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    September 30th, 2010EuropasionariaWeb 2.0

    Last year I went to the fabulous Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) in Barcelona, the first edition of an event that had been taking place in the US for years. I had a good time with old friends, met lots of fascinating people, and came back loaded with exciting new ideas.

    This time I’m going back and I can’t wait! It’s on Monday/Tuesday. Drop me a line if you’d like to meet. And follow #PDFEU on Twitter to know what’s going on.

    There’s something very distinctive about social media conferences. Things don’t just happen the days of the event. A lot happens before and after as well.

    A few days before it starts, Twitter lists of attendees are created, hashtags are used to announce one’s attendance and to look for friends who might go too, or people we don’t know yet but would like to meet. As I saw PdF’er Micah Sifry tweet once ahead of the Berlin re:publica conference we were going to: I can hear the drum roll slowly but surely getting louder… the curtain is about to rise.

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    September 26th, 2010EuropasionariaEurope, Girl Power, Web 2.0

    Icelandic volcano ash cloud simulation © Pietro Zanarini/Flickr

    Berlin, April 15, 2010: I’m at the social media conference re:publica 2010 where we are organising a workshop with friends from the Blogging Portal. Little by little, I realize something’s wrong with the airlines. It seems an Icelandic volcano is causing a giant ash cloud, paralysing most European airports. We’re told it could last a few days… I start worrying about not being able to get back home. In this mess, we all try and find as much information as we can. I check Twitter on my BlackBerry. I discover the hashtag #ashtag, and through that, the Eurocontrol Twitter account. From then on, it became my primary source of information as it was the most up-to-date and the most reliable.

    The Eurocontrol Twitter account went from a few hundred followers to a few thousand within a few days. All that thanks to the talent and determination of a lady, Aurélie Valtat, who is now nominated at the SimpliFlying-Airline Business Awards for Social Media Excellence for Airlines, category SimpliFlying Hero of the Year.

    Back then, I was absolutely amazed by the way Eurocontrol handled the situation through Twitter. How Aurélie used Twitter during this crisis should be an example for all institutions trying to get into the social media world. She was informative, responsive, human, funny, genuine… she got it, I thought.

    Aurélie has now become a friend and a member of the EU Girl Geeks. Please vote for her now! Not because she’s my friend but because she deserves to win. Go on this page, scroll down, it’s the last box at the end.

    You can also read Aurélie on her blog Content Bit(e)s, and follow her on Twitter.

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    September 26th, 2010EuropasionariaEuroblogosphere, Europe

    [This post is in Spanish as part of the Day of Multilingual Blogging, an initiative to celebrate the European Day of Languages.]

    European Day of Multilingual Blogging

    Como es el día europeo de los idiomas, en paralelo con amigos blogueros del Blogging Portal, hemos decidido participar en un día de blogging multilingüe. Vamos a escribir en un idioma diferente al que usamos habitualmente en nuestro blog. Por eso, hoy blogueo en castellano.

    Este blog ya es bilingüe. Casi todos los artículos se pueden leer en francés aquí y en inglés allí. Es un principio muy importante para mí. Por una parte, escribo en inglés porqué es el mejor idioma para integrarse en la comunidad de los Euroblogueros. Así también doy una visión francesa de los problemas europeos. Por otra parte, escribo en francés para traducir a mis compatriotas lo que sucede en Europa. En pocas palabras, quiero construir puentes.

    Si escribiera únicamente en inglés, quedaría bloqueada en lo que llamamos la ‘EU bubble’, el pequeño grupo de gente que saben algo de la Unión Europea.

    Si escribiera únicamente en francés, sólo me leerían los franceses.

    Es simple. Cuantos más idiomas hablas, a más personas puedes llegar. Idealmente me gustaría también tener una sección en español en este blog pero ya es demasiado trabajo escribir en dos idiomas… Quizás podría, de vez en cuando, traducir algo en castellano… como los artículos que hablan de España, por ejemplo. Quizás un día… ¡Veremos!

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    September 19th, 2010EuropasionariaPolitics, Web 2.0

    Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for ProgressivesI’m currently reading Words that Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear by American pollster and advisor to the Republicans, Frank Luntz. The book is all about what words convey and the importance of using simple language for politicians and all communicators. It’s a good complement to a book I read last year and that changed my life to such an extent that I keep on highly recommending this book to any political activist I get to meet: George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives. Based on the science of how the brain works, Lakoff says that Democrats in the US lose most elections because they spend their time criticising their opponents, thus repeating the other side’s arguments and language over and over, which basically gets them free publicity. In short: if you want to win people’s approval, make your own concepts based on your core values, rather than use the concepts your opponents created; in the US for example, Democrats keep on using terms that have been invented by the Republicans such as ‘purchasing power’, ‘gay marriage’ and ‘pro-life’. This frames the debate in favour of what conservatives defend. If you’re not ‘pro-life’, what are you? ‘pro-death’? or ‘anti-life’ perhaps? How can you be something else than in favour of life? Lakoff’s book is an essential reading.

