Attended the LeWeb Conference 2009, (the 6th such event), organised by Loic Lemeur and his wife, Géraldine, on December 9-10, 2009.

Le Web Paris 2009In a series of 3 posts, I am going to comment on the top nine (for two thousand and NINE) things that I captured at #LeWeb and believe will be particularly relevant for the following year in the digital world.  Many of these “soundbytes” were twittered in live streaming.  Even Queen Rania provided beautifully sculpted 140 character phrases…  In the last post, I will make some concluding remarks as to the ramifications for “real life” business.

1. Life changing versus live streaming? To Loic and Geraldine’s credit, there was a very strong component of “social” content to the conference, making social media as much about social mores as about the internet media.  Among the recurring themes was the importance of education.  Funnily enough, I didn’t hear the word eLearning mentioned even once on the mainstage.  Highlight “social” speeches came from Danah Boyd @Zaphoria and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  On the front page of Queen Rania’s site: “Education = Opportunity … to escape poverty; …to live healthily; …to hope.  Education is a lifeline.”  Queen Rania presented her One Goal campaign to help educate the 75 million children that don’t have access to education (asking the social media community to dedicate One Day a Year to promoting education).

2. The internet is creating a new social reality. Two points here around visibility.  First, usually, the issue is that the lowly can’t rise to the fore.  But here, the issue is how the highly (her highness in this case) can come down to the fore.  If a Queen says that “I can get closer to people via my digital self than as my real self…” [let’s face it being a queen makes making friends a little tricky], then there MUST be something going on, as titles and judgments are viewed [skewed?] differently — thanks to greater accessibility and sometimes even because of the anonymity.  You can, of course, find Queen Rania on Twitter and Facebook.  Secondly, Danah Boyd, @Zephoria, spoke about the “Power of Visibility.”  Previously, certain types of violence and ugliness, such as bullying, were only visible via the equivalent black eyes.  Now, thanks to a new found visibility and a greater circulation of information, certain (anti)social issues are now visible to a broader audience.  The opportunity is for us to pause and appreciate “the power of what you can see.”  And the question Ms Boyd posed was whether or not we are looking at what we see? See the text of Ms Boyd’s talk here.  The common thought here is that the out-of-touch royalty can come down to the granular level of society while the ugly invisible horrors rise to the top.  Both are now visible and that’s a good thing.

3. Yossi Vardi, Investor & Entrepreneur made a 15 minute video-laced talk entitled “the rise of the emotional web.”  In a parody, Vardi spoke about the opportunity to tap into the dead market.  Using numerous films and photographs (presumably all available on the ‘net somewhere), Vardi passed second degrees messages via his “death” theme about how amazing and emotional the web can be.  Emotion and humour are absolutely embedded on the web.  Technology can be rendered human (demonstrating the merging of the real and virtual).  Not only a very fun delivery, a meaningful 15 minutes… if everyone got it, remains to be seen. I spoke with Vardi after his presentation, when he spoke to me about the 9 different notions that are particular to the web interface and which make the experience exceptionally different from the 2-dimensional, static paper media.  These notions included among others: discovery, attending, be attended to, collaboration… While I cannot do justice to that offline discussion, I can direct you to TED to see his “Fight Local Warming” speech.

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