Last post State of Social Media Summit

November 15th, 2011

The State of Social Media Summit was the end of Digital Pioneers. This is the last post of this blog. If you have any questions, please contact Kennisland via or telephone number 020-5756720.

New publication out: The State of Social Media

February 23rd, 2011

Eight years of Digital Pioneers in the Dutch public domain

Since 2002, the Digital Pioneers programme, operated by the Knowledgeland think tank and made possible by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences, has made a considerable contribution to the development of the digital public domain in the Netherlands. The programme supported 211 pioneer projects with both financial backing and coaching. The maturation of the digital public domain in the Netherlands from niche to mainstream over the last two decades raises the question of what will happen next.

The urgency of this question and the premature discontinuation of the Digital Pioneers programme prompted the organization of the State of Social Media Summit in Amsterdam in October 2010. After eight years of pioneering with new possibilities in the field of technology and society (e.g. governance; immigration and integration; civil society journalism; and arts and culture), the movement was reassessed, and the next phase in the digitalization of civil society was visualized by the community of Digital Pioneers.

The State of Social Media is the product of conversations with pioneers before, during and after the Summit. This comprehensive publication provides insight into what has been accomplished thus far, as well as what needs to be done in order to meet the challenges ahead and reinforce digital civil society in the Netherlands in the near future. The State of Social Media visualizes the next decade of social innovation on the Internet and taps in to the experiences of the first generation of Digital Pioneers.

Copyright: Knowledgeland (2010). Editorial team: Nikki Timmermans and Kimon Moerbeek, with contributions by Paul Keller (Knowledeland). Text editing: Susanna McPhail (UvA Talen). Design: Floor Wesseling. Printing: Rob Stolk.

Download a PDF-version of the publication here. The publication is available under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Netherlands licence. Contact Knowledgeland for a hard copy of the publication.


Knowledgeland/ Stichting Nederland Kennisland

P.O Box 2960, 1000 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands


Watch our video registrations

December 13th, 2010

At last our video registrations are online! If you want to tap in to what’s happened at the State of Social Media Summit, here are some video’s you can take a look at:

Also take a look at the pictures we took at the first day of the Summit and the second day of the Summit.

Summit report day 2: Creating future plans

November 15th, 2010

On 28-29 October 2010 Digital Pioneers organized the international conference on social innovation on the Internet in Trouw Amsterdam. From an international perspective we looked at the impact of small-scale civil society media initiatives on society and the media landscape. Together with national and international pioneers, the Digital Pioneers network and anyone who believes in the power of the Internet as a catalyst of social innovation, we identified the challenges and set the agenda for the next decade. During the second day, we looked into the future. What challenges do we see and how can we contribute to solutions? Read our report…

The second day of the Summit, Friday 29 October, promises to be an interesting day. Although some faces show modest forms of an hang-over from last nights party, it does not take a long time until the main stage room of Trouw is full again. In the afternoon the summit’s manifesto (or actually Actifesto) will be constructed during round table discussions and handed over to Marietje Schaake (Euro MP, D66). But first Keynote speakers Anna Maybank on ‘helping making good ideas happen’ and Sameer Padania on innovation in journalism with a related panel discussion.

Creating learning environments for social innovation (Anna Maybank, Social Innovation Camp)

‘Match up software developers and designers with people who have a social problem they want to solve’ is the main mission of Social Innovation Camp in the UK (and elsewhere). Anna Maybank shares her experience and the lessons she learned about bringing together ideas, people and digital tools.

Anna explains that Social Innovation Camp is a 4 month competition aimed at realizing prototypes from interesting ideas. First people with ideas are scouted across the UK. Six ideas are picked to work with. Anna and her team gather eighty people with relevant knowledge or skills to meet and cooperate during one weekend. Their assignment is to come up in less than 48 hours with concrete prototype projects that can solve the problem.

According to Anna there are some essential principles fundamental to working on social innovation along the line of SI camp philosophy. First, it takes a talented person to realize a good idea; a brilliant idea on itself is not enough. So, not only the idea but the talents must be scouted. In doing this one must realize that talented persons might be found on unexpected places. Second, especially in innovation processes building relations is very important since there is no detailed plan. The relation is the basis on which you work. Thirdly, creating connections is of main importance. People must be matched to other people that have the relevant knowledge to help them. And, fourth, the focus lies on venturing and new business models instead of charity. This is the best way to become sustainable and independent.

