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Ricardo Mendes

From "Future of Work" to "urban regeneration" #CINurb #CINbrussels #CivicTech #Brussels

Dear civic curious,

At civic innovation network, we are brimming with inspirations and ideas since we kicked-off our first event on the topic of Work last week. We genuinely want to express our gratitude towards you for being such wonderful citizens of Brussels. 

We are now working hard to invite you all for our second discussion on the topic of Urbanism in Brussels and hence would like to welcome you for our  second event on 1 February in partnership with Coopcity-Bxl.

We are also happy to share with you below a digest on the topic of work that includes our thoughts, ideas extracted from online & offline discussion with you and some inspirational stories from the web.

Happy reading and see you soon!  

Ricardo Mendes

@garthurabbott interesting read but on a less US centric POV I think will only reach full potential when our generation replace the current generation, well, everywhere : Politics, Economy, you name it,
just look how Iceland crowdsourced its constitutions : the reason it worked its because citizen actually shaped it and then the at the time power that be had no other choice but to validate it and implement it.
suddenly you have a new consitution, something that could take years to be put in place in a few months, the result is also disrupting the current political system where the Pirate Party took the lead = citizen from our generation took power and this will have more impact that many many many experiments to try to bring citizens from the old paradigm to accept change & accept new ideas.

In short I do think that for civic engagement to take off we need to mirror "elected civil servants" inside Parliaments and Congress that actually understand the world you and me live in but ultimately the world our kids will be living in.

We need to take power, engage, dive in and act instead of being paralyzed by the direction the train is already getting : to a wall. but that's just my opinion :)

Ricardo Mendes

Until US people don't realize THEY also play a role in enforcing the duopoly DEM/GOP
there will be no real meaningful political change. the US elections need a huge political shake-up
Something like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein with ideas from Bernie Sanders & Lessig. of course until everyone believe & enforce the belief that this scenario is not possible, it will not be possible.

It's amazing how US people seem to be more frightened by a independent nominee than by racist/xenophobic GOP nominee or warmongerer HRC.

no independent could make it ? that's right YOU never voted massively for them. You never used Democracy to haul the carpet out from under the feet of the establishment (for many good reasons, elections are rigged, vote fraud etc..) but until you as a people don't wake up & take a chance, the rest of the planet will keep being at the mercy of last century US politics. and that's dangerous.

Ricardo Mendes

shutting down its free product. Sadly, this day was always on my mind.
I have been using @rebelmouse to aggregate & display a fragmented social media activity for dozens and dozens of people, friends, clients and what not. I have helped to create & aggregate value content from different sources using Rebelmouse on no less than 400+ topics. I still have to read this post : but it's very likely that this is the last time I use a third party solution so long without having found the possibility to create an open source alternative to display activity stream like content from different providers. In fact I'm thinking about it everyday since at least 3 or 4 years and this open source alternative is now pretty well schematized on my mind. I would love to find more rebelmouse fans out there getting together to find a solution to individualize this feature into a self-hosted open source solution that everyone can contribute, audit and fork. If you're reading this and have some ideas, feel free to comment below or send a reply from your own site.

Ricardo Mendes

Notifications Slavery versus Attention Ecology #android #privacy #attention #notifications

5 min read

This post was born from reading indieweb channel logs and this @t post about twitter email as I was reflecting on how I avoid to get overdosed by notifications, alerts, emails, sounds that ultimately eat my energy and time for nothing. 

I'm mostly writing about how I configure my android 6/CM13 device to control much more of "how my phone can disrupt me" or not and I tend to apply this to how I organize myself between my desktop and my mobile devices.

Email Ecology : Turn OFF all emails (less technical or administrative) coming from everywhere. 

Most of the time I check my apps enough already. 

Most of the time these email digest of notifications are useless. 

Most of the time I literally see new activity right from the app. 

There should be a difference between an email I choose to receive (a nice curation of great articles for example) and auto-email sent by services such as Facebook or Twitter or G+ that simply do no add anything of value beside occupying email quota and using unnecessary ressources. 

Attention Ecology : 

Choose what app, what contact can ring you & actually disrupt you from what you're doing. 

Put people in groups so you can easily configure groups of people ringtone or notification sound for SMS or IM. 


Turn OFF sound notifications for every apps on your phone. Turn OFF vibrations. 


Enjoy the silence. Enjoy not being disrupted when your device/services want your attention, 

Instead choose when to give your attention to your device/services. 

Organize :

Make lists on Twitter or Facebook or using your RSS feed reader,  so that you can bypass the noise and give more value to real signal of information with less cluttered overdosed mix of everything you follow. 

