This weekend the Internet has celebrated the twenty years of the World Wide Web that on 6 August 1991 became publicly available; and Sir Tim Berners-Lee published the first ever website. Back then, he posted a short summary of the project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. I was trying to remember my first html page back in 1996, probably stored on many floppy disks, maybe one day I will be able to extract the data and go back to the 90s.
I have been interviewed last month for the Open Society Foundations Blog on various topics related to digital use, online social interactions, digital divide, social networks and young adults in Southeastern Europe. I’m finding some interesting patterns that show what kinds of strategies policymakers should use to create and implement in education, government, etc.
[crossposting] Digital Serendipities in Southeastern Europe
As an Open Society Foundations Chevening scholar at the University of Oxford in 2009, and now as a PhD student at the Oxford Internet Institute, Danica Radovanovic focuses on the use of social new communication technologies in Southeastern Europe. Following her presentation on the “digital divide” in higher education at a recent Open Society Scholarship Programs conference for alumni from the Balkans, I spoke to Danica about the impact of online social interactions, especially in the Balkan region.
Why is it valuable to research online social trends, and how do you see your research contributing in that area?
It is important to understand and evaluate how people, markets, the economy and politics are moving from offline to online worlds and vice versa. I believe that research in social media and new communication technologies plays a crucial role in analyzing our society (more…)
The Asphalt Orchestra today have opened the TEDWomen, conference dedicated to women who are (re)shaping the future, sharing an amazing talks from the fields they have pioneered. Event is taking place in Washington, DC, December 7-8, 2010, and I have been privileged to get the access, live tweet out, right now there is a break in between the sessions. You can find my tweets here (with #tedwomen), talks are changing very fast and the schedule is not necessarily strictly prompt. Follow the hashtag #TEDWomen for all other tweets on live talks. TedWomen started on Day One with hilarous Hans Rosling who talked about the usage of the earth energy and the environment in the Western and emerging counties using ingenious allegories, while Hanna Rosin talked on the importance of education and gender equality, some stereoptyes in this context, and new female superheros. Elizabeth Lindsey, ethnographer of the National Geographic Society, gave an amazing performance of chanting on stage, talking about navigation and information overload; while Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg talked on balancing business and private life.
The next day women from the sessions “Composers”, “Harmony &Discord”, and “Crescendo”, got my attention with inspiring talks on various topics. MBI (molecular breast imaging) inventor Dr Deborah Rhodes, showed how gamma method is more punctual than mammography in breast cancer detection, stressing out that the manuscript on MBI was rejected by four scientific journals because “the conflict of interest”, and it is finally to be published in Journal of Radiology. Something to think about science, humanity, ethics, and scientific publishing.
Amber Case, digital philosopher and Cyborg Anthropologist, started her talk with “All of you are Cyborgs every time you look at computer screen”, emphasising that people don’t take time for mental (self)reflection anymore, and kids today live the instant button clicking culture. Cyber anthropology is interdisciplinary area so there’s a lot to say about the above mentioned topics. Kate Orff, environmentalist architect, introduces the new invention, hero of the ecology and urbanism ‘the oyster” that improves ecosystems. Roboticist, Cynthia Breazeal, who founded personal robot at MIT, talked about robots (applications) in the communication technologies: screen, mobile, expressive, performing collaborative tasks, and social engagement.
Surprise speaker on stage was The US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, talking about women issues world wide, introducing the new project with the deployment of technology: Mobile Justice initiative in the third world countries, e.g. Africa, where women can memo their testimonials or record the files on the mobile phones. Naomi Klein, author and activist, talked on the recent oil disaster, climate crisis and the environment, emphasising that the problem is our master narrative: “we are going to be saved”, but our secular religion is technology. Jody Williams, Nobel peace laureate, had the punch line: “taking the action to reclaim the meaning of peace.” I liked her creative idea that planting the trees may be the solution to peace and for the environment perseverance.
