A Trip to Walgreens [en]

[fr] Une petite visite à la pharmacie aux Etats-Unis.

This is just too good a story to not write about it while I wait for somebody around here in Austin to come up with dinner plans.

Around noon, I noticed my left eye was bloodshot. Nothing terrifying. Over the afternoon, it started feeling a bit dry and painful, so I asked the hotel clerk if there was a pharmacy nearby. (Cutting a long story short, I figured out that this was the best course of action given the situation.)

A $20 taxi fare and a bottle of Visine later ($3.99), I have just been through the most surreal pharmacy experience in my whole life. I mean, I’d heard jokes, but I’d never seen it in person.

First, the pharmacist. For those of you who do not know the US, pharmacies are not privately owned (as far as I can see), as they are in Switzerland for example, but are part of a chain: Walgreens, CVS… There is a little booth where you can go to speak to the pharmacist and get advice — in that, it seems to match the kind of services I’m used to in a pharmacy. It stops there.

He finally puts down the phone and comes over to me.

– How can I help? *(in a “let’s get it done with” tone of voice — friendliness optional, obviously, and I ain’t getting none of it)*
– Well, my eye is red, and it hurts, and it might just be too much travel, too much A/C, not enough sleep, but it could be conjunctivitis…
– If you have conjunctivitis, then you have to see a doctor. Otherwise, you can *shmbl glmp znfgh — inaudible*
– Well, I don’t *know* if I have conjunctivitis.
– …
– Er, so, how do I know if I have to go see a doctor? How long do I wait before going to see the doctor if it doesn’t get better?
– I can’t tell you that. *(or something in that direction)*
– I mean… assuming it’s not conjunctivitis, and I use those drops, in how many days should it be over?
– Can’t say — it depends on the person. *(at this point, I feel like saying *I’m not going to sue you, you know, just looking for some kind of indication…”)*
– …
– Is there any discharge?
– No… just feels dry and painful
– OK, so it’s probably not conjunctivitis. If you have conjunctivitis, there is a discharge… so you should be ok with *shgmphh fgb*, over-the-counter.
– OK, thanks — can you repeat the name again?
– Visine A.C.
– Where do I find it?
– Aisle 8D.

I thank him and potter off to aisle 8D, not far away. There is a sign that says eye and ear stuff. The aisle is full of feminine hygiene products and sports elastic bands. I have no clue what Visine A.C. looks like, and it doesn’t seem to jump out at me.

I head back to the counter and ask for help. It is provided rather gracefully.

The shop assistant leads me down the *neighbouring* aisle (I could have searched for a long time in the wrong one) and shows me the drops. I spot another bottle just next to it, Visine L.R. Being a curious bunny, I wonder what the difference between the two products is. This is where it gets really bad.

– So, what’s the difference between those two?
– Well… let me see. They don’t have the same active ingredients. See… this one has a different active ingredient, and astringent.
– Er, OK, but what’s the difference?
– They have different active ingredients… This is the one the pharmacist recommends for you.
– I mean, what’s the difference in effect… what does the difference in active ingredients change?
– Well, this one will be more effective.
– But… how? what is the difference going to be?
– I can’t make any recommendation, but this one is what the pharmacist recommended, so it’ll be more effective for what you told the pharmacist you had…

Before I have a chance to confront his robotic, scripted, lawsuit-proof behaviour (which probably wouldn’t have done much good), the pharmacist comes walking by, and he passes on the problem (me) to him.

The pharmacist looks at the two bottles while I repeat my request for information.

– They don’t have the same active ingredients. This is the one I recommended. Actually, here, this is what you need.

He hands me the Visine L.R.

Similar Posts:

Blogging in Internal Communications [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence que j'ai donnée aujourd'hui à Zürich sur les blogs dans la communication interne.

First of all, let me thank all present for their participation, and Nils ([Enzaim Communications](http://enzaim.ch/)) in particular for making this happen. I also appreciated having [Stefan Bucher](http://www.stefanbucher.net/blog/) amongst the audience — it’s particularly nice when fellow bloggers show up, share their experience, and to top it all tell me my talk was interesting to them, too. Thanks!

Two months ago I gave a talk titled [“How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/). This one is quite similar, but focused on internal communications.

As I explained, the dynamics involved are very similar. It’s about having conversations, whether it’s behind the firewall or outside on the big bad internet — about engaging with people (employees, customers, colleagues) rather than talking *at* them.

Although the talk I prepared was very similar (with some added stuff specific to internal communications), it did of course turn out rather different. Different people, different questions. I like it (particularly with small audiences) when instead of giving a lecture-like talk, there are lots of questions and I am derailed from what I had planned.

That’s a bit what blogging is about, isn’t it? Having a dialogue. So, when the setting permits it, I try to do the same thing with my talks. My impression is that people get more out of them that way. (Do feel free to correct me if you think I’m mistaken.)

You should probably go and have a look at [the notes from my previous talk](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/), as I’m not going to rewrite everything here. I’ll just concentrate on what seems to me was the important additional stuff we talked about. If you were there and want to add things to what I’m writing here, please feel free to leave a comment. I’d be very happy if you did.

If you look at the slides, they’re very similar in the beginning, aside from slides 9-10-11 in which I try to clarify the difference between blog and wiki, as I was told confusion was common.


Content on blogs is organised based on the time they were written. From an editorial point of view, blogs also put the author(s) forward. He has a very different status from the commentators, who are guests on his blog.


Wikis, on the other hand, are organised solely through the links created between the various pages. The focus is on the documentation produced rather than on who produced it. The various author voices tend to merge into a uniform community voice.

Both blogs and wikis are part of the larger class of tools one can name “social media”. These are the online tools which help us publish information in a way that connects us to other people, and encourages us to engage in conversations and relationships with them. You’ll also come upon the expression “social software” used with roughly the same meaning (though the emphasis is in this way more on the technology than on its usage). “Social tools” can be considered a wider category including all technology that explicitly connects its users to one another. (I have to say, though, that many people — I included — will sometimes use these terms interchangeably.)

Short version: it’s “social media” that is important in this discussion, more than “just blogging”. I’m talking of “blogging” inasmuch as it is a popular incarnation of social media.

