Conferences 2.0: Scientists and Web 2.0

First of my three seminars imparted at the he Rich-Media Webcasting Technologies for Science Dissemination Workshop, organized by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics Science Dissemination Unit.

Main aspects
  • Introduction to the Web 2.0, stressing the fact that the web is the platform, that putting up content to the web has been made quite easy — caveat: provided you have access to a computer and good bandwidth —, the power of RSS, the challenge of filtering and content quality.
  • Conferences are one dimensional: content delivered at one time and one place
  • Conferences should shift from information exchange to knowledge exchange
  • Before conferences: data and information sharing through websites, blogs, social networks
  • During conferences: knowledge sharing through instant messaging, browsing, blogging and nanoblogging, social bookmarking, shared list of resources/bibliographies, multimedia files, presentations, paper repositories, etc.
  • During conferences: interaction fostered by wikis, blogging (comments)
  • After conferences: strengthening the network using social software, blogrolls, keeping the track of conference “official” tags, feedreading, etc.
  • Opennes, a must
  • Going digital, or how to create huge (infinite?) economies of scale
  • The web is the platform, the way to overcome space (and time) barriers
  • Link, link, link, or how to contribute to reputation and filtering
Live recording of the session

Using the EyA System — thanks to Carlo Fonda for making it possible!


Click here to download, or watch them on Slideshare:

ICT4D Conferences

9th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries

Organized by the International Federation for Information Processing, the conference presents the following Sub-Themes:

  • The role of e-government initiatives in education and health, what lessons can be learned?
  • What are the experiences of ICT enabled development stimulated by efforts to develop indigenous ICT industries?
  • The role of cybercrime and its effects on development initiatives
  • What influence has ICT initiatives on rural development?
  • What are the consequences of new organisational forms enabled by ICTs for developing countries?
  • ICTs and social inclusion: experiences and prospects
  • What have been the consequences of implementing open source initiatives in government and in the private sector?
  • What are the infrastructure and human resources factors that influence the implementation of e-development initiatives?
  • Evaluating the role of international agencies in the implementation of e-development initiatives. What can be learned? What can be improved?

Conference data:

IST-Africa 2007

The goals of the IST-Africa Conference Series are Community Building to facilitate EU-African research cooperation and successful exploitation of research results, to stimulate take-up of RTD results by industry, Small and Medium Sized Businesses and the public sector, to promote knowledge sharing between commercial organizations, government agencies and the research community, to exchange experiences about the current state of eAdoption at a sectoral, national or regional level, and to support International Cooperation and open up the European Research Area (ERA) to Africa.

Core thematic priorities for IST-Africa 2007 are:
- eHealth – Services to Citizens, Technologies
- Technology Enhanced Learning & ICT Skills
- ICT for Networked Business – Future Forms of Organisations, Technology and Applications
- eGovernment & eDemocracy

Conference data:

ICT4D Conferences

eLearning Africa

International Conference on ICT4D

So weird they both take place same days!!!

Casual Politics: slacktivism as the tip of the technopolitics iceberg

Paper cover for Casual politics: del clicktivismo a los movimientos emergentes y el reconocimiento de patrones

My research on slacktivism has finally been published as a paper both in Spanish and Catalan at two “brother” journals: Educación Social. Revista de Intervención Socioeducativa and Educació Social. Revista d’Intervenció Sòcioeducativa.

This is work that I had already presented at two conferences — 9th International Conference on Internet, Law & Politics; II Jornadas españolas de ciberpolítica — and, thus, is now available in three languages: the former two plus English.

What follows — after the abstract — is a list of the references and full text downloads for the papers. The main idea of the papers is that if we look at slacktivism from the point of view of the “activist”, it is but true that it is a very low-commitment activism. But if we take the approach of the politician or the policy-maker, or if we take some distance and take a look at the whole landscape, what we find is that slacktivism is only a tiny portion of a huge cosmos of people very actively engaging in politics, extra-representational politics though, and that is why most of it flies underneath the traditional political radar.


Politics have traditionally looked at the exercise of democracy with at least two implicit assumptions: (1) institutions are the normal channel of politics and (2) voting is the normal channel for politics to make decisions. Of course, reality is much more complex than that, but, on the one hand, all the extensions of that model beyond or around voting –issues related to access to public information, to deliberation and argumentation, to negotiation and opinion shaping, or related to accountability are based on institutions as the core axis around which politics spin. On the other hand, the existence and analysis of extra-institutional political participation –awareness raising, lobbying, citizen movements, protests and demonstrations– have also most of the times been put in relationship with affecting the final outcomes of institutional participation and decision-making, especially in affecting voting.

Inspired in the concept of «feet voting» (developed by Tiebout, Friedman and others) in this paper we want to challenge this way of understanding politics as a proactive and conscious action, and propose instead a reactive and unconscious way of doing politics, based on small, casual contributions and its posterior analysis by means of big data, emergence analysis and pattern recognition.

