web 2.0 for development


the social network

I just saw “The social network“, the movie about the rise of facebook.

the social network

I found very interesting seeing how Mark Zuckerberg put together the pieces of his creature. Two main ingredients were at the basis: his deep consciousness of what his creature should be AND an ear always open to listen to what people have in mind.

Mark says: “We are talking about taking the entire social experience of the college and put it online.

Mark had the ability to perceive that “the social experience of the college” can be so fascinated and attracting for people AND the capacity to read the Web and to put online such an experience.

If and when you are really able to have such a clear line in your mind and simultaneously take in consideration the needs of your users then, I think, you reached the “secret” for your success.

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An online resource to learn about browsers and the Web

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web is the title of a nice resource just launched by Google to easily learn more about the basics of the Web.

Learn more about the web

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New twitter interface

Few weeks after the announcement, I had the chance to use the new interface launched to increase its usability.The black top bar and the wider right column are the main new visual features. They came together with the possibility to immediately visualize photos and videos shared by others and other minor changes.

I found it a good step ahead, being the site more usable and the main page becoming a sort of intro to your profile. More than before, twitter is presenting itself not only as a place for geeks but mainly as a tool for knowledge sharing with a broad audience: latest stats say users are over 190 million (more than 1 million are from Italy:

This is why I’m strongly suggesting to the networks I support to adopt it. Onda Rural is actually using it quite well, Carimac will be doing soon as well as the CSDI project and the FAO Rural radio website. Their public can be very wide, the tool is flexible and dynamic (mostly thanks to third party applications) and the use is very easy, adapt for every kind of editorial team.

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Across the time

Strange impressi0ns last night, at Dubai Airport. I had chance to think about these huge movement of people around the sky that was taking place just in front of me.

While waiting for my next flight, I connected to the Internet and found many people online, as expected. I was in the middle of the night staring the Burj Dubai from the window and simultaneously checking the weather conditions in Bangalore, my final destination. At the same time, my friends in Rome were talking, during a Skype call, about their dinner and watching tv, before going to bed. Meanwhile, reading my email account, I found out that a new site has been launched that day and exchanged some emails with the people in charge of it, in Jamaica!

This means that I was dealing with “life” in a range of 11 time zones at the same time, from Bangalore to Montego Bay…

across time zonesThis incredible feeling to be “in between” while time zones are playing their game was fascinating, on one side, a bit too much, on the other!

I had a triple scenario in front of me: people from a time zone going to another one and vice versa, while life in Dubai did not take part to that game. We were outside the real life. We were living a life apart from those behind the walls: thinking about what we would have found the day after, somewhere in the East, and having the latest greetings with those we just left, in the West.

Is “disconnected” the word to describe, in a certain way, such a situation?

The night passed over my thinking. The new plane called me and I laid down in my seat. Next morning I woke up in Bangalore airport, with a different language and different faces around me. Everything was new and I needed to get the habit to it. But the doubts on this frenetic world which is moving but does not see, which is changing but does not understand, which is evolving but always forget, is still in front of me.

p.s. : in addition to those feelings, what Tiziano Terzani wrote in his “Un indovino mi disse” came back to my mind: travelling by plane is the worst thing that can happen to you if you want to get in touch with a place. By plane, in fact, you loose continuity, both physically and mentally, between the place you leave and the one you reach. Your moving is fragmented. You don’t really get into a place but you are thrown into it. And that makes a difference, a huge difference.

I feel this consideration to be deeply true and I experienced it. As a matter of fact, I’ve been twice in Istanbul. Once I arrived by bus with Camilla, the second time we flew there. My first contact was stronger and deeper.Much better, in a word.

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FSCA-PISA web platform is online

The new FSCA-PISA collaboration platform is online!

It has been launched during an interesting online ceremony which gathered almost 40 people in front of the screen.

For this occasion, all the seven West African countries which are taking part to the programme were involved in the event. FSCA – Food Security through Commercialization of Agriculture is the Italian Special Contribution to the Global Trust Fund for Food Security and Food Safety established by FAO. The Programme adopts a relevant communication component to support its activities.

As you can see in the image below, each national office (National Project Directors and Coordinators, their Assistants, the National Consultants, the Inter Country Coordinator and his Team, and all the experts from the FAO headquarters) gathered in front of the webcam for a multilateral audio conference through Skype in occasion of the launch.

Our objectives were to:

  • show everyone the website,
  • reinforce the common perspective,
  • talk about the actual needs in terms of digital communication, and
  • show how online interaction is possible among us.

Spending an hour in front of the video with six connections almost always on, having rounds of intros, comments and exchanges, gathering almost 40 people around West Africa was in my opinion a great success for the FSCA-PISA communication strategy. We want the platform to become the “place” where our team can freely collaborate to reach better results. Now we come to the most difficult part of this effort: spreading this culture of interaction, collaboration and exchange among actors and beneficiaries of the programme.

More details as soon as activities will move ahead.