Reboot9 — Ewan McIntosh: Are We Ready For the Citizens of the Future? [en]

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

*[Talk stuff is be on Ewan’s blog.](*

Technology is everywhere but is not necessarily the main thing in everybody’s life.

Ewan McIntosh

Have schools and workplaces adapted to the digital natives? 2007: 16-year-olds born at the same time as the web.

Let’s see what some of these kids are capable of. Cup-stacking video. The daughter just broke the world record for cup stacking and the mother in the background doesn’t react. She doesn’t have a clue.

We’re not letting young ones import their passions in the workplace (school/work).

Headteachers’ reactions when they see that: useless, waste of time. But hey, this is what they spend their time at! Do we take advantage of this kind of thing?

Harnessing kids’ creativity. What do we do with it before it’s stomped out by corporations?

Five points are key (we might not get through them all).

1. Audience

Kids are used to having huge audiences. 19th century classroom, the average audience for a piece of work is 1, or maybe 30 if the work was put up in the classroom.

In the 20th century classroom (with the printing press)… to the one-click web — a 7-year-old making his first edit on wikipedia. Audience: 1’114’274’426

In Ewan’s school, nearly a third of teachers blog about once a week.

Question: what does this audience mean?

The kids are acting local. They publish for their classmates. And when they get a comment from somewhere else, they turn their interest to that country.

Golden eagle animation: why we shouldn’t steal eggs from nests.

2. Unleashing creativity

Kids are very creative. But we never see it. (steph-note: I know where it goes… in “pranks” and “misbehaviour” often — some of the stuff they do is actually really neat if you forget the moral judgement).

Flickr: Toy photo stories. Six word stories. French language animation “sous la mer”, made by 16-year-olds, and they loved doing it!!

Flickr notes are great as an educational tool.

Why are creative kids important… and deadly? If you’re a politician doing a BS blog, the kids will smell it and spoof it. (David Cameron… the spoof had way more hits than the original stuff.)

Scratch: drag’n’drop programming — you can get six-year-olds in there.

77% of gamers are married. Importance of gaming in what education is turning into.

School trip blogs.

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Reboot9 — Lee Bryant: Human Need (Kozarac) [en]

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

Why adoption is not an issue when the use case matters.

Lee Bryant

Where the use case matters, people will make it work, no matter how crappy the system is. Inspired by [Sugata Mitra’s “hole in the wall” presentation at LIFT]( “Life will find a way.”

About a town called Kozarac in northern Bosnia. Returnees to a town from which they had been chased. One of two towns in Bosnia which was inhabited almost only by one ethnic group.


– town destroyed, people imprisoned, thousands killed and others expelled
– perpetrators stay in power, and control local authority, and don’t want the inhabitants back
– need to go back and rebuild from scratch

How can an online community support real community (protect, develop…)

Return begins around 2000. 2002-05: rebuilding. 2005-07: reclaiming presence.

Three sites.

For a period of town, the websites were the town. The town only existed in virtual space.

Online space shows high degree of consensus. All discussing the same issues.

Top forum topics: #1, taking the piss out of their own leaders; #2, fire engines.

Practical outcomes? Fire engines: bootstrapping their town, had no support, and were actually opposed. Funded stuff themselves, expat communities contribute through the forums. Fire engines were one of the first priorities. Funded and organised the fire brigade with the help of the diaspora on the forums.

Memorialisation campaigns. Basketball. Identity in the diaspora. We know people in the diaspora tend to become more “old-fashioned” or radical in their national identity. The website allows young people to access the “real” town, and know what’s going on there. Keeps the diaspora connected.

Emin, traumatised survivor, was able to open up about it through the site that he discovered recently.

Bridging can also be physical, structural holes in the physical world. Preservation of memories and culture, specially in a context where teachers, doctors, etc have been targeted for execution. Some people from the town are dead, and nothing exists or remains of them besides what is said or put online about them.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.


