re:publica ’11

How did you like the re:publica? they ask, would you mind writing down how it was? It’s not like I didn’t ask them to say exactly that:

And of course I started to write a blog post about it, then got distracted by a ticklish penguin and and spontaneously combusting photocopiers and yes, those were just two links to BoingBoing, because that’s how it is, even though “often its just lazy, and it feeds into this strange self-congratulatory MUSH that I find hard to describe” and then Scott Adams was being a dick and then I had to re-watch United Provinces of India and so it goes and now it’s almost Easter and I soon I get to eat Easter candy with a lot of sugar and then I will probably die. Just like the Encyclopedia Dramatica. Oh, and yeah, I also managed to fight myself through the whole Starcraft II campaign. On the easiest mode, which is okay, at least in this country they won’t send me to a boot camp for it.

Anyway, my blog post started with a long monologue about the fact that my base mode for evaluating events and people and everything is snarky disdain which I of course picked up on the internet, so it should fit well for an internet conference, right? Especially when it is cold and rainy and full of incredibly Berlin1 Social Media Blogger people, which is of course a description people use to describe me.2 Anyway, Franz, with whom I hung out most of the time during the conference, is obviously a better person and liked the conference and the people and I had something smart planned with a comparison of the base moods “disliking everything” and “liking everything” and how the latter makes actually disliking something so much more powerful while for me it just drowns in the noise of snark, but I forgot how I wanted to tie that in with the re:publica, so I’ll just keep it out of this post.

Oh, EC2 is down today.

Anyway, the re:publica. Because I had to have a very long lunch and some coffee3 and had to plan the next stage of the digital revolution4 I missed the one talk that everybody considers to be the highlight of the conference, which was Gunter Dueck talking about the internet. Or as people, who would probably not have been friends with McCarthy back in the days, said: creating a class ideology for internet yuppies. At least he didn’t speak English, which seems to be something that still angers some people. Well, now after watching that video, which was pretty amusing, because I did it instead of working, I can admit I quite liked listening to him.5
But Dueck aside, I actually did listened to a history of Anonymous6 which was good, but nothing new for someone, who basically has no life outside the internet.7 After that I took a long lunch break. Not the one that made me miss that talk before, another one. I don’t even remember – did I take a lunch break? Ah, yeah, I had some not very good sausage at “Viva La Wurst” and after that listened to Michelle Thorne talking about designing for collaborative consumption which would lead to the sharing economy. Not too sure if she mentioned that article, but it was in my instapaper yesterday, so there. It’s actually a theme that I found to be very compelling, so I might just do something about it at some point. That talk was actually one of the more interesting ones in my eyes, so it was a bit strange to see how the Friedrichstadtpalast was almost empty.
I did not quite agree with what Jillian C. York had to say about policing content in the quasi-public sphere, as I basically have the opinion that everybody should be allowed to police their servers and what users are doing on them how they like, as long as they stay within a reasonably applicable law, but I do see her point and would be positively surprised if things changed her way. That’s how good her talk was. And of course Sascha Lobo was entertaining. I had to have Schnitzel then, so I purposely missed power point karaoke and something called “Kiki and Bubu.”

Well, crap, that was only day one, do I really need to do the next two, too? Seriously, folks. I wanted to come to the conclusion that the whole thing sucked, but so far I didn’t really say anything negative. And of course it didn’t suck, but how would I look if I wouldn’t say that? It also doesn’t help that I am typing this text roughly 50km south of my notebook which I used to keep, well, notes.

Anyway, thursday started only medium-exciting. First I had to walk through the rain a lot because the NATO had a surprise party in town and decided to close down all mayor traffic lanes in town and then the talks were not that good. Cyrus Farivar’s talk was interesting but plagued by bullet points and if there was a common theme to his stories, I missed it because I came late. After that some guy preached to the choir and after some Scandinavian dude danced around the stage barefoot, I went for lunch.8
Oh, and why was I late to Farivar? Because I gave this talk a chance. Not a very long one and that was probably a wrong decision as it got me directly into the most awkward situation of the whole Berlin trip.9

And now I just stare really intensely at the schedule of that day’s afternoon and really don’t remember what I did after lunch. Besides having dinner.

I’m not even sure what to say about friday. I liked the Ushahidi talk, but then I’m a huge map nerd10 so basically I ate up everything Patrick Meier said. The weather cleared up, so we11 went for a long lunch outside at the nearby Indian restaurant. I’m not sure what it was, probably masochism, that made my next session choice for me. I went to watch four people who I did not necessarily like talk about YouTube. And wow, even on the re:publica page that thing is tagged with #fail. The real *ehem* highlight, during which I made that tweet right at the top, was next and luckily last. All snark aside, I am just too nice to write down what I thought while standing there in shock, trying to comprehend what is going on.
Then there was some singing, (no dance, as far as I could see) the news that the re:publica 2012 will use some other venue, a couple of beers and the re:publica 2011 was over.

So, what was the question again? Ah, yes: “How did you like the re:publica?”

Well, I’m a bit torn.12 I liked some of the talks, I tolerated most of the others and I did enjoying hanging out there. As I spent most of my time at the Friedrichstadtpalast I did not personally experience any of the Kalkscheune Druggede and I don’t really have anything to say about the whole feminism-whining that’s going on in the blogs right now. Except maybe that nobody forced anyone to go see any talk13 and that it is maybe a good thing when certain Social Media troglodytes14 learn a bit about Gender equality.

So, yeah. Even though directly in the wake of the conference I said that I might probably not be going next year, I can pretty much see myself buying a ticket again.

Also: if you actually read all the way until here, let me know and you’ll get a Gold Star! Thanks.

tl;dr: There were a lot of good talks.

  1. I have learned to use locations as adjectives. Don’t ask. Please. I would not like to answer. []
  2. Except that Berlin thing and apparently there are certain folks who think that needs to happen, too, which I really don’t know or even consider, given that except for my really nice and great friends there I have nothing but snark and disdain for Berlin, but then I have that for everything else, too, so it shouldn’t matter. []
  3. I would link to my FourSquare-checkins into some random Berlin hipster cafés and bookstores, but they are hosted on EC2. []
  4. Not really, but boy, isn’t it nicely retro to call stuff digital? []
  5. Just now I had some clever segue from that to solipsism, but after re-reading the sentence, it wasn’t clever but rather moronic, like most stuff I write, but in this case I decided to edit it out. I still want to state that I like the concept of solipsism, even though it is, of course, preposterous. No way my mind would ever be able to create all the wonderfully weird things this world has to offer. And see, “all the wonderfully weird things” – it’s not all snark and spite. []
  6. You can see, I am linking directly to the re:publica page, because honestly, I am getting a bit lazy. []
  7. I’m not saying who, but he tends to ramble on and really needs an editor to tell him that enough is enough already. []
  8. See above. []
  9. And here I’ll just end that paragraph and leave you waiting for more details. Because that’s how I am. []
  10. both a huge map-nerd and a huge-map nerd []
  11. “We” being the club up people who got their first name as twitter name – @christiane @franz and @dominik []
  12. And every time I use that phrase, I start looking around in the hope that Natalie Imbruglia is somewhere. Can you believe that ‘Torn’ is from 1996? That’s 15 years ago! []
  13. I hope. []
  14. Höhö! Shitstorm! Hat der Lobo letztes Jahr gesagt, lass uns da mal in die Session gehen!” []


For what it’s worth, I do have a long list of half-written or at least half-thought blog posts. Including, but not limited to my reasons to not like Android anymore, why I like #100factsaboutme and my thoughts on my week in Berlin last week.