It rained when I arrived this morning in Berlin, and it was still dropping when walking back to the hotel tonight. Unusual. I am used to have at least dry weather when spending some time here…
Anyway, after checking in at the hotel and also having a proper breakfast there, I made my way to re:publica at Friedrichsstadtpalast in the town center.
Forgot to mention that I was met by immediate international flavour when arriving in Berlin. On my way to town I had got company from a nice Taiwanese student who started traveling Europe in Stockholm, and after having arrived at my hotel, I shared the breakfast area with three ladies from France. I like!
The first one I met at the conference was @pottblog, one of the most popular German bloggers – can the day start any better? @tapio from @oseon was the next one I stumbled upon. He promoted his new book about how to use Social Media as vital part of a successful PR-strategy. A book with best-practice and how-to examples, and only as much theory as necessary. Nice addition to the available literature I’d say, and definitely worth checking out for the interested German speaking ones among us.
And so it continued, @martinweigert @peate @hetty @katti @klauseck and @thomasE @HerrSchmitz only being a few of them. At Kalkscheune, the other place of re:publica, I ran into @Vasco from @mokonomedia and @blog_de and we had lunch together with another nice guy from Carta.info. His name didn’t stick to my teflon brain (for names that is, I remember faces – so please comment if you read this!). Topic among others was of course blogs, what else.
Finally, in the afternoon I also met @50hz, @prcdv @codeispoetry @elcario and @meerblickzimmer. It really is like @hirnrinde and many others said before – the re:publica a big meeting with everyone within the German social media sphere (“Klassentreffen”), means with everyone interested in it or working with it.
Apart from catching up with people and networking, I attended two really good sessions. One of them was about “Global Voices”. Remember? That one was on my list for the first day. It was inspiring to listen to Solana Larsen (@solanasaurus), their managing editor. Let me explain why.
For all of you who didn’t know what Global Voices is, it is a community that picks up topics and problems from all parts of the world. The editors and translators at Global Voices listen especially to bloggers and tweets from countries where free internet and publishing and sharing opinions in general is not at all as self-understood as it is in our Western countries. Simply since you can get in trouble by doing so, best case not ending up loosing your life… Global Voices gives subjects a room that main media only picks up long after i.e. a proper crisis has emerged, and then often only with one-sided reports. As an example Solana explained that in Iran there were not only the bloggers and voices that wanted to get rid of their government, but also a lot of people who wanted to keep it. Yet the only messages reaching us were the ones voting against the current government… Then GV monitored the situation in Egypt and Ivory Coast long before the recent dramatic events, just no main media picked it up… I wonder why – for journalists truly interested in world politics this must be a great additional news source, mustn’t it?
A valid question from someone was, who of these bloggers one could trust? Cos there are surely some set up by i.e. dictatorships that spread “wrong” news? Global Voices listens, said Solana, and only experience in monitoring a certain country helps them finding out who is a trustworthy source and who isn’t.
If you like me want to get started with checking out Global Voices, then Solana recommends to start with one country, maybe the one you want to go on holiday to. So, Swedes, you should monitor Thailand then maybe 😉 . And I pick Ukraine, because I am interested in this country since I started following the British ambassador Leigh Turner‘s blog last year.
The second session I went to was with @TimPritlove from Chaosradio about Podcasts and Radio as Tools for Public Relations. Thank you @Meerblickzimmer for taking me with you! And I tell you lot why. I am the occasional Podcast listener, and I never really got what this is all about – apart from that it is some interesting stuff you can listen to whenever you want basically. But Tim’s session got me a bit more curious about the whole thing. I personally like i.e. the idea that this is not a field where you have set formats. In contrary, new innovative formats arise from it, and the tendency is that podcasts inspire what we know as traditional radio, be it state radio or commercial stations. Also there is a huge variety of them. Okay, I was aware of that, but not about the many topics and areas one potentially could make podcasts about – as long as there is a target group who wants to listen to it. And – most importantly, that one is allowed (and wanted!) to have an opinion in most of them – unlike mainstream radio with the hyper political correctness we are exposed to, unless they send comedy satire that is… Anyway. Interesting and greatly made session by someone who knows his shit.
You read enough now, here are some impressions from the conference – not many, though. I swapped between iPhone and HTC camera, and these are the best results (of the few I have) that I can share.
A great day finished with a long due German-Norwegian-Swedish catch-up with @meerblickzimmer at a nice Indian restaurant on Oranienburger Straße. And this blog update.
Can a rainy day end better? Don’t think so.