We spent quite some time commenting the [blog examples]() I showed. These are of course examples of blogging externally, because unfortunately, it’s kind of hard to find examples of internal blogging on the internet ;-).

There are a lot of “damage control” or “crisis” examples, because blogging is a good tool to use in this kind of situation where real communication is required.

Here are a few quotes I read out. First, the beginning of the open letter to Palm on Engadget:

> Dear Palm,

> Man, what a crazy year, right? We know things haven’t really been going your way lately, but we want you to know that we haven’t given up on you, even though it might seem like the only smartphone anyone wants to talk about these days is the iPhone. It can be hard to remember right now, but you used to be a company we looked to for innovation. You guys got handhelds right when everyone else, including Apple, was struggling to figure it out. And it was the little things that made those early Palm Pilots great — you could tell that someone had gone to a lot of trouble to think about what made for a great mobile experience, like how many (or rather, few) steps it took to perform common tasks.

> The problem is that lately we haven’t seen anything too impressive out of you guys. Sure, over the past few years the Treo has emerged as a cornerstone of the smartphone market, but you’ve let the platform stagnate while nearly everyone (especially Microsoft and HTC, Symbian and Nokia, RIM, and Apple) has steadily improved their offerings. So we’ve thrown together a few ideas for how Palm can get back in the game and (hopefully) come out with a phone that people can care about. (And we’re not talking about the Centro / Gandolf.) Read on.

Dear Palm: It’s time for an intervention

And two days later, the response of the Palm CEO, Ed Colligan

> Dear Peter, Ryan and Joshua:

> Thank you for the very thoughtful post about Palm. I really appreciate the fact that you guys and others care enough to take the time to write such a comprehensive list of actions. I forwarded it to our entire executive staff and many others at Palm have read it. Although I can’t say I agree with every point, many are right on. We are attacking almost every challenge you noted, so stay tuned. Let’s remember that it is very early in the evolution of the smartphone and there is enormous opportunity for us to innovate. We have only just begun to fight!

> Thank you for taking the time to write. I really do take your comments to heart and I know the team at Palm is totally committed to delivering the best mobile computing solutions in the world.

Ed Colligan

Not bad, huh? This is the kind of openness people want to see more of.

> Corporate types will always be concerned about negative comments, which is a valid concern; however, if you’ve got a product or service that’s worth blogging about, your fans should be coming out to support you — which they have, in Yahoo!’s case. Also, by allowing full comments, and better yet, responding to some of them, you gain a valuable sense of integrity and, as loathe as I am to type these words, “street cred” — that you just can’t buy.

> Negative comments are the price you’ve got to pay for having a Real Blog, and companies that have them deserve to be recognized. It shows that they believe in their own business, and they respect their customers enough to allow them to have a public opinion on their business.

Yahoo’s Blog Takes Its Blogging Lumps, Like a Real Blog Should

We talked a lot about negative comments and what to do about them (they can actually turn out to be a good thing if you respond to them openly and honestly). We also talked about ghost-writing (don’t!) and human relationships in general. Things that are true for offline relationships, I find, are also true for online ones you can establish through blogging: if somebody is willing to recognise they made a mistake, for example, or acknowledge that you are upset about something, it goes a long way. Same is true on blogs.

Here’s a link to [the corporate blogging 101](http://engineerswithoutfears.blogspot.com/2007/04/tooling-around-blogs.html) I mentioned in passing and I said I would point you to.

I also skipped a bit quickly through the Do/Don’t lists, so here they are again:


  • eat your own dog-food
  • trust your bloggers
  • read other blogs
  • be part of the community
  • use a feed-reader
  • link! even to competition, negative stuff
  • be human
  • learn the culture
  • use an existing blogging tool
  • discuss problems
  • define what is really confidential
  • give existing in-house bloggers a role (evangelists! learn from them!)
  • tag, ping, use the “kit” and other social tools


  • try to control
  • use a ghost-writer or outsource blogging
  • “roll your own” tool
  • ignore established blogging conventions, they’re there for a reason
  • copy-paste print material in posts
  • use corpspeak
  • force people to blog
  • write happy-clappy stuff
  • write blog posts or comments as if they were e-mails (starting with Hi… and ending with a signature)
  • be faceless (signing with the name of the company instead of the person)

Employees know (and so do internal communications people) that the best sources of information are usually one’s direct boss and… the cafeteria. If you think about it, your boss is probably one of the main people you actually have real conversations with. You don’t often have a real conversation with the CEO — but you probably have regular briefings with your boss. Hopefully, you have something resembling a human relationship with her/him.

The cafeteria or the corridors are the informal networking spaces of company life. And often, these informal relationships can actually be more useful to your work than the hierarchy. “Networks subvert hierarchies”, says the [Cluetrain](http://cluetrain.com).

Well, in a company in which employees can blog, subscribe to their feeds and leave comments on each other’s blogs, the online space can become a kind of “virtual cafeteria” — only in the public eye. This might sound scary to some. But you’re not preventing people from having conversations in the cafeteria, are you? By having these conversations online, in a “public” space (which may still be behind the firewall), you can help them be more efficient if they’re positive, and debunk them more easily if they’re rumors.

RSS is an important technology to be aware of. It’s the one that allows people to subscribe to blogs, comments, or other sources of news. In a company where employees can have their own blogs, they’ll need to learn to use an aggregator, which will enable them to create their own news channel. One can expect an employee to know best exactly what sources of information to follow or people to stay in touch with to get her work done.

People who work remotely, who are on different sites, different silos, or who simply have different working hours can all benefit from the online cafeteria.

A few key checkpoints, if you’re thinking of introducing blogs in your company (“are we ready?” style). 5 prerequisites:

– the management/CEO/company needs to **care** about their employees. Blogging won’t work well in an “abusive” relationship.
– be willing to **engage** in real, honest **dialogue**, also about problematic issues (difficult, but often the most rewarding, as with normal human relationships)
– blogging takes **time**, so it should be counted in as part of people’s workload/job
– accept and understand that communication **cannot be controlled**
– understand that blogging is not just a technology/tool, that it is mainly a **culture/strategy**

5 ingredients to “make it work”:

– **training**. Don’t assume blogging comes naturally to people. We “natural bloggers” are the exception, not the rule. The technology is cheap — put money in the training, so people have a chance to really “get” the culture.
– **eat your own dog food**. If you want to get people in your company blogging, do it yourself, too.
– blogging is a grassroots phenomenon (bottom-up), so **enable** it (top-down), knowing you can’t “make” people blog. Create a blog-friendly environment.
– **read** blogs and comments. This can easily be 50% of the workload involved in “blogging”
– speak like a **human** being.

