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Blogosphere envelops Geneva

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Stars of the blogging world are descending on Geneva over the next two days to debate the impact of new communication technologies on society.

This content was published on February 2, 2006 - 12:24

The event – "Lift 06" – is the first of its kind in Switzerland and aims to harness the skills of those working in the new economy.

With a modest budget of SFr60,000 ($47,000), the conference has managed to attract 350 specialists from the world of new technology and one of its star applications: blogging.

"Switzerland is fortunate to have a high performance technological set-up. However, few businesses and projects are actually tapping into the new internet-based economy. It's time to wake up," Laurent Haug, founder of Lift 06, told swissinfo.

Haug and three other technology junkies – Nicolas Nova, Steven Ritchey and John Staehli – have invited like-minded souls from the United States and Europe to stimulate the minds of local talent.

Two star US bloggers, Cory Doctorow and Robert Scoble, will be sharing their experiences alongside lesser-known names such as Belgium's Régine Debatty, creator of the punchy blog "we-make-money-not-art".

There will also be a strong Swiss presence, with internet pioneer Bruno Giussani, Xavier Comtesse from business think tank Avenir Suisse, and ethnologist Stefana Broadbent of Swisscom Innovation.

"I am very impressed with the quality of participants," said Geneva's Emily Turrettini, who runs three blogs dedicated to the world of mobile phones.

Internet revolution

The event, which takes place on Thursday and Friday, intends to cover some of the key themes of the internet revolution: citizen journalism, the copyright-less economy, control of the internet, nanotechnology and the impact of new technologies on international organisations.

Far from being a geeks convention, organisers say they want Lift 06 to really be a forum for discussion on the impact of new technologies on society and the economy.

"The internet bubble made everyone think that the new economy was simply an illusion," said Xavier Comtesse. "But firms that survived prove there is a business model which works."

Comtesse, who set up the Swiss House in Boston, says the way forward for companies is to boost productivity using computer tools and integrate the customer in the production chain.

Examples of winning business models are the computer manufacturer Dell and the online trading facility eBay. In Switzerland, successful online operations include retailer Le Shop, Mobility car hire and Swissquote, the share trading platform.

swissinfo, Frédéric Burnand in Geneva

In brief

The idea of a universal computer network was first developed by the US defence department at the end of the 1960s. The term "internet" dates from 1972.

In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, an engineer at Cern in Geneva, invented the World Wide Web, a system based on hypertext links.

The first public internet surf engine, Netscape, appeared at the beginning of the 1990s. In March 2000 technology stocks started plummeting on the world's stock exchanges.

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Key facts

A blog is an easy-to-use online journal.
Visitors to the site can add their own comments.
There has been an explosion of blogs over the past few years.
According to the Blog Herald website, there are more than 100 million blogs around the world.

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