Iranian artist in exile Shirin Neshat shared her personal story and life challenges through identity, politics, religion, and talked about her debut film: Woman without Man, based on the banned novel by Shahrnush Parsipur who spent five years in prison. Joan Halifax, Zen Priest, addressed an issue of the compassion and its challenges, in a similar pathos as Donna Karan, fashion designer, who shared her story on birth and death transformations in the critical moments in her life.
The culmination of TEDWomen conference was touching, wonderful story of Eve Ensler, best known for her play Vagina Monologues, founder of V-Day movement to end violence against women and girls globally. Beside The Monologues, she talked about other women stories world wide, how she perceived her body, how she felt her body when she realised that she had a cancer, and how she is perceiving it now. This brave women finished her talk with “if you are divided from your body, then you are divided from the body of the world”, giving the recipe for the survival of women with issues and challenges: attention and resources are that everybody deserves.
Those were my personal notes (in short) and tweet highlights, for other information check out the full program and the bios of the speakers. It was an interesting conference and I’m looking forward to see in the future more inspiring, strong, creative, innovative women world wide who are reshaping the world and making the difference while, as the former US Secretary of State mentioned, supporting each other. Maybe next time I’d come up with my innovative ideas to share them with you. Now I’m asking: what you can learn from these strong women who inspire, and other powwerful women in your surrounding?
“Open Access” to information [and knowledge, D.R.]– the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry, and for society as a whole.
I have been writing earlier about the Open Access movement and its importance for the science, research and technology, as being involved in the several Open Access projects since 2005. This year’s Open Access Week, October 18 – 24, is dedicated to the collaboration and participation through a broad range of initiatives around the globe, including many universities, research institutes, digital repositories, online databases, and other initiatives that support Open Access.
It is very important that the academic and research community continue to learn about the benefits of Open Access, since many electronic resources relevant to the education are still under locked archives, databases, and numerous valuable material stays behind the iron gates. Institutions, scholars, researchers, educators, librarians are encouraged to share what they’ve learned with peers, share their production, and to inspire wider participation in making Open Access a new norm in research, technology, scholarship.
I’ve collected a short list of links to digital repositories, online databases with various e-resources, thesis, articles, papers. Feel free to include your list or share some interesting Open access project.
Does it matter to you? And how?
- JISC (brings advice on implementing OA to the universities and research institutions)
- SpringerOpen, open access for authors in all disciplines
- The London School of Economics. LSE Research Online
In my latest article for Global Voices I wrote about Digital School, a state-funded project that would allow to set up digital classrooms in Serbia’s primary schools. I’ve discussed some of the challenges that need to be addressed for the project to succeed. More about it in the Global Voices column. Feel free to leave the comment.
Wikipedia says that nomad is a Greek word νομάδες, nomádes, meaning “those who let pasture herds”, denoting communities of people who move from one place to another, in other words a practice of continual movement with no fixed settlement. This rough definition implies to early communities of hunter-gatherers in Tibet or Siberia, but in industrial and information society it is a metaphor for aimless wandering, vagabonding from place to place. Modern nomads are high tech creators, frequent miles flyer’s, restless minds who have chosen nomadic way of life with no permanent residence, but rather moving from place to place. Either for work, education or personal reasons.
I didn’t think about this on deeper level, always took for granted when people would say: ah you’re world traveller, global nomad, as labeling in this context doesn’t mean much to me. And last night I had chat with an old colleague and friend residing in Amsterdam who recently returned from San Diego, California (one of the places I used to live) sharing the photos from the conference and time on the cliffs, as I was reminiscenting warm sunny winter Californian days from my studio in cold and foggy Oxford, when he said that we travellers, nomads never get bored. Which made me think: have I, by often travelling and changing place of living, working, studying, actually created in my subconsciousness denial not to be bored so I’d run for adventure, excitement, upgrading my knowledge and practice in work, meet new people, collaborate, search without the search, helping out where needed, being everywhere and nowhere? I assume a bit of all stated. And some more.
