m afraid to start blogging about this, on the one hand for fear of giving too much away and being overtaken (which in my right mind I find stupid), and on the other hand because it will set things in movement, and I’m already aware that there is not enough of me to deal with Going Solo itself — let alone get started on another two projects.

This is where I’m really starting to feel the need to create a company. I need other people on the boat with me. And I’m starting to see what kind of person/people I need to bring on board. I need a good salesperson. I’m good at marketing, but not so much at the actual selling/closing/getting the cash. I need somebody who’s good on the operational front, who actually gets things done, and doesn’t mind dealing with tasks like making sure people have paid, keeping track of what needs to be done when (that bit is project management, actually), and so on.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to go about finding that person or those people — but I guess having a clear “profile” in mind and making sure my advisers know what I’m looking for (and mentioning it here) is a good start. This isn’t a job ad, though. I’m far from there.

*Cross-posted from the Going Far blog.*

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FriendFeed Appeals to Women, Too! [en]

[fr] Quelques commentaires sur FriendFeed, un nouveau service de lifestreaming. Et en réaction à une liste de "blogueurs élite" quasi entièrement masculine, allez -- une liste de femmes de mon entourage qui sont sur FriendFeed.

*Scroll to the bottom of the post for **The List**.*

[Brian Solis on bub.blicio.us](http://bub.blicio.us/?p=781) joins [Louis Gray](http://www.louisgray.com) in commenting upon the fact that [“elite bloggers” are joining FriendFeed](http://louisgray.com/live/2008/03/elite-bloggers-joining-friendfeed-in.html) in respectable numbers. [FriendFeed](http://friendfeed) is a lifestreaming service, which allows you to aggregate all your online presence and publications in one place.

The first such application I bumped into was [Suprglu](http://steph.suprglu.com/) (just checked, it’s still running, wow!), [two years ago](http://steph.wordpress.com/2006/02/05/meet-suprglu/). I was happy with it for some time, and then disappointed that it had too much of a lag (they didn’t have much resources, at least at the time).

Then came [Jaiku](http://steph.jaiku.com/), which I liked, but I never quite got used to the layout and the fact that only titles were posted. [Tumblr](http://steph.tumblr.com/) entered my world at about the same time, and for a while, I wasn’t sure how to use both these tools without being redundant. I finally decided that [Tumblr wasn’t for lifestreaming](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/23/finally-getting-tumblr/). At that point I was also on [Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503315010), and the newsfeed there was pretty nice as a lifestreaming service. Then the apps arrived and [things started to get ugly](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/09/facebook-foire-aux-applications/) — but I still like my newsfeed, particularly as it does some editing for me (selecting stories I’m likely to find relevant, based on a magic mix of criteria including my “thumbs up/thumbs down” ratings on existing newsfeed elements).

Lifestreaming has two purposes:

– gather all my stuff in one place, so that I can point people to it
– gather all the stuff of all my friends in one place, so that I can follow them all together (this is more presence-like).

For the first, nothing beats (to this day) [Jeremy Keith’s lifestream](http://adactio.com/extras/stream/) in readability. I keep telling myself I need to [grab the code](http://adactio.com/journal/1202/) and do it for myself.

For the second, I’m ambivalent. I like jaiku, but I find it not very readable. The Facebook newsfeed is more readable and is edited down to a readable amount of information, but not everybody is on Facebook, and it’s not public. FriendFeed is promising, in that it’s rather easy to set up, but I don’t find it very readable, and it would need some editing features (so I can filter out stuff manually, of course, but also some automatic editing which I could turn on and off).

So, I like FriendFeed. I wish they’d make it easier to add people, though. One quick example. Here is a screenshot of the listing of my “followers” (=people who have subscribed to me):

FriendFeed - People Subscribed to Me

There is no indication of if I’ve subscribed back or not. Compare with Twitter:

Twitter / People Who Follow stephtara

This, in my opinion, is a user interface problem that has been “solved”. If you create a new social tool, please don’t give us an interface which looks like it ignores existing solutions to obvious user headaches, like figuring out if you’re following back people who are following you (there is a higher chance that the people you want to follow will be amongst the people follow you already).

