Monday, November 21

backside of blog-reading

I was browsing a few more blogs of people who attended the WSIS and some of them are still in Tunisia today. What then happened was that I really got "Reisefieber" (travel nerves, itchy feet?). So, if you want to see a few nice pictures or descriptions or haven't planed the next holiday yet - here's some inspiration.

Sunday, November 20

WSIS - notes & quotes

Just a few notes & quotes about the WSIS - am not trying to give a good overview here, much more want to relate experiences of attendees:

Yesterday, we [i.e. Ethan Zuckerman and "his partners in crime", I guess] were warned that our session [called Expression under Repression] could be cancelled by the Tunisian authorities. We also discovered that the session wasn't listed in the official program guide. Today, we came to the room where the session was to be held and there was a sign on the door stating that the workshop was cancelled. Friends who passed by the UNDP booth on the WSIS floor earlier today heard gossip that the security forces would appear at our session and anyone who attended would be arrested. And I got a few SMSs from people who'd asked about our session at the information booths and had been told there was no information on our session.This low-grade harrasment did nothing to dampen our turnout for the session. Ethan Zuckerman

here's some more information by the Berkman Center for Internet and society on the same incident.

the obvious presence of military, police and tourism police should strengthen that sense of security. In three kilometres around the airport and around the Kram Expo, there was a policemen at every 250 meters and the closer you got to the Kram Expo, there were even policemen on horseback and special forces. Tunesia must be a country with more policemen than inhabitants. In front of every official hotel was a policemen with a stengun and in the hotel secret service people were just chatting as natural Tunesians, while in the meantime checking potential contacts with Tunesian dissidents. more from Jak Boumans

Another post by Ethan Zuckerman about the "Citizen's Summit":

a counter-summit, [...] where issues like the Internet and human rights - which have been difficult to get onto the main WSIS agenda - can be discussed.
A meeting Monday to plan the summit was disrupted by Tunisian security forces, who prevented organizers from entering the Goethe Institute, where the meeting was being held. Since then, there have been reports that human rights activists have been beaten by government-based thugs after meeting with summit attendees, and a French journalist attacked by security forces. In other words, it hasn't looked like a welcoming climate for a citizen's summit.
But then he talks about the actual meeting: I kept waiting for a commotion in the back of the room that never came. Later the same eveingn: the barriers to free expression in Tunis became all too clear as we walked out of the compound to catch taxis for dinner. Walking down the narrow street that from the human rights center to the main road, we past a block lined with tough looking men in street clothes, some on motorcycles. There was no apparent reason for thirty men to be standing on this corner of the street - no cafe, no shops of any sort - and no indication that the group was moving at all. [read more here]

More information about all that? Ndesanjo at "Digital Africa" has got a few more links, the OpenNet Initiative has a report on internet filtering in Tunisia.

Want to read something more positive?

A very sweet blogger I met in Tunis was representing Jordan in the the "Reach out"-Initiative

which is basically a dialogue between UK and Arab youth that aims at connecting both the western and Arabic culture, in an attempt to break stereotypes, spread awareness, and work together to make a difference. more here.

Technorati :

CFP: Communities & Technologies 2007

Conference Website:

Following the success of two prior conferences, we cordially invite
submissions to the third International Conference on Communities and
Technologies (C&T 2007), hosted by Michigan State University. This
biennial meeting serves as a forum for stimulating and disseminating
research on the complex connections between communities - both
physical and virtual - and information and communication technologies.

C&T 2007 welcomes contributions from researchers in many fields,
given the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of inquiries
into the interaction between community and technology. Past meetings
have involved researchers working in such areas as computer supported
cooperative work, computer supported collaborative learning,
artificial intelligence, information retrieval, human computer
interaction, information systems, community informatics, knowledge
management, and Internet studies; across such fields as anthropology,
communication, computer science, economics, geography, information
studies, information systems, management science, political science,
psychology, sociology, and telecommunication. The conference program
includes competitively selected, peer-reviewed papers, as well as
workshops, tutorials, and a small number of invited speakers.

Important Dates:
November 13, 2006: Paper submission deadline
December 4, 2006: Deadline for submission of workshop proposals

Conference Themes:
There are many definitions of community. We focus on the notion of
communities as social entities comprised of actors who share
something in common: this common element may be geography, needs,
interests, practices, organizations, or other bases for social
connection. Communities are considered to be a basic unit of social
experience. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can
interact with communities in many complex ways. For example, ICTs
can support community formation and development by facilitating
communication and coordination among members. Conversely, the lack
of attention to the surrounding community context may inhibit the
design and effective use of ICT innovations. Hence, new research
into the creation, use, and evaluation of ICTs aimed at community
support is appearing at an increasing rate. New phenomena such as
blogs, podcasting, smart mobs, and the popularity of social network
software illustrate some of the new areas for research into the
powerful and changing connections between community and technology.

Empirical, conceptual, and design contributions are invited,
involving a range of methodologies and approaches. These might
include application designs, innovative frameworks, case studies,
ethnographies, experiments, survey research, network analyses or
economic studies.

Topics appropriate for submission to this conference are manifold.
Examples of some of the vibrant areas of communities and technology
research include, but are not limited to:

* virtual community formation and development
* communities of interest and practice, knowledge sharing and
organizational learning
* communities and innovation
* community informatics
* technical support for communities
* innovative applications of communityware
* ad hoc communities and ICTs
* innovations in community technology design
* system platforms for e-community research
* design methods for communityware
* ICTs and geographical business communities (e.g. clusters and/or
regional development)
* ICTs and virtual business communities
* community e-commerce business models
* interactions between online and offline communities
* social capital, communities, and technology
* communities and e-government
* ethnographic and case studies of virtual communities
* trust, privacy and security issues in virtual communities
* communities, technology and social movements
* interaction in large scale online communities
* persistent conversation in technology-facilitated communities
* supporting collaboration in local and distributed communities
* economics of technology-facilitated communities
* inter-organizational communities and technology
* communities, technology, learning and education

Submitting Papers and Workshop Proposals
Completed and original research papers of not more 20 pages must be
submitted electronically to the conference website, and will undergo
a peer review process. We are preparing submission guidelines and a
conference management facility to enable online submission. In the
meantime, general information about C&T 2007 is available at the
conference web site.

