iCities (XI). Round Table: Free Software in the Administration

iCities is a Conference about Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation.
Here come my notes for session XI.

Round Table:
Chairs: Jacinto Lajas

Jose María Olmo

Free Software penetration in the Administration still low. This also means (cause or consequence?) that bidding processes don’t usually include free software in their requirements, either as a condition or as a possibility.

Consequences of this situation:

  • Lack of cooperation and collaboration between administrations
  • Interoperability made more difficult
  • There is a lack of communities of free software for the Administration in which developers and users can meet and exchange impressions and design common strategies

Francisco Huertas

Free Software as a strategy to develop the Information Society.

Free Software avoids:

  • A unique provider
  • Insecurity
  • Imposed adaptability
  • Provider monopolies
  • R+D outshored
  • Lack of local support
  • Functional submission
  • License costs
  • Lack of standards that threat the persistence of public information
  • Impossibility to publicly share common goods

The cost per computer (12,000 PCs) of the operating system and main desktop applications is 1.8 euros.Updating these computers to the last version of MS Windows + Office would have cost 6 million euros. Besides the aggregates, a important aspect that matters at the margin: while with free software adding one more computer means reducing software costs per unit (while being constant at the aggregate level), with proprietary software one more computer means more costs, at both the total and per unit levels.

Lourdes Muñoz Santamaría

Three keys: focus on the use, not the tool; the importance of broadband access; keep Net neutrality.

In political terms, it is unacceptable that public investment is not public. Hence, investment in software solutions and content has to be made in free software so that they can be put at anybody’s reach.

In the same train of though, intellectual property rights need to have recovered their original purpose: public benefit, the protection of the author so that society gets more and better culture and innovation.

Two steps in the free software debate:

  • Non-discrimination because of the technological solution: neutrality, access warranties… for both the user and the provider
  • Opt-in for free software because of argued and objective reasons

A cause does not win just for being fair. If free software is good, its benefits have to be made broadly known, so that the citizenry is eager to get those benefits.


iCities 2008, Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation (2008)

iCities (X). Round Table: The Limits of 2.0

iCities is a Conference about Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation.
Here come my notes for session X.

Round Table:
Chairs: Goyo Tovar

Antonio Fumero

The Web: technologies, people and content. The Web brings potential, but using it is another issue. And in using it, context matters.

Ícaro Moyano

Age is a clear limit of Web 2.0.

Three stages of the web:

  • The web as a journal: unidirectional
  • The web as media: everyone’s a journalist
  • The web as a sharing place

New Internet users no longer identify themselves with a nickname, but with their real names, including a snapshot of their own.

And it seems that youngsters, that are usually said not being interested in politics, do use Social Networking Sites to engage in activism and promote campaigns.

Marc Vidal

Are the limits of the Web 2.0 the limits of the Society 2.0?

Is the Web 2.0 revolution a technological one, or a social one?

Characteristics of a Technological Revolution

  • New products, technologies and dynamics
  • Important growth or new enterprises
  • Renewing of the existing productive apparatus
  • Evident generation of wealth

Has the Web 2.0 (clearly) generated this wealth? Is there a new business plan?

But, socially? Is it a Revolution?

  • It’s a scholar “seppuku”
  • It’s a copyright unsolved “violation”
  • Has not an associated consolidated business plan
  • It’s amateur information

But attracts any kind of people. Just because of this: it is a technological revolution living besides a social change.

Web 2.0 tools are an array of e-exclusion and, more generally, exclusion. People not interested or without means to catch up with the speed of change of the Web 2.0 are being put out of the system at high speed. Thus, if the Web 2.0 is said to be a democratizing driver, it’s just having the contrary effect.

Society 2.0 is not accessing info but taking part in the making of it. Society 2.0 does not debate the solutions, but the question.


iCities 2008, Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation (2008)

iCities (IX). Debate: The Handbook of the blog in the enterprise.

iCities is a Conference about Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation.
Here come my notes for session IX

Debate: The Handbook of the blog in the enterprise.
Chairs: César Ramos

Genís Roca

We should focus on what is an enterprise and not on blogs. Do we agree on what do we understand by “enterprise”? An enterprise is:

  • the acknowledged and legal way to have a personal adventure.
  • A temporal union of people around an interest
  • An interest group
  • An institution: a big telecom is like a ministry, and a ministry like an enterprise.

