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Solar Impulse fait demi-tour et la presse fait… trois petits tours? [fr]

Solar Impulse fait demi-tour et la presse fait… trois petits tours? [fr]

Update mardi 14 juin, 12h30: Solar Impulse effectue en ce moment sa deuxième tentative pour rallier le Bourget, à suivre en live sur le site!

Bon, écrire un titre, je vous l’accorde, ce n’est pas toujours simple. Mais franchement, depuis que Solar Impulse a annoncé que l’avion retournait sur Bruxelles plutôt que de continuer vers Paris, je suis simplement scandalisée par la piètre qualité de certains titres et papiers rapportant l’incident.

Solar Impulse décolle de Bruxelles, dans les nuages. Photo : Claude M. CAUWE.

Primo, les sources accessibles à tout un chacun via le site de Solar Impulse, en particulier:

Malgré mes rapports professionnels avec Solar Impulse ces temps, je n’ai pas eu accès à des infos privilégiées sur ce coup-ci, donc tout ce à quoi j’ai eu accès, le reste du monde y avait accès aussi (y compris les journalistes).

Au moment du demi-tour, il était très clair pour moi que:

  • André n’avait pas pu rentrer le train d’atterrissage, mais que ce n’était pas un gros problème en soi de voler avec, si ce n’est que ça freinait un peu l’avion
  • L’avion avait décollé tard de Bruxelles (18h36), avec donc peu de temps de vol “jour” pour stocker du soleil
  • Il y avait pas mal de nuages, pas mal de vent, et je crois même avoir entendu qu’il s’est fait pleuvoir un peu dessus
  • Avec un fort vent de face, l’avion avançait à 17 noeuds au sol au lieu des 30 escomptés: les batteries allaient donc se décharger plus vite, et le vol durer plus longtemps.

Quelle n’a donc pas été ma surprise (et ma déception!) quand j’ai commencé à voir pleuvoir sur Twitter des tweets parlant de “problèmes techniques” et même “d’incidents en série”. J’avais l’impression de n’avoir pas assisté au même vol! C’est peut-être une question de définitions, mais pour moi, “météo” ça ne rentre pas dans la catégorie “incident technique”.

Je ne mentionne même pas l’utilisation généreuse du mot “échec”, qui, franchement, pour un prototype qui effectue un vol encore jamais tenté auparavant et dans des conditions relativement peu favorables (météo), est un peu… ingrate?

Vous voulez des exemples? En voici.

Lesoir.be, pour qui “Solar Impulse fait demi-tour suite à des problèmes techniques” (on lit même dans l’article “L’avion a connu de nombreuses difficultés depuis son départ de Bruxelles.”) — lesoir.be qui s’est d’ailleurs déjà distingué en faisant subir un changement de sexe à la merveilleuse Elâ Borschberg, qui administre de main de maître le blog, le compte Twitter, la page Facebook, le supporters’ program, et tant d’autres choses.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/tdgch/status/79644994977280000″]

La Tribune de Genève titre hier “Problèmes techniques: Solar Impulse fait demi-tour et retourne à Bruxelles” et ne se rattrape pas aujourd’hui avec “Solar Impulse atterrit à Bruxelles après une grosse frayeur” (coupable du même titre: 24heures — et en passant c’est vraiment bête, parce que leur article n’est pas si mal).

7sur7 nous dit que “Solar Impulse rebrousse chemin pour soucis techniques“. TF1 ne nous étonne pas avec “Solar Impulse et le coup de la panne” (mythique, à ce stade j’imagine déjà l’avion rentrer en clopinant à Bruxelles, tracté par un petit avion de tourisme). A la RSR: “Un premier échec technique pour Solar Impulse“.

Ladépêche.fr nous annonce “Echec de l’avion solaire” — là, c’est tout le projet qui tombe à l’eau, visiblement. (On note en passant l’utilisation d’une image de synthèse de l’avion qui date de Mathusalem, alors que rien que sur Flickr, on a déjà bien mieux — j’ose à peine mentionner les magnifiques images disponibles de la part du service de presse de Solar Impulse.)

En anglais, on tweete des choses comme

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/entrepreneur_uk/status/79837567809372161″]

qui donnent l’impression que l’avion n’ira finalement pas à Paris (vous savez comme c’est, Twitter: on ne lit pas toujours les articles, on voit passer les titres, et ceux-ci sont du coup d’autant plus importants comme véhicule d’information). Ici aussi, “Solar-powered plane abandons Paris flight“, où l’on rapporte allègrement “a series of technical problems” et “a series of glitches”, du resucé de l’AFP, en fait.

