Tag Archives: Blogging

Time for Blogging

I have broken one of the rules for blogging; I did not blog for three months. I wrote in an earlier post that you should blog whenever you have time. December, January, and February just passed by with Christmas, lots of guests from Denmark and Brussels, a sick kid, Inauguration, and a trip to the US Virgin Islands. I have also started my capstone project at Georgetown University.  And I am the program coordinator of the Lantos/Humanity In Action Capitol Hill Fellowship this semester which does take more time than I assumed – but it is great fun to be with 12 European law and journalism students.

I do not expect I will get more time – but now I will try to find time for blogging. I have missed blogging. Missed the conversation with peers from Georgetown, and it is a good way to reflect on what’s going on.


I wrote two pieces for the Danish communications magazine, Kommunikatøren in January. One story iss about my day on Inauguration. The other story is about corporate communication (or the lack of) during the financial and economic crisis. (Sorry they are both in Danish)



Politics are conversations too

Markets are conversations and the same holds true for politics. Politics are conversations too. The authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto argued that we have to go back and recreate the conversation that happened on the marketplaces in the good old days. I will argue that politicians need to do the same.


Hillary Clinton entered the presidential election in January 2007 with the video “I’m In” where she said: “I am not just starting a campaign though, I am beginning a conversation with you”. But what she is learning with the rest of us is that it is not enough just to use the Web 2.0 platforms for social networking and collaboration. You have to leave the top-down approach to running a campaign like the Dean campaign did in 2003 and 2004. Even Barack Obama is accused of being top down too. Or maybe that is the learned lesson of 2008. Is the key to a successful campaign to mix the top down approach with collaboration?


We are witnessing a shift from one-way campaigns to two-way campaigns. Especially the Democratic candidates are experimenting with Web 2.0 platforms like blogs, twitter, and video “where the views and opinions of the American people have an impact on the leadership, so leaders are with the people instead of seeking to lead folks that aren’t interested in being led by them” (Howard Dean quoted in First Campaign, p.283).


Bloggers like Ruffini and TechRepublicans from “the Rightosphere” are calling for better strategies for debating, fundraising, and mobilizing on the Republican side. Jon Henke argues:


The Leftroots can deliver messaging, money and mobilization, so Democratic candidates become path-dependent on them. They have sufficient power to move politicians to their ideas. The Right does not. Meanwhile, what is the Right passionate about right now? Not much. To build an online infrastructure as effective as the Leftosphere, the Right must find its own story to tell – an organic story, relevant to current grievances, with politically viable solutions – about which people can be passionate, around which a coalition can rally.”



Can everybody turn their culture around? To me, the Republicans are not really that grass root oriented. But the lesson learned this semester, I will argue political parties as well as corporations have to turn around and choose “the new way” if they want to succeed in the future.  


The political conversation after the presidential campaign

Politics are conversations also in between presidential campaigns. As Garrett Graff, my professor points out in his book First Campaign there are important issues in the United States that call for action – and debate like education, health care, and infrastructure. Maybe politicians and governments on all levels can learn something from Dell’s Ideastorm and Starbucks’ MyStarbucksIdea.



PS. Read more about Garret Graff’s book here, here, and here.

Web 2.0 in Denmark

Our claim to fame in the Wild World of the Web is Skype, usability, and Lego Mindstorms. One of the inventors of Skype (using VoIP technology), Janus Friis is Danish. The usability guru Jacob Nielsen is also Danish, and Lego is based in Denmark. It is part of the Danish nationalism not to be nationalist but we are very proud when a Dane make to the world scene. It might be because we are such a small country. For those of you who have never heard about Denmark before it is a small country in the Northern part of Europe with a population of 5.4 million which is 1.1 percent of the EU population.



98% of the population can access broadband, and according to OECD Denmark is the leading country in the world in relation to broadband penetration.



Popular Websites

Just like in United States Google (one in English and one in Danish), YouTube, and Windows Live are popular Websites, but Facebook (number 5) is more popular than MySpace (number 14). Of the top 10 Websites only three sites are Danish. The social networking site for teenagers Arto (7), the public TV and radio broadcast station Danmark’s Radio (8), and the tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet (10).




For years, I have been wondering why blogging was not such a big thing in Denmark. New trends cross over, but it seemed to me that blogging, especially corporate and political blogging, took forever to take off. Apparently, the Danish political culture is less “conductive to the openness required in a successful blog” (Naked Conversations, 2006, p.115). Following the current US presidential election on TV, blogs, in papers, and from time to time in town hall meetings, I have experienced a vivid and emotional American political culture where individuals are not afraid of expressing thoughts about political issues. I think it is especially the emotional debate that I am not used to.