Split your interests by lists or categories in your RSS feed reader so that when you need to know about something or you want more information on something you lurked on Twitter, you can just search it on your river of news and get the information you want without loosing time or having to scroll down a pile of noise to get what you wanted. 

The more your information is split by topics but accessible and organized, the quicker you can find the signal you search and get things done. 

Privacy : 

With Android6/CM13 the first time you open an app you can decide what permissions you give to the app about : location, contacts, media, etc..some apps won't work with some permissions disabled but tons of apps don't need your location or contact to work, you can disable it and still have a nice popup to show up when you actually want to give your location for some reason (check in et..) actually reversing the scenario where it is you who decide what to give and when to give it. this should be by design, people shouldn't have to root/flash their devices to finally be able to own them. but that's another story for another post. 

Apps : 

I use Greenify pro on my rooted devices to get an advanced control of what app can wake-up, check network, do background data check etc...this app also allows you do "greenify" all the apps that launch themselved up (just because there is Wi-Fi or because there is a data connection) with Greenify you can hibernate all the apps you occasionally use and have them one finger away without having them to suck up your battery or do unwanted check without your authorization. 

The moment I lock my phone Greenify will hibernate all the apps that I choose to, leaving my device cold and ready & silent for when I need it. 

Unless wanted, apps should not go on by themselves and eat your data plan without you actually paying attention to all the content streaming through all these apps. it makes no sense. if you really have to check something that happened 2h ago, you still can no matter if your app loaded it while it happened or if you have to fetch it from scratch because your device was sleeping. 

if you really want to follow something happening right now in real-time, well you can just open the app, let it refresh with new content, pick a hashtag and follow the stream because you decide it. 

Ultimately Android & its app ecosystem should be redesigned to have privacy and user control at the center of the process instead of farming users to constantly check their notifications, their battery, their phone. 

What are your habbits regarding Attention Ecology & the usage of your phone or tablet ? 

Do you have any tips to find a better balance between
the use of technology versus technology using ourselves ?

Ricardo Mendes

The Social-Network Illusion That Tricks Your Mind #socialmedia #socialnetwork

One of the curious things about social networks is the way that some messages, pictures, or ideas can spread like wildfire while others that seem just as catchy or interesting barely register at all. The content itself cannot be the source of this difference. Instead, there must be some property of the network that changes to allow some ideas to spread but not others.

Ricardo Mendes

Going to start to annotate some on my blog using Known native hashtag support.

Ricardo Mendes

Bunch of Ideas for coming to my mind :

- a plugin to POSSE to Identica/GnuNet/Diaspora kind of alter-network
- a plugin to invite visitors to share to SILO's respecting their privacy
- a plugin to have some sort of Indie Reader integrated into Known so I can share/repost/like whatever content I get directly from the reader back to Known.

Ricardo Mendes

wrote some note/ideas a few days ago on how/why to get /project/community-managers/everyone on

Ricardo Mendes

My mobile NewsRoom about #Europe #Automation #RSS #Monitoring #Aggregation #makingEUwatch

7 min read

When I started EUwatch in 2013 it was motivated by a mix of technical ideas and politically driven opinions worth trying to insuflate in the very homogenous EU Brussel Bubble information landscape.

a few points :

  • The idea was to trigger higher social media & real life participation in the (at the time) incoming European Election of 2014. 
  • Another idea was to try to cover European issues from different EU states by normal citizens like you and me with the goal to foster more participation in the way the EU is heading.
  • This was motiavated after a year monitoring EU information landscape both on the wide web and on social media. (twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+)  
  • At the time in 2013 my feeling was that European Information was scatered among different websites covering the different institutions but it wasn't easy to KNOW right now what is being discussed, what are the new projects (TTIP or new policies being drafted up)
    How can citizens in Europe have more power to put elected officials in front of their own responsibility ? How can we use the European level to put pressure on members states actively delaying the implementations of reforms that were good for European Citizens ? 
    How can we stop members states level to apply measures (such as TSCG or ESM) that would ultimately be a disaster for citizens all across Europe after years of demonstrations & "good lobbying" to allow the civil society key arguments to land in the isolated Brussels Bubble. ?
  • How can I get all the information I want without all the noise & the interpretations of several media/news outlets sometimes organs of propaganda more than a rightful service to decrypt the issues at stakes with the goal to inform citizens instead of merely be a propaganda service without putting anything, any policy into question.
  • I wanted to have only the information I wanted to have in one single news feed & I wanted to be able to control the flow, the speed, the sources of these informations and the timing/frequency it would update me.
  • Ultimately I also wanted to get better at knowing how Europe works and how citizens should be able to use their voice to impact on policies and the direction Europe is heading. 