– scale: small intimate spaces can have a huge effect, more effective at supporting collective action (would this happen on MySpace? no)
– common purpose: if people share a need, they are more co-operative
– hooks into RL
– motivation: real needs => positive behaviour

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Reboot9 — Stowe Boyd: Flow, a New Consciousness for a Web of Traffic [en]

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

Stowe’s happy to be back (“reboot was the best single thing I did last year”).

We’re hearing the word “flow” a lot during this conference, used in many different ways. It’s a term that is being stretched in many different ways. Complementary, or not?

Today: flow as a new kind of consciousness. Complementary to yesterday’s “flow” in the first conference.

Stowe Boyd at reboot9

Apology: because of blogging, Stowe doesn’t write/talk anymore in a very constructed way (“this is my thesis and here are the arguments”) — so lots of fragmentary and incomplete thinking. Incompleteness: the new rhetoric?

Human? “We make our tools and they shape us.” *steph-note: cf. Stowe’s talk at last year’s Shift conference. Other note: Thomas is having to drag the Blimp off stage…* Cycles.

We’re going towards a new kind of consciousness, which will not clear up the problems we have, but we’re going to change. How are we changing? How are brains changing based on the tools we use to understand the world? What are we losing, what do we gain? How will sociality change based on using new tools that shape cultures?

There is a new consciousness evolving, different enough that it’s going to cause trouble, that a lot of people are going to say it’s bad, and that the people participating in it are doing something illegitimate. (Finger-wagging.) Developing a new moral sense: valuing certain things more highly, and certain things less highly. Hive-mind? Sniffing each other’s pheromones all day?

Will take what the naysayers are saying, and debunk their arguments.

**The juggler’s paradox**

A small number of “true” jugglers in the room. To learn to juggle, simply do it. The ball falls, and you try again. You train your neurons to do something you didn’t know how to do before. The way jugglers describe what they’re doing doesn’t help other people learn it. They don’t focus on the balls, they don’t focus on their movements. They unfocus. A learned state of consciousness.

Other example: karate. During his first karate classes, Stowe couldn’t even “see” what his sensei was doing. Like magic, because so different. Learning to see. Also, shortening the delay, the dollar bill trick. People can’t catch it. But if you do martial arts, you can — you’ve trained your brain to do something you couldn’t do before. A different state of consciousness. *steph-note: I’m not sure I’d call these things “different states of consciousness”.* Now, when Stowe sees karate, he knows the moves they’re making, he *can see*.

A lot of people have caracterised the things that happen to us in a negative way. Over-stimulation is driving us nuts. Stowe thinks we’re learning to accommodate a new world and cope with it. Also doesn’t agree with the “scarcity of attention” economy. (Davenport and Beck.) Another failed metaphor. Treating aspects of human cognition in economic or industrial terms fails miserably.

Psychology of Attention: we actually don’t know much about attention. It doesn’t reside in one place in your brain. It’s all over the place. An emergent property of a bunch of stuff that goes on in your brain. Conventional wisdom about attention is probably wrong. Steer clear of advice of best-selling business authors about what we should do with our attention.

We have witnessed a shift in the way we perceive media: not rival anymore. We used to turn on the radio and just listen. Later, became a background. TV too. People who have the TV on all day, or while they play a video game or listen to music (Stowe is anti-TV). Talking during the movies.

Flow media. We’re getting used to having a bunch of things going on at the same time (IM windows, skype calls, etc.)

ADD: inability to focus, hyperactive. Invented disease. Treated (paradoxically) with stimulants. Maybe kids shouldn’t sit still (over-diagnosing and medicating). Stowe doesn’t think we’re creating a toxic environment for our children, but the school system has not snapped into the 21st century.

Stowe strongly disagrees with Linda Stone’s Continuous Partial Attention theses. In general, CPA is a disorder, for her. Stowe thinks this kind of thinking is based on an old model of how one should deal with the world. FIFO. Stowe doesn’t believe flow is bad, it’s just a different model. It’s not about speed, it’s about remaining connected. We can’t stay head down for hours or days at a stretch when important events might be occurring that require immediate response.