Après, il y a aussi les petits détails qui nous montrent à quel point un certain journalisme est du copier-coller de communiqués (on le savait déjà, mais au point d’y laisser des guillemets au mauvais endroit, ça donne vraiment l’impression qu’on ne lit pas ce qu’on colle):

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/stephtara/status/79854855803514881″]

Guillemets mal placés, on regarde même plus ce qu'on copie

France Soir essaie de corriger la citation (“Solar Impulse: Echec et demi-tour“) mais du coup, André Borschberg se retrouve porte-parole plutôt que pilote:

Solar Impulse : Echec et demi-tour | France Soir

Oups.

Heureusement, il y a aussi des choses bien.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/BreakingNews/status/79711854166949888″]

Futura-Sciences: “L’avion solaire de Solar Impulse n’a pas pu atteindre Le Bourget“.

Aerobuzz: “Solar Impulse contraint au demi-tour“.

RTBF a pris la peine d’inviter André sur leur plateau et a fait un petit sujet bien informatif, j’ai trouvé.

Il y a aussi les tweets d’André (je suis très fière de mon élève), son compte-rendu sur le blog, l’atmosphère sur Twitter entre “suiveurs de #solarimpulse“, et les magnifiques vidéos tournées par l’équipe multimédia. Celles-ci, par exemple, du décollage et de l’atterrissage à Bruxelles:

Je vous conseille aussi de lire l’article de Martin Gillet, dans la même veine que celui-ci: “Why Solarimpulse’s return to Brussels is not a failure“.

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Blogger Relations: What is it About? [en]

Blogger Relations: What is it About? [en]

[fr] Les relations blogueurs: qu'est-ce que c'est, et en quoi est-ce différent des relations presse/publiques? (Je pense qu'il va falloir faire un article là-dessus en français à l'occasion.)

I thought I’d write a post to quickly explain what I view as a particular field in social media: blogger relations. I prefer to view blogger relations as a speciality of community management rather than a speciality in PR, because it has much more to do with human relationships and communities (sometimes very small) than with managing a public image.

Blogger relations is what I call the work I’ve been doing for Web 2.0 Expo Europe, Le Web in Paris, and now Solar Impulse.

Companies and organizations are starting (well, they have been “starting” for the last five years, so some of you might get the feeling this start is dragging along) to realize that there is a population out there in social media that produces content, is very connected, and sometimes pretty influential. I single out bloggers and podcasters because despite all the excitement around Twitter and Facebook, publications in those mediums are too transient. Three weeks later, the tweets and status updates are long gone (Storify might yet change that, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on that service).

Though some online publications are very close in organisation and tone to traditional media, most bloggers and podcasters out there are better not treated as “press”. And they have value to bring that justifies treating them slightly differently from the general public.

Bloggers and podcasters are similar to press in the sense that they produce content. But they are also similar to the general public in the sense that they show interest for something by passion and often in their free time, and not based on the agenda of their employer.

As I see it, blogger relations imply a more “balanced” and “open” relationship between the parties, where it’s possible to lay things clearly on the table. Offer and demand are in my opinion more present in defining the power balance than when dealing with the press. Are bloggers desperate to attend your event or follow your project? You can be selective, and put conditions. Are bloggers and podcasters not yet aware of what you’re doing? You might want to bring slightly more to the table to make it worth the investment for them.

All this, of course, requires one to know what is and is not acceptable in the blogger world. Ask for a blog post, or to display a badge on one’s blog? Should be pretty much OK. Try to exercise editorial control? Not so good.

Maybe some of the above is valid with the press, too. But again, I’d like to stress a big difference between bloggers/podcasters and press: in general, the blogger or podcaster will be coming to you on his free time and of his own accord, whether the journalist will often be sent by his employer or client, on his work time. This changes things.

I like to define two types of situations in blogger relations: floodgates and outreach. The strategy for both of these is quite different: in one case you need to filter through a large number of incoming requests. In the other, you need to reach out to those you want to interest.

I’m planning to blog more on this topic (I’ve wanted to for a long time), but for now I just wanted to lay down some general thoughts.

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Fréquence Banane: Internet rend-il stupide? [fr]

Fréquence Banane: Internet rend-il stupide? [fr]

[en] On the radio tonight -- and tomorrow night. In French.