There… that’s about it. Did we talk about anything else important that I missed?

Similar Posts:

Talk: Being a Blogging Consultant [en]

[fr] Notes d'une conférence que je viens de donner en Serbie sur ce qu'est le travail d'une "consultante en blogs" (notez les guillemets). Je préfère en fait me définir comme une spécialiste de l'internet vivant (celui des dialogues et des relations humaines) et de sa culture. J'interviens partout où ce genre de connaissance est utile à mes clients.

Here are some rough notes of the talk I gave at [Blogopen](http://blogopen.eu), reason of [my presence in Novi Sad, Serbia](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/12/blogopen-in-novi-sad-serbia/). I hope they can be useful to some. Number between square brackets refer to slide numbers (

This slideshow could not be started. Try refreshing the page or viewing it in another browser.

(http://www.slideshare.net/sbooth/being-a-blogging-consultant) embedded below).

*If you have notes of this talk or by any chance have recorded it, please leave a link in the comments.*

**update: yay! some short recording snippets. see the end of this post.**

[1] [2] Two years ago I was a teacher, and if you had told me then that I would be here in Novi Sad, talking about what it is like to be a freelance blogging consultant, you would probably have seen me make a face like this:

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 9

[3] Later on I’ll tell you about what a “blogging consultant” like me actually does, but first of all, here’s my story. I grew up with computers in the house, discovered the internet in 1998 and soon after [created a website](http://old.climbtothestars.org/hist/version1/). I [started blogging in 2000](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2000/07/) and gradually built a small reputation for myself online. By the time the Swiss media discovered blogs in 2004, I’d been at it for a while. When they started looking for Swiss blogs, they found me, and the phone started ringing.

You know how it is with the media: once one journalist has written about a person or a subject, all the others follow. I started [giving interview after interview](http://climbtothestars.org/about/presse), exciting at first, but somewhat tedious after some time. But I was lucky to have very good local media coverage, which did help people find me or hear about me.

Just before the press started to show an interest in me (and blogs), a friend of mine asked if I could explain to her how to make a website. We sat together for two hours, and I told her how the internet was made of servers, and websites were in fact files that lived on those servers, files you can make in a text editor with special markings known as HTML, with CSS to control the visual aspect. She said “wow, you’re really good at this, you should get people to pay you to do it!” I was a bit skeptical, but thought it would be cool. So just before my first appearance on TV, I created a [professional website](http://stephanie-booth.com/) (just a few pages, and if you look at it now, it’s really out-of-date — I’ll be working on it during the [“Website ‘pro’ day”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/31/une-journee-pour-bosser-sur-nos-sites-pro-website-pro-day/) in a bit over a week). And on that website, I made [a page](http://stephanie-booth.com/particuliers/) saying something like “I’ll explain to you how to make a website, this is how much it’ll cost”.

Shortly after my TV appearance, I was contacted by a school who wanted me to come and talk about blogs to a class of teenagers. It went surprisingly well and I really enjoyed it, so I added an extra page on my professional site saying [“I give talks in schools”](http://stephanie-booth.com/ecoles/). Little by little, through word of mouth mainly, I started having clients. And at one point about 18 months ago, I started having enough clients that I could consider quitting my day job (teaching).

That’s how I became a professional blogging consultant.

[4] So, what does a “blogging” consultant do? It’s not just about blogs. Actually, one of my ongoing struggles is to find a “job title” to define myself. “Blogging consultant” already existed, and people knew about blogs, so it wasn’t too bad.

[5] Blogging is more than it seems. It’s a tool, but it’s more than that. It’s also a culture, and if you’re a company or an institution, blogging is a communication strategy. We see companies and media corporations using the blog tool to publish press releases or official documentation. That’s using the tool, but they don’t get the culture, and they haven’t changed their strategy. *(You might want to see the notes on my talk [“How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/) if this topic interests you.)*

[6] One expression we hear a lot in this kind of context is “social media”. Traditional media go in one direction. Journalists write, people listen (or put their fingers in their ears). It looks like this:

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 1

With social media, on the other hand, we have a new type of media (well, *reasonably new*) where conversations take place. Communication goes both ways:

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 3

So basically, being a “blogging” consultant has a lot to do with social media. (Understanding and explaining it.)

[7] All this kind of stuff is explained in a great book that everybody should read: [The Cluetrain Manifesto](http://www.cluetrain.com/). You can [read it for free on the Internet](http://www.cluetrain.com/book/index.html) or buy it as a real book if you prefer. The Cluetrain Manifesto was written in the year 2000, so quite some time ago, but it’s still spot on. It tells us how people are sick of being marketed at and talked at, and how people are already having conversations everywhere about brands, companies, and these conversations are happening on the internet. Companies, politicians, and media empires would be smart to step in and join the conversation. Anyway… read the Cluetrain Manifesto if you have any interest in what’s going on on the Internet.

[8] So, in my job, I don’t just work with blogs. In addition to blogs, sometimes solution require wikis, podcasts, or social networks. [9] Using these tools brings up values like dialogue, transparency, authenticity, and often leads to rethink strategy. [10] Finding a solution for a client can be helping them re-organise their e-mail, set up a mailing-list, or simply build a website. Maybe it requires social tools like Twitter or Dopplr, or they might even want to know about virtual worlds like Second Life.

This is clearly not just about “blogging”. It’s about this bigger world blogging is an important part of.

[11] I like to think of myself as a specialist of **the living web** and its culture. The living web is the internet of people, conversations, and relationships.

My work is anywhere people need this kind of knowledge. Who needs this kind of knowledge?

[12] Schools, politicians, companies big and small, freelancers, non-profits, media, startups, people…

[13] Here’s a little more about what it means to be a freelancer consultant in today’s world.