The world is more like an ER than a supermarket checkout. Reverting to pre-agricultural consciousness. Hunter awareness. Scanning the savannah.

The war on flow (*steph-note: not sure I’d call this flow, again… agree with the concepts exposed here but the “label” flow bugs me*). Remaining connected is not a disease, but a new ethos, a new set of beliefs. Time as a shared space, and psychology is adapting to that. Conflicts with industrial norms: maybe the tribe is more important.

The Buddylist is the centre of the universe. Made greater by the sum of our connections. Flow is generational. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be doing 16 things at once. *steph-note: I must be rancid old-school, because I still think there is value on being able to concentrate/focus on one single thing during a stretch of time.*

If you expose kids to more language, they tend to be smarter. We’re training our neurones.

Why call it Flow? *steph-note: that’s the bit I’m curious about*

CM’s notion of flow: “being in the zone”. He’s opposed to the stuff Stowe is talking about *steph-note: not surprised, incompatible to me.* cf. definition from wikipedia. Usually not a solitary activity *steph-note: surprised… what about meditation? that’s an obvious example of flow.*

Flow changes the way time works. Four flavours of time: physics, linear (industrial), cyclic (mystical), flow (lived time).

*steph-note: Stowe says time slows down when you’re in the zone, you can see the tennis ball. But I’m not sure that’s the main characteristic, I think: that’s because you learnt to see. In flow, time passes fast.*

Social applications (Stowe’s business): social networks are how we discover meaning, belonging and insight on the world. Traffic flow is the primary dynamic of all future social apps. Tools which will allow us to unfocus and concentrate on sociality.

Pushing Dunbar’s constant. *steph-note: cf. Stefana Broadbent at LIFT… our tools allow us to manage more relationships* Can you ‘know’ and ‘care’ about more than 150 people? What is the limit with these tools?

How do we use time? a way of sharing something. **Productivity is second to connectivity.** *steph-note: perfectly agreed.* Important stuff will find its way to you many times. You can miss things (not that important to be a slave to every e-mail, every RSS feed), but your network won’t, and things will get back to you.

Flow is a state of mind. Flow is a verb.

Discussion: Stowe says we still need to focus (*steph-note: phew!*), but it’s a question of degree. It’s about how we do a lot of things which don’t necessarily *require* full focus. Change from “head down with occasional coffee breaks” to “long coffee break with a few focused interruptions”.

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Reboot9 — Ted Rheingold: Learning from Dogs and Cats [en]

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

Dogster-Catster case study.

Home page of Dogster: web designers like Ted hate it (it’s a mess) but the dog people love it — they just click on the dogs.

Ted Rheingold

People copy-paste and personalise their cat/dog pages.

Forums: not as good as the best forums out there, but made to reflect the interests of people using the site. 5000 forum postings a day. People can organise events. Groups. Looks kinda crappy but the users don’t care.

Catster videos, commenting. Endless features. 1500 new members a day. (Ted shows a bunch of numbers… dizzy. 60’000 diaries/blogs.)

Lessons learnt that Ted wants to share, after 4 years.

– pick partners wisely, you’ll be married for 2-10 years. Need to talk about stuff like having kids with your partners! Partnership failures sink young businesses. *steph-note: eek! other points on slide but didn’t get them.*
– bootstrapping is good, keeping expenses manageable means you live longer, less financial constraints means more control.
– customer service is everything, from day one. Answer every e-mail, IM, phone call, resolve every problem. Without happy customers your site is just a pile of fancy server code. It’s free market research!
– develop within your impact horizon — your product must have an impact on your community within this time frame. For Catster/Dogster: 1st year, 3-4 weeks; 2nd year: 6-8 weeks; 3rd year: 2-3 months; 4th year: 2-3 months, ideally 1 month. Can’t guess that much in advance. 10 one-month features instead of 2 six-month features. More chance of one being popular.
– how do you make your money? Sponsors and direct ad buys (really hard! integrated ad campaigns); ad networks, premium memberships, virtual gifts. Bring in advertisers by encouraging them to be part of the community. They write up their stuff (less marketing goop). If you have to revert to advertising, it kind of means people aren’t that interested in the community. Ted would like to get ads and sponsors off the site altogether.