In our theoretical approach –illustrated with real examples in and out of the field of politics– we will argue that social media practices like tweeting, liking and sharing on Facebook or Google+, blogging, commenting on social networking sites, tagging, hashtagging and geotagging are not what has been pejoratively labelled as «slacktivism» (a comfortable, low commitment and feel-good way of activism) but «casual politics», that is, the same kind of politics that happen informally in the offline world. The difference being that, for the first time, policy- and decision-makers can leverage and turn into real politics. If they are able to listen. If they are able to think about politics out of institutions and in real-time.


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Peña-López, I. (2013). Casual politics: del clicktivismo a los movimientos emergentes y el reconocimiento de patrones. En Educación Social. Revista de Intervención Socioeducativa, (55), 33-51. Barcelona: Universitat Ramon Llull.
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Peña-López, I. (2013). Casual politics: del clicktivisme als moviments emergents i el reconeixement de patrons. A Educació Social. Revista d’Intervenció Sòcioeducativa, (55), 33-50. Barcelona: Universitat Ramon Llull.
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Peña-López, I. (2013). Casual Politics: From slacktivism to emergent movements and pattern recognition. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Internet, Law & Politics. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, 25-26 June, 2013. Barcelona: UOC.

e-Supervision (II). Ismael Peña-López. e-Supervision: framing the debate

Notes from the workshop on Doctoral education and e-Supervision, organized by the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP), the International Association of Universities (IAU), the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) and the Kenyatta University (KU) within the project Personal Learning Environment (PLE)-PhD project financed through the IAU LEADHER programme, and held in Barcelona, Spain, in October 31, 2013. More notes on this event: plephd.

Ismael Peña-López, lecturer and researcher, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
e-Supervision: framing the debate

We can define four stages in technology adoption:

  1. During appropriation people get to know what new technologies are out there, they learn how to use them, they master them… but not necessarily use them or use them in a specific environment and for a specific purpose. E.g. learn that text editors exist, learn how to use them, but still use typewritters.
  2. In the adaptation phase, old technologies are replaced by the new ones, but just to perform exactly the same tasks, routines, processes. E.g. typewritters are trown away, but text editors are used to type the very same letters. The cost of using a new technology is clearly here an expenditure, as no major benefits appear.
  3. Improvement happens when benefits begin to overrun the cost of using new technologies. Here, costs are investments that pay back in the medium and long term. E.g. text editors are used intensively allowing for thorough edition (copying, pasting, formatting, etc.), tracking changes and versions, passing documents along (by e-mail, that is, another concurring technology) so that they can be commented, reedited, etc.
  4. Last, and most important, transformation implies that the whole process is though (almost) from scratch, deploying the full potential of new technologies to redesign processes and tasks. E.g. documents begin not with an original from a single person, but collaborative tools come in place (like wikis, pads or the like) where everyone can contribute at the same time, with no need for centralization, no need for preset structures, etc.

e-Supervision can be described in this framework. Thus, there is not a single definition of what e-Supervision is, but a continuum of definitions as e-Supervision itself evolves from adaptation to improvement, and from improvement to transformation (and including a phase 0 of adoption, which is by the way most needed).

  1. During appropriation e-supervision is, actually, supervision. Period. Everyone is using technology, but not for supervision purposes.
  2. In the adaptation e-supervision can be defined as electronic supervision as traditional tasks (meetings, reviews) are done with the help of technology: videoconferences, support of digital documents. This phase is needed because it bridges both worlds (supervision with e-supervision) but has to be quickly overcome, as the cost of the change of technology does not come with any evident benefit.
  3. Improvement happens when these benefits of e-Supervision imply an evolution, an evolved supervision. Tracking changes, control version, creation of communities of practice and communities of learning within (or with-out) learning management systems… even xMOOCs can imply several opportunities for improvement of old practices.
  4. Last, and most important, transformation is rethinking e-supervision (almost) from scratch. It’s about enhanced supervision, deploying all the potential of research 2.0, connectivist MOOCs, peer-to-peer assessment, e-portfolios, personal learning environments. That is, rethinking the whole research and supervision practice, now taking into account not only tools, but the concurrence of other actors, of new roles (and responsibilities

[click here to enlarge]


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Prezi slides:

Peña-López, I. (2013). e-Supervision: Framing the Debate. Workshop within the LEADHER PLEDS Project at the Open Univeristy of Catalonia, 31 October 2013.
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Prezi slides as PDF:

Peña-López, I. (2013). e-Supervision: Framing the Debate. Workshop within the LEADHER PLEDS Project at the Open Univeristy of Catalonia, 31 October 2013.

