Categorymicro media

Liveblogging The BOBs


THE BOBsThis Thursday (27 Nov 2008) I’ll have the honor of liveblogging the award ceremony of The BOBs, the Best of the Blogs awards. (More about the BOBs in my first announcement or the official FAQ.)

Nutshell version (from the press release):

Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard was a member of the BOBs jury last year, and sees a real benefit to promoting freedom of opinion in the blogosphere. ‘Reporters Without Borders is proud to promote online free speech,’ Julliard said. ‘Blogs are often a means for people to express their views in countries where they generally cannot do this. The Internet is a revolution for voices that governments try to silence or harass. It was a great experience to be part of the jury as the BOBs are an excellent way of exploiting the Internet’s possibilities with regards to freedom of information.’ Among those nominated for this year’s Reporters Without Borders Award is the Cuban journalist Yoani Sanchez, who Time magazine voted one of the 100 most influential people of the year in 2008. Another nominee is Zeng Jinyan, the wife of the human-rights activist Hu Jia. She is currently under house arrest in China. The blog from the 4Equality project was also nominated. The project is aimed at collecting a million signatures in favor of more rights for women in Iran.

The liveblog will go online around 8pm Berlin time (GMT +1) and there’s a number of ways to follow the event:

First, and of course best, is being there, live in the meatspace. If you’re in Berlin, don’t miss out, it should be great. The ceremony will take place in the Museum for Communication (Google Maps). It’s free and open, and after the ceremony you’ll have the chance to meet the jury.

Second, and hopefully not bad either, there’ll be live coverage: I’ll be liveblogging both here and on the BOBs website. (Full disclosure: This is a paid gig.) Personally, I’d recommend you watch it on the BOBs site, as there’ll also be a live video stream. You’ll get the videostream on your left and my liveblog on the right. Of course, you can also grab the embed code and spread the work (and thereby promote freedom of speech) on your own blog. Feel free to do so!

You can register here if you’d like to get an email reminder:


Update: Get the whole picture! I figured it might be even more interesting to follow both the liveblog and see what others are saying about the BOBs. So here’s what the folks on Twitter are saying:

    The box above is done via, a pretty useful little service that aggregates in one place every tweet tagged with #thebobs. If you discuss the BOBs on Twitter, just include #thebobs in your post and it will show up here.


    Update: Chinese jury member couldn’t leave China The Chinese blogger, citizen journalist and member of the jury Shuguang Zhou was restricted from leaving China. This sadly shows how important these awards are.

    Liveblogging from The BOBs (27 Nov)


    THE BOBsOn 27 November, Deutsche Welle will announce the winners of The BOBs, the Best of the Blogs awards. The BOBs are pretty big internationally, it’s probably the world’s most important international blog awards (for blogs, podcasts, videoblogs). With 11 languages, it’s a truly international effort. (More on the BOBs in the FAQ.)

    Among the nominations are a lot of truly amazing blogs, and it won’t be easy for the jury to decide who to give the awards to. But one thing is for sure, it’s going to be extremely high-quality stuff. So I’m really excited that Deutsche Welle asked me to come and liveblog (or is it: blog live?) from the awards ceremony. (Full disclosure: It’s a paid gig.) The ceremony is open to the public, by the way, and takes place in the Berlin communications museum, in the evening of 27 Nov.

    So drop by if you’re based in Berlin. For those who can’t make it, I’ll be liveblogging here and on the BOBs website.

    Two interviews: Likemind in NYTimes, Berlinblase on Trackback


    Usually I don’t get interviewed often, but rather interviewing others, like for Berlinblase or Blogpiloten. So you can imagine I was pretty surprised to show up in two traditional media yesterday.

    A brief, but fun email interview with the New York Times about likemind (which I had the chance to co-host recently – thanks Henrik!) got me a quote in the NYTimes Fashion & Style section, ranting about professional networking:

    TO Erin Middleton, a 27-year-old brand strategist in Dallas, the word “networking” calls to mind “stodgy business types in suits,” who are “very uncomfortable and poor at engaging conversation,” she said in an e-mail message. Melissa Clark, an advertising account manager in Minneapolis, said there is “something smarmy” about the word. Peter Bihr, 28, a media consultant in Berlin, was even stronger in his denunciation. “ ‘Networking,’ as a word, makes me feel like I get a physical reaction, I hate the term so much,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “It sounds all like strategically talking to people and trying to be their friends. It’s not authentic.” So, what exactly, are these three doing at 8 a.m. on the third Friday of each month, meeting with other young professionals at their local coffeehouse? They are participating in likemind, a monthly kaffeeklatsch for creative professionals, held in 55 cities around the world, including Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Malmo, Sweden.

