Friday, 25 June 2010

How the Flame from Canigou Arrived in Vilanova 2010

"Why did they not light the fire in a beautiful way this time?", asked my oldest son when we left the centre cívic Sant Joan. I could only agree. Last year I felt that we had a solemn celebration of the arrival of the flame from Canigou (Canigó) – literally brought down from the mountain in order to light up the bonfires of this very Catalan celebration - but not so this year.

Revetlla de Sant Joan Vilanova i la Geltru 2010 008

In my eyes, you cannot talk about a tribute to the Catalan language and, at the same time, play a potpourri where els Segadors is being mixed with Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. And although the organizers, on this day, have a tradition to burn a paper doll, at least I consider it wrong to, on the stage, give equal importance to the mayor of our town as to a hippie figure with a Mercedes logotype around its neck (although we can assume that it was meant to be the peace symbol).

Or, possibly, I am just full of vinegar (vinagrisme = the not-so-sublime art of critizicing just anything related with Vilanova i la Geltrú). Well that, if anything, that would be good evidence of how integrated I am nowadays.

- - -

Here is the Catalan version of the same text.

Revetlla de Sant Joan Vilanova i la Geltru 2010 012

Revetlla de Sant Joan Vilanova i la Geltru 2010 010

Lady Gaga acompanya la flama del Canigó

"Per què aquesta vegada no han encès el foc d'una manera bonica?", va preguntar-me el meu fill gran, quan sortiem del centre cívic Sant Joan. No podia respondre'l ja que hi estava d’acord. L’any passat vaig sentir que hi havia una celebració solemne de l'arribada de la flama del Canigó - literalment baixada des de la muntanya per tal d’encendre les fogueres d’aquesta festa tan típicament catalana -, peró aquest any no.

Revetlla de Sant Joan Vilanova i la Geltru 2010 008

Als meus ulls, no es pot parlar d'un homenatge a la llengua catalana i, alhora, jugar un popurri on els Segadors es barreja amb Bad Romance de Lady Gaga. I encara que els organitzadors tenen la tradició de cremar un ninot de paper aquest dia, almenys jo crec que és poc correcte donar-li la mateixa importància a l'escenari a l'alcalde de la nostra ciutat com a una figura hippie amb un logotip de Mercedes al seu coll (tot i que podem suposar que la intenció era que lluís el símbol de la pau).

Al final, també és possible que m’he omplert de massa vinagre. Això, en tot cas, seria una bona prova de la meva integració en aquesta ciutat.

Revetlla de Sant Joan Vilanova i la Geltru 2010 012
Revetlla de Sant Joan Vilanova i la Geltru 2010 010

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A Garraf TV Show on Blogging and Social Networks

As a part of the promotion of the Penedesfera Days recently celebrated here in Vilanova, June 2 I took part in a TV show (Canal Blau/Maricel). The program, “Sota el cel de Garraf” is lead by Imma Pulido, who always tries to have an open discussion on the topic of the day and avoids telling the participants who is to answer what.

To break into a discussion is culturally difficult for most Swedes, not the least when we speak a foreign language. And here I was, supposed to talk about blogging as a phenomenon with Nacho Corredor, Daniel Garcia Peris and Conrad Rovira – all with a great expert knowledge and, on top of that, native speakers of Catalan.

In all honestly, if I have not spoken about this show earlier, it is only because I left it with a very bad feeling. But tonight, when I found it on Daniel's blog, I decided to watch it anyhow – to observe and analyse.

Now that is done and, to my great surprise, I am content with what I have seen. I, obviously, made loads of pronunciation and grammar mistakes, but believe that I still managed to get my message across without seeming too stupid. The one detail which embarrasses me the most is, in fact, my beer belly, so any advice on how to get rid of it is highly welcome!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

On the Penedesfera Days; 2010 and the Future

This year, the Penedesfera days (Jornades de la Penedesfera) were organized at the University Campus UPC here in Vilanova i la Geltrú. My Catalan is improving, but above all am I now actively working with Web 2.0 tools in my business, and, as a result, this was the edition, so far, which has brought me the most in terms of inspiration and new knowledge – and that close to home!

During the opening ceremony a lot of politicians were present, both among the speakers (eg. Ernest Benach, President of the Parliament of Catalonia, and Joan Ignasi Elena, mayor of Vilanova) and in the audience. Unfortunately, they all left immediately afterwards and therefore missed a panel discussion which would have been of great interest to them.