One of the interesting projects that has been realized the last period is Mypolice. This is an online solution to give positive or critical feedback about the services of the police. Student Sarah came up with the idea after a unsatisfactory experience that made her realize that giving feedback to the police is not an easy thing to do. Currently the project provides her with a part-time job and she works on several pilot programs.

All in all, Social Innovation Camp is the answer to a question that remains relevant these days: If the web is actually helping people solving problems, how do we get more people doing this kind of stuff? Anna’ story has, at least in part, shown how.

Watch the video of Anna Maybank’s keynote

Photo: Anna Maybank.

New journalism (Sameer Padania, Macroscope)

Sameer starts his talk by posing a question: ”Where does authenticity and authority come from in a multi-dimensional, multi-facetted field of information production?”. To find answers regarding the role of new journalism in this rapidly changing field it is essential that the context is reassessed. The field is radically different than a few years ago. Sameer explains how an experience with a group of African journalists during the G8 in Scotland confronted him with the urgent tensions in the field. The established media were in principle interested in the content of the journalists but did not trust their ‘professionalism’ and demanded editing for the English market by English professionals. According to Sameer this illustrates the ‘old’ paradigm of centralized hierarchical media organization. On the other hand he experienced in his own recent endeavors that just publishing raw direct footage is not necessarily the best way to go either. Someone needs to categorize the information and put it to a purpose.

Sameer learned by experience that actors who are active in journalism need to categorize themselves and the other players in the field in a new way. In doing so they will be confronted with issues of business models, legislation, technology and so on. Moreover, it is necessary to understand the interconnectedness of all major players in the field such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, legislators etc. They determine for a big part the way in which journalists are able to do their work.

The opportunity for journalists in the future lies in the fact that there is a desire for a sort of craft how to put information together and determine were it comes from; a chain of custody, of trust.  The long-term issue is how social media and mainstream media can find each other, and to what extent the traditional media can adapt to their new roles.

Sameer concludes with emphasizing that bottom-up initiatives in developing countries are great but still not resilient enough. They are still too fragile since they are often run by individuals, the technology is fragile and there are the political issues. “We should rethink the practice and legislation to extend protection and resilience of these initiatives. We should strive to create more diversity and pluralism and create a better mirror of the world.”

Watch the video of Sameer Padania’s keynote

Photo: Sameer Padania.

Panel discussion on new journalism

To bring the discussion a bit further some other speakers join Sameer at the stage. Juliana Rotich (Ushahidi), Maurits Martijn (Vrij Nederland) and Hermineke van Bockxmeer (Ministery of Education, Culture and Science). Paul Keller (Kennisland) moderates the discussion.

Maurits Martijn, journalist for the weekly magazine Vrij Nederland, recognizes that print media faces quite some challenges. However, he learned that at his organization they were able to engage readers to think about the necessary transition.

Hermineke van Bockxmeer states that there have been several attempts to innovate the media field from the side of the ministery. The Digital Pioneer program is one of the examples. But it is still work in progress and it is not entirely clear were the process is heading.

The redefinition of media is embodied by examples such as and says Juliana Rotich. They show that journalists and media have to engage and cannot provide the news from a position of ‘take it or leave it’. News is created with the audience, consulting the audience. “It is not about scoops anymore. Mainstream media should focus on the back-story and the follow-up. They should curate the information and give sense to what is going on in the world”. Sameer adds that journalists do not necessarily have to present clear-cut pieces. They can also pose questions to the audience about an unfinished story. Moreover, they can operate much more transparent and share their sources or research process with the audience.

Wikileaks is introduced as interesting case. On the one hand Wikileaks positions itself above the mainstream media. But it needs traditional media as well. What are the roles taken here?

It is recognized by the panelists that although Wikileaks is an independent source it needs the attention of mainstream media to present their message to a wider audience. The loads of documents need to be analyzed, the story needs to be explained and presented in an accessible way. Exactly there resides the challenge and necessity of journalistic activity. The added value of Wikileaks is that they function as a broker between people who have relevant (sensitive!) information and journalists. Altogether, initiatives such as Wikileaks illustrate the possibility of a radical philosophical twist: radical transparency.

