PICNIC 2008: when we change the way we communicate we change society (Clay Shirky)
September 26th, 2008

‘How will PICNIC 2008‘ affect the lives of visitors? That’s the question on top of an interview with Monique van Dusseldorp, Programme Director of PICNIC. Monique answers: “I hope PICNIC will provide participants the opportunity to make real connections. I hope people will find new energy, get inspired by new ideas and start new conversations. Most of all, I hope that they will do something with all this. Because PICNIC is meant to be a starting point for new developments, a catalyst so to speak. We want things to happen

Monique said it well and reflects how many attendants like me feel about this event with such catalyzing power.

This posting briefly echoes Clay Shirky‘s keynote presentation ‘Here Comes Everybody‘ (read a blog report on Clay’s book) about how the spread of new forms of social interaction enabled by technology is changing the way humans form groups and exist within them.

(photo by Javier Candeira)

Here Comes Everybody (Marketingfacts interview with Clay Shirky about his new book) (book reviews) (comparable presentation)

This posting also captures the alarming message on ‘Secrets and Lies‘ of Intel’s anthropologist and director of user experience Genevieve Bell, pointing to the consequences for privacy and security that our conversations are stored, our pictures shared, our names Googleable. Genevieve gives us something to reflect on. ‘How are we changing?’ And can we connect? You may want to watch a comparable earlier presentation by Genevieve on lying and digital deception.

(photo by kandinski)

My reply to the question on top of this page would be: “It’s not about the tools, it’s about the people“. The saying is quoted from an earlier presentation of Ethan Zuckerman, the co-founder of Global Voices. Ethan’s outlook and knowledge about communities inspires me. And here he was on stage, giving us an update on vibrant and fast-moving technological and creative developments in cities and rural areas across Africa, from mobile banking to new communication patterns.

Just like last year again I have my personal Picnic champion. Last year that was Alex Steffen of WorldChanging for me, but this year I choose Ethan.


(photo by Erik Hersman) (tv interview with Ethan by TVents)

After Ethan’s presentation by coincidence I was sitting next to Erik Hersman of Ushahidi. Talking to Erik for a few minutes made it very clear to me. Meeting Erik Hersman and exchanging some words with him and with Ethan Zuckerman makes me tick. Masters of Media reviewed Erik’s contribution to the Surprising Africa part of Picnic. At Worldchanging Ethan blogged his impressions of being an afternoon at Picnic. Among many other things this is what I take home from PICNIC 2008, connected via LinkedIn to Erik Hersman and lots of inspiration on Surprising Africa. Thank you PICNIC! This conference will bring along real change.

Bruno Giussani covers on his weblog LunchoverIP the conference theme The Power of Mass Creativity

Master students of the University Of Amsterdam did a great job reporting on the presentations with the most impact on society:

Surprising Africa
Africa’s digital revolution-surprising Africa
Mobile phones in Africa
“Homophily can make you stupid”
Secrets and Lies
Commercial collaborations: tools, things and toys
The Long Here, the Big Now, and other tales of the networked city
Tracking Our World
Let all things be connected
Nike’s Michael Tchao and “Connecting Shoes”

For more extensive reports like the above on Picnic 2008 go to the content page on Masters of Mediaof the University of Amsterdam.

On Ethan Zuckerman’s weblog ‘My heart’s in Accra‘ you can read Ethan’s perception of the Picnic experience.

Picnic on pics
Picnic on tweets
Picnic on YouTube
Picnic on TVents
Picnic on Vimeo videos

TVents asked Smartmobs: Is there enough LOVE at Picnic? See how I love Picnic

For current Picnic 2008 news search on Google and Delicious with the tag: #picnic08

Like the prior PICNIC’s the archiv with video streams of all presentations will soon be online. So if you missed this groundbreaking event. Picnic will distribute the video streams which will give you a chance to take advantage of some of these inspiring sessions.

to be continued…

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