Ce soir, de 20 à 21h, je serai l’une des invités de l’émission “La langue de bois” de la radio universitaire Fréquence Banane. Le thème: Internet rend-il bête? 🙂

Grande question pour un débat qui, j’imagine, sera animé (sauf si nous sommes tous d’accord avec moi!), avec Lyonel Kaufmann et Olivier Glassey.

Donc, ce soir, branchez-vous sur 94.55 si vous êtes dans le coin, et sinon, écoutez l’émission en streaming sur le site de Fréquence Banane!

(Je serai à nouveau sur les ondes demain, mais sur Couleur3, pour y parler de l’eclau lors de l’émission Saperlipopette, à 17h30 si ma mémoire ne me fait pas défaut.)

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"Piratage" dans Forum sur la RSR1 [fr]

"Piratage" dans Forum sur la RSR1 [fr]

[en] I'll be on air on RSR1 (Swiss radio) in about 90 minutes to talk about file-sharing and piracy. It's in French and you can listen online.

Je fais vite, OK? Dans 90 minutes environ, je serai sur les ondes de la RSR1 pour y dire quelques mots sur le thème de “pirater n’est pas voler“.

Vous pouvez écouter la RSR1 en direct ou attraper directement le l’épisode de Forum au vol.

A noter que la réunion de création du Parti des Pirates Suisse vient d’avoir lieu à Zurich (je n’ai pas tellement d’informations supplémentaires pour le moment, tout étant en allemand, et ma maîtrise de la langue de Goethe n’a jamais été foudroyante.)

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Portrait dans Le Matin Dimanche [fr]

Portrait dans Le Matin Dimanche [fr]

[en] Our local Sunday paper published a portrait of me, with quite a few lines about eclau, the coworking space I started.

Si vous avez Le Matin Dimanche sous la main, rendez-vous en page 23 où vous trouverez un portrait de moi (qui parle pas mal de l’eclau!). Un grand merci à Geneviève Morand pour l’article!

Je n’ai pas réussi à le trouver en ligne, mais voici une petite photo rapide.

Portrait Le Matin Dimanche

(Tiens, ça me rappelle que j’ai des photos de grèbes huppés et de chalet à mettre en ligne… en attandant, régalez-vous des photos de Claude de notre sortie avec le Farrniente — vous y trouverez aussi quelques grèbes!)

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Bienvenue aux lecteurs de l'Hebdo [fr]

Bienvenue aux lecteurs de l'Hebdo [fr]

[en] A month without blogging! An article on blogging in this area was published yesterday by l'Hebdo. An excuse to give you a little news.

Je romps le silence radio (un mois sans rien publier, que diable!) à l’occasion de la parution de l’article “Blogueurs romands: L’esprit de famille” dans l’Hebdo d’hier (le voici tout joli en PDF avec photos).

Un mois! A quoi me suis-je donc occupée? Qu’y a-t-il de nouveau? Je pourrais faire trois piles d’articles, mais à la place, je vous donne une liste en vrac:

  • 3 semaines malade au fond du canapé sous le duvet avec beaucoup de DVDs
  • 5 saisons de X-files (cf. ci-dessus)
  • heureuse propriétaire d’un iPhone et d’un netbook
  • un sympathique mandat en cours pour la boulangerie Fleur de Pains (3 articles publiés à ce jour)
  • un espace coworking (l’eclau) qui roule
  • co-conspiratrice de Ada Lovelace Day, 1000 participants inscrits en moins d’une semaine
  • rédactrice en chef du blog de voyage ebookers.ch en français (pas encore lancé, on trime dur, juste là)
  • la poignée habituelle de cours de blog, demandes d’interview, projets autour de conférences
  • du retard dans les mises à jour WordPress, l’envoi de ma newsletter, le rangement de mon appartement, la rédaction de divers ebooks et histoires de 50 mots
  • un mandat intéressant repoussé ad aeternam pour cause de crise budgétaire
  • un projet de traduction d’ebook en cours
  • beaucoup de tweets
  • toute une période de “rien envie d’écrire” — c’est rare
  • déclaration d’impôts 2007 envoyée, enfin!
  • et hop, la sortie du fameux livre sur WordPress, co-écrit par Xavier Borderie, Amaury Balmer, et Francis Chouquet (relu par bibi!)
  • relooking du site de Café-Café (encore quelques détails à régler)

Bon, allez, j’arrête là. L’envie d’écrire me reprend, je dégèle le blog, je reprends le rythme. A tout bientôt!

