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The Lobby is honoured to present you with the “Kosovo Nation Branding Campaign” – currently available on YouTube (see video inset at the end of this post) and soon to be broadcast on television portraying a new image of this still heavily disputed new nation, which is after all, just round the corner from many of us.

The campaign shows the Kosovo Government’s brave attempts to break with the negative image the world has of this Balkan country, especially given how fresh the war in Kosovo still is in many people’s minds.

The video portrays an image of a young and vibrant, beautiful nation, against the backdrop of a tune gently reminding us that “it is time to start over”

As presented in the clip, the country’s new slogan is ‘Kosovo, the young Europeans’, as they are the youngest European state. Nonetheless, the bright new nation is yet to be recognised as such by the majority of countries across the globe. Although the US and many EU member states have recognised the country since its unilateral declaration of independence of Serbia in early 2008, other world powers such as China and Russia have not.

For what it is worth, the video is definitely inspiring.

– Lieneke

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Augmented reality (AR) technology is all about combining computer-generated data and real-world data, blending computer graphics and real footage in real time. Er, ok, good, but what does that mean? Take the case of New York: New Yorkers, and visitors to the Big Apple, will soon be able to find their way around the metro system using the yet-to-be-approved iPhone 3GS AR application acrossair (see below).

AR technology is coming, hard and fast (see the Guardian, Lifehacker, Los Angeles Times, Core 77 etc) and will most certainly revolutionise the way we use and ‘see’ data. For instance imagine an application designed for finding your way around the European Parliament (EP). Let’s call it ‘EP Insights’.

Imagine you’re a new MEP/a new MEP assistant/a still wet-behind-the-ears consultant/a visitor (pick one, they all share a common inability to find their way around the EP) and you are running late for parliamentary vote. EP Insights could allow you to take out your smart phone when entering the EP, inputting the room name/number that you need to go to and then by simply holding up your phone in front of you, computer generated directions would appear on your touch screen, superimposed on real video footage. The application could show you arrows, distance and time to destination and more. You would find your way around the EP in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

Does a digital layer on top of your real world sound really cool to you? Yes? OK, well then you are ready to meet the Swedes behind ‘The Astonishing Tribe’. They have developed an application called Augmented ID, which is (possibly) an example of the darker side of AR technology. It’s an application that visualises the digital identity of people you meet in real life.

Imagine you are giving a presentation, someone in the audience picks up their phone, points it towards you, identifies you digitally using Augmented ID; they instantly get access to whatever digital information you have decided to share (your facebook account, your LinkedIn profile, your latest YouTube upload, your digital business card etc.).

Are you scared yet (see below)?

– Emil

(UPDATE 20 JULY 2009: Wired Magazine picks up on Augmented ID video.

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Great wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Lobby has learnt that in the last few hours China has blocked access to content sharing platforms such as YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, or Tumblr, most probably using their Golden Shield Project firewall. Blogs hosted by WordPress or Blogger have also been blocked. According to several journalists on the web, Chinese authorities want to pre-empt any attempts to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident.

It is a sad example of government censorship but acutely highlights another dimension of social media, namely that it poses a real threat to dictatorial regimes around the world and in many countries serves a purpose greater than mere social interaction.

– Maxime

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Click on the video clip below to see Grayling Brussels’ CEO Russell Patten previewing the upcoming EU elections for Public Affairs News.

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As election posters are strewn across Swedish towns and squares (and across Europe for that matter) one Swedish paper has questioned whether some Swedish candidates are overly touched-up on their election placards.

First, I think it is important to remember that this European election is something of a novelty. Never before has a European election and its candidates made so much (good?) use of technology and both online and offline media. Second, we are already surrounded by touched-up images and videos, e.g. fashion magazines, television ads, and online marketing in all shapes and forms. One of the more famous examples of how pictures are touched-up is the now relatively old Dove Evolution video (below).

Seriously, does it really matter if a candidate is made to look a few years younger on an election poster? Personally, I don’t think so – it’s their choice. I am going to vote for specific candidates based on their approach to particular questions that I find important, not based on how they look on an election poster. How will you vote?

– Emil

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How will you vote in the upcoming European elections? Platforms such as EU Profiler can help you figure out where you stand on the liberal-conservative and Euro-enthusiastic or Euro-sceptic scale, but there’s more to it than that, right?

A recent study conducted by the GfK Polonia research institute in Poland suggests that voting behaviour is still largely dominated by charismatic and well-known personalities. The degree to which candidates employ creative and original campaign methods seem to matter more than the actual details of the party programmes.

We all know that Obama was very talented at this game. He used social media tools to their full potential and managed to extend his personal network of “fans” even further than any showbiz star (except, of course, Ashton Kutcher on Twitter). Many campaigners in Europe are now playing catch-up and the methods are proving to be working quite well – though better for some than others.

Libertas, with its controversial rhetoric, uses the full spectrum of social media tools to its advantage and has managed to create a platform ungoverned by rules on speaking-time and where self-censorship is timid at best. Their webpage is full of 2.0 gadgets and widgets pointing to their Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts (also see Libertas Strikes Back). Yesterday, they claimed to have the most visited webpage of all European parties. But as any geek knows, hits do not equal unique visits, and unique visits do not necessarily equal votes on the big day…

– Agnieszka

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