How Do You Personally Define or Explain "Web 2.0"? [en]

On Tuesday I’m giving an introductory keynote at the next GRI theme day here in Lausanne. I’ll be setting the stage for the day by clarifying what “web 2.0” is and is not, where it comes from, how it’s used (and abused). I’m doing quite a bit of research to get my facts straight (and they’re starting to look pretty starched by now) and I thought I’d ask you, readers (or not) of this blog, to contribute a little to my research by answering the following question in the comments:

How do you personally define “web 2.0”? Today, in 2010, what is the meaning of “web 2.0” (the expression) for you, in a few sentences? If somebody asks you what it is, how do you explain (simply)?

I can read the Wikipedia page and the history of the term, and see how various people use it. But what I’m interested in here is the way you use it. Beyond all official definitions, what does “web 2.0” mean when people actually speak the words or write them?

So, thanks a lot if you can take a minute or two to write down what it means to you here in the comments.

It would also help me contextualise if you could add a little info about your background: I’m interested in knowing if you’re a social media professional, or power user, or “just a user”, and also if you were online doing things like blogging before 2004.

Update: I’m not looking for the definition of “web 2.0”. I know how I understand it and use it (or don’t use it). I’m interested in seeing how various people have various ways of explaining something that is often pretty fuzzy, complex, and overused. It’s not about “good” or “bad” ways of saying what it is, it’s about collecting a variety of definitions which will show how multifaceted and ambiguous “web 2.0” can be.

Update 2: If you’re feeling a bit self-conscious about going public with this, you may use this form instead of the comments!


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Judging Talk Proposals for Conferences [en]

[fr] Très difficile d'évaluer la qualité d'une proposition de conférence basé sur un résumé textuel (ce que je suis en train de faire à présent pour la conférence BlogTalk 2009 qui aura lieu à Jeju, en Corée du Sud). Il faudrait que les candidats donnent non seulement un descriptif écrit de leur proposition, mais aussi un court extrait vidéo (2-3 minutes), soit d'une conférence qu'ils ont déjà donnée, soit d'un "pitch" pour le sujet qu'ils proposent.

Just a passing thought, as I’m spending some time reviewing submissions for the upcoming BlogTalk 2009 conference in Jeju, South Korea.

Just as my proposal was reviewed (and rejected) last year, I am now on the other side of the fence, looking at proposal abstracts and trying to determine if they would make good presentations for the conference.

BlogTalk is an interesting conference, because it tries to bridge the academic and practitioner worlds. The submission process resulting from that led to some interesting discussions last year (academics are used to submitting papers all over the place and are paid for that, practitioners on the conference circuit are more used to being asked to come and talk) and as a result the process was modified somewhat for this year. Practitioners and academics alike submit a short abstract of their talk/paper/research, and people like me (the programme committee) review them.

What I am realizing, doing this, is that it is very hard to imagine if the proposals will produce good talks. I mean, I can judge if their content is interesting or not. I don’t know the people sending in the proposals, so I keep going from “ah, this could be really good if the speaker is competent” to “ew, if the speaker isn’t good this could be a nightmare”.

Already in my long-gone university days, I had understood that content is only half of the deal. Take great content but a crap speaker, you’ll lose half your audience (and I’m being nice).

In 2007 and 2008, I gave a fair amount of talks all over the place and organized my own conference. All this time on the “conference circuit” and amongst regular speakers led me to view it as something quite close to the entertainment business.

So, setting up a conference that will be successful means finding engaging speakers who will be able to talk about interesting topics. When I organized Going Solo (clearly a very different type of conference than BlogTalk, of course), I picked speakers I was familiar with and that I had already seen “in action”.

Back to screening proposals for conferences — of course, if you want an open process, you’re not going to know all the speakers. But how about asking candidates, alongside the written abstract, for a 2-3 minute video excerpt of them giving a talk, or pitching their proposal?

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Stephanie's October Conference Tour: <head> [en]

[fr] A la conférence en ligne , je parlerai de mon expérience d'indépendante et d'organisatrice d'événements. Lessons apprises. Je vous encourage vivement à vous inscrire à cette conférence, et à la suivre depuis le hub de Liip à Fribourg si vous en avez l'occasion.

After I gave my [Going Solo speech at LIFT]( earlier this year, I was approached by Aral Balkan, who asked me if I would be willing to speak at the online conference he was organising, then named Singularity. I immediately accepted.

<head> web conference: October 24-26, 2008

<Head>, 24-26 October, everywhere

Since then, the conference was renamed <head> (following some letter from some lawyers), and the speaker roster has filled up nicely.

<head> is an online conference. That means you can attend from anywhere in the world, watch the talks through your web browser and interact with the speakers and other participants. There are offline “hubs” in various cities around the world (including Second Life) — if you live in Switzerland, I recommend you head over the Fribourg where Liip are hosting a hub.