So, I’m looking forward to seeing where this will go. As such, I’m not actually using FriendFeed so much as sitting on it, waiting to see when it becomes usable.

**Coming back to the two posts I mentioned at the beginning of this article**, my initial reaction while going through the list of “elite bloggers” using FriendFeed was “hmm, I’m not in it”.

Well, of course. I mean, I’m quite lucid about the fact that all this blogging and online presence does have at stake (amongst other things) receiving a certain amount of recognition — and although I’m reasonably good at not letting this kind of motivation drive my activities. But it’s there, somewhere in the background. I’ve talked about this a lot in French, I realise — particularly in [interviews I’ve given to the press](/about/presse) and [talks](http://stephanie-booth.com/speaking) about blogging in general, but not much in English. Anyway, I’m not dwelling on this as it’s not my main point, but I always have this little secret hope (that I’m not overly proud of) that I’ll “make it” into this kind of listing. But enough with that.

My second reaction was: **where are the women?** Now, sorry to pull the whole “sexist” card — and those who know me are aware I’m far from a flag-carrying bra-burning feminist (though who knows, in another place and time, I might very well have ended up burning underwear in public) — but when lists of “influential/elite/top whatevers” show up and women are totally unrepresented in them, I think “ah, another guy who is mainly interested in what other guys have to say, and who might suggest at some point that we need to talk about the problem of ‘women in technology'”. *(Nothing personal, Louis — this is more about my reaction than about who you are.)*

So, in an attempt to encourage you to check out **some of the women in my world which I have found on FriendFeed**, here is a list of Some Women On FriendFeed. And yes, I’ve put myself in the list, of course. **Oh yeah, this *does* have a taste of linkbait.** But I won’t be offended if nobody picks it up. So, here goes.

– Ambiome / [Ambiome[Dot]Net](http://ambiome.net/blog)
[http://friendfeed.com/ambiome](http://friendfeed.com/abiome)
– Cathy Brooks / [other than that…](http://www.otherthanthat.com/)
[http://friendfeed.com/cathybrooks](http://friendfeed.com/cathybrooks)
– danah boyd / [apophenia](http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/)
[http://friendfeed.com/zephoria](http://friendfeed.com/zephoria)
– Dannie Jost / [uncondition](http://uncondition.blogspot.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/dannie](http://friendfeed.com/dannie)
– Dori Smith / [Backup Brain](http://backupbrain.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/dori](http://friendfeed.com/dori)
– Emily Chang / [Strategic Designer](http://emilychang.com/go)
[http://friendfeed.com/emilychang](http://friendfeed.com/emilychang)
– Gabriela Avram / [CONIECTO](http://coniecto.blogspot.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/coniecto](http://friendfeed.com/coniecto)
– Gia Milinovich / [Gia’s blog](http://www.giagia.co.uk/)
[http://friendfeed.com/giagia](http://friendfeed.com/giagia)
– Hillary Hartley / [static{fade}](http://staticfade.blogspot.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/quepol](http://friendfeed.com/quepol)
– Laura Fitton / [Pistachio Consulting](http://pistachioconsulting.com/blog/)
[http://friendfeed.com/pistachio](http://friendfeed.com/pistachio)
– Lilia Efimova / [Mathemagenic](http://blog.mathemagenic.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/mathemagenic](http://friendfeed.com/mathemagenic)
– Lisa McMillan / [Lisa McMillan dot com](http://lisamcmillan.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/lisamac](http://friendfeed.com/lisamac)
– Nicole Simon / [Cruel to be Kind](http://crueltobekind.org)
[http://friendfeed.com/nicolesimon](http://friendfeed.com/nicolesimon)
– Stephanie Booth / [Climb to the Stars](http://climbtothestars.org)
[http://friendfeed.com/sbooth](http://friendfeed.com/sbooth) *whoops, sbooth, not steph!*
– Suw Charman-Anderson / [Strange Attractor](http://strange.corante.com/)
[http://friendfeed.com/suw](http://friendfeed.com/suw)
– Tara Hunt / [HorsePigCow](http://horsepigcow.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/missrogue](http://friendfeed.com/missrogue)
– Virginie Pfeiffer / [Mistress of the Web](http://mistressoftheweb.wordpress.com)
[http://friendfeed.com/vivipfeif](http://friendfeed.com/vivipfeif)