In the quickly changing field the relations are not yet set. In this field were the possibility of radical transparency increases parallel to an enormous growth of data available, news organizations have to reposition themselves and find out how they can provide added value.

View the video of the panel discussion on journalism

Round tables and State of Social Media Actifesto

This last day of the summit is ended with the presentation of the Actifesto. During the day Digital Pioneers and other visitors sat around seven thematic round tables and spoke about the future of the digital civil society. What is to be done in the coming period? Marietje Schaake, member of the Euro Parliament, is present to receive the Actifesto in person. Also Hermineke van Bockxmeer, representing the ministery of Education, Culture and Science, gives a reaction and reflects briefly on the Digital Pioneers Program.

View the video of the short speech by Hermineke van Bockxmeer

Photo: round tables.

The Actifesto

Read them here. Schaake: “I think the potential of your Actifesto is fantastic and I hope that we can work together to make this potential flourish and to make sure that we build trust that is genuine, more transparency, more openness and more collaboration”.

View the video of the Actifesto and Marietje Schaakes reaction

Photo: Marietje Schaake.

Report written by Kimon Moerbeek (Kennisland), photos by Kennisland.

Summit report day 1: Learning from the pioneers

November 15th, 2010

On 28-29 October 2010 Digital Pioneers organized the international conference on social innovation on the Internet in Trouw Amsterdam. From an international perspective we looked at the impact of small-scale civil society media initiatives on society and the media landscape. Together with national and international pioneers, the Digital Pioneers network and anyone who believes in the power of the Internet as a catalyst of social innovation, we identified the challenges and set the agenda for the next decade. The first day was focussed on the question what can we learn from successful digital pioneers projects. Read our report…

Kick off!

Thursday morning the 28th. of October. The TROUW building in Amsterdam starts to get crowded although it’s quite early. During this summit, initiated by the organizers of the Digital Pionieers program, social entrepreneurs active in the field of new media meet to exchange concrete ideas and visions for the near future.

Photo: participants Summit.

Chair Linda Vermaat, herself a Digital Pioneer (Digitale Koelkast) invites project leader Nikki Timmermans to the stage to open the summit for a full room. She explains how the successful Digital Pioneers program will come to an end after eight years and this summit is organized for the community of pioneers to meet up and figure out how to empower each other in the future. Timmermans: “The digital revolution has just begun, we hope to support your further plans with this summit!”

View Nikki Timmermans’ presentation slides

Watch the video of Nikki Timmermans’ presentation

Before the first keynote speaker, Juliana Rotich, enters the stage Marcel van der Drift explains the concept of ‘Don’t do it yourself’, which is an approach to match people actively for to help each other. Marcel and his colleagues will be doing just that during the two days of the summit. Their tagline: ‘A shared problem is a solved problem’.

Photo: Linda Vermaat, Marcel van der Drift and Arnoud van den Heuvel (left).

Lessons learned from an African open source program (Juliana Rotich, Ushahidi)

Juliana Rotich, originally from Kenia and schooled as IT-professional in the US, presents her successful initiative Ushahidi. Ushahidi is a tool and platform to crowdsource and visualize data in crisis situations and as such it is an alternative to traditional centralized media. The idea emerged after the violence in the aftermath of the elections in Kenia. Not surpsingly the name ‘Ushahidi’ means ‘testimony’ in Swahili.

Apart from the relevance of Ushahidi as a concept Juliana shares an inspiring story about pioneering entrepreneurship of people with a vision who just start doing something and figure it out along the way. Being shocked by the conflicts and the related media coverage she teamed up with some enthusiastic bloggers and experts in Kenia to invent what became Ushahidi. The organization was ad hoc and leaderless and all participants had full time jobs. They were forced to make quick and kind of brutal decisions since they lacked the luxury of time or money. However, based upon her experience Juliana states that inviting the community to help results in solutions. What is more, they came to the conclusion that the software is important, but more important is the knowledge and the commitment from the crowds. Along that line of thought offline meeting of people is essential. The three golden rules: stop/collaborate/listen.

Photo: Juliana Rotich.