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Facebook, employés et entreprises [fr]

Facebook, employés et entreprises [fr]

[en] A radio talk show tomorrow will be devoted to facebook at the workplace. Swiss companies in general completely ignore facebook, and employees are often very naive in the way they expose personal information on their profiles. Teenagers aren't the only ones who need to learn about social media and how to use it responsibly: all newcomers make the same mistakes.

I've been giving talks on these topics in schools for a while now, and I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to do it in corporate settings too.

En tant que contributrice du Grand 8 à la Radio Suisse Romande, je reçois régulièrement (quotidiennement, probablement) un e-mail m’annonçant le sujet de l’émission du lendemain. Une ou deux fois, je suis allée laisser un commentaire (“contribuer”), mais la plupart du temps, pour être honnête, je zappe.

Pas aujourd’hui. Le titre? [Entreprises: craignez facebook!](http://g8.rsr.ch/?p=335) Titre un peu à faire peur, certes, mais bon, le mot “Facebook” a mon attention. Je lis. C’est pertinent. Je commente.

Extrait:

> Facebook, comme d’autres réseaux sociaux, fonctionne sur le partage d’information. De TOUTES les informations! On y trouve des souvenirs de vacances, des albums photos, des histoires plus ou moins salaces. On y lit les dernières aventures de nos “amis”, leurs exploits en tous genres, voire la dernière sortie avec les collègues de travail. Sans parler des groupes de discussions plus ou moins débiles auxquels on décide d’adhérer, parce qu’on y croit vraiment ou pour le fun. Du style “I hate les CFF” ou “I’m student and I work at Coop… shit”. Et pendant ce temps, que font les entreprises? Rien ou pas grand chose! D’après notre enquête réalisée auprès d’une dizaine de grandes entreprises suisses, à peine connait-on l’existence de Facebook. Pourtant, autant dire que certaines en prennent pour leur grade sur le net. Sans parler de l’image que certains employés peuvent véhiculer au travers de leur profil. Visiblement les entreprises ont une guerre de retard. Stéphane Koch parle carrément d’incompétence.

Entreprises: craignez facebook!

Comme je le dis dans mon commentaire, cette problématique n’a rien de vraiment nouveau. C’est le lot de ceux qui débarquent dans “l’internet relationnel”: on sous-estime sa visibilité, sa trouvabilité, et les conséquences que peuvent avoir nos publications sur nos vies (professionnelles par exemple). Les exemples (à ne pas suivre) abondent, mais l’éducation aux nouveaux médias manque cruellement.

L’éducation aux médias, il faut la faire non seulement dans les écoles, où je donne régulièrement des conférences pour parents, enseignants, élèves depuis bientôt 4 ans, mais également dans les entreprises.

Les personnes qui utilisent les réseaux sociaux comme Facebook pourraient vraiment bénéficier de quelques conseils avisés de la part d’une personne bien renseignée en la matière (suivez mon regard), et les personnes qui ne sont pas familiers avec, cadres ou collègues, trouveront certainement bien utile une petite “visite guidée” de ce monde aux allures parfois impénétrables.

Alors, j’attends. J’attends qu’on commence à [me contacter](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/contact/) pour que je vienne donner ce genre de conférence en entreprise. Ça viendra, parce que même si les entreprises font l’autruche, comme le montre du doigt l’annonce du Grand 8 de demain, elle ne vont pas le faire éternellement. Les premières à sortir la tête du sable seront aussi les premières à avoir l’occasion d’apprendre comment tirer parti de tous ces médias participatifs — et pas juste à en avoir peur.

**Mise à jour jeudi midi:** après avoir écouté l’émission (que j’ai trouvée très bien) j’ai fait quelques commentaires en vidéo que vous pouvez écouter ici.

Commentaires sur le Grand 8 de ce matin
Je n’en fais pas beaucoup usage, mais je suis une ‘contributrice’ de l’émission le Grand 8 à la Radio Suisse Romande.
Ce matin, une émission au sujet de Facebook dans les entreprises, et l’attitude un peu passive de ces dernières face à certaines publications pas toujours très malignes de leurs employés.
http://g8.rsr.ch/?p=335 et http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/10/08/facebook-employes-et-entreprises/
Je recommande chaudement la lecture du livre The Cluetrain Manifesto (en anglais seulement malheureusement). Voir http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/07/blogs-en-entreprise-un-peu-en-vrac/

Recommandations de lecture pour entreprises et curieux (entre autres, The Cluetrain Manifesto).