Gemma Urgell and Ricard Espelt presented a broad spectrum of 2.0 based citizen initiatives; Colabora Euskadi, IgualadaNeta, PimPamPum and Pares I Mares del CEIP Turó de Can Mates. My personal favourite was – a web site which thanks to Twitter and user activism can offer constantly up-dated traffic information on the commuter trains in the Barcelona area.

Trina Milan opened the Saturday program with a panel discussion on “Digital contents, technologic tools and education” – a celebration of the idea that the education material of the future must come in an open, criticisable format, and not as unchangeable printed text or locked databases.

Daniel Garcia Peris panel discussion on “2.0 Tourism” was the peak of the program, in my eyes. It contained lively debate both over the microphone and in the Twitter stream, since Ana Grande had the unpleasant task to defend why the Railway Museum of Vilanova only has an information web page (Web 1.0), and not any tools for two-way communication (Web 2.0). It also contained José Antonio Donaire's fantastic presentation of examples (among them Community of Sweden) of virtual spaces where tourists who will visit a place can communicate with those who are there right now and those who have been there before (pre-tourism, tourism and post-tourism, if I remember it correctly). And it had one participant, Francesc Balagué, - currently travelling around the world - joining the discussion over a Skype videoconference.

The last item before lunch was Irene Lapuente who with the program La Mandarina de Newton livened up the atmosphere with some physical experiments. I assume that the UPC management will not be too happy to see how she, among other things, tested their fire alarm system.

During Sergi Sabaté’s panel discussion on whether media listens to its audience, the Penedesfera received a bit of a surprise. Joan Carreras from argued that media does not need to respond on all comments and in fact managed to convince this interaction obsessed forum that he was right.

The part which Rafael Pardo had organized on web-based innovations from Catalunya, started at a time when at least I desperately needed one or two cups of coffee. What I do remember, however, is that Rafael himself talked about distance health care services and used Telemedicine Clinic as one of his examples. Javier Galán gave us a scary up-date on the current situation of cyber crime. José Antonio Galaso, finally, added a popular touch by talking about the high-tech analysis tools which Pep Guardiola has at his disposal to evaluate how the Barça players perform during a match.

The last item of the program was Innosfera, with Diego Fernàndez as a moderator and the title “Learning in a changing world”. Miquel Duran made an revealing lecture on how he perceives and handles the speed of change in his role as a researcher and university teacher. His message was then contrasted by Marc Pallarès who presented a student’s perspective on the same reality. Andrés Ortiz rounded off the event with a fascinating presentation of how you can visualize the interaction of social networks.

Since Innosfera had made a special edition for Penedesfera, I must express how sad I am that we were so few people in the audience when we reached this item. At the same I have to be realistic - since I personally knew almost nothing about Innosfera before this day, how could I expect people with less interest in the web 2.0 to show up?

However, I do see an issue here since the Penedesfera days 2010 overall saw a very low level of participation. With the media coverage we had had and with a centric location in a town of 65.000 inhabitants, I was totally amazed that we did not manage to catch more drop-in visitors, not even among the university students who live next door.

The Penedesfera Days are based on self-organization and that puts specialists with a focus on their favourite Web 2.0 aspect in the leading seat. The end result are theme days which fill a need for me but obviously not for many other people.

Having said that, the program did, in fact, include some discussions of a general interest and it is a pity that we did not manage to communicate that. For exemple: we live in a tourism area and before this year is over, many decision makers here will pay for presentations similar to the one which Donaire offered Penedesfera totally for free. I would say that all our panel discussions would have benefited from more selling titles.

Another idea could be to switch the focus slightly from 2.0 technology to Penedès as such. That would bring this event closer to the expectations presented in the opening speeches but also, more importantly, grant us a faithful and highly committed niche audience.

It has already been decided that the Penedesfera Days next year will be held in Anoia, most likely in Igualada. I would recommend the organizers to include the audience’s perspective from the beginning of their planning. Why not start by adding one part directly targeting those who are not yet initiated?

Friday, 11 June 2010

Full Salute With Sense!

