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Lessons in communications from the United Nations06 fév

I went to a lot of conferences last year, but this keynote presentation by United Nations News and Media Director Stephane Dujarric stood out. I’d been wondering if lessons from a sprawling intergovernmental agency would apply to my world, which is essentially B2B. Well, they do: that’s why it’s my highlight n°2 from 2011.

Stephane Dujarric is a former ABC reporter and currently the director of news and media for one of the most sprawling seas of bureaucratic acronyms you could imagine: the United Nations.

He was at the IABC Europe conference in Turin last April to deliver a keynote talk entitled ‘Bartering for Communications’.  It was based on a single premise: that working through partnerships is the only way to have real impact when you have limited resources but something to ‘trade’ (in this case, the organization’s global reach and legitimacy).

United Nations Headquarters, New York

UN Photo/Mark Gordon

While I was curious from a purely intellectual standpoint about what would he would say, I wasn’t sure how much of it would apply to my mostly B2B world. After all, the UN has communication challenges that most of us don’t. (Few of us have as a mandate to promote world peace and security, for example.)

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Making content accessible in smaller languages20 jan

I thought I’d start my blogging year by sharing just three things that I found deeply interesting last year, and that resonate with me still, several months later. This is the first of three posts (the other two will be post before the end of January*).

The first was a presentation given by Asanka Wasala, a PhD student and localization researcher, at the Multilingual Web Workshop in Limerick in September. Entitled
A Micro Crowdsourcing Architecture to Localize Web Content for Less-Resourced Languages‘, the presentation grabbed my attention with the first two slides.

Take a look at them. The first is a tag cloud of the most common languages you’ll find on the web. Note the extraordinary place taken up by English. Now look at the second slide: that’s a tag cloud of the smaller languages on the web. Notice how many of them there are. In fact, many of those languages are not only under-represented on the web, they’re barely there at all.

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Getting ready for LeWeb 201106 déc

I’m getting ready to spend three days at the biggest web conference in Europe, LeWeb 2011, to be part of a liveblogging team for Orange.fr. I owe this opportunity to a stroke of good fortune, for which I’m truly grateful. It’s not everyday you get to mingle with the movers and shakers of SoLoMo (that’s social, local and mobile, THE hot topics of the moment), though I think you have to take the word ‘mingle’ with a grain of salt as there will be about 3000 people there.

I came to the web from content. For years, I was a copywriter, writing all sorts of things for print: articles, speeches, brochures, reports – that was my lot. Then, in the late 1990’s, companies decided they needed all this stuff on the web. So I came to the web from the world of content, and I discovered a whole new world.

As a content person, I regularly rail about the lack of consideration ‘web folks’ give to content. It drives me nuts to hear people talk about how they need an app, or a mobile site, or a new game – when they haven’t given a moment’s thought—no, that’s not fair—they haven’t given enough thought to the content they will need to make those sites and applications come alive.

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Background

Dot·Connection is a web and content strategy consultancy that I started mid-2010.

My name is Lise Janody, and prior to creating this company, I spent the last 10 years managing and spearheading content for large, multi-language internet, intranet and extranet sites at Alcatel-Lucent. Prior to that, I spent 10 years as a freelance copywriter and business writer, mostly in the multinational, B2B space.