So I started to wonder how I could do this and the answer was pretty easy to figure out. 

First I explored the EU information landscape from its institutional structure. 
I collected all the RSS feeds from the topics or policy area I would like to stay up to date with and used a simple RSS reader (think Inoreader or Feedly) to organize all this information by Institutional body. 

Second I separated all this information in 2 folders :

One for what I would want to read/share anyway, because the source is 100% trusted or because the policy area or the topic would always be of public interests

a second folder for what might be interesting or good to keep an eye on but without knowing if all the items from that source was interesting & useful 100% of the time: this is my watch list. 

Then I went after MEP's blogs, Officials or assistants keeping a blog about Europe or a particular key policy area. 

Then I went after pressure groups, think thank, NGO's and other interesting civil society efforts already using the EU public sphere to scrutinize the different EU bodies & push toward reforms or push for debates etc...

after a while I had plenty of information :

EUwatch Inoreader

Once I had the information I might want to publish (monitoring) and the information I would always publish (no matter if that would interest me personally) I wanted to automatize one part of the job. after all I'm just a citizen without much time, my motivation was that I wanted to really understand how Europe vs the Members States was working and for that I had to get better information on my pocket. I couldn't be available to monitor the EU information sphere 24h/24h, So how to do this without having too much work alone?

Enters - Twibble Dashboard :


Editing/Publishing from a RSS feed : 

My EUwatch "Tweet everything" is populated by 50+ RSS feeds : from the EU section at the Guardian or DerSpiegel or LeMonde to Politico and ViEUws.

My Watch folder is populated by hundreds of RSS feeds from official EU institutions websites to journalist-bloggers on EU matters to EuroNews to whatever Blog or Website with a "Europe" section dedicated to the matter.

But I wanted to have a manual trigger to push anything I wanted from the watch folder to the main Twitter feed, and this is where Inoreader comes handy : the broadcast to channel feature creates a RSS feed of all the things I broadcast or Star or InoReader. So I connected this RSS feed : to Twibble and it goes like this :


The resulst is I can check my InoReader App on mobile or on the Desktop and I can tweet + images in 2 clicks/touch : 

Broadcast from Inoreader

and 12 minutes later (could be 5 min if I wanted to queue new articles manually broadcasted)

the next step was to aggregate all this information in one place : using Rebelmouse as a service to aggregate content from twitter/rss feeds and twitter list but I wanted to still retain control over the structure and look of the website more than what Rebelmouse allow, hence I integrated rebelmouse with Wordpress and this is the (in construction) website.

But I wanted on more level of engagement and I wanted this level to based on a "web-of-trust" of citizens across Europe tweeting crucial information missing in the EU Bubble information landscape. 

this is when enters RoundTeam 

Twitter amplification made easy

Roundteam amplify content based on filters/rules/hashtags. EUwatch is amplifying content from 3 different Twitter list : EUdebate is filled by twitter accounts that ask inputs or questions directly to their twitter community about Europe, the monitoring-greece Twitter list is filled by a original group of 30 greeks citizens from different background that where actively tweeting about the last Greek Elections and now morphed into tweeting about the in Greece. the amplifyRT twitter list tweets content from different citizen initiative trying to bring more participative democracy in Europe either at states or European level. 

Conclusion : 

in december 2012 @EUwatchers started with zero followers on twitter and is now in 2016 reaching 11K
precisely 10.9K without Ads, funding, or any type of subsidies. at the peak of it's success our Twitter stats showed 2M impressions per month, reguarly reaching 1M impressions per month. since 2014 I have had much less time to manually engage (on top of automated engagement) and take care of this baby twitter bot and now our stats are well under 1M. 

I have learned a lot by building this little tool and since then have applied a few of these technics to bring monitoring capabilities to some citizen group, NGO's and grassroots movements. 

Recentry I have played with Slack, I'm thinking on making a participative system inspired my the current EUwatch setup where people in the Slack channel would be able to influence what gets published and have their say on what should be registered as a source etc..this is pretty much are early stage ideas but if you're interested by similar ideas feel free to contact me and/or comment below.


The ultimate goal for me would be to create a similar monitoring setup completely Open-Source and completely free from using third party (paid) services but this is ideas for another blog post. 

ps: I have a similar tool tweaked to do the same but about Belgian Politics check out @PolBegov on Twitter.

Update with some more stats : EUwatch Stats

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