Help internet-driven economic growth transform the lives of millions: the start-up manifesto

Yesterday, I came across this great initiative started by the European Commission. I am republishing their idea and I invite you to sign this manifesto.

Find more info at


Economic conditions in Europe remain hugely challenging with the European Commission forecasting that euro-zone GDP is set to shrink by 0.4% this year. Yet the growing importance of internet-driven economic growth could transform this picture by helping improve the lives of millions of people providing them with new jobs, new skills and renewed hopes for a better future. Continue reading “Help internet-driven economic growth transform the lives of millions: the start-up manifesto” Belgians on #Twitter ranked by influence is a directory referencing Belgian users of twitter. It was launched in June 2013, and features are progressively rolled out.

It was created by Mango Information Systems SPRL, a Belgian company active in social media analysis and monitoring.

According to their website, Twitto are currently working on the following features:

  • ranking by Kred influence score (updated daily)
  • categorization by topics and type of account (person / company)
  • filters and person search
  • crowdsourcing: addition of twittos, removal, management of categories by the visitors
  • statistics about the twitter users

Hashtags on Facebook: what if Twitter had copyrighted the #?

imagesFacebook users will be able to include hashtags in their posts and then watch them become clickable. When a hashtag is included in a post, clicking on it will pop out a feed that aggregates others posts that have been tagged with the same phrase.

After last year Apple vs Samsung case, I wonder if social platforms should be able to copyright their exclusive features.  Would this turn into a patent war among #socmed giants (and dwarfs)?

TagTagCity: when interactive search engines pave the way

Wandering around Brussels, I have been bumping more and more often in “tags”.  Especially around historical points of interest around the city, you can now find some red labels with a code that you can scan. Initially I didn’t know what that was and this is how I discovered TagTagCity.

TagTagCity is an interactive search engine that allows cities , shops, museums and other places to enter the SOLOMO (Social-Local-Mobile) world by creating a mobile website. With a simple click, places and objects deliver their secrets and advantages to users. They so far have more than 110,000 points of interest, as well as a total of 180,000 smartphone scans of its intelligent “TAG” labels placed around.

TagTagCityThe platform allows users to take maximum advantage of geolocalisation, integrated QR-code scanner, audioguide and various visualisations of places (by category or on a map).

To cut a long story short, TagTagCity recruits the best city guides: your friends’ network. Users’ Facebook environment (page likes, check-ins and those of his friends) is imported on their interactive map.

Inspired by the EU’s “Smart Cities & Communities” initiative, TagTagCity’s Smart Districts program is aimed at helping neighbourhoods to better communicate with visitors and residents. They use TagTagCity to make information about community life or cultural agenda available to all.

Twittercounter: Benchmark your performance

This article was also published on Waltzing Matilda Blog

Everyone likes ranks especially when ranks are about you. We love to see how good we are at what we do compared to other peers. On Twitter,  some of these ranks relate to the number of new followers you’ve received over a certain period of time, the number of tweets sent out, milestones that have been reached, number of retweets, etc.  One of the most used tools to get a quick look at such stats and aggregate these numbers is Twitter Counter.

With Twittercounter users can create spreadsheets of their stat data, receive updates on an hourly basis, go back in history and review stats up to 3 months, and more. The free features you receive with the tool also provide useful information such as determining your flow of followers and the growth on your page. In particular, you are also able to display specific days people followed and un-followed your account and predict amount of potential followers to gain or lose in a day or more depending on how the graph flows.

To Twittercounter’s credit, there are two useful features to get a better sense of how your account is performing:

  • You can compare your account with up to two others.
  • It guesses the number of users you’ll gain based on how this number has grown over the past seven days.
Let’s check together what happens when you type in the @EU_Commission

Pros and cons of internet detox

For over a week now I have been without internet connection at home due to the usual technical problem that Numericable seem never to find a solution to. It’s not the first time I go into “forced internet detox” and I often wonder about the benefits and pitfalls of being informationless.

Internet detox is actually a three-fold process as it involves:

1)      Detox from the internet as a pathology.

2)      Detox from information processing.

3)      Detox from social media.

I am a Social Media analyst for the European Commission so obviously this rehab process only applies to my free time. I actually sit all day on a desk monitoring, using and engaging in social media so I should better talk about partial detox. Nevertheless, part (if not most) of the remaining hours of my day are usually spent online. Even when I go to the gym or out for a beer I’m keeping an eye on Twitter or Facebook (as sad as it sounds).

Anyway during these few days I really went back to living as if I was in the 90s. I usually listen to music in online streaming and now I’ve had to browse through some old hard disks to find some music to listen to while tiding up my room or cooking. I couldn’t remember the last time I listened to Ten by Pearl Jam, Nirvana’s In Utero or Dream Theatre’s Images and Words. It felt like I had completely forgot about these legendary records. Still, after a while it got boring and I started missing my . The same thing applies to movies and TV series. You never expect a sudden internet cut out (unless you live in Belgium) and never think about storing your best movies and shows in case the Apocalypse falls upon us.

Internet Addiction - 101On the other hand, one thing I do appreciate is the body-and-mind cleansing deriving from the lack of information processing. Being constantly online also means to be in constant information-gathering-and-elaboration mode. Considering my professional occupation I often realize how much my brains get tired of this and how useful scheduled breaks are. Coming back home and switching off for a while (whenever possible) can only be beneficial.  I feel more concentrated, efficient and focused both at work and while doing sports. Information overload is lethal. Regular internet detox is the medicine.

Recently, I read a Forbes’ article entitled “3 reasons to quit Social Media in 2013”. I didn’t agree with most of the piece as I see social media as “the means” rather than “the end”. I think the article was more addressed to those who are on social media just “to be” there.  I strongly believe in the benefits that #socmed can bring to people if used sensibly i.e. to create a professional or personal and social network, keep in touch with people far away (especially if you are an expat) and rationalizing your inward and outward information fluxes. Anyway, a short abstention from social media can help you realize how much more “quality time” you can have for yourself instead of wandering around Facebook and browse through your high school mates’ holiday pictures (because we all do it).

However, we eventually bound to realize that there is no other way than having social media embedded in our lives and as part of our social interactions at whatever stage. For the tiniest thing requiring a bit of organization, social media comes and help us and we take for granted that platforms X,Y,Z will help us maintain our social interactions “in real life” too.

It’s good to get out of the “online reality” but it’s even better to learn how to use the internet, in all of its forms and services, at our advantage and not at our disguise.