[14] [The Balance of the Soloist](http://www.freshbooks.com/blog/2006/09/08/going-solo-a-few-words-of-advice/) according to [Stowe Boyd](http://stoweboyd.com/message):

> The most difficult challenge for soloists is to find a balance between the various activities that must take place to survive. I like to oversimplify these down to three:

> 1. **Doing The Work** — The heart of consulting — of whatever description — is delivering the work. A soloist has to deliver value to the client in order to make money. Most consulting-oriented people start with this capability: it’s the other two that cause problems, in general.
> 2. **Marketing and Networking** — I have already noted that I principally market myself through blogging, and that I attend conferences: those are the outward signs of a willingness, or even an obsession with networking with likeminded others. When I find out about a web product that sounds interesting (my beat), I sign up for the beta, fool with it, write a review, ask for more info, and very soon I am involved in a direct communication with the company’s management. I read other people’s blogs and comment on their ideas. When attending conferences I try to chat with both old friends and folks I have never met before. I know many consultants whose natural introversion makes such activities difficult if not impossible. But these interactions are just as critical to being a soloist as performing the work, and are likely to take up just as much time!
> 3. **Prospecting, Contracts and Cash Flow** — I am always happy to talk about money, and as a soloist it is imperative to get what you are worth, and then to collect the fees. This is a blind spot for many, and a make-it-or-break-it issue. I know a lot of folks that find it hard — even with people they know well — to ask for a project, an engagement, whatever, and to demand payment later on. It may seem obvious but many consultants only get involved with this as a necessary evil, but it’s not. It’s just as central as delivering the goods and networking.

Stowe Boyd, “Going Solo: A Few Words Of Advice”

These are the three skills the freelancer needs. Often people drawn towards freelancing are people who are good at doing something (the work) and reasonable networkers — and the third part (money) is the most difficult.

[15] **the work**

This will of course vary from person to person. Depending on your skills and abilities, you will be doing different things. For example:

– talking (like this talk I gave — speaking engagements)
– explaining — talking with clients to tell them about things they need to understand
– solving problems
– gathering information (about your client, about a subject you need to know more about)
– managing projects
– installing tools (WordPress, wikis…)
– coding HTML, CSS, or even PHP
– doing graphical design in Photoshop (I don’t do this, I’m really bad at it, so I usually tell the client he needs to have somebody else for this)
– training — it’s not that easy for “normal people” to learn how to use a blog tool… and more importantly, understand the blogging culture. Linking can be the topic of a two-hour class! (what to link, when, with what text, trackbacks, linking technique… suddenly text has two dimensions instead of one, so it changes writing style…)
– “cluetrain 101” — explaining the basics of what the internet is changing to the way we communicate
– experiential marketing (I’ll blog more about this later) — where you use a client’s product and blog about it
– blogging for a client (even though it’s not something I believe in, and I don’t do it — some people might)

[16] **Marketing**

– blog, blog, blog. And blog more. Demonstrate your expertise. Look at how [Thomas Mahon](http://englishcut.com/) used his blog to demonstrate his expertise at being a high-class tailor. Blog about what you know and what you’re doing.
– be a good connected net citizen. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, IM… be out there
– talk around you offline
– go to events — try to speak! send in proposals! [Barcamps](http://barcamp.org/) are a great place to start because anybody can talk. Get somebody to film you and put it online. If you’re not speaking, [publish live notes of the talks on your blog (live-blog)](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/01/on-liveblogging). People who weren’t there or didn’t take notes might appreciate yours.
– in short, take care of your social capital ([whuffie](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whuffie)) — your social connections
– if you’re lucky enough to have journalists call you — be nice with them. I would probably not be here today if it hadn’t been for the local press in Switzerland.

[17] **Cash**

Often a difficult point, as I mentioned.

– how do you actually get to the point where you close a deal?
– contracts
– you’re worth more than you think! Have friends help you keep that in mind before you negotiate with clients.
– will you be paid per day, per project?
– how much? fixing the right price can be tough — I haven’t completely figured out pricing yet.
– when do you ask for money, when do you not ask? Sometimes it’s [not that obvious](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/30/operations-mediatiques-marre/).

In addition to this, going freelance might mean you have to think about:

– insurance
– taxes
– laws
– accounting
– invoicing

And also… balancing your personal and professional life. All this “taking care of your social capital” does tend to blend the two — in a good way, often, but also in a way that makes taking days off or going on a real holiday very difficult. Pay attention to that.

[18]-[23] So, looking back… After my initial “no way!” reaction to the idea of being a “blogging consultant” two years ago, even though I went through phases like this

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 2

and this

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 12

and this

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 11

and even

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 3

overall… I’m pretty happy about my life as a blogging consultant:

Expressions (Stephanie Booth) 14

*note: I took all the rather cheesy “emotion” photos myself the morning before the talk, because I didn’t have the time and resources to go hunting for good “emotional faces” stock photography… I hope you’ll forgive me!*

You can find [more stuff about consulting in my del.icio.us links](http://del.icio.us/steph/consulting).

Thanks to everybody who attended my talk and gave me kind feedback. Many Serbian bloggers also mentioned my talk in their blog posts, but I’m afraid I can’t understand any of it! [Here are the links](http://del.icio.us/steph/blogopentalk%2Bcoverage%2Bstephaniebooth), though:

– [Borska internet organizacija | BITNO na BlogOpen-u / 2](http://www.bitno.org.yu/vesti/?p=33)
– [Blogopen utisci](http://blog.aurora-dizajn.info/izvestaj/blogopen-utisci/)
– [BlogOpen & Novi Sad – dan posle | O zivotu, Vaseljeni i svemu ostalom](http://www.mmilan.com/2007/11/11/blogopen-novi-sad-dan-posle/)
– [BlogOpen – Elektro kuhinja – Blog.hr](http://elektrokuhinja.blog.hr/2007/11/1623579400/blogopen.html)
– [» Blog Archive » Susret na Blog Open-u](http://www.gradjanski.co.yu/blog/?p=13)
– [Nemanja Srećković » Blog Archive » Utisci sa BlogOpen-a 2007](http://blog.nemanjasreckovic.com/2007/11/10/utisci-sa-blogopen-2007/)
– [BlogOpen Review](http://blago.blog381.com/2007/11/10/blogopen-review/)
– [Uh kakva subota! at Samo malo](http://samomalo.hermani.info/?p=345)
– [BlogOpen u Novom Sadu – total report | Webmasterov blog](http://snaxors.com/blog/?p=57)
– [BlogOpen utisci | Dragan Varagic Weblog](http://www.draganvaragic.com/weblog/index.php/349/blogopen-utisci)
– [BlogOpen weekend](http://www.blogowski.eu/2007/11/12/blogopen-weekend/)
– [Blog Open…i kako ga pregurati](http://auroraborealis.blog381.com/2007/11/13/blog-openi-kako-ga-pregurati/)

