Convention Camp Internet conference Hannover

Hannover, Germany

Today I spent my day at the Convention Camp in Hannover. It was all about Internet from a very social perspective. Privacy, e-commerce and especially social networking have the dominant issues been discussed there. Even though I missed accounts on Internet governance or (and I do not think that I will find it much in Germany) cyberwarfare, it was kind of exciting.

The first panel was all about the the Social Revolution of the Internet. The speaker was Stowe Boyd and came from the US rescheduling his Thanksgiving obligations. Thanks to you Stowe. It was a good introduction and a really good account on the change of the Internet without making people play bullshit bingo by talking about web 2.0, 3.0 and so on all the time. He worshiped the Internet as ‘the most valuable artifact humans created’ and talked about its transitions to a social medium. Between the lines, and the reference to McLuhan made it clear, he did not seem to ignore the power of technological determination.

The social reshaped net has its distinctiveness by offering decentralized opportunities for social interaction and information sharing (unlike traditional media) which kind of makes the (web-) society more egalitarian. Furthermore streams/ flows will become more important. If you ever used Facebook, you know what a stream is. All the stuff your ‘friends’ make appear on your login screen. He was talking about tumblr which integrates comments, blog entries and all this stuff in one stream on your own blog so that you do not have to browse to other website, because all the stuff is taken from these pages and put on your own (if all your bloggers and so on would use this tool).

Sounds not bad to me in general. Sometimes I get the impression (especially following tweets or ‘new blogging’), that the information shared are not interpreted or even read. Some people appear to post links, sometimes followed by some sentences, without even thinking about what they are doing. Probably they want to be the first one who has it on his blog or whatever. In my opinion this is kind of scary even though I do not think that most of the people act like this. Every day I get several instant messages only containing an URL or two. Do not get me wrong, I am very thankful receiving links to interesting stuff but…. could it be so difficult to at least write why they are sending me these URLs… seriously?! It is the same with Facebook, twitter, new blogs or whatever… just some links to ‘spread the word’ are strange. One point at which I do understand journalists when they argue that the blogosphere consists of unskilled amateurs ruining their job so that they cannot do professional and well-evaluated news anymore (I guess the last point is only as far true as you take into account the run for profit the media companies make).

Concluding, Stowe’s account was coherent and interesting. Who knows how the ‘post-everything future’ will look like with its ‘highly social culture’? Shorter, faster, all-time in transition and everything but stable? Perhaps.

Interesting point: Bulgarians spend approximately as much time watching television as Gorillas spend chewing leafs. Thanks Stowe for this amazing information 😉

In my opinion, the Convention Camp does deserve a second post. The second one deals with the sessions I attended.

The first session was given by Matthias Dorn from the Lower Saxony State Authority of Mining, Energy and Geology. His very philosphical account was aimed at knowledge transfer via Internet. Even though the presentation was clearly structured it did not convince the audience completely. To many questions about the definitions of knowledge, information and wisdom made the content kind of blurry. What I learned from this session was how knowledge is generated with the use of computers and the Internet. 1. step: organise and edit knowledge; 2. step: finding knowledge via search engines; 3. step: internalise knowledge; 4. step: apply knowledge; 5. step: share knowledge.

In general I do think that this is an important topic especially for companies. Using own wiki’s, perhaps twitter or other databases to share knowledge and probably generate new solutions for old problems is a good thing. It safes time, probably safes money and secures the knowledge which has been generated within a company. Once a knowledge pool is generated it can be used and improved over and over again. How did the guy who had the job before solve this problem? Who is responsible for a certain task? How does part xyz that we produce work exactly? These questions could be answered by having a look at a careful maintained wiki.

Knowledge is power….

This second session I attended was given by Jochen Krisch and dealt with E-Commerce 2020. It was a very comprehensive and good account on different strategies for online shopes. His list included visual shopping, social shopping, live shopping and shops who offered handcrafted things, distinctive style wear or even exclusive stuff which could only be bought there.

Referring to social shopping Jochen highlighted the role of zappos, which advertises using twitter, Facebook,YouTube and almost all possible opportunities in the Internet where social interaction takes place. Consequently, everyone should have heard of zappos (I did not). Even the comment function featured inter alia by amazon is a small but decisive step towards social shopping. A community rates and comments products. This way of dealing with products has several implications and becoming a member of this society is certainly one among others.

As possible future of e-commerce Jochen referred to magento which is the first open source shopping platform. It is application orientated, modular and…can not repeat it often enough: open source. Again an open source solution seems as powerful as a proprietary software and this is mainly caused by its community.

Who knows… probably all the shops will be interconnected in the future…

The third session I attended has been given by Markus Beckedahl, the author of Due to the fact that I am currently reading Lessig’s ‘The Future of Ideas’, Markus’ session on Creative Commons was a perfect fit.

I do not think that I have much to explain about Creative Commons but one thing: use it and help spreading it! Apart from a short definition of what Creative Commons are and how they work, Markus presented some examples of Creative Common use which led to new business models (contraire to the beliefs of our beloved record companies that CC cannot generate surplus). Some of them are: Nine Inch Nails’ Ghost I-IV, Cory Doctorow and Blender.

I think that Creative Commons is a great invention. The Internet made it possible to generate and share knowledge within seconds and work on the same project across the world. Our copyright laws appear very out of date and in my opinion do our authorities fight a war against wind mills. Therefore, Creative Commons is a good licensing model… and if I am not to lazy I’m going to put all the stuff on this page under CC license.

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