*Self-promotion: follow me on [Twitter](http://twitter.com/stephtara) or [FriendFeed](http://friendfeed.com/steph) and don’t forget to [blog about](http://going-solo.net/support/) [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net), or even [register](http://going-solo.net/registration)!*

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Conference Experience Evolution and The Paradox of Choice [en]

[fr] Mes réflexions sur l'expérience vécue lors de conférences comme LIFT08, LeWeb3, SXSW, BlogTalk, à la lumière de ma lecture du livre The Paradox of Choice. Surcharge cognitive et sociale, trop de décisions à prendre. Evolution également, entre les premières conférences où je ne connaissais presque personne, et où l'accent était mis sur "faire de nouvelles connaissances", et les dernières conférences, où je me rends compte que je ne peux pas passer du temps (ni même parfois dire bonjour) à toutes les personnes que je connais déjà.

There’s a lot going on in my head these days, and unfortunately I’ve been too [busy/exhausted](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/25/stalling/) (that damn anaemia is still around, fwiw) to blog about it. Since a week or so before LIFT08, actually, I feel like I’ve been desperately running behind the train, and the distance between my hand and the handlebar that will allow me to climb back on is just increasing.

One book I’ve been reading these last weeks (months?) is [The Paradox of Choice](http://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Less/dp/0060005688). If you haven’t read it yet, take a few minutes to order it now. It’s turning out to be a really important book for me, on the one hand for understanding a few things about how the world we live in functions and affects us in the areas of freedom, responsibility, and of course, choice — and on the other hand for understanding myself.

I suffer a lot from having too many options to choose from: I’m really bad at being a “satisficer” in certain areas (somebody who will be satisfied with an option as long as it meets certain criteria) as opposed to being a “maximizer” — wanting the *best* option available. In particular in my professional life and my intellectual pursuits, each choice is agonizing, because my brain wirings keep me very focused on everything I’m possibly missing out upon each time I pick a particular option over others. I do my best to tone this tendency down, of course, but it’s there.

There’s a lot I could comment upon in relation to this book and all it is helping me understand (it delves deep into the mechanisms of choice, and that’s fascinating), but suffice to say right now that it’s colouring a lot of my thinking in general these days.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is conferences. Obviously, as a [conference organizer](http://going-far.com/) ([Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/) early bird price ends soon, by the way!), it’s on my mind, but I’ve also been attending quite a few conferences recently and reflecting of how my experience of these events has evolved (due to [“burn-out”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/06/too-many-people/), increased [network and public profile](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/11/from-lift06-to-lift08/), and maybe other factors).

For online people like me, conferences are an occasion to see their usually scattered network of relations (friends or business contacts) coalesce in one single geographical location over the space of a few days. It can be very exciting, especially when you get to meet many of these people offline for the first time, but it can also be overwhelming. During my first conferences, I also got to know a lot of new people. People I wasn’t interactive with online. People who “grew” (ew) my network. People I liked and decided I wanted to stay in touch with. People who were interesting business contacts.

As conferences went by, I would find myself in a crowd of more and more people I already knew and appreciated and wanted to spend time with. I think [FOWA](http://futureofwebapps.com/) last November was a breaking point for me — I realized that it was impossible for me to catch up with all “my people” there in the space of two short days. It was quite distressing to realize this, actually.

A few weeks after that, I was in Berlin for [Web2.0Expo](http://climbtothestars.org/tags/web2expo/). A bit burnt, I took things way more lightly. Attended a few sessions. Didn’t even show up on certain mornings. Hung out with people I met there. Didn’t try to blog all the sessions I attended. It went much better.