As far as I can tell, some posts simply mention me. But if there’s anything said worth to be translated or paraphrased, feel free to do so in the comments! (Just tell me what link it’s about…)


Thanks a lot to [darko156](http://komunikacii.net/2007/11/12/blogopeneu/) who filmed two short video sequences and uploaded them to YouTube. Here they are. The first video is slides [4]-[7] (what exactly a blogging consultant is, social media, The Cluetrain Manifesto):

The second is slides [7]-[10] (Cluetrain, social media tools and values — dialogue, transparency, authenticity, strategy…):

Curious about [what I was waving in my right hand](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/1988146940/)?

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Faites des liens, ne demandez pas! [fr]

[en] Please don't send e-mails asking if you can link to my site. Yes, you can. You can link to any site you want. The whole web is built upon the premise that anybody can create a link to any web page. It's what make the web the web.

Le web (“internet” pour certains”) est une collection de pages en HTML liées entre elles. Ce sont les liens qui tiennent ensemble le web. Et ce sont aussi les liens qui en font un réseau, un endroit riche, un lieu de conversations et de partage.

Alors de grâce — ne me demandez pas si vous pouvez faire un lien vers mon site. **Ne demandez à personne si vous pouvez faire un lien vers leur site.** Faites simplement un lien. Pas besoin d’autorisation pour ça.

Vous imaginez, si chaque fois que je faisais un lien, je devais demander au propriétaire du site en question son autorisation? Et vous imaginez, pour les éditeurs de sites populaires comme [Boing Boing](http://www.boingboing.net/), le temps qu’ils passeraient noyés dans des e-mails à répondre à des demandes d’autorisation de liens? Ce serait invivable. Tellement invivable que ça ne fonctionnerait pas. On ne ferait plus de liens, on n’écrirait plus, le web mourrait à petit feu.

**Quand faut-il demander?** Demandez, clairement, si vous allez rendre publics des faits concernant une autre personne qui ne sont pas déjà publics, et si vous avez un doute quant à sa réaction. Alors oui, parfois, ça peut prendre la forme d’un lien. Mais le lien est ici secondaire — c’est le texte qui peut poser problème. Dire “tel et tel est mon client”, si le client en question n’est pas d’accord que la collaboration soit rendue publique, ce n’est pas forcément une bonne idée — avec ou sans lien.

Puisque j’y suis, une exhortation: ne faites pas de vos pages, sites, blogs, articles ou billets des culs-de-sac du web. Vous faites référence à une information que vous avez trouvée ailleurs sur le web? **Faites un lien.** Vous parlez de quelqu’un? **Faites un lien vers son blog ou son site.** Donnez à vos lecteurs l’occasion d’accéder aux mêmes informations que vous, de voir sur quoi vous vous êtes basés pour écrire votre texte.

Mais de grâce, n’envoyez plus d’e-mails qui commencent avec “Bonjour, j’aimerais faire un lien vers votre site…” — c’est inutile et c’est un gaspillage du temps de votre destinataire.

*A l’attention de ceux ou celles qui m’ont envoyé des e-mails du genre: soyez rassurés, je ne vous en veux point. Je sais que votre demande part d’une bonne intention — celle de respecter l’autre et de faire les choses dans les formes. J’espère que vous êtes maintenant rassurés qu’il est tout à fait accepté de faire tous les liens que l’on désire sans demander à qui que ce soit leur autorisation. Faites des liens! faites des liens!*

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There's No Place Like Home [en]

[fr] Qu'il fait bon être de retour chez soi!

I’m home.

– I know how the oven works and the temperatures on the dial mean something to me.
– The water in the shower is hot immediately, no need to wait.
– Bagha is there.
– Dressing-gown.
– Sleeping in my bed. With my nordic-style bedsheets. Mmmh.
– Frozen lasagna from Migros, tastes “just like it should”.
– Quiet. Calm. Silence. (Just a bit of thunder now and again.)
– Shopping on auto-pilot with no surprises. Price tags indicate how much I’ll pay, tax included.
– Spotlessly clean busses.
– Dreadful *grumble* winter-like grey *grumble* weather.
– Paying my bus fare with my CASH card. No need to convert bills into quarters.
– A fridge filled with familiar food.
– Did I mention the calm and silence?

It’s been [a long time](http://climbtothestars.org/categories/india/trips/india-2004/ “India, 2004.”) since I was away from home for so long.

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What Do You Care About? [en]

[fr] Hier soir, au lieu de me demander "alors, qu'est-ce que tu fais?", David Isenberg m'a demandé "de quoi te préoccupes-tu" (ou, peut-être, "quels sont les thèmes chers à ton coeur" -- traduction pas évidente de "what do you care about").

En bref, je m'intéresse à l'espace où les gens et la technologie se rencontrent, particulièrement sur internet. Plus précisément:

  • les adolescents et internet
  • le multilinguisme sur internet

Yesterday evening in the skyscraper, I met [David Isenberg](http://www.isen.com/blog/), who instead of asking the very conventional “so, what do you do?” question, asked me “so, what do you care about?”

What a great question to ask somebody you’ve just met. It kind of blew my mind. Personally, I’ve come to dread the “what do you do?” question, because the answer is usually something like “uh, well, I’m a freelance consultant… blogging 101, stuff, teenagers, talks… bleh”. Which actually, does not adequately cover what I do and who I am. Actually, [the evening before](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600415932852/), somebody told me “you need to work on your sales pitch.” To which I answered that I didn’t have a sales pitch, because I don’t want to “sell myself” — if people want to work with me, they call me up or e-mail me, and I’m in the lucky situation that this provides enough interesting work to keep me busy and fed.