    The article is a fun read: That Business Card Won’t Fly Here.

    Then, Saturday evening I was invited over to Potsdam for an interview with Radio Trackback to chat with Marcus Richter about Web 2.0 Expo, Barcamp and, most of all, our collaborative content mashup Berlinblase. This was, I think, my first radio interview, and I loved the atmosphere in and around the studio. There’s not much going on at the station’s grounds, so it’s very calm and quiet, and everybody was quite easy-going. Anyway, you can listen to the interview here (roughly seven minutes from 5:40 to 12:20).

    Also, here’s a pic I took while we got ready (more here):

    Radio Trackback interview about Berlinblase

    (Thanks, Marcus!)

    Some thoughts on Barcamp, Web 2.0 Expo, Girl Geek Dinner, Berlinblase


    This has been some crazy week for me. Starting last Friday, there has been no day, and no evening, without some kind of web-related event: Barcamp, Girl Geek Dinner, Web 2.0 Expo. And all the events surrounding those, like Pitchparty, LateCrunch and of course the “official” Web 2.0 Expo party. Which is why I took a break this morning and went to go see the least webby thing I could think of: The Pergamon Museum, Berlin’s archaeological highlight. Nothing gets you back to the ground like some huge chunks out of historical buildings dating back to A.D. times. That, and some sleep to get over the sleep dep.

    So why am I writing all this? Partly to have a decent wrap-up for all the things that happened on the web and off. Partly to look back on what happened and what I found remarkable. Also, I think criticism is important, but so is paying respect where respect is due. So this is highly subjective, you might have had a very different experience at the same events. (If so, please share!)

    I had a great time connecting face-to-face with all these folks I usually interacted with primarily online. (Only occasionally did I encounter awkward conversation like: What’s your name? Who are you on Twitter? I think I’m following you!) This is what community events are so important for: To get folks together in the meat space. It really makes a difference. There’s so many projects, startups and cool folks around, we should try to get all of those groups connected even better.

    So here are some thoughts on the web events themselves.


    Barcamp Berlin 3: Deutsche Telekom Berlin HQ by flickr user hebig Barcamp Berlin 3: Deutsche Telekom Berlin HQ by Heiko Hebig

    Barcamp Barcamp Berlin 3 was only my second Barcamp, but sure not the last one. It was huge (some 600 attendees per day), so I guess not everybody got to contribute, and in the Deutsche Telekom Berlin HQ, which doesn’t exactly seem a natural match. Traditionally, DT and bloggers aren’t exactly on the best terms. So this might actually be the real historical legacy of this Barcamp: It became clear that both sides actually can get together to organize kick-ass stuff. While during the first hours or so the blogger crowd and the on-site security and staff seemed to give each other suspicious looks, by the end of the first day everybody got along great. Respect to the DT techies and community guys to blend into the crowds. That’s no easy feat (what with German bloggers being traditionally very critical and outspoken) and it worked a charm. (By the way, wireless held up, despite basically everybody running at least one mobile device. Need to say more?) The location worked fine, despite some minor sound problems: Some of the workshop rooms were divided by dividers rather than walls, so you could regularly hear the neighbor session. Oh well, if that’s the only problem!


    Girl Geek Dinner Berlin by Andrea Vascellari Girl Geek Dinner Berlin by Andrea Vascellari

    Girl Geek Dinner Nicole and Michelle were kind enough to invite me to my first Girl Geek Dinner (short: GGD). (Thanks!) Even though Nicole stressed that the event is neither just for girls, nor just for geeks, nor does it include dinner, it was great being there. What a difference it makes to have a web event with more than 50% women! Also, it’s fun to have to be invited: Guys may not enter without an explicit invitation by one of the female attendees. It seems like there should be more girl geek events, which is also what was discussed in a Web 2.0 Expo workshop on gender in Web 2.0 careers (I liveblogged). If you’re female and work in the web industry, do organize meetups. If you’re male, do encourage your girl friends and colleagues to overcome to attend web events, even if it can easily seem intimidating for the first time.


    Blogger roundtable at Web 2.0 Expo Berlin by flickr user luca.sartoni Blogger roundtable at Web 2.0 Expo Berlin by luca.sartoni (licensed under CC: some rights reserved)

    Web 2.0 Expo Most surprising was Web 2.0 Expo Berlin. I said before that I enjoyed last year’s Berlin web season around W2E, but many, many others disagreed. (Disclosure: I was there on a media pass, both years, so I was very well off there and got great support.) The main points of criticism were: Location (ICC sucked), catering (somewhat meager), attitude (seemed arrogantly organized), atmosphere (seemed like a replay).