Conferences are hard. There is a lot of intellectual stimulation (sessions and conversations), and a lot of social stimulation too. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I already feel life is simply too full of interesting things and people. In my everyday life, I struggle with the feeling that there is “too much out there” for me to “deal” or “cope” with — and a conference just concentrates this feeling over 2-3 days. Lots of fascinating (hopefully) sessions to attend. Great corridor conversations. Old friends to catch up with. New friends to make. Business contacts to touch base with. Dinners, lunches and parties. Take photos, blog, video the sessions or interview fellow attendees. To do all that well, you’d need to be superhuman.

I had two “different” conference experiences during these last six months, and they were LeWeb4 and LIFT08. Both times, I attended the conference with a rather clear [business objective](http://going-solo.net). It was tiring, but less overwhelming, because I’d decided in advance what I was in for. LeWeb4 (LeWeb3 actually, 2nd edition — don’t ask me why) actually turned out better than LIFT08 for me, because I simply didn’t attend any sessions (aside from half of [JP](http://confusedofcalcutta.com/)’s). At LIFT08, I had a press pass, so I did feel pressure to live-blog — and also, it’s my “home conference”, and I really like their programme. I was also [giving a speech](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/07/lift08-my-going-solo-open-stage-speech/), so, although this conference experience “went well”, it was [overwhelming](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/11/my-lift08-recap/).

So, what am I learning about conferences? They’re “too much”. So, you have to go to them knowing you’ll miss out (which brings us back to what The Paradox of Choice is about). The more connected you are, the more socially unmanageable it’s going to be. People you won’t see. Not saying goodbye. Not spending as much time as you wanted with certain people, but in exchange spending more time with others. So, I’ve come to accept that. I don’t know who I’m going to be able to catch up with. I know I won’t be able to catch up with everyone. I do my best not to plan — and if there is a small number of people (1, 2, 3) that I really want to see, I make plans with them, and that’s it.

The sessions are also “too much”. You can’t sit in sessions for the whole day, take notes, blog about them (or whatever you do) and then do the same thing the next day. Well, you can, but chances are your brain will fry at some point. I know that I can’t do it for two days in a row. At [SXSW](http://2008.sxsw.com/interactive/), I decided at one point to officially give up on attending sessions. I felt bad, because there were lots of them which sounded interesting, and lots of people I wanted to hear, but I also felt relieved because all of a sudden the pressure of making choices had been removed. If I happened to be hanging out with people who went to a panel, or if I stumbled into one — well, good. But I wasn’t going to make decisions about them other than on the spur of the moment. That worked out pretty well.

I did the same for the parties. Too much choice => I refuse to agonize on decisions before the last moment. All open. Go with the flow.

So, bottom-line: very little planning, lots of improvisation, and setting low expectations about doing precise stuff or hanging out with precise people.

To change the subject a little, I noticed at LIFT08 how at one point, there seems to be a physiological limit to taking in new people (certainly some relation to the [Dunbar number](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar’s_number) department). At LIFT08, I was just so socialed out (or over-socialized), between running around promoting Going Solo and being the object of some attention after my speech ([watch video](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8270350768335569204)), that I realized at some point that I was doing horrible things like:

– trying to hand out moo cards twice to people I actually already knew (in this case, it was [Robert](http://scobleizer.com/)) in the space of a few minutes
– asking people for their name 3 times in a row
– forgetting I’d talked to people, even when they took the trouble to remind me what we had talked about a few hours before
– and of course, totally not recognizing anybody I’d been introduced to recently or at a previous conference

In this kind of situation, you can do two things. “Fake it”, as in “oh, hi! how’s business, blah blah blah” and hope that the person will drop enough info to help you out, or just fake it till the end. To be honest, I hate the idea of doing that, and I can’t bring myself to do it (plus, I’m sure I’d be quite bad at it). So, I prefer the second option, which is being honest. I apologize for not recognizing people (mention that I’m [hopeless with faces](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/badges-at-conferences/) — people who know me can attest), explain that I’m over-socialized and have simply been meeting and interacting with too many people. In my experience, this approach works out fine.