Business opportunism instead of a plan (Adam Hyde, FLOSS Manuals)

Adam Hyde stopped by the Summit on his way from Berlin to Barcelona in a driving publishing house (more on that below). Adam initiated FLOSS Manuals a site that provides free manuals for free. What is more, a main goal was to present the manuals attractively. Check here whether or not he succeeded.

Working on FLOSS Manuals led him to new opportunities. Since the manuals had to be written he started to think on ways to write publications in collaboration. And today Adam is busy to promote a spin-off of his FLOSS manuals adventure: Book Sprint, a concept to write books very fast (a few days) in collaboration, and Book Mobile, a mobile book binding machine in a VW-Van, hence his tour with the driving publishing house.

Altogether, the story of Adam, in his own words, is one of business opportunism instead of business planning. Starting with his manual site he ended up being an accidental innovator in the publishing field. His Key ingredients: Don’t plan, learn to tell stories, know your audience and make friends! “We don’t have a core business”.

Watch the video of Adam Hydes keynote

Photo: Adam Hyde.

Clinics: role up your sleeves and work it!

After the first keynote speakers it is time to get into some practical issues. Participants of the summit leave the main stage for the cellars of the TROUW building to share their experiences on topics such as business models, community building, Creative Commons & copyright, crowdsourcing, fundraising, mobile and open source.

At the table for business models expert Machiel Emmering actively confronts people with the necessity of a viable business model. He invites them to present their ideas in a schematic form that consists of the elements: proposition, the market, the organization and the financials.

Anna Chojnacka of the crowd source platform 1%club hosts the table on community building. She explains that you have to set the standard immediately when you go online, which means that it is best to have a community on forehand and online it can grow. On top of that she emphasizes the importance of a personal tone, transparency and participation.

Photo: Anna Chojnacka leading the round table on communities.

At the copyright table legal experts of the Rechtswinkel state that too often social media start-ups are ignorant with regard to legal issues. They should investigate this thoroughly while designing their concept or business model otherwise it might be too late.

The conversation on mobile, hosted by James Burke and Juha van Hetzelfde (Urbanode), discussed among others to what extent apps can make a difference in public space. What could be the extra value of influencing elements around you with an app? What if everybody wants to influence particular things at the same time? It seems as if the search on these issues has just begun.

The clinic that dealt with Crowdsourcing was quite crowded and hosted by keynote speaker Juliana Rotisch and Jesse Limmen (magneetfestival). It was decided that crowd sourcing is an excellent way to organize volunteers. However, to keep a particular platform viable a relatively small committed group is essential (as with Wikipedia). To organize crowd souring it is of main importance to think about the incentives to attract participants.

Keynotespeker Alan Crabbe and Roy Cremers of the Amsterdam city art fund (AFK) hosted the clinic about the closely related issue of Crowdfunding. According to their experience There are a few golden rules: be sure there is a clear end result, make an interesting small film, take an existing fan base or network as point of departure, provide your ‘crowd’ with a specific incentive to participate.

Crowdfunding in Australia (Alan Crabbe, Fundbreak)

It might be the future of funding: an online platform that enables professional creatives to sell their projects and ideas to the public. Fundbreak in Australia exists to do exactly that.

Co-founder Alan Crabbe explains how their platform integrates several forms of social media such as networking, bookmarking, video, slideshows and blogging to provide the professionals with the possibility to exhibit their projects. As such Fundbreak not only generates funding but might function as a marketing tool as well.

At Fundbreak they learned that projects that are able to present themselves in an attractive way (such as a dancer that wanted to have a flight ticket financed) have a good chance to succeed in collecting the necessary funds. It also helps if there is an existing fanbase and if goals seem realistic and achievable. An interesting finding is that a system of investments does not work and supporters need some sort of tangible or intangible incentive.

For the near future Alan sees a variety of opportunities for crowdfunding to grow as self-evident way of funding in society with concepts such as group buying and sharing, the emergence of niche networks, but also as a way to organize corporate responsibility and provide solutions for all kinds of social issues in communities.

Watch the video of Alan Crabbe’s keynote

Photo: Alan Crabbe.