    The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Revised Ed: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of EverythingThis summer I read another book that blew me away: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything by Democrat political campaigner, Joe Trippi. The book makes the link between my passion for politics and my passion for the Internet. Trippi tells the story of the Howard Dean campaign for being the Democrat nominee for the 2004 presidential election. The Internet tools that had such a key role in Obama’s election were first tested during the Howard Dean campaign Joe Trippi headed. His main point is that while television has gradually disconnected people with politics and their own community in the second part of the 20th century -about this, read the excellent Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putnam– the Internet, and social networks specifically, is getting people to re-connect with each other and re-engage in politics. While for decades people were only consulted through polls and on election days, nowadays the possibility for everyone to open a blog, tell what they think and impact decision-makers, is radically changing politics as we know it, 20th century style politics, driven by the power of television and opinion polls. A fascinating read.

    Next on my reading list are:

    Any suggestions?

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    September 16th, 2010EuropasionariaLife, Quote of the week

    Everything I like is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.

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    September 16th, 2010EuropasionariaLife, Web 2.0

    This is not my aunt although she has a similar haircut... and glasses too © Lisa.B/flickr

    A week ago my aunt joined Facebook. First, she started ‘liking’ everything I posted -and I post a lot, I’m a Facebook addict. Then she started posting things herself: youtube videos, texts, newspaper articles, pictures… all sorts of things! I am frankly absolutely amazed at how fast she picked it up. And I just love to read and listen everything she posts there. This shows that you can be a grand-mother and still open to new technologies. Clearly my aunt has an amazingly fast ability to understand how social media work… not that I ever doubted she had it in her!

    My aunt lives far away from where I live so we do not talk as much as I would like to. But now, thanks to Facebook and my aunt’s openness to trying new things, I get messages from her everyday. This truly warms my heart. As my other beloved aunt -her sister- likes to say: what matters is not physical youth but being young in your mindset.

    Love you, auntie O. and anti E. 🙂

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    September 6th, 2010EuropasionariaBest of the Web, Europe

    I’ve received an unusual newsletter from my favourite train company. Frequent Thalys users must have noticed that their trains have been undergoing a redesign this year. Thalys is now selling its old furniture. And for a good cause! I think this is a fantastic initiative.

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    September 5th, 2010EuropasionariaPolitics, Quote of the week

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

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    September 2nd, 2010EuropasionariaFrance, Life

    My Worst Ennemy © Alberto Garcia Quesada

    I’m a mosquito magnet. As a child, while I was spending holidays in Camargue, in the South East of France, I once counted the mosquito bites on my body. I had 56 of them. Yes, 56… and in spite of my extensive use of all kinds of anti-mosquito products. This summer on the French Riviera, I got devoured as usual. But this time, I discovered a far worse nuisance.

    I had been dreaming for months of putting on my bathing suit, diving mask and snorkel and going to observe the magnificent fish of the azure-blue water. First day, first beach, first swim. One breast stroke, two breast strokes, and then Ouch! Electrical choc on my arm, a nasty little jellyfish had bitten me. The jellyfish is a tiny defenceless looking creature, almost transparent, that likes to squat the warm waters of sea shores… I later learned.

    The Culprit © Emmanuel Froissant

    The burn is not very painful but the problem is what comes later on. Itching that keeps you awake at night and a persisting burn mark two weeks later. A burn mark that’s probably going to stay on my skin for a much longer time.

    Advice if one day you get stroke by this sea scum:

    1. First, don’t listen to the lifeguard’s advice. He knows nothing about it, I later found out.
    2. Scrape off the wound with a plastic card in order to remove the invisible particles of jellyfish that are still stuck on your skin.
    3. Rinse off your skin with sea water, no soft water.
    4. Against the itching that starts a week later, apply lavender essential oil every 5 minutes until the itching calms down. Twice or three times a day after that.

    A few days later, as I was scanning my whole submarine environment through my mask before every breast stroke, I got electroshocked again. Right on my forehead. It was the only place where I didn’t have visibility. Fortunately, this burn is not visible anymore. It seems I had just head-butted the nasty little creature without touching its tentacles. Damn it.

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