There’s also a lot to be said about “micro-fame” — the first couple of conferences I went to, the number of people I “didn’t really know” who were interested in talking to me (as in “walked up to me to introduce themselves”) was close to zero. Today, people show up out of nowhere, know me, want to speak to me. Friends want to introduce me to people they know (which is good, by the way!) My first conferences involved a lot of just meeting a nice person or two, and hanging out with them for the whole conference. This is more difficult today (except maybe at small conferences like BlogTalk) because I just know too many people (or too many people know me).

There also seems to be a subculture of highly-travelled, highly-conferenced people I’m suddenly finding myself part of — and I’m sure it would be worth taking a closer look to what’s going on here (hmm… [a conference](http://going-far.com), maybe?)

I’ll stop here, after dumping these thoughts in this not-very-organized post. It felt good to write all this down. If you have comments or thoughts, agree or disagree, experiences to share — my comments and trackbacks are yours to use.

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Going Solo Venues, Open Stage, and Link Love [en]

[fr] Sur le site de Going Solo, vous trouverez le récit de mon après-midi passée à visiter des salles de conférences à Lausanne. Ma proposition d'Open Stage pour LIFT'08 semble avoir du succès mais a encore besoin de vos votes.

Je me pose ensuite des tas de question sur les raisons pour lesquelles Going Solo ne semble pas attirer plus l'attention des blogueurs. Est-ce trop tôt? Pas assez d'informations? Ai-je épuisé mon capital social? Est-ce que tout le monde pense que les autres s'en chargent?

Pour que des personnes en-dehors de mon réseau direct puissent entendre parler de Going Solo et s'y intéresser, j'ai besoin de votre aide. Voici la (modeste) collection de liens couvrant Going Solo. Julien a parlé plusieurs fois de Going Solo en français (merci!), mais je crois que c'est à peu près tout côté couverture francophone. Oui, la conférence est en anglais. Mais vos lecteurs francophones ne sont pas tous nécessairement anglophobes, ni les personnes qu'ils connaissent à leur tour.

Que ce soit clair: je ne veux forcer la main à personne. Si vous trouvez Going Solo inutile ou même bête, ne perdez pas votre temps à en parler (ou mieux, en fait, racontez pourquoi vous pensez ainsi, ça m'intéresse). Mais si vous désirez soutenir cette conférence et que ce n'est visible nulle part sur votre blog... Prenez un petit moment pour ça.

Et si vous avez un éclairage à offrir concernant ma difficulté permanent à "rallier" les gens autour des choses que je fais (pas les choses que je blogue, hein, celles que je fais), je suis toute ouïe. Merci d'avance.

Just a note to say I’ve published [a blog post on hunting for venues for Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/2008/01/21/venue-stories/) (yes, on the Going Solo blog — what? you haven’t subscribed yet? what are you waiting for?). If you have any thoughts on the points I raise there, go ahead.

In the good news departments, it seems [my open stage proposal about organizing a conference for freelancers](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world) is attracting interest. It still needs votes though, so if you [want to help make sure I hit the big stage](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-community-program-propositions#openstage) and you are going to attend LIFT, be sure to [vote](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world). (Every vote counts. Thanks.)

*Prepare for slight digression.*

For some reason, I seem to always have trouble motivating people to “spread the word” about stuff I’m doing. There seems to be a disconnect between the picture people send back to me (“Oh, you have so much *traction*, you’re so influent, etc.”) and what actually happens when I try to get the word out about something.

I usually don’t have this problem when it’s somebody else’s stuff. If I sign up for your nice new shiny 2.0 service and like it, I’m going to convince dozens of people to sign up. Twitter. Dopplr. Seesmic. It’s even happening with offline stuff like [the neti pot](http://steph.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/morning-rituals/).

I guess one of the issues is that I’m not really comfortable promoting my own stuff. Some people seem to have no problem doing that — I always feel like I should shut up, and if what I’m doing is really worthwhile, other people will pick it up and blog about it. On the other hand, I am pretty comfortable [page-slapping](http://joi.ito.com/archives/2003/08/10/page_slapping.html) people with my own writings.