*(Oui, je sais, je ne devrais pas me frotter le nez quand je fais de la vidéo, mais ça chatouillait!)*

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Mon article sur Twitter dans Le Temps [fr]

Mon article sur Twitter dans Le Temps [fr]

[en] I wrote an article about Twitter for a local newspaper. It was published on Monday, and I'm pretty happy about it!

Lundi a paru dans Le Temps Twitter, ou 140 caractères pour raconter sa vie, article écrit par bibi et dont je suis assez contente.

Twitter, ou 140 caractères pour raconter sa vie

J’ai écrit plusieurs articles sur Twitter ici, dès début 2007:

– [Twitter, c’est quoi? Explications…](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/15/twitter-cest-quoi-explications/)
– [Twitter, encore des explications](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/05/22/twitter-encore-des-explications/)
– [Manuel de survie Twitter pour francophones](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/13/manuel-de-survie-twitter-pour-francophones/)

(Il y en a une pile en anglais, mais je ne vais pas tout lister ici — vous pouvez [faire vos propres fouilles](/tags/twitter/)…)

Il était temps que quelque chose paraisse sur papier.

C’est de la faute à Suw, qui m’a dit il y a quelques temps qu’une de ses décisions “marketing” était de proposer plus d’articles aux médias traditionnels. Du coup, je me suis dit “tiens, moi aussi je devrais faire ça,” et je me suis lancée. Pas évident pour moi d’écrire “pour du papier” (depuis le temps, j’ai l’écriture blogueuse) — mais bon, je m’en suis sortie. J’ai bénéficié d’un bon éditeur, ce qui était pour moi une expérience quasi réparatrice. Je suis assez possessive avec mes mots, et là, j’ai eu le plaisir de relire mon article après édition sans que ce qui avait été modifié ne me frappe. “C’est quelque chose que j’aurais pu écrire,” je me suis dit. Patte discrète de l’éditeur qui a su alléger, condenser, compacter, tout ça sans trahir mon style. Merci.

J’ai eu surtout des retours positifs sur l’article (mes amis sont gentils!) et je me réjouis déjà de refaire la pigiste une fois que mon rythme de vie (la folie depuis 3 semaines) aura un peu ralenti. Des suggestions?

*Pour me trouver sur Twitter: je suis @stephtara.*

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Blogger Accreditations for LeWeb Paris [en]

Blogger Accreditations for LeWeb Paris [en]

Update: the deadline for requests was 13.10.2008. The form is now closed. Thank you.

I’m pleased to announce that I am in charge of managing blogger accreditations for [the conference LeWeb’08 Paris](http://www.lewebparis.com/) which will take place on December 9-10th.

For the fifth year running, this huge conference organised by Géraldine and Loïc Le Meur will receive 1500 participants from the business, media, and internet worlds to listen to an amazing line-up of speakers — gathered this year around the theme ***love***. Just look at [the programme](http://www.lewebparis.com/schedule.html) to get a taste of what’s in store (listen to the video!) — plus great food, a [startup competition](http://www.lewebparis.com/startup.html), incredible networking, giant screens…

I went to LeWeb in 2006 for the first time, and I have to say I was blown away by what they had managed to put together. If you’ve never been to Le Web, it’s really worth experiencing. And if you have… Well, I probably don’t need to say much more.

This year, maybe you will one of the lucky ones to be invited there, as LeWeb is selecting bloggers, podcasters, and generally “electronic media people” from all over the world to cover the conference.

This selection will be based on:

– their geographical and linguistic location (ever thought of language as an online “place”?)
– their readership and influence
– their motivation and the value they offer the conference by their presence
– when they made their request (yes, there is an element of first come, first served in the selection).

Selected bloggers will be asked to display a badge on their blog upto the conference date and blog about it at least once before mid-November. They will be listed in an official blogroll on the conference site and will be given a “blogger accreditation” to attend the conference and cover it.

Send an e-mail to [email protected] (I’ll receive it) with Due to the rather large number of people applying, please fill in this form, which will ask you for information like:

– your name
– your URL
– the country you live in
– the language you will be blogging about LeWeb in
– your Twitter username if you have one
– if you’ve attended previous LeWeb conferences, and when
– why we should invite you 🙂 (we know you’re great and you certainly deserve it, but what does LeWeb get out of the deal?)

Bloggers who are also journalists should apply for a regular press pass at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]).

Waiting to hear from you, and looking forward to seeing you at LeWeb in a couple of months!