Panel discussion on funding in the future

The first day of the summit ends with a panel discussion on funding. Participants are Roy Cremers (AFK, Amsterdam arts fund), KLaas Kuitenbrouwer (Virtueel Platform), Anna Chojnaka (1% club) and Alan Crabbe (Fundbreak).

The initiative of the Amsterdam arts fund illustrates that crowd funding is considered a serious option to support artistic activity in the near future, even according to traditional funding institutions. The concept is that the fund executes a quality check en provides the first 30% of the finances; the rest is up to the crowds.

The emergence of these forms of crowdfunding seems very welcome in the contemporary financial and political reality. However it confronts us with questions as well. For example, as Klaas Kuitenbrouwer brought up, in the case of the Amsterdam fund, if only ‘popular’ projects will be realized, how can one legitimize that public resources are spent?

And what does it mean for the quality of arts if, as with Fundbreak, there is not necessarily a particular artistic norm to be successful? Will art become entirely dependent on populism?

Alan states that the innovativeness is precisely in the fact that the ‘taste’ of government is circumvented; artistic work is democratized. Roy adds to that that he believes ‘niche’-projects are just as able to sell themselves online as more popular ones. Anna concludes on this issue that running a crowd funding platform does not mean that you leave everything to the crowd. At her organization, the 1%club (a platform for development projects), they work with gatekeepers who preselect viable projects (just as the Amsterdam fund does).

Altogether, the concept of crowd funding promises a change in the mentality about funding. Micro patronage becomes possible and networks can emerge around particular cultural production or social issues. The discussion was concluded with the question whether or not crowd funding will be a local or more global phenomenon in the sense of what kind of projects people will support. Most members of the panel thought that local initiatives remain very important because this is the level that people can identify with.

Find the video of the panel discussion on funding here (27′51)

Photo: panel discussion with Roy Cremers and Klaas Kuitenbrouwer.

Wrap up and winner Open Car data

Before Pioneers and other guests of the summit go for a drink, dinner or prepare for the party later in the evening there is one important announcement to make: the winner of the Open Car Data experiment, Casper! During the day an exciting competition took place around the Trouw-building. One of the Pioneers built an Emission Profiles application and launched a competition. For this competition summit visitors were invited to drive one lap in a VW polo equipped with Opencardata Technology and competed who can emit the least amount of CO2 during the lap. The results were spectacular, read them here.

Photo: Stef Kolman (middle), Casper and Linda Vermaat.

And we call it a day. But not before a little dancing with local heroes ‘Jungle by Night’ and DJ crew ‘De Poolhonden’.

Photo: Jungle by Night.

Report written by Kimon Moerbeek (Kennisland), photos by Kennisland.

State of Social Media Manifesto, Actifesto for the future

November 15th, 2010

During the State of Social Media Summit all pioneers created a manifesto for the future, reflecting the action points needed for catalyzing social innovation on the web for the coming years. We presented these 7 action points to Marietje Schaake (D66), member of the European Parliament:

1. Raise awareness of the value of our personal data online

2. Towards the online visualization of quality in arts and culture instead of numbers and figures

3. Redefine and set the stage for civil society: an act for open data to enfoster transparency and mutual trust between citizens and government

4. Strengthen civil society journalism by curating, verifying, generating trust and engage the audience through social media

5. Focus on a bottom-up approach and active collaboration between new and existing organizations working with migration and integration

6. Find space for pioneers in education to prepare the field for the future

7. Creating a tipping point: Boasting awareness and action for a sustainable world, using social media as a tool to engage a worldwide audience

Find the video of the presentation and Marietje Schaake’s reaction here:

Actifesto- State of Social Media Summit from Kennisland on Vimeo.

Photo: Marietje Schaake by Kennisland

(Con)test results Open Car Data

November 3rd, 2010

On the first day of the Summit Stef and Selene Kolman told us about their project OpenCarData, demonstrated the Emission Profiles application and launched a competition. For this competition summit visitors were invited to drive one lap in a VW polo equipped with Opencardata Technology and competed who can emit the least amount of CO2 during the lap. Stef collected the first interesting test results from the driving (con)test.