So, what do I care about? Mainly, about people, relationships, technology (particularly the internet) and where they intersect. That’s the whole “internet/web2.x consultant” thingy. And in a bit more detail, these days, there are two issues I care about a lot:

– teenagers and their use of the internet, and the educational issues it raises (what the risks are and aren’t — insert rant about predator hysteria here — what is changing, what parents need to know)
– languages online, particularly doing localisation right — insert rant about “country = language” here — and providing tools and strategies to help bridge people bridge language barriers better, and creating multilingual spaces (“multilingualism” stuff).

So, what do you care about?

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Multilingual Interviews [en]

[fr] Deux interviews que j'ai donnés récemment au sujet de la conférence que je donne à Copenhague sur le multilinguisme sur internet la semaine prochaine.

I was interviewed twice during the last week about the [multilingual stuff](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/25/blogcamp-multilingual-blogging-session/) I’m going to be [talking about this week at reboot9](http://www.reboot.dk/artefact-773-en.html):

– by [Suw Charman](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/) for [Conversation Hub](http://conversationhub.com/): [The Multilingual Web](http://conversationhub.com/2007/05/22/the-multilingual-web/) (video)
– by [Nicole Simon](http://crueltobekind.org/) as part of her [reboot9 pre-conference series](http://bloxpert.com/Kickoff-of-the-reboot-9-interview-series-81): [Reboot 9: Stephanie Booth](http://crueltobekind.org/archive/2007-05-24/reboot_9_stephanie_booth) (audio)

Enjoy, and hope to see you at reboot!

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D'où vient cette idée de livre? [en]

[fr] An attempt to start book-writing. How I came to the field of teenagers and online culture, and what questions the book will try to address.

L’obstacle majeur pour l’accomplissement d’une tâche est souvent simplement de se mettre au travail. Il en va de même pour l’écriture. Il m’a fallu près d’un an pour commencer à écrire mon mémoire, et un peu plus d’un mois pour en achever la rédaction lorsque je m’y suis finalement mise. J’ai appris et compris, à cette occasion, qu’écrire n’importe quoi c’est déjà commencer. En particulier, raconter comment on est bloqué et ce dont on voudrait parler si on parvenait seulement à écrire, c’est déjà un excellent pas en avant.

Au milieu du mois d’octobre passé, j’ai réalisé que j’avais la matière nécessaire pour écrire ce fameux livre dont j’avais toujours dit que je l’écrirais un jour, mais que je n’avais aucune idée de quoi il parlerait et que dans tous les cas, je n’étais pas prête à me lancer dans une opération de cette envergure. Depuis, j’ai fait un plan, j’y ai beaucoup pensé, j’en ai beaucoup parlé, j’ai pris la décision ferme de l’écrire, et je l’ai annoncé [sur mon blog](http://climbtothestars.org/categories/livre/). Mais je n’ai pas écrit une seule ligne.

Oh, c’est clair : début d’une vie professionnelle indépendante, les [mains qui font mal](/tms/), quarante-six mille autres projets… Plein de bonnes raisons objectives, mais surtout, il faut bien l’avouer, une bonne vieille trouille de me jeter à l’eau. Maintenant, [le Dragon est installé sur mon Mac](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/31/nouveau-dragon), je suis en Angleterre pendant deux semaines, et il n’y a donc aucune raison objective de ne pas commencer.

Donc, je commence. Et je commence par vous expliquer ce qui m’a mené à écrire ce livre, dans l’espoir que cela éclairera — et me permettra de clarifier — la problématique que je désire aborder et le traitement que j’en ferai.

Début 2004, suite à mon apparition à l’émission télévisée Mise au Point, on m’a demandé pour la première fois de venir faire une conférence dans une école. Il s’agissait de parler à une classe d’élèves et de leur expliquer ce qu’étaient les blogs, à quoi ils pouvaient servir et surtout, de les rendre attentifs au fait qu’il y a des limites à ce que l’on peut publier sur Internet. L’école en question s’était en effet retrouvée confrontée à quelques débordements de ce côté-là et à l’incompréhension des élèves (leurs protestations vigoureuses, même) lorsqu’il lui avait fallu intervenir.

Durant les mois qui précédaient, jeune enseignante, j’avais en effet découvert les élans blogueurs de mes élèves, et par extension, ceux de toute une population adolescente que j’avais largement ignorée jusque-là. J’avais commencé à m’y intéresser et j’avais déjà tiré quelques conclusions concernant les causes des incidents dont les médias se régalaient, et qui impliquaient des publications d’adolescents sur des blogs. Quelques problèmes de cette nature auxquels j’avais été directement confrontée avec mes élèves de l’époque m’avaient aussi donné une expérience personnelle de la situation.

Ma première [conférence en milieu scolaire](http://stephanie-booth.com/conferences/) a été extrêmement bien reçue. On m’a demandé d’en faire une deuxième, puis une troisième. D’autres établissements scolaires m’ont contactée. J’ai commencé à parler non seulement aux élèves, mais également aux enseignants et aux parents. Et les conférences, ça va dans les deux sens. Je viens pour donner quelque chose, mais en retour, il y a toujours des conversations, de nouvelles personnes à rencontrer, des histoires à entendre, bref, des choses à apprendre pour moi.

En parallèle, [les médias ont commencé à faire appel à moi](http://climbtothestars.org/about/presse) régulièrement pour toutes sortes de sujets touchant aux blogs, mais principalement (au début en tout cas) dès qu’il s’agissait de blogs et d’adolescents. Prof et blogueuse assez en vue, c’était visiblement un mélange détonnant.

Au fil de mes contacts avec le monde des gens qui connaissent mal les blogs, j’ai pris conscience que beaucoup de choses qui pour moi relevaient du sens commun n’allaient en fait pas du tout de soi. J’ai réalisé que j’avais des choses à dire, et même des tas de choses à dire, et que ces choses étaient utiles à autrui. En fait, j’ai pris conscience que nous étions face à un problème à grande échelle, touchant une génération d’adolescents et de parents, ainsi que les éducateurs, et que j’étais en train d’y proposer des solutions. Les solutions que je proposais étaient bien modestes : il s’agissait simplement d’informer chacun selon ses besoins et préoccupations, de leur communiquer ce que je savais et j’avais compris de cette culture numérique, celle des blogs, du chat, de l’Internet vivant, et de l’impact que cette culture était en train d’avoir sur notre société.

