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…

Reporting from ITU Plenipotentiary: I’ll pay full attention so you don’t have to

pp14-busan-twitter

Have you heard various weird and wonderful things about the big meeting happening in Busan beginning next week?

Have you heard some people say that ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 (PP14) will be looking at proposals that support governments taking over the Internet?

Did you consider attending, but couldn’t get onto your government’s delegation and aren’t a Sector Member of the ITU?

Do you have a day job that means you really don’t have time to follow a three-week meeting, but still care how the outcomes might affect  Internet governance and the Internet world more generally?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of the above, you may be happy to know I’ll be in Busan from Day 1 of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 (Monday 20 October) right through to the very end (Friday 7 November).

An experiment in crowdfunding neutral reporting of a key event in the Internet governance calendar

If you have appreciated my live tweeting and analysis of Internet governance meetings in the past, please consider being part of this initiative. I’m hoping to have funding from as wide a range of stakeholders as possible to ensure that there are no perceptions that my reporting from Busan has been influenced or captured by any single stakeholder group.

So far, organizations have committed USD 13,000 to this project, but I still need a further USD 11,500 to turn the three weeks from a charitable donation by me for the rest of the community into something that allows me to do this professionally. Amounts big or small are gratefully received. And funds do not have to be provided before the Plenipotentiary begins, as I’ll be absorbing the cost differences up-front.

Diplo is kindly helping support the crowdfunding of my attendance. More information at Crowdfund neutral reporting of ITU Plenipotentiary 2014.

What I’ll be doing at PP14

Tweeting!

For all those people out there who were disappointed that I didn’t tweet IGF 2014 (I was flat out working for the IGF Secretariat working on the Chair’s Summary and taking photos), here is your opportunity to enable me to concentrate on producing a constant stream of informational, and sometimes (hopefully) funny, tweets live from a key meeting of interest to folks working in the world of Internet governance and Internet operations.

Blogging

I’ll be blogging to provide summaries of what’s happening at PP14 as well as to provide background to explain or speculate why negotiations are happening the way they are. As I did with WCIT, I’ll strive to post documents that show the differences between old versions of ITU’s Internet-related resolutions and the status of changes happening at PP14. I’ll also post some post-PP14 blogs analyzing what PP14’s outcomes may mean for future Internet governance discussions and the WSIS+10 UNGA event coming up in 2015. The blog posts will be published under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence 4.0, enabling people or entities to publish parts or all of the articles, or tailor the articles for specific communities.

Podcasts

This is dependent on me figuring out how to use my brand new digital microphone and audio editing app during ICANN 51. My plan is to talk to PP14 participants to find out more about what people are thinking about Internet-related discussions at PP14. In particular, I am hoping to talk to those who aren’t the standard set of cheerleaders for multistakeholder Internet governance. The reason for this is the fact that I believe that if we’re ever to bridge the ideological and political divides that exist in the Internet governance sphere, we need to start listening to each other, and not just talk at each other.