Eight months after my Going Solo speech at LIFT, I’m going to take the opportunity to look back at what I’ve learned. Both Going Solo and SoloCamp are great concepts and were much appreciated by those who attended them. However, they both left a dent (to be polite) in my already suffering bank account, and I’m aware I made a series of mistakes I was actually warned against when I announced my project. On being human and not listening to other people’s advice…

This talk will by my story as a freelancer and an event organiser. Success, failure, and heading forward — sharing my experience, whilst knowing that the best experience is the one you earn directly.

Wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection, you can take part in <head>. No travel or accommodation expenses, and a great conference! Plus, as it’s an online conference, the price is very reasonable. Head (!) over to the conference site to register.

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Stephanie's October Conference Tour: SHiFT [en]

[fr] La conférence SHiFT a lieu du 15 au 17 octobre à Lisbonne. J'y parlerai des conférences que je donne depuis bientôt quatre ans dans les écoles. Il est encore possible de s'inscrire pour assister à la conférence, faites vite!

Well, here we are. I should have blogged about this long ago, but without getting into the details of these past weeks, it’s been kinda… busy here lately.

October is conference month in Stephanie-land. I leave on Tuesday. Let’s see what we have in store. First conference:

SHiFT, 15-17 October 2008, Lisbon

SHiFT - Social and Human Ideas For Technology I was present at the first edition of SHiFT in 2006, and really liked this Reboot– and LIFT-inspired event. Smaller scale than both of them, SHiFT is set in beautiful Lisbon and has a very nice atmosphere. I heard some great talks and met some incredible people in 2006, and I’m looking forward to more this year.

I’m really excited that I’ve been invited to speak, and will for the first time cover and comment on the work I’ve been doing in schools for nearly four years in schools, raising awareness about digital media issues with teenagers, teachers, and parents, in “What do teenagers, teachers, and parents need to understand“.

Even if you don’t work with teenagers or in a school setting, and don’t have any teenage children, I think you’ll find my talk interesting. I would really like to encourage you to attend. I’m saying this because I’ll be talking about what feels to me like my most meaningful work, and I want to share it. The thinking and issues behind it go way beyond educational settings, as I explain in my recent comments following a radio show about Facebook in Swiss companies, and the complete ignorance of what may seem basic digital media awareness in those environments — both on the part of employees and company management.

I’m not danah or Anastasia and my book project is on hold ;-), but I’ve learnt over the years that though it may not have seemed extraordinary to me at first, I have acquired some valuable insights about online behaviours of both adults and teenagers, and I’m really happy to have a chance to share them with my digitally clued-in peers.

If you hadn’t planned to attend SHiFT, hurry up and register. It’s last-minute but it’s still possible. EasyJet and TAP flights will take you to Lisbon from most places in Europe.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Vidéo de ma conférence sur le multilinguisme à Paris Web 2007 [fr]

[en] For once, I was asked to give one of my multilingual talks in French. Here is the video recording of it.

Il y a un décalage qui me perplexe parfois un peu entre les conférences que je donne en français et celles que je donne en anglais. En français, on me demande immanquablement de parler [d’ados et internet]( ou éventuellement des blogs en général ou [en entreprise]( Dans le monde anglophone, c’est une tout autre histoire, et ce sont des sujets beaucoup plus pointus, comme [le multilinguisme sur internet](/focus/multilingual), par exemple.

Je suis contente qu’on m’ait enfin demandé de traiter de ce sujet en français, lors de la conférence [Paris Web 2007]( Voici l’enregistrement vidéo de ma conférence,intitulée “En attendant le Poisson de Babel”.

Sur le site de Paris Web, vous trouverez des liens vers [l’enregistrement audio et autres ressources]( ainsi que [d’autres formats vidéo]( Voici la présentation que j’ai utilisée:

Voici une liste (pas forcément complète) de ce que [d’autres ont écrit au sujet des diverses incarnations de cette conférence]( — en français et en anglais.

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Stalling [en]

[fr] Trop à faire. 5 jours avant mon départ pour près de 4 semaines, et les priorités sont toutes conflictuelles. Aaaah! (Mais bon, je me connais, je vais m'en sortir.)

Gosh, I haven’t published in ages. Scary. I’m stalling. Too much to do, too little time, not sure where to start. Well, life is deciding for me, because I have 5 days left before departing on a nearly 4-week trip, and there is only so much one can do in 5 days. So, some news and some thoughts.