Paying members: more to be “part of the club” rather than have more features.

Circle of trust: Dogster, Community, Advertisers. Picky with advertisers. Introduce the advertiser to the community.

*steph-note: [Bagha Byne](, my cat, has [his own Catster page](, of course.*

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Reboot9 — Alexander Kjerulf: Happiness [en]

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

[Happiness (reboot talk page)](

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

Has been helping make people happier at work.

Chief Happiness Officer

The Chief Happiness Officer

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

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

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

Happy people:

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

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

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

Happiness is…

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

Myths about happiness:

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

What makes us happy?

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

Biggest threats to happiness:

– TV
– consumerism

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

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

1. sleep
2. work
3. TV

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

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

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

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

1. Emptiness

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

2. Subversiveness

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

Simple things you can do to be happier:

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

Less simple things:

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


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

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Reboot9 — Jeremy Keith: Soul [en]

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

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

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

Jeremy Keith: Soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reboot9 — Opening Talk [en]

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

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

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

Opening Talk Reboot9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Civilisation 0.5: 1.000.000 years ago (fire)

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

This is The Link Age.

Human? Links, relations and emotions are central.

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Fresh Lime Soda Episode 5: Multitasking and Dragon [en]

[fr] Un nouvel épisode du podcast que je co-anime avec Suw Charman, Fresh Lime Soda. En anglais.

Finally, Suw and I have got [episode 5 of Fresh Lime Soda]( ready for public consumption. We talk about a bunch of things, including (but not limited to): Dragon NaturallySpeaking, multitasking, writing and blogging, tinnitus, guilt, and shitty first drafts. As you’ll understand if you listen to it, everything is related. If you don’t want to [download the 12Mb MP3](, you can listen to it [on the Fresh Lime Soda site with the embedded player](

As I was in London, we shot another video episode (wayyy more informative than [the first, episode 4](, which should be up… shortly. 🙂

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BlogCamp: Multilingual Blogging Session [en]

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

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

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

Steph giving her talk.
Photo by Henning

**Talk notes**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*A. Two (or more) separate blogs*

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

*B. Total translation*

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

*C. Machine translation!*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other bridging ideas:

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

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

Some more techy thoughts:

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

**Extra reading**

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

Blogging in more than one language:

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

About the importance of language, etc.:

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

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Dannie Jost — Blogging is not about blogging [en]

[fr] Bloguer, c'est une histoire d'expression personnelle. Une discussion lors de la rencontre BlogCamp à Zürich.

*Notes from presentation. May be inaccurate.*

*(steph-note: it’s a discussion, so a bit hard for me to blog — particularly as I’m participating.)*

Dannie Jost -- Blogging is not about blogging

Why do people blog? Different reasons. Asking the audience. [Blogging isn’t about blogging](, it’s about expressing yourself. It’s about personal expression.

Blogging is about communication.

It’s a evolution (from a communication point of view, the biggest since the printing press): **instantaneous** access to a **global** readership. Being *heard* is a different bag of beans.

Another element of revolution: community. A single blogger with hot news means nothing and achieves nothing, before the network comes into play to make the news float to the top.

Blogging: technology (easy!!) and culture (more complicated) *steph-note: exactly what I try to explain to my clients…*

Shift of power. For Dannie, it hasn’t really happened yet, except some small cases. cf. phase transformations in chem/physics. My comment: the shift has already started happening, it’s not because it hasn’t impacted events the mainstream press reports on much that it doesn’t mean it’s having much impact.



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