A light-hearted look at PP14 Day 1: delegates are just like you and me

pp14-busan-twitterBy “you and me”, I don’t mean the average person on the street, by the way. I’m thinking about the crazy crew of Internet governance folk who attend meetings such as IGF, ICANN and the like.

1. They embrace and kiss each other warmly after not seeing each other for sometimes… whole weeks.

Do not laugh, Internet governance people. You are extremely guity of this – moving from this week’s Internet governance-related meeting to next week’s Internet governance meeting and greeting each other like you haven’t seen each other in years. Two kisses, one on either cheek, or the air space next to each cheek, seems to be the norm here.

2. Part of the unofficial greeting protocol is to ask each other when they arrived and where they’re staying.

Those who’ve hit the ground running the same day as arriving after a long flight get respect. They also perform ad hoc Tripadvisor-like reviews on their hotels. One hotel here is charging $17 for a coffee: “It’s even more if you request it via room service”. A cheaper hotel doesn’t provide irons: “I want my business shirts to look crisp.” Another provides a mini-kitchenette: “But I won’t have any time here to use it. I’ll just buy some fruit and maybe some juice and keep it in the fridge.” A different hotel has a large dining room table in a delegate’s room: “Perfect for having a a small dinner party!”

3. They take group selfies.

I haven’t seen anyone take an individual selfie yet. Maybe there’s an unwritten ITU delegate rule that individual selfies are uncool. Group selfies, however, are to be embraced with enthusiasm.

4. They don’t pay attention to the boring bits.

Member States all want to have their five minutes in the spotlight with a Policy Statement, but that doesn’t mean they want to pay attention to anyone else’s statement. Instead, have a chat on the side, or come back late from that lovely afternoon tea sponsored by Rwanda.

5. They get cheesed off when the wifi and mobile phone signals are taken away

If you take away ITU delegates’ ability to check their Facebook pages, they get  cranky. In this case, it was during the Opening Ceremony where South Korea’s President, Park Geun-hye, addressed the participants. She may be president, and therefore need the security of jammed frequencies, but we need to upload grainy smart phone shots of the ceremony to Instagram, dammit!

6. They have trouble with basic tech functions, just like a lot of Internet governance policy folk.

“Have you pushed the plug in far enough?”

plug-forceA more seriously summary of Day 1 to follow shortly…

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