Summary of workshop discussions

Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 15:52 | Posted in Estonia, Finland, helsinki, internet, Media, social media, tallinn | 7 Comments

This is a summary of discussions in the workshop  “Bloggers, portals and social media” in Helsinki Tallinn Euregio Forum in Tallinn.  The workshop took place on 14th September 2010. My Finnish live reporting of discussions on 15th December is here.

Social media workshop

Social media is not going to set up the agenda of a future twin city but it is a tool in composing and developing it. It offers tools for citizens, businesses and administrations to discuss and and share their arguments and goals.

Community tools, such as video blogs and map based community software make it possible for grassroot communities in both cities to interact directly. A good example of this is the similar character – historically, demographically and visually – of Uus Maailm in Tallinn and Käpylä-Kumpula in Helsinki. Tools of social media make it eaiser than hitherto to common interest communities like these to “discover” each other and interact both virtually and in “real” life.

The idea of a twin city region is not new. It has been discussed for years but very little has materialized. Both these discussions and – hopefully – ideas that will eventually become reality should be recorded for future. The idea of a community composed wiki arose in our discussions and we warmly support it.

As businesses have learned, a successful usage of social media is not free. The platforms are in general free but you need to allocate resources. This goes for the public sector as well. If you obligate a worker to maintain a large and time consuming visability in channels of social media you can not reasonably expect them to carry on with their other obligations.

People using social media on behalf of their public sector employer have a legitimate concern of mixing their public roll with their private personal profile in social media, Facebook in particular. Luckily, most platforms, Facebook included, offer tools to address this issue. Public sector employers need to actively draw their personnel’s attention to this kind of problems.

Not only were our discussions deep and good in quality. We addressed a broad range of issues and it would be impossible to give you a full acoount of everything. Luckily, the discussions were recorded both by Tallinn TV and by volunteer participants of the group. The former recording is going to be made available at Tallinn TV web site and the raw material of the latter may become available as a downloadable torrent and Common Creatives licencing.

It has been said that the purpose of the Talsinki Hellin twin city concept is that the two cities will grow together. This does not mean that Helsinki is going to become a suburb of Tallinn. Much less so the other way round.

The process of growing together into a real twin city, a twin city with living people, prosperous businesses and a good government must be fulfilled for the benefit of the people, by the people. Social media can offer a channel to distribute the will of the people.

Edit: You will find most of the presentations at the forum here.


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  1. Larko, you did a great job and I like your report. There are tons of things we can do to create productive collaboration between European cities and regions. We can do many new things, together! Have a great day.


  2. I look forward to seeing those recordings. So many issues were discussed that can not fit in the report. By the way, the group discussion was in Estonian so it will be a good exercise of language 🙂

  3. I lately came across your blog and have been reading along. I imagine I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say, except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice site. I will keep visiting your site very frequently.

  4. Nice to see you here!

    The forum received very little coverage in the main stream media and none of it was related to social media. It looks like fresh ideas about creating a twin city area across the Gulf of Finland is up to social media.

  5. […] saa siiski vastavaid ettekirjutusi teha. Sotsiaalse meedia grupis käis arutelu eesti keeles, ehkki ettekanne edastati suures saalis inglise keeles. Ise kajastasin foorumi teise päeva sündmusi otse saalist […]

  6. Well written Larko, as usual your command of English is impeccable. I agree with everything you’ve written, the tool of social media is relatively new, but the concept of shared business is old. The key as you pointed out is to discover points of synergy, and hopefully, social media will bring this about. Kudos!

  7. Not my wisdom, Pat. At least not all of it since it is a summary of discussions in the workshop.

    Social media can certainly boost some positive developments which may or may not have taken place regardless. The speed of networked communications outweighs much of infrastructural shortcomings, such as the Gulf of Finland between these two cities.

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