– [Going Solo]( things are good. 25% of tickets sold in less than a week. [Video of my speech]( finally made it online. Don’t miss [Early Bird price until March 16th]( In one word: [register]( Reminder: stay up-to-date on Going Solo by subscribing to [the Going Solo blog]( or the [Going Solo Twitter feed]( — much better source of news than CTTS.
– 5 [talks/things]( in less than two weeks. A talk for [parents of teenagers]( in neighbouring France Thursday evening. A session at [WebCamp SNP]( A [panel to moderate]( at BlogTalk. Co-hosting a [core conversation at SXSW]( and [moderating another panel]( (both [multilingual stuff](/focus/multilingual/)). I should blog about these more in detail. And more importantly, I have quite a bit of homework to do to prepare the four last ones. And I’m a bit anxious about how moderating panels will go — never done that before.
– travel: Cork (Ireland), Dallas-Austin (Texas), San Francisco. That means I need to sort some stuff out before I leave for nearly a month (clean the flat, do some paperwork, pay bills, see people). I’m going to have to pack <shudder> — and I still need to unpack. I’ll be in San Francisco for two weeks, so maybe I want to organise a dinner or something there. I’ll be distributing Going Solo moo cards all along my journey. I’m apprehensive about all this travel. I don’t want to go. I want to stay here, curled up on the sofa, with the cat purring next to me. But I’m looking forward to seeing people I like.
– work to do for Going Solo: not the least, unfortunately. Sort out the programme. Get back to all the people who sent in speaker proposals. Get sponsor/partner documentation and contracts sorted out so that the partners waiting in the lobby can be let in. Promote, promote. Worry about WiFi a bit more. Happily, video filming, venue set-up and design, and some offline promotion do not depend entirely on me. Prepare a “dossier de presse”. Finish rounding up media partners. Promote, promote.
– blogging: posts piling up in my head. About books I’ve read or am reading: The Paradox of Choice, A Perfect Mess (got a post brewing about GTD and messiness), and The Black Swan of course. Need more time to read. More time to write. Can’t keep up.
– misc: photos to upload, podcast to edit, other sites to update, e-mails to answer (I’m far from zero right now), plants to water, a life to live…

This roughly sums up where I’m at right now.

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I'll be Speaking at Singularity [en]

[fr] J'ai accepté de participer à la conférence Singularity, la première conférence online de grande envergure. Ce sera les 24-26 octobre 2008.

[Aral Balkan]( introduced himself to me at LIFT08. He’s organizing [Singularity](, the first large-scale online conference in the world. He asked me if I would be willing to speak there, which I gladly accepted. Looks like I’ll be [in good company](!

The conference will take place in October, 24-26th. Book the dates, already!


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BlogTalk 2008: Rejection [en]

[fr] Ma proposition de conférence pour BlogTalk 2008 a été rejetée. Du coup, il est possible que je n'aille pas en Irlande, pour finir.

So, bummer. My [talk proposal for BlogTalk 2008]( was rejected. As it is a peer-reviewed process, I got the detail of the reasons for being rejected.

Here’s what the first reviewer said, rating me 1 (weak accept):

> The proposal touches on an interesting issue influencing individual blogging practices as well as structural aspects of blogospheres (linguistic boundaries).

I have no beef with that. Reviewer number two, however, rates me 0 (borderline paper) with the following comment:

> This appears to be an interesting topic .. however I cant find anyone
actually doing this on a large scale with respect to blogging. Its
implementation would be complex for bloggers(and probably expensive).
More importantly, there is an attempt now towards localization as
opposed to translation i.e. there is a move toward local social
networking as opposed to trnslating one experinece in many languages.

What bothers me here is the person reviewing my proposal doesn’t seem to have understood what it was about. “Multilingual blogging”, in the sense I’m interested in, has nothing to do with “translation” — quite the opposite. Granted, “nothing to do” is maybe a little strong, but I don’t view multilingual blogging as “translation blogging”.

I’ll admit I’m disappointed. Colour me naive, but I honestly didn’t expect a rejection. Did [the fact I didn’t provide an academic-like 2-page proposal]( have an influence, here? If it did, I think it’s a shame. Blogtalk aims to bridge the academic and social media worlds (at least, this is my understanding after some discussions with the organisers about the proposal format). It seems to me to be pretty skewed towards the academic.

Following the rejection of my talk, I’m actually wondering how much sense it makes for me to take the trip to Blogtalk. Not in a spirit of retaliation, of course, but from a basic business point of view. It’s an expensive trip for me (compute flights, bed-and-breakfast or hotel for 4 nights, eating out, registration fees). If I’m not talking, I don’t gain much in terms of exposure. I was looking forward to seeing a couple of friends there, but it turns out they won’t be coming. I signed up to give a presentation at the social network portability workshop — but really, this is turning out to be a really expensive investment to go and give a talk at a workshop. (And this, even though I really do care about the topic and welcome the opportunity to express myself on it.)

Now, I’ve got a couple of hours to decide if I’m going to Cork or not, finally. Ironically, the e-mail announcing that my talk was rejected came in literally minutes after I’d finally managed to secure the long-suffering booking for my Cork-Texas flight. Damn.

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November 2007 Recap [en]

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

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

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

### Talks and Conferences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#### Paris, [ParisWeb](

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

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

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

#### Zurich, ASCI

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

### Starting a Company

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

### Geeky and Other Stuff

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

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

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

### Selection

If you were to read only three posts?

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

Five? Add these two:

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

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Why Events? [en]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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