There are many enterprises: working for your own or employed, with or without employees, with or without workmates, with or without leadership, with or without partners, etc.

Blogging in the enterprise is easy when you’re alone (e.g. freelance) or part of a network and with small decision-taking capacity. If you’re a big decision-taker in a big institution, blogging is more difficult.

The problem is that most GDP and employment is generated at big institutions. So, blogs and GDP and employment do not (so far) go hand in hand. And more, while freelances are 2.0 and explain how do they do things, and the others explain what they did achieve and their version is the number of the inflation rate, which is the number that counts.

Real value of blogs: do they affect the ROI? EBITDA? power quota? value of shares? brand? customer satisfaction? …really?

Enterprises need to improve performance. If blogs play this game, great. If not, forget about them.

The bigger the enterprise, the deafer it is to customer “noise”.

Alberto Ortiz de Zárate Tercero

So, what’s a blog?

  • A tool
  • A communication medium
  • A lifestyle
  • A participative social action
  • A part of a biggest thing: the blogosphere
  • A selling platform?
  • An advertising platform?

A blog is a way to listen and talk with the network (not to the network)

The blog can be used to listen and know about your:

  • Customer habits
  • Campaigns
  • Branding
  • Reputation
  • Notoriety
  • Competence
  • Ways to innovate and improve
  • Authority
  • Ways to listen inside the enterprise

The conversation is ubiquitous.

Once you’ve listened, now it’s time to speak and share: listen, reflect, link. Some uses:

  • Viral campaings
  • Microniches
  • Public Relationships
  • Communication medium
  • Show authority
  • Leverage notority
  • Create communities
  • Team building
  • Innovate with the user
  • …but not intended for selling

The keys to success… in a World that’s changed:

  • Be connected
  • Openness to the World
  • Weave networks
  • Become an attractive place
  • Control is not relevant
  • Having is not important, but linking

My reflections

I don’t think the size is that important in the reason behind having or not a blog (to impact the ROI, etc.), but:

  • Their dependence on the customer’s opinion
  • Their degree of competition within the sector
  • Their dependence on innovation for survival

Two examples: IBM and Dell are increasingly becoming more 2.0. They are big, but depend on the customer, on innovation and the market is really competitive. On the other hand, big banks, big oil enterprises or the Administration, are almost monopolies (or oligopolies), do not depend on the customer and do not depend on innovation.

Antoni Gutierrez-Rubi adds to my arguments another reason: dependence on brand and reputation.

Genís Roca adds that this might be more a cultural issue (i.e. we are native digitals and think openness as a natural and a necessary thing) than a business valid argument. Maybe, if decision-takers happen to know and learn and perceive this cultural change and see how it really affects their firm, maybe then they’ll shift towards 2.0, but…


iCities 2008, Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation (2008)

iCities (VIII). Round Table: Eager Citizens. Entrepreneurs.

iCities is a Conference about Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation.
Here come my notes for session VIII.

Round Table: Eager Citizens. Entrepreneurs.
Chairs: Oscar Espiritusanto

Lorena Fernández

In the “web 2.0 gold rush”, are we constantly looking for gold? And what happens when one finds gold in a bed? How many Youtube clones? How profitable those clones?

But… what’s profit? Money? Only an entrepreneur if wins money? What about the benefits of linkonomics (link and being linked)?

The engine of the Net is people, not money.

What’s an entrepreneur? Is an entrepreneur someone that starts up an enterprise… to be sold to Google?

The (typical) Entrepreneur — builds an enterprise for… — vs. the Social Entrepreneur — builds an enterprise with… — (Mak).

If people and data are the wealth of the network… why not be a social entrepreneur that builds an enterprise with these people?

Let’s not forget about Freeconomics: people won’t pay for what they can get for free. How to pay your bills?

  • Ads
  • Sponsorships
  • Donations

Though it is true that a virtual entrepreneur has less costs: no physical headquarters, most software is free, a contributing community (e.g. translations), standards, etc.

Not the strongest survive, but the ones that better adapt to the changing situation (though the latter are afterwards bought by the former).

Edu William

How can we apply the Web 2.0 to tourism? How to customize at the individual level tourism services?

It should be possible to generate networks of tourists that can exchange experiences, impressions and information about their trips. But also networks between tour operators: not only demand will be generated as a network, but also supply will be generated in a distributed way, in a network.

Open tourism: collaboration between all stakeholders.