During the days June 4-6, the trade fair DeTotCat was organized in Girona for companies which label their goods and produce in Catalan (under current law it is sufficient to do so in Spanish). My company, Puck Imports, S.L., which sells RFSU's condoms with enduser instructions in this language, was present and received a lot of media attention.

Already before the exhibition, was I invited to participate in Actualitat-Viva, a show broadcast by local TV stations in Girona and Lleida, but also in parts of the Barcelona metropolitan area. The program as a whole was half an hour long and I had the opportunity to show our products, although they do not appear in the short version. (Unfortunately, I cannot link directly, but you can see me in the May 28 program "Tertúlia sobre el català“, minute: 0:55).

During the fair, I was interviewed by TV3, the television channel with the highest audience figures in Catalonia. The news item was presented on Friday June 4 in all of the channel’s newscasts and every hour of their news channel 3-24. (I show up after the advertising, minute: 0:38). In the related web page (3cat24) RFSU and Puck Import appear in both picture and comment.

The same was the case in the online news services (Catalonia) and (Girona only).

The daily Diari de Girona found a different angle since they noticed that the fair's two most visible foreign elements, IKEA and "RFSU by Puck Import", had a Nordic background. Apparently they published a nice picture of our products in the paper version, but I missed to buy it.

Nació wrote about us and published several pictures of our stand. El Punt mentioned that RFSU was one of the products presented in so-called micro presentations (lasting only 5 minutes).

Finally, RadioCatalunya, Avui and El Punt mentioned our especially designed fair campaign "Trempa amb seny!", which can be translated "Have erections with sense!". It was a slogan which struck just right, first and foremost because the Catalans consider that seny (sense or reason) is their perhaps most characteristic feature, but also since the illustration was a typical human tower (castells, here a torre de 7 by the Bordegassos de Vilanova), which during the summer are being erected (trempar in now obsolete Catalan ) in the squares all around Catalonia.

SWE: Resning med förnuft!

Under dagarna 4-6/6 hölls i Girona mässan DeTotCat för de företag som etiketterar sina produkter på katalanska (enligt gällande lag räcker det med spanska). Mitt företag, Puck Import, S.L., som säljer RFSU:s kondomer med användarinstruktioner på detta språk, var närvarande och fick mycket uppmärksamhet i media.

Redan före mässan var jag med i debattprogrammet Actualitat-Viva som sändes i ett antal lokal-TV-stationer i Girona och Lleida men också i delar av Barcelonas storstadsområde. (Tyvärr går det inte att direktlänka. Jag dyker upp i programmet ”Tertúlia sobre el català” från den 28/5, minut 00:55). Programmet som helhet var en halvtimme långt och jag fick visa upp våra produkter, även om det inte framgår i sammandraget.

Under mässan blev jag intervjuad av TV3, den TV-kanal i Katalonien som har högst tittarsiffror. Reportaget visades fredagen 4/6 i kanalens alla nyhetssändningar samt en gång i timmen i deras nyhetskanal 3-24. (Jag dyker upp efter reklamen, minut 00:38). På den tillhörande nätsidan (3cat24) syns RFSU och Puck Import både i bild och kommentar.

Detsamma var fallet i nättidningarna (hela Katalonien) och (bara Girona).

Dagstidningen Diari de Girona hittade en annorlunda infallsvinkel eftersom de lade märke till att mässans två tydligaste utländska inslag, IKEA och ”RFSU genom Puck Import”, båda hade nordisk bakgrund. Tydligen fanns det en fin bild på våra produkter i pappersversionen, men den missade jag att köpa.

Nació skrev om oss och publicerade ett flertal bilder av vårt stånd. El Punt nämnde att RFSU kondomer var en av de produkter som presenterades i ett av mässans s.k. microföredrag (presentationer på 5 minuter).

Slutligen, omnämnde RadioCatalunya, Avui och El Punt vår mässkampanj ”Trempa amb seny!”, vilket kan översättas ”Ha resning med förnuft!”. Det var en slogan som träffade helt rätt, först och främst därför att katalaner anser att sunt förnuft (seny) är deras kanske främsta karaktärsdrag, men också för att illustrationen var hämtad från de typiska mänskliga tornen (castells - i bilden torre de 7, utfört av Bordegassos de Vilanova) som på sommaren reser sig (trempar på lite åldrig katalanska) runtom på Kataloniens torg.