When you enter Friedrichstadtpalast to go to re-publica you’re greeted by the sign to the right. Speakers, supporters, people on the guest list and press go the special desk. Everyone else – including bloggers – should join the regular queues to the right (which, incidentally, were very long on the first morning).

What is this? re-publica is a conference about the internet, about how the internet is changing politics and society. And yet journalists get special treatment. While it has been a breakthrough in the traditional EU institutions to get bloggers in, surely an internet conference should be a benchmark for equality in this regard?

Secondly, I’ve been struck by two speakers – Cyrus Farivar and Philipp Müller – who have used the stages at re-publica to give summaries of the books they have written – The Internet of Elsewhere and Machiavelli.net: Strategie für eine offene Welt (forthcoming) respectively. Especially with Farivar I was rather disappointed – 30 minutes on stage did not allow him to go into detail, while the broad statements he made could just as easily have been gained from Wikipedia. Yet in both of these cases it strikes me that the act of writing a book about something relating to the internet is, in these circles, considered grounds for respect.

All of this gets me thinking… should I write a book? Perhaps it’s a better plan than the flippant tweet about bicycle shops yesterday. I’m one of the few people working right across Europe in the area of using social media for political campaigns. Would there be a way to make a worthwhile publication, ideally with a little pay, out of that I wonder?


  1. No problem 🙂

    I say this also from a similar experience – trying to explain a complex, multi-faceted campaign at re-publica 2009!

  2. Fair enough. I appreciate the feedback. This is the first kind of talk like this that I’ve done.

  3. There are two issues…

    1. Should re-publica have asked? Probably.
    2. What – in 40 minutes – are the key points to cover? All of them – a summary of the book – means the presentation is hard to digest. I can recall the countries you mentioned, but I do not recall any specific point from your presentation. So while it might not do justice to your book, you would need to highlight one key issue per country and relentlessly focus on that. It would not be a complete picture of what’s in your book, but it would make things more memorable for the audience listening.

  4. *shrugs*

    I don’t know what to tell you. I wrote a book. The organizers of re:publica asked me to come talk about it. So I did.

  5. Besides the irony of a “new media” conference used to promote “old media “and give “old media” people preferential treatment.

    Then isn’t it always quite boring listening to a presentation that is basically a sales pitch for the speaker’s book?

    I try to avoid events related to the release of a book. Unless there is a proper debate arranged so it won’t just be a sales pitch or I know I’ll never read the book.

    But main point is that a presentation should not duplicate a book, it should be able to work on its own. Therefore the correlation between number of pages and number of minutes is irrelevant!

  6. Cyrus – thanks for the comment! On time – fair enough. On presentation – it’s an impossible task really, to highlight the key points of something so complex, although I felt it was hard to know what we should learn from your presentation as a result…

  7. Hey, thanks for attending my talk. But I was on stage for 45+ min, I think.

    Sorry that I couldn’t go into that much detail. It’s hard to summarize a 100,000-word book in that short amount of time.

    But, you can read the intro to my book on my site:


  8. Think book writing will be easier and more profitable – also financially – than opening a bicycle shop in London. Though they might not be mutually exclusive 🙂

  9. A book about promotion of a cycle shop in London via social media… and then a presentation about it at #rp12. Easy!

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