So, what is it? Do people underestimate the support I need from the community? Am I one of those annoying people who [ask for too much and don’t give enough](http://www.horsepigcow.com/2007/11/24/you-may-be-a-community-freeloader-if-you/)? Do I squander my social capital? Is the stuff I do so lame that nobody has any interest in talking about it? Am I simply just “missing” a little something somewhere that I still haven’t figured out? Am I just not active enough in self-promoting?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about my [technorati ranking](http://technorati.com/search/climbtothestars.org) or about the fact that some of my blog posts have already been around the world three times (my stuff on [MySQL encoding problems](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/18/converting-mysql-database-contents-to-utf-8/) and [multiple WordPress installations](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/09/02/scripts-for-a-wordpress-weblog-farm/) have remained popular for years — the latter with spammers, maybe, I’m afraid). It’s more about *stuff I do* as opposed to *stuff I write*.

Take [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net). I know I haven’t really started pushing it out there, because we don’t have branding yet and the price isn’t quite set. But still. When I [announced it here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/) (and before that, when I [said I was starting a company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/)), a lot of people stopped by to leave an encouraging comment or send me a nice tweet. I really appreciated it.

Now, not trying to make anybody feel bad here, but here’s [the coverage of Going Solo](http://del.icio.us/steph/coverage+goingsolo) that I’ve been able to round up (or the [technorati cosmos](http://s.technorati.com/going-solo.net). I’m getting into the habit of bookmarking any “coverage” links, because they’re easy to find on the moment, but 6 months later you can forget about it.

Is it because I haven’t explicitly said “Going Solo needs your link love”? (If that’s it, I’m saying it now.) Is it because it’s “too early) — ie, people are waiting for the venue to be set, the full programme to be announced, sidebar badges to be available and the tickets to be on sale? I personally don’t think it’s necessary to wait that long. I’m convinced Going Solo is going to be a really useful event for many freelancers out there. I want to get the word out and create interest for it, also outside my immediate network. And for that, I need you. You’re the only people who can help me reach “outside my network”. Or maybe I’m being difficult, naive, or expecting too much?

I’d like to understand what’s happening. I’d like more people to talk about Going Solo and try to promote it to their networks, of course, but my main issue here is understanding. So any insight will be… more than welcome. If you think Going Solo is worthwhile, but you haven’t blogged about it, it would help me if you left a comment to tell me why you haven’t (yet, hopefully!) blogged about it. Again — I’m not asking for justifications, just insight from “the other side of the fence”.

This week-end, as I was hurrying to get [my LIFT workshop](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/19/lift08-workshop-get-started-with-blogging/) out of the door, I was astonished (in a disappointed sort of way) to see how few people had come up with proposals for LIFT. I know people wait until the last minute to do it, but I also realised that I hadn’t really blogged about LIFT this year. I guess I was thinking that it was so popular anyway, a blog post of mine wouldn’t really make much difference. “The others” were already blogging about it.

Then I took a step back and thought of [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) — how my frustration that people weren’t talking about it more. So I wrote a blog post to tell people it was [the last minute to send a contribution to LIFT](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/20/very-last-moment-to-propose-a-contribution-for-lift08/). Did anybody make one because I blogged about it, I wonder?

So, done with the angst-ridden rambling. I welcome your comments. And Going Solo needs your link love.

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Hoosgot: The Lazyweb is Back! [en]

[fr] Hoosgot, réincarnation du lazyweb d'antan, est en ligne. Merci à Dave Sifry, fondateur de Technorati!

One of the great things about the internet is that it brings people and ideas closer. One of the ways I (and many others) use it is to find things, or make sure the great idea we just had hasn’t already been implemented somewhere before we start building it.

Many years ago, when trackbacks were young and the [the Internet Topic Exchange was hot](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/19/easier-topicexchange-trackbacks-for-wordpress/), some brave folks [put their heads and fingers together](http://www.lazyweb.org/about.html) to give birth to [The Lazyweb](http://www.lazyweb.org/archives/010257.html). If you had a request or a question, you would blog about it, send a trackback and a small prayer to the lazyweb, and maybe the lazyweb would answer with a solution. (As you’ve understood, the “lazyweb” is the community of people sending requests and keeping an eye on those from their brethren.)