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Reading the Ofcon Report on Social Networking: Stats, Stranger Danger, Perceived Risk [en]

Reading the Ofcon Report on Social Networking: Stats, Stranger Danger, Perceived Risk [en]

[fr] Le Daily Mail remet ça aujourd'hui, abasourdi de découvrir que les adolescents rencontrent "offline" des étrangers d'internet. Il va donc falloir que j'écrive le fameux billet auquel j'ai fait allusion dernièrement, mais avant cela, je suis en train de lire le rapport sur lequel se basent ces articles alarmés et bien-pensants.

Ce billet contient quelques commentaires sur la situation en général, ainsi que mes notes de lecture -- citations et commentaires -- du début de ce rapport de l'Ofcon.

I don’t know if I’ll get around to writing about the [teen cleavage scare](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/04/02/daily-mail-shocked-by-teen-cleavage/) before the story goes completely cold, but in my endeavour to offer a balanced criticism of what’s going on here, I’m currently reading the [Ofcon Social Networking Report which was released on April 2](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/02_04_08_ofcom.pdf) and prompted this new wave of [“think of the children” media coverage](http://strange.corante.com/archives/2007/07/26/think_of_the_children_yes_but_also_think_about_the_journalism.php). The Daily Mail is at it today again, with the stunning and alarming news that [teenagers are meeting “strangers” from the internet offline](http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=557349&in_page_id=1770) (big surprise). I find it heartening, though, that the five reader comments to this article as of writing are completely sensible in playing down the “dangers” regularly touted by the press and the authorities.

Here are the running notes of my reading of this report. I might as well publish them as I’m reading. Clearly, the report seems way more balanced than the Daily Mail coverage (are we surprised?) which contains lots of figures taken out of context. However, there is still stuff that bothers me — less the actual results of the research (which are facts, so they’re good) than the way some of them are presented and the interpretations a superficial look at them might lead one to make (like, sorry to say, much of the mainstream press).

Here we go.

> Social networking sites also have
some potential pitfalls to negotiate, such as the unintended consequences of publicly posting
sensitive personal information, confusion over privacy settings, and contact with people one
doesn’t know.

Ofcon SN Report, page 1

Good start, I think that the issues raise here make sense. However, I would put “contact with people one doesn’t know” in “potential pitfalls”. (More about this lower down.)

> Ofcom research shows that just over one fifth (22%) of adult internet users aged 16+ and
almost half (49%) of children aged 8-17 who use the internet have set up their own profile on
a social networking site. For adults, the likelihood of setting up a profile is highest among
16-24 year olds (54%) and decreases with age.

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

This is to show that SNs are more popular amongst younger age groups. It makes sense to say that half of 8-17 year olds have a profile on SN site to compare it with the 22% of 16+ internet users or the 54% of 16-24 year olds. Bear in mind that these are *percentages of internet users* — they do not include those who do not go online.

However, saying “OMG one out of two 8-17 year olds has a profile on a SN site” in the context of “being at risk from paedophiles” is really not very interesting. Behaviour of 8 year olds and 17 year olds online cannot be compared at all in that respect. You can imagine a 16 year old voluntarily meeting up to have sex with an older love interest met on the internet. Not an 8 year old. In most statistics, however, both fall into the category of “paedophilia” when the law gets involved.

> 27% of 8-11 year olds who are aware of social networking sites say that they have a profile on a site

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

I’d like to draw you attention on the fact that this is 27% of 8-11 year olds **who are aware of social networking sites**.

> Unless otherwise stated, this report uses the term ‘children’ to include all young people aged 8-17.

Ofcon SN Report, page 5

I don’t like this at all, because as stated above, particularly when it comes to concerns about safety one *cannot* simply lump that agegroup into a practical “children”, which plays well with “child abuse”. In the US, cases of “statutory rape” which might very well have been consensual end up inflating the statistics on “children falling victim to sexual predators online”.

> Although contact lists on sites talk about ’friends’, social networking sites stretch the
traditional meaning of ‘friends’ to mean anyone with whom a user has an online connection.
Therefore the term can include people who the user has never actually met or spoken to.
Unlike offline (or ‘real world’) friendship, online friendships and connections are also
displayed in a public and visible way via friend lists.
> The public display of friend lists means that users often share their personal details online
with people they may not know at all well. These details include religion, political views,
sexuality and date of birth that in the offline world a person might only share only with close
friends.
> While communication with known contacts was the most popular social
networking activity, 17 % of adults used their profile to communicate with
people they do not know. This increases among younger adults.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

Right. This is problematic too. And it’s not just the report’s fault. The use of “friend” to signify contact contributes to making the whole issue of “online friendship” totally inpenetrable to those who are not immersed in online culture. The use of “know” is also very problematic, as it tends to be understood that you can only “know” somebody offline. Let’s try to clarify.

