In Iceland, the citizens are writing a brand new constitution online. In North Africa and the Middle East, social media were the main medias whereby the insurgents kept in touch with each others, and could share their ideas among the population. In short, information is changing its skin, more and more.
We talk about these issues with Julianne Becker, coordinator of the Berlin edition of Social Media Week, which runs conferences, debates and workshops on different topics, from September from 19th to 23th.
”Indeed – Julianne says – there was a great movement of renewal in recent years; the important thing is to find a way to use the right tools. Maybe in a few years, social networks can also be useful for education and training”.
Social Media Week is not only an German event. "We are present simultaneously in twelve cities – Julianne continues. A big step forward compared to the first edition of 2009, which took place exclusively in New York”.
Born in 2009 in the United States, Social Media Week (SMW) is a global platform that connects people, content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media. Delivered primarily through a network of internationally hosted biannual conferences and online through social and mobile media, Social Media Week brings hundreds of thousands of people together every year through learning experiences that aim to advance our understanding of social media’s role in society.
It landed in Europe in 2010, SMW keeps an internal differentiation between the two "branches", in part because familiarity with social media is not the same everywhere. "It must be said that in Germany people are more skeptical than the U.S.. Particularly with regard to Facebook, for example, there is less willingness to showcase their own identity”.
What will be the program of the week in Berlin?
”The leitmotif is the sharing of information, which is why we have scheduled several meetings. Among the must-events, on Monday 19th there an online conference will take place, attended by Basem Fathy (Egyptian blogger), Ethan Zuckerman (director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT and founder of Global Voices) and Markus Loening, the German Federal Commissioner for Human Rights. It will be an interesting opportunity to analyze the role of social platform in the recent uprisings of the Arab countries”.
Social Media Week, furthermore, aims to link people in different ways and fields, as the site indiegogo does. There will be the chance to do the “crowd funding” and “crowd sourcing”. How do they work? Julienne Becker explains. “This is an online platform, where one can upload his own projects; it is very useful for film-makers, for instance, who can propose an idea that needs fund to come true. In this way, anyone can support economically, even in small part, any project. The same for the crowd sourcing: in this case, it is mainly the NGOs to benefit because they can easily require networking skills they need”.
Social Media Week
Berlin, from September 19 to 23