I sent [a few requests](http://climbtothestars.org/tags/lazyweb) its way at the time.

Unfortunately,spam [killed](http://www.lazyweb.org/archives/010257.html) the lazyweb.

Yesterday, [Dave Sifry announced](http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/2007/12/announcing_hoos.html) the birth of [hoosgot](http://www.hoosgot.com/), reincarnation of the lazyweb.

So, [how do you send your requests](http://www.hoosgot.com/index.php/about/) over to hoosgot? Simply mention hoosgot in post or Twitter message, and it will appear [on the website](http://www.hoosgot.com/) and in the associated RSS feed — which you should definitely subscribe to and keep an eye on.

Thanks, Dave!

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Granular Privacy Control (GPC) [en]

[fr] Google Reader permet maintenant à vos contacts GTalk d'avoir un accès facile à vos "shared items" (articles lus dans votre newsreader et que vous avez partagés). Il semblerait que beaucoup de personnes ont mal interprété cette nouvelle fonction, imaginant que leurs éléments partagés étaient privés, et qu'ils sont maintenant devenus publics. Nous voilà encore une fois face au même problème: l'internaute moyen (et même le pas-si-moyen) surestime complètement à quel point les informations qu'il publie ou partage en ligne sont confidentielles. Au risque de me répéter: internet est un espace public.

Cet incident nous montre aussi, à nouveau, à quel point nous avons besoin de pouvoir structurer de façon fine (Granular Privacy Control = GPC) les accès à nos données à l'intérieur d'un réseau social. Facebook est sur la bonne piste avec ses "listes d'amis", mais on ne peut pas encore les utiliser pour gérer les droits d'accès.

In response to [Robert Scoble](http://scobleizer.com)’s post about how [Google Reader needs to implement finer privacy controls](http://scobleizer.com/2007/12/26/google-reader-needs-gpc/). Let’s see what Robert says, first:

> Oh, man, is the Google Reader team under attack for its new social networking features.

> There’s a few ways I could take this.

> 1. I could call people idiots for not understanding the meaning of the word “public.”
> 2. I could call the Google Reader team idiots for not putting GPC into its social networking and sharing features.
> 3. I could call the media idiots for not explaining these features better and for even making it sound like stuff that isn’t shared at all is being shared (which absolutely isn’t true).

> I’m going to take #2: that the Google Reader team screwed up here and needs to implement GPC as soon as possible. What’s GPC? Granular Privacy Controls.

> Here’s how Google screwed up: Google didn’t understand that some users thought that their shared items feeds were private and didn’t know that they were going to be turned totally public. The users who are complaining about this feature assumed that since their feed had a weird URL (here’s mine so you can see that the URL isn’t easy to figure out the way other URLs are) that their feed couldn’t be found by search engines or by people who they didn’t explicitly give the URL to, etc. In other words, that their feed and page would, really, be private, even though it was shared in a public way without a password required or anything like that.

Robert Scoble, Google Reader needs GPC

Wow, I really didn’t think that this feature was going to create trouble. I was personally thrilled to see it implemented. So, here are two thoughts following what Robert wrote:

– I’ve noticed time and time again that you can tell people something is “public” as much as you like, they still don’t really grasp what “public” means. Because things are not “automatically found” on the internet, they still tend to consider public stuff as being “somewhat private”. This is a general “media education” problem (with adults as much as teenagers). So, Robert is completely right to point this out.
– GPC is a very important thing we need much more of online (see my SPSN and Ethics and Privacy posts) but I disagree with Robert when he says that Facebook has it. Facebook isn’t there yet, though they are on “the right path”. I can’t yet use my [friend lists](http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=7831767130) to decide who gets to see what on my profile. That would truly be GPC (in addition to that, their friends list interface is clunky — I need to blog about it, btw).

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