First, it’s possible to build relationships and friendships (even loves!) online. Just like in pre-internet days you could develop a friendship with a pen-pal, or kindle a nascent romance through letters, you can get to know somebody through text messages, IM, blog postings, presence streams, Skype chats and calls, or even mailing-list and newsgroup postings. I hope that it will soon be obvious to everybody that it is possible to “know” somebody without actually having met them offline.

So, there is a difference between “friends” that “you know” and “SN friends aka contacts” which you might in truth not really know. But you can see how the vocabulary can be misleading here.

I’d like to take the occasion to point out one other thing that bothers me here: the idea that contact with “strangers” or “people one does not know” is a thing worth pointing out. So, OK, 17% of adults in the survey, communicated with people they “didn’t know”. I imagine that this is “didn’t know” in the “offline person”‘s worldview, meaning somebody that had never been met physically (maybe the study gives more details about that). But even if it is “didn’t know” as in “complete stranger” — still, why does it have to be pointed out? Do we have statistics on how many “strangers” we communicate with offline each week?

It seems to me that *because this is on the internet*, strangers are perceived as a potential threat, in comparison to people we already know. As far as abuse goes, in the huge, overwhelming, undisputed majority of cases, the abuser was known (and even well known) to the victim. Most child sexual abuse is commited by people in the family or very close social circle.

I had hoped that in support of what I’m writing just now, I would be able to state that “stranger danger” was behind us. Sadly, a quick [search on Google](http://www.google.com/search?q=%22stranger+danger%22) shows that I’m wrong — it’s still very much present. I did, however, find [this column which offers a very critical view of how much danger strangers actually do represent for kids](http://www.parentkidsright.com/pt-strangerdanger2.html) and the harmful effects of “stranger danger”. Another nice find was this [Families for Freedom Child Safety Bulletin](http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/families_for_freedom.htm), by a group who seems to share the same concerns I do over the general scaremongering around children.

> Among those who reported talking to people they didn’t know, there were significant
variations in age, but those who talked to people they didn’t know were significantly more
likely to be aged 16-24 (22% of those with a social networking page or profile) than 25-34
(7% of those with a profile). In our qualitative sample, several people reported using sites in
this way to look for romantic interests.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

Meeting “online people” offline is more common amongst the younger age group, which is honestly not a surprise. At 34, I sometimes feel kind of like a dinosaur when it comes to internet use, in the sense that many of my offline friends (younger than me) would never dream of meeting somebody from “The Internets”. 16-24s are clearly digital natives, and as such, I would expect them to be living in a world where “online” and “offline” are distinctions which do not mean much anymore (as they do not mean much to me and many of the other “online people” of my generation or older).

> The majority of comments in our qualitative sample were positive about social networking. A
few users did mention negative aspects to social networking, and these included annoyance
at others using sites for self-promotion, parties organised online getting out of hand, and
online bullying.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7

This is interesting! Real life experience from real people with social networks. Spam, party-crashing and bullying (I’ll have much more to say about this last point later on, but in summary, address the bullying problem at the source and offline, and don’t blame the tool) are mentioned as problems. Unwanted sexual sollicitations or roaming sexual predators do not seem to be part of the online experience of the people interviewed in this study. Strangely, this fits with my experience of the internet, and that of almost everybody I know. (Just like major annoyances in life for most people, thankfully, are not sexual harrassment — though it might be for some, and that really sucks.)

> The people who use social networking sites see them as a fun and easy leisure activity.
Although the subject of much discussion in the media, in Ofcom’s qualitative research
privacy and safety issues on social networking sites did not emerge as ‘top of mind’ for most
users. In discussion, and after prompting, some users in the qualitative study did think of
some privacy and safety issues, although on the whole they were unconcerned about them.
> In addition, our qualitative study found that all users, even those who were confident with
ICT found the settings on most of the major social networking sites difficult to understand
and manipulate.

Ofcon SN Report, page 7-8

This is really interesting too. But how do you understand it? I read: “It’s not that dangerous, actually, if those people use SN sites regularly without being too concerned, and the media are making a lot of fuss for nothing.” (Ask people about what comes to mind about driving a car — one of our regular dangerous activities — and I bet you more people than in that study will come up with safety issues; chances are we’ve all been involved in a car crash at some point, or know somebody who has.) Another way of reading it could be “OMG, even with all the effort the media are putting into raising awareness about these problems, people are still as naive and ignorant! They are in danger!”. What will the media choose to understand?

