Blogs, social media and digital society: thousands of bloggers and Internet users are gathering at the "re:publica" conference in Berlin from May 2 to 4, 2012.
Enlarge image (© re:publica)
The event, which is seen by Web 2.0 fans and experts in Germany as the most important forum, is offering a program of around 200 hours with talks, workshops and panel discussions.
This year's "re:publica" motto "action" is also the opener of the "Berlin Web Week" where another conference is taking place on May 8 and 9. Here, the "Next Berlin" conference is a major event for the digital economy sector headed by the key theme: "Meet.Connect.Inspire".
One main aspect of "re:publica" 2012 is the debate surrounding the interplay between social networks and political protest movements. Other themes include mobility, resource distribution and interactive design. "Although 're:publica' is political, it is not exclusively so. Our definition of 'action' also includes doing things independently," says Markus Beckedahl, an influential blogger and co-initiator of the Internet conference, as he explains the idea behind "re:publica".
The web conference illustrates the "do-it-yourself" idea, for instance with workshops such as the "Open Design City". Visitors to this workshop can experiment with 3-D printers, a technology that offers entirely new manufacturing possibilities. To put it simply, the vision works like this: the computer calculates the 3-D image of any chosen object. A special printer then constructs the solid form by gradually adding successive layers of plastic. Creative pioneers, such as Bas van Abel from the Netherlands, think that this technology will revolutionize future production processes: more and more people are departing from the idea of simply being consumers. They want to determine what things will look like, or how they are manufactured. Bas van Abel is presenting his 2.0 production ideas at "re:publica".
"re:publica" guests from abroad will include eleven international bloggers. They are taking part in the one-week "Blogger Tour 2012" which has again been organized by the Federal Foreign office this year. Their tour agenda also includes meetings with German journalists and bloggers, plus topics such as the blogger scene in Germany, the development and influence of the social media and questions surrounding the freedom of the press.