Voilà donc de quoi je veux parler dans ce livre. Quel est ce problème exactement ? Que peut-on dire de ses causes ? Quelles sont les conséquences que nous voyons aujourd’hui ? Que peut-on faire, que doit-on faire pour y remédier ? Je vais essayer de répondre à ces questions dans les grandes lignes lors de mon prochain billet.

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BlogCamp: Multilingual Blogging Session [en]

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

I presented a session about multilingual blogging at [BlogCamp](http://blogcamp.ch) yesterday in Zürich. Thanks to all of you who attended (particularly as I was [competing](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/432373547/) with [Xing’s Nicolas Berg](https://www.xing.com/profile/Nicolas_Berg/)!) and wrote about the session ([Bruno](http://www.lunchoverip.com/2007/03/a_day_at_the_bl.html) of course, [Sarah](http://politikblogs.wordpress.com/2007/03/24/live-blogging-from-blogcampswitzerland/), [Sandra](http://www.chiperoni.org/wordpress/archives/2007/03/24/blogcampswitzerland/), [Maira](http://vitaminab.org/cms/en/multilingual-blog), [Jens-Rainer](http://www.blogwiese.ch/archives/556), [Waltraut](http://siebensachen.twoday.net/stories/3478815/), [Jokerine](http://www.hdreioplus.de/wordpress/?p=150), [Antoine](http://gedankenblitze.ch/?p=13)*…let me know if I need to add you here*), and to [Greg](http://cascades2alps.blogspot.com/) in particular for [filming the session](http://youtu.be/gLf_EquogUc).

Although I’m rather used to [giving talks](http://stephanie-booth.com/conferences), this was the first time my audience was a bloggy-geek crowd, so it was particularly exciting for me. I prepared my talk on the train between Lausanne and Bern, and unfortunately prepared way too many notes (I’m used to talking with next to no notes), so I got a bit confused at times during my presentation — and, of course, left stuff out. Here’s a rough transcript of [what I prepared](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/433344448/). Oh, and don’t forget to look at this [photo of my cat Bagha](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/349150808/) from time to time to get the whole “experience”.

Steph giving her talk.
Photo by Henning

**Talk notes**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– [launching](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2001/03/21/faire-part/) [Pompage.net](http://pompage.net) because at the time of the [browser upgrade initiative](http://web.archive.org/web/20010223215147/http://www.webstandards.org/upgrade/) I [realised](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2001/02/24/tableaux-ou-non/ “Look at all those English language links I pointed my poor French readers to.”) that many French-speaking people didn’t have access to all the material that was available in Anglophonia, because they just didn’t understand English well enough;
– the very different feelings bloggers had about [Loïc Le Meur](http://loiclemeur.com/) when he first started being active in the blogosphere, depending on if they were French- or English-speaking, particularly around the time of the [Ublog story](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/21/u-blog-six-apart-and-their-angry-bloggers/).

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

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

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

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

*A. Two (or more) separate blogs*

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

*B. Total translation*

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

*C. Machine translation!*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other bridging ideas:

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

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

Some more techy thoughts:

– use the lang= attribute, particularly when mixing languages on a web page (and maybe someday tools will start parsing that)
– CSS selectors to make different languages look different (FR=pink, EN=blue for example)
– language needs to be a post (or even post element) attribute in blogging tools
– WordPress plugins: language picker [Polyglot](http://fredfred.net/skriker/index.php/polyglot) and [Basic Bilingual](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/01/23/basic-bilingual-plugin/)
– excerpt in another language: what status in RSS/atom? Part of the post content or not? Can RSS/atom deal with more than one language in a feed, or do they assume “monolingualism”?
– [indicating the language of the destination page a link points to](http://daniel.glazman.free.fr/weblog/archived/2002_09_15_glazblogarc.html#81664011)

**Extra reading**

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

Blogging in more than one language:

– [Writing](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2000/08/18/writing/) — translation is just too much work; bilingual desires, but daunted by the workload
– [Bilingual?](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2000/11/24/bilingual/) — the day (four months after its birth) this weblog became officially bilingual
– [Multilingue!](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2002/09/17/multilingue/) — how to indicate the language of a link target using CSS
– [Life and Trials of a Multilingual Weblog](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/11/multilingual-weblog/) — written after some discussions on the topic at [BlogTalk 2.0](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/07/blogtalk-20-compte-rendu/)
– [Basic Bilingual Plugin](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/01/23/basic-bilingual-plugin/) for WordPress
– [Thinking About Tags](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/01/16/thinking-about-tags/) (and languages)
– [Requirements for a Multilingual WordPress Plugin](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/01/22/requirements-for-a-multilingual-wordpress-plugin/)
– [Multilingual Proposals (Reboot, BlogCamp)](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/18/multilingual-proposals-reboot-blogcamp/)

About the importance of language, etc.:

– [Multilingual Dragon](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2002/12/22/multilingual-dragon/)
– [SwissBlogs Needs Your Help](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/03/23/swissblogs-needs-your-help/) — [SwissBlogs](http://climbtothestars.org/?s=swissblogs), oldest Swiss blog directory (and multilingual already), call for help. *(I mentioned during my session that I would not comment on any ideas about Switzerland needing a “national blog directory” of any type… part of the story here if you want to dig.)*
– [SpiroLattic Resurrection](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/02/25/spirolattic-resurrection/) — some background on a short-lived multilingual wiki experiment
– [Vous parlez de blogosphère suisse?](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/03/07/vous-parlez-de-la-blogosphere-suisse/) — a tag proposal to try and give the fragmented “Swiss blogosphere” some cohesion
– [About the Swiss Blog Awards (SBAW)](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/04/30/about-the-swiss-blog-awards-sbaw/)
– [English Only: Barrier to Adoption](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/24/english-only-barrier-to-adoption/)
– [Not All Switzerland Speaks German, Dammit!](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/03/04/not-all-switzerland-speaks-german-dammit/)

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Musique: bénéfices d'une bonne stratégie internet [fr]

[en] This is a description of the benefits a musician or singer can find in implementing a sound internet ("web2.0-ish") strategy (blogs, social software, online presence...). It's lifted from a project proposal I sent a client recently, but it's in my opinion general enough to be of interest to other people. Oh, and check out SellABand.