Doctoral education and e-Supervision (2013)

Global Revolution (III). Challenges, problems and innovations in the phase of evolution of the network movements cycle 2011-2013 (I)

Notes from the Three years of interconnected riots. Emergence, evolution and challenges of the network movements in the context of the #GlobalRevolution, organized by the Communication and Civil Society programme of the IN3 in Barcelona, Spain, in October 23, 2013. More notes on this event: globalrev.

Arnau Monterde (Communication and Civil Society Programme at UOC and DatAnalysis15M research group)
Evolution of the 15M network movement and its mutations (201-2013)

How is it that the movement can mutate and update so quickly? What is the role of “forks” within the network movement? It is quite clear, though, that (1) the Spanish Indignados Movement (#15M) is a “movement in movement” and that (2) emotions are a substantial part of the network movement, affective mobilization is crucial. There is a need for new forms of organization as a network that are capable of making decisions and fixing errors in real time.

It is also important the policentric and/or distributed character of the network, as a live or mutating organism. Codes are open and are replicable. Networks are open and contagion becomes global.

The #15O movement (global demonstrations on October 15, 2011) is a good example of both fork and evolution of the movement, of replicating it at a global scale. How are these replicas created? These movements that aim for the global movement hold powerful links and relationships between the collective identities of the different nodes or movements or sub-networks; they share codes, they share memes and hashtags; they also have in common bridging the physical and the virtual layer.

These new movements, and in an increasing way, begin to have a major impact on mainstream media.

The movements also have the capability to hack and transform forks or parallel movement, “embed some code in them” and transform their very nature to turn it towards the movement’s goals, thus mutating the original fork into part of the core movement.

Some mutations become single-issue movements, such as:

  • The Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), on mortgages (truly speaking it existed before the 15M movement, but the nature is the same one).
  • The 15MpaRato project, to try presumably corrupt bankers.
  • The “tides”, movements to defend specific public services (public health, public education, etc.)

One of the latest mutations is the Citizen Network Party X, a political party born within the 15M movement, with the formal frame of any other political party, but with an inner organization very much like a network movement.

Joan Donovan (Univeristy of California. InterOccupy)

It’s not only the words that are being said, it is also about the things people are doing while saying these words or just because they said these words.

Net Work: the use of one’s free time in a specific project by using one’s own resources. Most of the people that participate in Net Work are already knowledge workers whose job is to move around (create, mix, disseminate) knowledge.

No one is in charge of infrastructure, as infrastructure is decentralized and is used indistinctly and flexibly by net workers.

Occupy uses multiple channels for collecting, sorting, collating, and broadcasting information for the purpose of coordinating action: the public space, websites, etc. Rhizomatic communication: multiple channels for collecting sorting, collating, and broadcasting infromation for the purpose of collective action.

From #SandyVolunteer to #OccupySandy

After hurricane Sandy, many turned to the Net to help the victims of the hurricane — and #SandyVolunteer was born. But quickly the demands for information outpaced the supply of it. Then InterOccupy, an already established group, reorganized and turned towards the goal of helping #SandyVolunteer, and then came #OccupySandy.

Many matters of infrastructure usually come after ideas are put into practice: first act, then build. The website, the channel to accept donations, the mailing list and e-mail account, voice conferences to massively broadcast information and answer questions… a whole constellation of tools and people were put into work to support the network of volunteers contributing to alleviate the impact of Sandy.

A principle: Occupy Sandy is mutual aid, not charity.

Networks can be reconfigured, reoriented. It just takes a clear and legitimate goal, and finding out the right people with the right skills to leverage the power of the network.

Alberto Escorcia (Coordinador de México)
From #InternetNecesario to #1Dmx

The history of YoSoy132 can be traced back to 2009, when the government provides no satisfactory answers to the influenza pandemic during that year. It is the same people that would protest against the government for such poor information that will reorganize themselves around the policy to tax the Internet and create the #InternetNecesario movement.

After that, mass media begin to acknowledge that what happens in social networking sites can no more remain ignored. This is especially relevant when protests shift again, this time to ask for a null vote in the 2009 elections.

With time, we can see that social movements begin to create patterns of behaviour that can somewhat predict the evolution of the movement, its degree of participation, etc. So, social movements are certainly impredictable but some likelihoods of specific events and evolutions can be established after data analysis.

See the analysis on Google Trends by several terms causing citizen unrests developed by Alberto Escorcia.


Q: How do we measure impact? Is it the PAH the only one making an impact? Arnau Monterde: Indeed, most networks are if not integrated they are connected, even if many people do not realize that. For instance, much of the muscle behind and besides the PAH comes from the 15M network movement. The PAH is a school of activism just because it shares not only the values but the resources and the people of the 15M movement. So, the impact is actually not the PAH’s, but the impact of the whole network, despite the fact that one of the nodes may be more visible than others.

More information

Global Revolution. Three years of interconnected riots (2013)