Which reminded me on one of my favourite novels – Baltasar and Blimunda, epic novel by Jose Saramago, where intuitive Blimunda who can see inside people, wanders for years for the search of millions of human “will” and together with soldier Baltasar in a quest of helping Bartolomeu, a renegade priest, to construct a flying machine. It all happens during inquisition time, in 18th century Portugal. We are living in 21st century where collaboration form of gathering inner “will” and building a flying machine is changed for gathering data and creating other forms of innovative endeavours where technomading is without the borders (even if it requires physical visa forms or paper) and individuum is free to move more than ever.
That provisory freedom may look for someone from aside as a great adventure, free spiritualism, carefreeness, but after years and years of global nomading, it becomes, in political, economical under threat to-become-insane-society, an urge to find a place or settle somewhere what would one call a base or a home. This apres nomading time was noticed even at our ancestors. Internet has gathered us into global tribe where many do practice global nomading online, but what about us who spend nights in hotels, waiting at the airports, celebrating important events in the air or conferences, out from family or friends?
I will return to this over and over, and maybe start writing somewhere my global travel notes (as I was suggested many times by my friends and family) and share them with you. This December and January is pretty full of travels and conferences [Englands, USA, Englands, France?], everything is open. What is for sure is that I’m looking forward to sail the calm seas in the next period, looking for my future base. Encouraging news for the people in my country is visa-free system from December 19th, and is a reason plus for nomading around Europe, and beyond.
Sometimes 140 characters are not enough to express myself, so I decided to write a reflection on motivation, organization, tasks, projects, and how I keep up with everything as reply to your questions, rants on Twitter. It’s summer time and most of you are on vacation, but some of us still work.
Many of you asked, complained on Twitter how one keep up with parallel projects, tasks, many of you fell overwhelmed, stressed out, etc. Some of you asked how do I attack tasks, and what does it mean. Just to let you know you are not the only one in the multitasking/parallel projects/tasks executing. But somehow I found my way to keep up with many projects that I face every day (no rocket science). Here are simple things I practice in order to attack my tasks and not vice versa, and they work for me so far.
What I’m practicing lately is to see just few relevant emails per day, not zillions as it was in the past.
I managed to teach my inbox to behave. How? I’ve filtered emails within topics or subjects and labeled them. So only important emails I receive on daily basis from the people I expect emails, others skip the inbox and end in labeled folders, I check them once or twice per week. This way I put off less pressure on checking incoming emails or seeing emails I don’t want to see. It’s such relief. My inbox at this point is two unread emails, in the past was over 1900 emails [Flickered that]. This also refers to social network sites messages or notifications: if you send me e.g. Facebook message, I am ignoring that. It’s true I have several hundred unread FB messages, but please use email to contact me.
I’ve set up my smart phone to remind me on tasks, meetings when I’m not working on computer and when I’m on the run. Those are usually tasks, and meeting memo’s related to my work. Off work, I use to-do notes that remind me on what I have to do or buy. I am not yet on Alzheimer’s, but when I go shopping I like to see the list. There are too much things in my life that at least I can have PDA on my phone. Also, I like analogue post-it task notes. All my 2009 I’ve planned in 2008 post-it wall with different colors schema [seen on Flicker].
Regarding the scheduling the meetings I usually set up 50% of the schedules and other 50% I am scheduled. For the second I prefer to have heavy mental work in the morning hours after 10 am (not a fan of early morning meetings) and they should be brief, right to the point (if they are not presentations that require an hour or so). I respect other people’s time and I want mine to be respected. My meetings attention span is short and I am advocating that in 10-20 minutes you can have perfect meeting if you get straight to the point(s).
I’m not perfect in this department. I go to the extremes: I’m either before deadline or after (few days), but what I do is always let people know in advance that I will be late, and ask for some extension. It’s simple as that.
Many of you complained “oh how am I going to do several things at the same time, I am overloaded”, etc. The thing is you cannot (read: can not) do several things at the *same* time, it is physically impossible and can be very stressful. What I do is I set up the priorities through the day of those projects I’m currently doing. For those at my job, I am lucky because I usually work with a person on consultations and this helps me alot. I always want to hear second opinion and to see if I’m going in the right direction. I handle things much faster and better if I am communicating with someone on certain issue and then I withdraw and do the rest on my own.