  • A total of 18 drivers have participated, all of them sourced from the public
  • The test vehicle has been occupied full time
  • No accidents occured.
  • All jockeys drove a (2010) Volkswagen Polo, along a 4.5km city circuit in the heart of Amsterdam
  • The first driver started at 09.55am the last driver at 16.41PM

According the UK “New Car Fuel Consumption & Emission Fugures” authoroty VCA ( this particular VW Polo consumes:

  • 8 liters of petrol per 100km on urban/city roads (4.7 liters of petrol per 100km on extra urban roads)
  • The car should have a combined (urban & suburban) CO2 emission of: 150gCO2/km … Good for a C label

Now the results … Which we think are spectacular:

  • Our least efficient driver used 11.9L/100km
  • Our most efficient driver used 7.2L/100km
  • Our least efficient driver emitted an evarage of 274 gCO2/km good for a G-Label
  • Our most efficient driver scored a D-Label with 166 gCO2/km
  • The percentage delta (%∆) of these individual results is no less then 65%

This is much more than Stef and Selene anticipated on. “It strengthens us in our believe that we are on the right track to building a convincing emission management tool”.

Thanks Stef and Selene Kolman. Good luck!

Read more about Stef Kolman and Open Car Data in the earlier published interview on this website.

The Monday after…

November 1st, 2010

Wow, we have had two beautiful and intense days at the Summit. Thanks to everybody for contributing and participating! We were very impressed and really needed this weekend to recover. Although it’s sad that we had to celebrate the end of the Digital Pioneers programme, we are very gratefull that we had the oppurtunity to bring everybody together, share valuable lessons learned and facilitate the making of new fresh plans at the spot. We are now going to write this all down and come back later on this blog with a full report.

Photo by Kennisland.

Already want some first previews?

See the photos we made during Day 1 and the photos made during Day 2. If you made photos yourself, please also tag them with sosm, so everybody can find them.

Someone made a Twapperkeeper archive with #sosm. If you are curious what’s been said on Twitter during the Summit, you can read the Twapperkeeper archive #sosm over here. You can set the start and end date at 28 and 29 October 2010. This archive is origanally created for tags on science of social media. Which is also quit interesting!

The Dutch press published a few articles (in Dutch), here’s a list:
- Dutch Cowboys, 26 October 2010, ‘Social Media pioniers komen samen’
- Trouw, 28 October, p.9.: ‘Meld losse stoeptegel op internet’
- BNR nieuwsradio, 28 October 6.30-6.40 hrs: interview with Umberto Tan in On the move
- Radio 1 NOS Nieuws, 28 October 6.00-9.30 hrs, interview with Marc-Robin Visscher and blog ‘Wereldverbeteraars op de digitale snelweg’
- Erwin Blom, 28 October, ‘Bij het heengaan van digitale pioniers’
- Parool, 29 October: ‘Sociaal betrokken voor je scherm’

More later on this blog!

The Digital Pioneers team

See you tomorrow!

October 27th, 2010

Everything is set for the Summit! Are you ready? We will kick it off at 10:00 hrs, doors are open at 9:30 at Trouw Amsterdam. You can follow us via Twitter. Our hashtag is #sosm. If you are taking pictures, please share them with the tag sosm!

See you tomorrow!

The Digital Pioneers team

Interview with Stef Kolman (OpenCarData)

October 27th, 2010

During the Summit, Digital Pioneers will present their projects and ideas every hour in the Hall of Trouw Amsterdam. On Thursday 28 October 15.15 hrs Stef and Selene Kolman will tell us all about networked cars and their project OpenCarData, which has recently received the Living Lab Prize in de European Satellite Navigation Competition! We interviewed Stef shortly about himself, the project, the award and the competition he will launch tomorrow…

- How and why did you start OpenCarData?
“Back in 2002 we did a study for The Netherlands Media Art Institute regarding the technical, economical and cultural implications of our cars evolving into networked devices like computers, printers, etcetera. The Opencardata tagline – Reinventing the Wheel – really says it all. Our cars – uniquely – have not been touched by the revolution that has shifted reality in the rest of the world: internet. Technologically the basics date back to the original invention of the gasoline combustion engine by Daimler & Maybach in 1889! Sadly our cars today are still isolated data-deposits waiting to be excavated. Opencardata wants to make a start to network our cars because we believe it will make them smarter”.

Read the rest of this entry »