    So what was the surprise? To be honest, basically everything. It was great, from beginning to end. Except for really minor mishaps (at some point, free coffee was limited, which was fixed right away; at peak times wireless was slow) everything worked perfectly fine. The location great (BCC at Alexanderplatz, right in the heart of the city), it was small and cozy and had a kind of 60s retro charm that’s hard to describe, but really works. The food was yummy. The atmosphere was intimate and familiar. But the point that I’d like to stress most is the different attitude O’Reilly and TechWeb showed.

    To take the kind of flak these guys got last year (and that was frankly quite often really low and unfair) and be open and good-spirited about it takes some (for lack of a better term) balls. The O’Reilly and TechWeb crew around Janetti Chon, Jen Pahlka and Brady Forrest was great. The blogger outreach program was a huge success. When the Berlinblase crew and I were liveblogging a keynote session and mentioned some wifi problems Jen was on the spot within mere minutes trying to see what she could do to fix everything. I almost felt bad for demanding such amounts of attention from those folks. But it’s something the blogger community here appreciated highly. Allow me to quote Johannes Kleske’s thoughts on Berlinblase:

    What a difference a year makes. Following the communication of Techweb and O’Reilly in the last weeks you could really hear them making a huge effort of doing it right this time. I mean they could have easily said “Screw you, guys, we’re going to another city where people actually appreciate what we’re doing.” But instead they came back and asked for a second chance. And this time they are not bringing us “the gospel of Web 2.0” but are doing a lot to empower the European web community.

    All that just to say: Thanks, and we’d love to have you back next year. Srsly, dudes ;)

    Which brings me to my last point: Berlinblase.


    berlinblase moo cards by flickr user dotdean Berlinblase Moo cards by dotdean (licensed under CC: some rights reserved)

    Berlinblase Exactly one year ago, at Barcamp Berlin 2 and Web 2.0 Expo Berlin 07, Berlinblase was born as a tumblog and content mashup that aggregated everything related to the conference. Ever since, the project has been bubbling on low hear, so to speak. (Apologies for the puns that don’t really translate: “blase” means “bubble”.) For this year’s Barcamp and Web 2.0 Expo, we re-activated Berlinblase, relaunched the website, and got organized. We really wanted to cover the events up close, from the inside and on peer-level with the community. For all those who were there and wanted to have one central location for the coverage, and for those who couldn’t be in town. So we mashed up tweets, videos, blogs (both regulars and live ones), photos – you name it, we got it.

    We did this for fun and out of passion, but the feedback we got was overwhelming – both in quantity and quality. (Thanks, everybody!) So many folks approached me over those few days with kind words, project ideas and invites to other conferences that we really didn’t know what to say. (Again: thanks!) We don’t know where this is headed, but it’s been a great ride so far. We started this more or less for fun, but it seems like there is quite some demand for on-site, insider coverage. Get in touch ;)

    Also, it’s time for some really warm and fuzzy thanks and hugs: Nicole Simon was deeply involved in all of this: Barcamp, GirlGeekDinner, Web2Expo, you name it. Without Nicole, it seems, a lot of this wouldn’t have happened the way it did. Tobetop and Kai Uhlemeyer, who rocked the Barcamp. (You guys deserve some extra sleep, that’s for sure!) The same goes for Nicole Ebber, Picki, and the rest of the Barcamp orga team. Jen Pahlka of Techweb, Brady Forrest or O’Reilly and Janetti Chon, who did an awesome job at Web 2.0 Expo. Not only did everything work out extremely well, it was great fun to work with you guys, too. Stephanie Booth, you were great. (And sorry for the lack of soup!) Thanks Maureen Jennings of O’Reilly for the great press support, it was a pleasure. Also, thanks to all of you who agreed to sit down with me, or Berlinblase, or the Blogpiloten crew for interviews.

    All of you guys did an amazing job. Thanks, a lot! Hope to see you soon, on one continent or another.

    Interview with Stowe Boyd: Why email is broken


    At Web 2.0 Expo, Stowe Boyd took the time to sit down with dotdean and me for an interview. (Some thoughts on his session “Better Media Plumbing for the Social Web“.)

    Email is dead – Stowe Boyd from dotdean on Vimeo.

    Disclosure: The interview was shot as a shared project between and Berlinblase, both in which I’m directly involved.

    Berlinblase summarized in one Moo card


    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Berlinblase is back. But as of now, we have a Moo card that says it all: live, raw and uncut by Flickr user dotdean Image by dotdean, licensed under Creative Commons (by-nc)

    Not enough info? There’s (a bit… work in progress…) more on Berlinblase > About, as well as a brief intro to the crew.