If some of the data or outcome depends on the others (group of people or institution(s) ) – you have to learn how to make people to do things you want them to do. I make them do things by saying what I expect from them or saying directly what they should do, usually I suggest social media tools to facilitate their work that reflects my projects. I cannot tell you how I do this – I guess it goes with practice and time, being tactful with people, but for those who don’t meet my professional needs or not being prompt, I am ruthless here and use TCP/IP slapping device ::smile::
If some things become critical and are not done because of the non promptness of the others, in that case I don’t have time to loose or wait for them. I either ask someone else or simply take things into my hands and got my task/project done. I am happy, others are happy.
Great deal of tricks I’ve learnt and have to thank to my supervisor who taught me how to enjoy my work, deal with different kind of people [story on crocodile and the chick] and if needed to torture them ::giggle::
I wouldn’t accomplish all alone for some grande projects, esp. those that requires consultations if i didn’t cooperate with my lovely colleagues (call me lucky and blessed to work with fantastic people), and people from my area of work from world wide institutions.
When dealing with lot of projects, it is important to communicate and what is the most important to be honest and state what you can or cannot do or accomplish at certain time. I always analyse situation before I accept something. I talk to people. Face to face. Emails. I tell them what I think, show them my concerns, ask for their opinion.
One more thing to finish with: I am not perfect. I have six grande “projects” to accomplish before fall (October 2009), one book included – the one I didn’t start to write yet and I have due soon. How I am going to handle all that? I don’t know, I just follow my schedule and do one thing at a time at that certain moment. It is true I don’t party every night, yes- my personal time management is pretty messy, yes – I don’t have time for workout, yes- I have to improve my nutrition system, yes- I need to start to do yoga again, yes -many times no free weekends, but what really keeps me going on here is the awareness that I’m doing/creating good things that have great future on the longer run plus I’m interacting with interesting people, and I’m getting more and more experienced in life (not only work) – which is the greatest asset. Above all – I am trying to enjoy myself.
I would like to read the feedback from you: what works for you and what not? How do you keep up with all the tasks you have? What part of your life suffers? What would you like to change?
“So, you can take the girl out of academia, but you can’t take the academia out of the girl, eh?”
Those were the words of a friend of mine after I announced the news. Well, guess who can has PhD scholarship?
Last year I applied for Oxford PhD scholarships for 2009-2010, and completely forgot about it. Then in the April I was told I was selected and invited for an interview. All happened very fast and unexpected. It began with a call from British Council and professors from Oxford, when I was asked to come in person to the interview (last minute call) to Belgrade. Since I reside in Rome, I had to take the first plane next morning and I appeared in the early afternoon as the last candidate to be interviewed for this great opportunity. Actually I was about not to go, because it seemed impossible to make it to Belgrade in such short time, but my UN supervisor was encouraging me to give it a try.
Shall I mention that the interview was more like great, nice interaction between professors and me, carefree chat on social networks and media since professor and BC representative wanted to know more about the usage of the social networks in Serbia and they were all ears when I started passionately to talk about Facebook. Anyway, at the end of the interview I was told I will know the final result soon. So I went back to Rome, and seven weeks ago (I know, I know – I was and I am very busy at work to announce this to all of you officially) good news came right into my inbox: the official email from the Oxford University. I was super-happy and ecstatic and wanted to keep this to myself to summarize my thoughts and to think about this very well, and also to talk to my closest ones, to consult with the allies, and with my UN supervisor.
As much as I was happy – I had a huge dilemma that I was not facing for the first time, to choose between two good things: research or work. There is an eternal battle in me between academic/research life and practical work. The thing is I am equally engaged into both -academia and practical work, and since it has been two years since my Master thesis – I found myself still writing papers, publishing, going to conferences, storing for my research I’ve been developing in my head, travelling over the Europe and the United States, soaking and exchanging information, getting inspired. All in between, I’ve been working on practical things, still creating and contributing to the interwebs, interacting with people, making connections.