Living abroad for almost two years now, I have only followed the news and trends in the communications industry in headlines. I asked my female network Nina B a few months ago what blogs they are reading – and no one responded. I guess they were all busy – because seeing the boom in the Danish blogosphere means that they have to read blogs like here, here or here (Sorry they are in Danish. They are about politics and blogging). A few weeks ago blog number 100,000 was registered.


The big blogging thing last year was a boom in political blogging. The Prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and most of the party leaders blogged during the three-week-campaign. Interestingly, some of the politicians do not think they have to blog between elections. The leader of the Social Democrats, Helle Thorning-Schmidt did not blog for two months but she started blogging again after a communications expert criticized her in Politiken (one of the leading newspapers in Denmark).


During the campaing the prime minister invited voters to join him running around the lakes in Copenhagen. 500 people joined him. Another political leader – Naser Khader used twitter, but it did not make a big difference because his campaign was a flop.  



The e2012-goal

The Danish government has a goal of becoming a digital administration by 2012 making it a lot easier for the citizens to access the relevant authorities. Furthermore, it is the ambition that all written communication between citizens or private companies and the public sector will be digital. The Ministry of Finance and The National IT- and Telecom Agency are working to provide better, more cohesive and efficient digital services on http://www.borger.dk. They are working on version 2 right now including a “My Page” where the user can access personal data and digital letters. Furthermore, more services and information will be available at the same site: income taxes, job search services, social security benefits, car registration, application for building permission, declaration to police, public libraries, enrolment for higher education, announcement of moving, and health-related services. Finally, the government got it! The idea is good – but I guess it is hard to implement it across various government levels. However, to become a Web 2.0 administration they have to work harder of the tools facilitating political conversations. The online debate is more or less non-existent.




Netbanking has nothing to do with Web 2.0. But I just want to mention it briefly because I was in chock when I moved to the US and I had to use checks. I had never written a check in order to pay a bill. I had just used my Net Bank. Danish banks were frontrunners in developing a secure net banking system. Already before net banking Denmark had a similar system called giro where each company had an identification number and each bill had an identification number which made the system secure


Blogging from Afghanistan

Afghanistan is the first country listed on Global Voices. Women’s Day in a Unrest Country, Blogging for a Freer Afghanistan, and Returned Refugees, Police Fatigue, and Freezing Children are headlines on Global Voice conveying that Afghan bloggers are facing a total different society than the one outside my frontdoor.  It is not about the culture differences like between Germany and France as Scoble and Israel describe in chapter 8 in Naked Conversations. It is about a society that is struggling after decades of war and conflict. Bloggers like Nasim Fekrat are fighting for human rights, freedom of speech, women’s rights and democracy.

Go and read the interview with Fekrat who is blogging from Kabul on Global Voices. Fekrat is also active in citizen media projects likethe social media site Afghan Press and Afghan Penlog, the Afghan Association of Blog Writers. The goal is to bring Afghans bloggers inside and outside Afghanistan to defend their rights. As Fekrat says in the interview:

We don’t have free media in Afghanistan, but through blogging, journalists and other people who can’t (or don’t want to) use their real names in Afghan media can share their ideas.”

Fekret also says:
“As you know, we don’t have online media to provide news to the world independently. Every day we hear bad news of explosions, suicide attacks, road bombings, killings, robberies in Afghanistan, but there is no one to provide information on social issues, women’s issues, education, music, literature, culture and Afghan traditions.When I read the news, I feel sorry for myself and wonder why our country and our people are defined as violent and tough people. I want to explain through Afghan Press that we are no different from the rest of the world; that we are forgotten, and you need to remember us today.”

On top of this, Afghan bloggers suffer from power outages several times a time. Fekrat describes how he writes his posts on paper, put it on a memory stick, and have to walk to somewhere else to get access to the Internet.I admire the courage of Nasim Fekrat to work hard and challenge the culture and the political system of his country. It takes more to blog from Afghanistan than blogging about Afghanistan – as a lot of the blogs I passed by today do.

Fit blogging into the holes in your schedule

One question captured my attention this morning in the New York Times; How on earth does he find time to blog? He refers to Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks (basketball team), partner in a media company, chairman of HDNet, and blogger.  During this semester, I have read a lot about the “no rules” of blogging and pieces of advice about how to blog. But what about WHEN to blog? I’ll put this one on my list. “Fit blogging into the holes in your schedule.” It is an advice from law professor Glenn Reynolds at the University of Tennessee (his blog is Instapundit.com) I quote Reynolds from New York Times:  “The blog is best handled by inserting it into the small bits of free time that rest among the bigger chunks of your work.” Mr. Reynolds slips in posts between classes, as a break from writing law review articles and during slow time at home.