The study points out the fact that privacy settings are hard to understand and manipulate, and I find this very true. In doubt or ignorance, most people will “not touch” the defaults, which are generally too open. I say “too open” with respect to privacy in the wide sense, not in the “keep us safe from creeps” sense.

This brings me to a comment I left earlier on [an article on ComMetrics about what makes campaigns against online pedophiles fail](http://commetrics.com/?p=29). It’s an interesting article, but as I explain in the comment, I think it misses an important point:

>There is a bigger issue here — which I try to explain each time I get a chance, to the point I’m starting to feel hoarse.

>Maybe the message is not the right one? The campaign, as well as your article, takes as a starting point that “adults posing as kids” are the threat that chatrooms pose to our children.

>Research shows that this is not a widespread risk. It also shows that there is no correlation between handing out personal information online and the risk of falling victim to a sexual predator. Yet our campaigns continue to be built on the false assumptions that not handing out personal information will keep a kid “safe”, and that there is danger in the shape of people lying about their identity, in the first place.

>There is a disconnect between the language the campaigns speak and what they advocate (you point that out well in your article, I think), and the experience kids and teenagers have of life online (“they talk to strangers all the time, and nothing bad happens; they meet people from online, and they are exactly who they said they were; hence, all this “safety” information is BS”). But there is also a larger disconnect, which is that the danger these campaigns claim to address is not well understood. Check out the 5th quote in the long article I wrote on the subject at the time of the MySpace PR stunt about deleting “sex offenders'” profiles.

>I will blog more about this, but wanted to point this out here first.

Yes, I will blog more about this. I think this post of notes and thoughts is long enough, and it’s time for me to think about sleeping or putting a new bandage on my scraped knee. Before I see you in a few days for the next bout of Ofcon Report reading and commentating, however, I’ll leave you with the quote I reference in the comment above (it can’t hurt to publish it again):

Now, on the case of internet sex crimes against kids, I’m concerned
that we’re already off to a bad start here. The public and the
professional impression about what’s going on in these kinds of
crimes is not in sync with the reality, at least so far as we can
ascertain it on the basis of research that we’ve done. And this
research has really been based on some large national studies of
cases coming to the attention of law enforcement as well as to large
national surveys of youth.

If you think about what the public impression is about this crime,
it’s really that we have these internet pedophiles who’ve moved
from the playground into your living room through the internet
connection, who are targeting young children by pretending to be
other children who are lying about their ages and their identities and
their motives, who are tricking kids into disclosing personal
information about themselves or harvesting that information from
blogs or websites or social networking sites. Then armed with this
information, these criminals stalk children. They abduct them.
They rape them, or even worse.

But actually, the research in the cases that we’ve gleaned from
actual law enforcement files, for example, suggests a different
reality for these crimes. So first fact is that the predominant online
sex crime victims are not young children. They are teenagers.
There’s almost no victims in the sample that we collected from – a
representative sample of law enforcement cases that involved the
child under the age of 13.

In the predominant sex crime scenario, doesn’t involve violence,
stranger molesters posing online as other children in order to set up
an abduction or assault. Only five percent of these cases actually
involved violence. Only three percent involved an abduction. It’s
also interesting that deception does not seem to be a major factor.
Only five percent of the offenders concealed the fact that they were
adults from their victims. Eighty percent were quite explicit about
their sexual intentions with the youth that they were communicating
with.

So these are not mostly violence sex crimes, but they are criminal
seductions that take advantage of teenage, common teenage
vulnerabilities. The offenders lure teens after weeks of
conversations with them, they play on teens’ desires for romance,
adventure, sexual information, understanding, and they lure them to
encounters that the teams know are sexual in nature with people who
are considerably older than themselves.

So for example, Jenna – this is a pretty typical case – 13-year-old
girl from a divorced family, frequented sex-oriented chat rooms, had
the screen name “Evil Girl.” There she met a guy who, after a
number of conversations, admitted he was 45. He flattered her, gave
– sent her gifts, jewelry. They talked about intimate things. And
eventually, he drove across several states to meet her for sex on
several occasions in motel rooms. When he was arrested in her
company, she was reluctant to cooperate with the law enforcement
authorities.

David Finkelhor, in panel Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization: Researchers Present the Facts and Debunk Myths, May 2007

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