I officially accepted the offer to spend school year at Oxford Internet Institute, to work on my PhD research, and to interact with supersmart people, including my mentor dr Hogan. w00t!!! Or shall I say Blimey! I couldn’t be any more pleased. Yes, this means I am going to start the end of my research and writing of PhD dissertation.
For those who don’t know [and I doubt that those of you reading this don't know – there is zero % that you didn’t hear for Oxford Internet Institute] – OII is the academic mecca for scholars, researchers, web creators, superb centre for the study of the social implications of the Internet. Going to OII will allow me to continue my PhD research that is focused on communication practices in virtual communities of the young adults in Serbia, especially focused on Facebook. Spending time at OII will bring me a productive, collaborative, inspiring environment in which I can accomplish my plan. Plus, there’s amazing work at OII concerning social web and media.
I am aware that PhD process is painful, but I strongly believe that knowledge is power. I wouldn’t be working on things I did in the past, and now for the UN on developing projects, which foster the technology, sharing of knowledge, web of science, semantic web, if I didn’t believe in them. Also, being surrounded with wonderful and supportive people, I am even more determined to start writing the dissertation and continue my research, because this is what I want. I realized that PhD is worth all the craziness around and inside the academia, as well as there are things that I can do with a PhD that aren’t academia.
The practice and work will keep me to the ground and sane as much as I can be – I won’t quit my UN job, this was one of the first issues I was concerned about, but luckily I have really fantastic supervisor, dr Keizer, who fully supports and encourages me. So, with all “blessings” I shall continue working on science and technology, semantic web project and return back to my research for the final dissertation. It sounds difficult and it is, but I am enjoying it and I see great benefits for my long-term goals.
I can’t wait to begin my research and writing, exploring, examining, publishing, interacting, soaking energy from experienced and smart people, that will inspire me to produce interesting ideas and the outcomes for the future projects and work. Also, I miss UK at some points, I have friends and colleagues there, and oh I love British countryside, and London is very near. I am aware about H1N1/09 virus, but I hope British people are working on it, and I’ll try to boost up my immune system. All in all, I am grateful for this great opportunity and for the all good people who supported me in this, and in general. I couldn’t be more happier. w00t!
“Standing upright on the peak of the world we once more hurl our challenge at the stars!”
These are the closing words of the Futurist Manifesto published by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti on 20th February 1909 in the French daily “Le Figaro”. The piece violently shocked the Paris art and literary world. Modernity was exalted in all its aspects: speed, energy, revolutionary scientific discoveries. Paris was the new launching platform for young artists from all over the world: Spain, Italy, Russia, and Germany. Marinetti, whose culture was French, was often in paris in those years. In 1910 Picasso’s and Braque’s first cubist compositions hearalded a period rich in experimentation. The echo spread throughout Europe. On the wave of enthusiasm Marinetti led ‘his’ artists on an actual tour, organising shows in the main European capitals. With his great communication skills he got the manifesto published in a numerous foreign newspapers, very efficiently spreading the new message as far as Russia.
I didn’t write about the art for a long time, but this one definitely draw my attention. Last week I was visiting Scuderiedel Quirinale and the exhibition called: Futurismo Avantguardia which presents debut of futurism and the extraordinary correspondences and oppositions in the early avant-gardes up to the outbreak of the First World War.
It is interesting that this exhibition divided into 10 sections within the space as curated in collaboration with the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Modern in London. It was set up first in Paris (Oct.2008-Jan.2009), then now in Rome and lastly in London (June-Sept.2009). At one spot, in parallel you can see the stylistic and philosophic contributions made by Futurism and Cubism to the birth of Russian Cubo-Futurism, English Vorticism, and American Synchromism, underscoring th basic contribution of the Italian avant-garde with Marinetti‘s insight concerning a new synthesis of space and time.
If you are in Rome in April and May – don’t miss this exhibition. Below is one of my favourite artworks Ciclista, by Natalia Goncarova, 1913.