Ildefonso Mayorgas

The idea can be good, but most probably it is not original: it is the good entrepreneur that makes the idea really good and drives it towards success.

Flexibility and capacity of adaptation are key, more important that a mint business plan.


iCities 2008, Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation (2008)

iCities (VII). Round Table: Networked Citizens. Blogs, Where to?

iCities is a Conference about Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation.
Here come my notes for session VII.

Round Table: Networked Citizens. Blogs, Where to?
Chairs: Pau Llop

Víctor Ruiz

Blogs come from the participative sites that flourished after the Slashdot experience, both technically and conceptually.

Blogs have been an evolution of forums, but only at the usability level, but the general idea has not really changed that much.

And like forums, they are of short reach. Only 6% of the population read political blogs… but we keep telling politicians that they have to be on the Net and have their own blog. Does this make any sense at all? When everyone has a blog (if that ever happens), will we at last make of them an influential tool?

Fernando Tricas

Some questions about the state of blogging

  • Whose are my data?
  • Who’s the master?
  • What’s true?
  • Near? Far?
  • How do I see it? Where from?
  • Who are you? Who am I?


  • Normalization of the blog phenomenon
  • Tools will be improved: they are not that easy to use…

A challenge: threats to sites/blogs related with intellectual property rights, privacy, etc.

Jaime Estévez

There is an increasing trend in Internet users reducing their amount of time watching TV. Besides other browsing, they can now reach TV content on the Internet, especially videos.

Investment in Internet grows at a 50% rate, while in general broadcasting media grows below the inflation rate (which means that actually decreases). As an example, investment in blogs duplicated last year, investment in videos was multiplied by four, etc.

Citizen journalism:

Blogs are the only way to avoid the (total) commercialization/commoditization of the Internet.

José Luis Prieto

Personal blogs (i.e. blogs about personal stuff) are majority. Politicized, reflection, journalist-like blogs are minority. Influence of the latter?

They might not be influent individually, but in aggregate terms, they at least generate some buzz and can raise awareness and generate some reactions… not on the citizenry at large, but on firms and lobbies that see their brands or interests menaced.

The upsetting answer to this has been legal threats that sometimes end well and sometimes don’t.


iCities 2008, Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation (2008)

iCities (VI). Round Table: Journalism on the Net

iCities is a Conference about Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation.
Here come my notes for session VI.

Round Table: Round Table: Journalism on the Net
Chairs: Julio Rodríguez de la Plata

Are we creating/entering the Global Village?

Fernando Jáuregui

(New) Social Networks challenge the traditional way people is informed. Journals (and media in general) have to shape their discourse to this new reality. Hence, digital journalism is not geek stuff, but a “legal revolution”, a habits revolution, etc. to cope with this new civilization. We have to “naturalize” the new information needs and the solutions to meet these needs.

Requisites for the mainstreaming of digital journalism:

  • End of anonymity: opinion has to be signed by real people.
  • Interactivity.
  • End of piracy and non-attribution of content, from both sides: mainstream journals have to cite citizen journalists, and citizen journalists have to cite their mainstream sources.
  • Not everything is information, not everything is news: impact, for the sake of it, is not good. And the way (real) information is published also matters.
  • Ads are not confidential information: this is misleading the reader.

Blogs are journalism, but are not media. Media require some infrastructure behind, some resources. Media are professionals and earn their living this way, these two issues do make a difference.

Ignacio Escolar

It is an error not thinking of digital journalism as the journalism of the future… as it is an error not realizing that paper journalism is the journalism of the present.

Liability on the comments published in a digital journal is neither “letters to the director” not “something I’ve nothing to do with it”. We have to learn how to deal with these comments… especially when they’re anonymous.

The quest for economic sustainability determines some behaviors of some digital papers. And, somehow, the democratization of media makes them less profitable.

Competition in the digital arena is way bigger than competition in the paper arena: the digital reader can choose from within (literally) billions of websites. Paper journals do not face this landscape.

Manuel M. Almeida

There is a lot of people that want to turn communication into journalism in opposition to traditional or mainstream journalism (this could be called Communication 3.0). But communication is not necessarily journalism. We’re maybe talking about citizen communication, not citizen journalism.

Interaction between citizen communication and mainstream journalism is a must. Hence, it is somehow a necessary but sometimes absurd debate the fight between both positions, one against the other.


iCities 2008, Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation (2008)