Pour une personne faisant carrière dans le monde de la musique, avoir une bonne stratégie internet apporte un certain nombre de bénéfices non-négligeables. J’entends ici par “bonne stratégie internet” le fait de s’ouvrir à la dimension sociale et participative de l’internet vivant (blog, outils de social networking, sites communautaires, etc.) et de se “mouiller” dans cette culture. Expliquer ce genre de chose fait partie de mon travail de [consultante en blogs ou spécialiste(!) de la culture en ligne](http://stephanie-booth.com) (je cherche encore et toujours un moyen concis et efficace de décrire ce que je fais…)

Ce qui suit est une description des bénéfices auxquels pourrait s’attendre un chanteur ou un musicien s’il décide d’investir dans ce média intelligemment. En fait, cet argumentaire est repris presque tel quel d’une [proposition de projet](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/07/martin-roell-getting-started-in-consulting-lift07/) que j’ai envoyée récemment à un client. Je le reproduis ici car il est assez général et peut à mon avis intéresser autrui.

#### Un site web facile à mettre à jour et bien référencé

Aujourd’hui, il est indispensable d’avoir un site web qui soit bien référencé et facile à garder à jour. Les outils de blog comme WordPress sont des systèmes de gestion de contenu légers et techniquement relativement faciles à manipuler.

Ils permettent à une personne n’ayant pas de compétences techniques particulières de publier et d’organiser le contenu du site et de le faire croître au fur et à mesure. Le site ainsi construit contient donc aussi bien une partie “blog” (organisée chronologiquement, qui donne en tous temps et un coup d’oeil les informations les plus fraîches) et une partie “classique” organisée hiérarchiquement (pages “contact”, “bio”, “discographie” etc.). Quelques sites construits sur ce modèle: [le blog du CRAB](http://crablog.net), [Groupe Vocal Café-Café](http://cafecafe.ch) et [Vibrations Music](http://vibrationsmusic.com).

De plus, ces outils séparent complètement le design du contenu du site: il est donc très aisé de changer la ligne graphique du site sans avoir besoin de toucher au contenu lui-même. La structure des pages est également telle qu’elle encourage un bon référencement par les moteurs de recherche (accessibilité, balisage sémantique), sans avoir recours à des techniques de SEO (“Search Engine Optimisation”) parfois douteuses.

En deux mots, gérer un site internet avec un outil de blog permet de le mettre à jour soi-même très facilement et garantit un bon placement dans les moteurs de recherche, en fonction du contenu du site bien entendu.

#### Tirer profit de la dimension sociale d’internet pour la promotion

Internet n’est pas juste une plate-forme de publication, à la différence d’un média traditionnel. C’est un lieu de vie, d’échanges, de relations, de bouche-à-oreille et de conversations. Cette dimension d’internet est souvent encore mal comprise et son importance sous-estimée. Avoir un site permettant les commentaires du public en regard des publications (une des caractéristiques du blog) est un premier pas. Il existe des également des dizaines de services, centrés ou non autour de la musique, qui permettent d’avoir un pied-à-terre virtuel dans diverses communautés en ligne. En comprenant les dynamiques sociales en jeu, on peut augmenter encore sa visibilité sur internet et lui donner une dimension plus humaine et personnelle.

Rassembler une communauté sur internet autour de soi ou de son travail ajoute un double bénéfice: la communauté est visible, ce qui peut attirer l’attention de personnes extérieures (médias traditionnels ou organisateurs d’événements) et encourager autrui à la rejoindre; d’autre part, les membres de la communauté sont eux-mêmes au centre de leur “réseau personnel”, leur propre communauté, dans laquelle ils jouent un rôle d’influenceur. Cette dynamique existe hors internet bien évidemment, mais elle est décuplée sur internet par l’absence d’obstacles géographiques et la facilité avec laquelle on peut faire circuler des informations dans le monde numérique.

#### Mettre de la musique à disposition en ligne et favoriser ainsi sa diffusion

Mettre à disposition sa musique en ligne favorise de façon générale sa diffusion, et donne l’occasion à des personnes qui ne l’auraient pas eue autrement de l’écouter et de l’apprécier. C’est la popularité d’un artiste auprès de son public qui va influencer les ventes de CD, et non le contraire. Il est donc intéressant d’une part d’utiliser internet comme véhicule ouvert de diffusion de la musique (afin d’augmenter visibilité et popularité), et également de permettre l’achat de CDs ou d’autres produits via internet, ce qui libère le public des contraintes géographiques. L’utilisation de licences adaptées ([Creative Commons](http://creativecommons.com)) permet de protéger les droits commerciaux tout en encourageant le partage et la diffusion de la musique.

Des sites comme YouTube, consacrés à la publication et au partage de vidéos, ou MySpace, ont déjà eu un impact considérable dans le lancement d’artistes, parfois avec des moyens extrêmement limités. La promotion du matériel ne coûte rien, elle est faite par le public qui lui trouve une valeur suffisante pour le partager avec son réseau.

#### Se former aux nouveaux médias afin d’être autonome et adéquat

Internet est un média (ou une collection de médias) dont une des caractéristiques principales est de contenir une dimension conversationnelle ou participative. Ces médias sont nouveaux et encore relativement mal maîtrisés en général, et ceci d’autant plus que l’on a pas eu l’occasion d’y être exposés passivement en grandissant. Ces nouveaux médias ont également comme caractéristique de remettre l’individu (avec sa personnalité propre) au centre, de favoriser le contact direct en libérant des intermédiaires, et de mettre en avant les valeurs de transparence, d’authenticité et d’honnêteté. Une formation sérieuse à l’utilisation adéquate de ces médias permettra d’en faire un usage efficace et autonome, et également d’éviter des faux-pas dûs à une méconnaissance de la culture en ligne.

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