We also invite the submission of proposals for workshops, which will
be held on June 28, the first day of the conference. Workshops can
be either half or full day in length and built around specific themes
relevant to the conference. Workshop proposals should be 4 pages in
length, and should define the theme(s) of the workshop, the main
activities and goals, the background and contact information of the
organizer(s), the maximum number of participants in the workshop, the
means of soliciting participants, and the method of selecting
participants. Proposals should also include a brief summary of no
more than 150 words suitable for describing the workshop in the
conference program.

As with prior meetings, the Conference on Communities and
Technologies Proceedings will be published by Kluwer Academic

Conference Organizers and Contact Information
The 2007 meeting is being co-organized by Charles Steinfield and
Brian Pentland of Michigan State University, Mark Ackerman of the
University of Michigan, and Noshir Contractor of the University of
Illinois. Questions regarding C&T 2007 should be sent to the
conference email address, which is :

Saturday, November 19

just trying...

After a quick search for possiblities of tagging my blogposts, I just installed "zoundry" [lite] - a blogging editor. Sould make blogging easier and tagging no effort at all. :

Wednesday, November 16

Blogtalk Reloaded

its not gossip any more... blogtalk reloaded will be held at the 2nd and 3rd of October 2006 in Vienna again...

via randgaenge


Tuesday, November 15

Papers on Weblog-Research online...

Kommunikation@gesellschaft, a web journal dedicated to research into information and communication technologies went online with a new issue yesterday, I guess - and i'ts about weblog-research. I'm really excited to delve into all these papers soon! More backgroundinformation in an entry by Jan Schmidt.

A few papers and links to the presentators of the "Kongress kulturwissenschaftliche Technikforschung" to be held from 25 th - 27 th of November in Hamburg are already online too...

via this entry at

Monday, November 14

Internet connection problems as result of the WSIS...

how ironic...Marouen, a tunisian blogger whom I met when I was there this summer, writes about the internet connection problems he's experiencing a result of the WSIS...there's not much more I can add apart from a slight suspicion of political reasons behind the whole more here.
Oh, and before I forget: here, la blogeuse writes about the traffic problems that my husband has been talking about the last few days as well...

Weblogs 2005

Wednesday and Friday this week I'll attend a workshop on Weblogs in Linz/Austria, one of the organisers is Jan Schmidt.

Topics include:

  • basics of weblog research (Jan Schmidt, Klaus Schöneberger)
  • weblogs in organisations - PR and marketing (Tim Fischer, Martin Roell)
  • weblogs and Journalism (Martin Welker)
  • weblogs in organisations - knowledge and project management (Thomas N. Burg, Dieter Rappold)
  • weblogs and political communication (Roland Abold, Martina Kausch)
  • teaching with weblogs / e-learning (Hans Mittendorfer, Tanja Jadin, Bernad Batrinic)
of course there's a weblog as well as a wiki available - all in German though.

I'm really looking forward to meeting and talking to all these people - hope there will be plenty of time in the coffee breaks!


Sunday, November 13

Rites of passage...

Arnold van Gennep, a flemish anthropologist and ethnologist wrote a book called "Les rites de passage" in which he talks about transitions and the rites people perform with them. Transitions can either be spatial (house warming parties), seasonal (e.g. harvest festivals) or "life cyclical" (birth, death, marriage) and the whole idea is a "universal" - e.g. can be found in many different cultures around the whole world. Almost everywhere life is characterised by turning points, we don't experience it like a calm flow of days after days after days.

Now why do people perform rituals at these turning points in their lifes? Because these transitions don't come naturally, they don't just happen. You're not born as an adult, as a couple or whatever - you're made one and through the ritual this is made more real for the individual.

And it's true. Really.
When I got married in September, it was actually two days that we celebrated. One day was a very quiet one. The contract was signed with a registrar who came into the home of my husbands family and the only people who celebrated with the two of us were his closest friends and family. We had a nice meal, fotos were taken etc. Then, a few days later, we had a big party with lots of friends in Tunis, where he's living now...and only then, after an exhausting evening, with lots of music and dancing as well as changing my robe twice, did I really "feel" married.

I wonder how it will be when we've celebrated our party here in Austria with all my friends and family as well...but alas, there are still some bureaucratic hurdles to jump...until he can join me here.

Friday, November 11

second thoughts on teaching...

Today is Friday - one of these Fridays that I'll be teaching.

For the last few weeks lectures went quite well on my part, although I'm not so sure if our students share the same opinion. After all we're asking them to work quite hard(at least compared to local standards!) :

reading a (for them surely) difficult chapter every week. In our lessons we don't go through the chapter bit by bit but ask them to work on it themselves - through presentations as well as discussion of different aspects. I'm not so sure if they really appreciate it that much, that we don't take the responsibility of reading from their shoulders - but one day they'll definitely harvest the merits of knowing how to read and get the gist of an article themselves.

Another requirement are two articles that they have to write and publish online in their blogs. We also suggested that they use their blogs for reading reflections ("Lesetagebuch"/reading diary) but as it wasn't compulsory only a few of them are into it yet. Alas, there is still lots of time until the end of this term, so they still have the chance of discovering the joy of quick and easy online publishing!

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