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May 31 2013


Romanian Developers, with AOL Teams in New York and Tel Aviv, Re-Engineer Beet.TV

Cluj-Napoca, Romania –  From an office in this academic town, equidistant to Bucharest, Budapest and Belgrade, a team of developers has completely re-engineered Beet.TV, using the AOL video platform and a highly customized WordPress CMS.

The project, supervised by AOL executives in New York,  involved the migration and proper contextualization of some 4,000 videos and blog posts.

Since its launch in 2006, Beet.TV has been published on TypePad — and has used Blip.tv as its primary video platform for the past six years.  The transition to the new publishing platform took three months.  It went live in April.

The transition of our hundreds of Beet videos to the new player on the Huffington Post and TechCrunch,  is underway and should be concluded in 30 days.

With the new CMS, we are implementing a sophisticated advertising traffic/management system.

Greppy Systems, the Romanian company that implements a number of project for AOL, handled the Beet.TV project.

For an overview of  the project, we produced this video in Cluj-Napoca with interviews with Greppy’s Valentin Maior and Marious Jamolea.  Also in the segment, the two explain the work of Greppy — and the emergence of their Romanian town as technology center.

Many thanks to AOL in New York and Tel Aviv

Also helping on this project was the AOL/5Min developer and editorial teams based in Tel Aviv.   Beet.TV has syndicated its video on 5Min for nearly five years.   The indexing and tagging of Beet video by the Tel Aviv-based content team was essential in the transition.

Special thanks to our New York-based project manager at AOL Karolis Balciunas, technical mastermind Shay Brog and especially my friend and a  great supporter of Beet.TV, AOL video chief Ran Harnevo.








January 17 2012


NetTuesday. The How To.

post by: Ruxandra Popa - Net2 Local Organizer in Bucharest and Cluj Napoca (Romania), PR Manager - TechSoup Romania  

To netsquare?

net2 Romania logo

If “netsquare” were a verb, this is how to (based on our experience in Romania).
Today’s episode: NetTuesday*.

*A NetTuesday is an informal gathering between civil society and IT people, organised by volunteers throughout the world. It is a 0 budget event that gets people talking about IT for social change, while they befriend each other."

People of NetTuseday

You want your NetTuesday event to be awesome from its first edition, so some preparations are in order:

  • Start fishing for people. You’ll need a bunch of technology-oriented people that want to save the world while getting more social, and a group of activists that fancy being in the same room with IT brains. How do you get these folks?  We shamelessly used others’ events to get to these 2 crowds.

Interesting advice – with NGOs being 90% women and IT being 90% men, consider sending a lady to the IT community events, and a handsome man to the civil society gatherings. It works…

  • Find a nice place to host it. The challenge here is to be able to maintain the ‘0 budget’ philosophy of the NetTuesday events. It has to be cozy and we recommend beer on the menu, but at the same time provide some intimacy and have low volume non-irritating music, if any.
  • Brainstorm for some hot discussion topics. Do some research on what’s currently trending in the technology for social change discussion. Ask your target group about its needs, but make sure you’re not boring people to death with your questions.
  • Master the tool: meetup.com is the perfect helper in setting up the meetings and providing user-friendly feedback on the events. I cannot stress enough how cool and idiot-proof this tool is.

Now that you’re all set up, start organizing these people’s Tuesdays:

  • Find a knowledgeable and friendly speaker to deliver content on the topic of choice. Use his/her presentation to start the group discussion. Powerpoints usually kill all the fun, so you would want somebody that feels comfortable with a lighter style presentation. The speaker can also attract people to the event for the networking opportunity, so make sure all the participants crave for his/her business cards and handshakes.
  • Be the ultimate matchmaker. Getting people from 2 very different worlds together is probably the best thing that you can accomplish as a NetTuesday organiser. If you are a good host, you will set up an environment that helps them develop relationships that go beyond your meetings. This is how a civil society member can find a long-term IT volunteer, or an IT guy marry a gorgeous civil society representative. Everybody wins.
  • Don’t stop. Even if you have 11 people cancelling their presence at the last moment (one of which is the speaker himself), and you end up with 4 participants and have to step up and deliver the talk yourself. It is important to have continuity and make NetTuesdays a part of the groups’ monthly schedule.

And some advice for the bold organizers:


  • Don’t be afraid to get into trouble. The success of a NetTuesday event is, much like a wedding, measured in terms of how much craziness happens. So don’t be scared of any outrageous happening. It would only turn out to be that memorable episode that you use as a conversation starter when you meet cool people.

For example, we had a special guest at one of the NetTuesdays in Romania, one that we remotely help organise. A great opportunity came up - a very controversial blogger, anti-system fighter from Russia was visiting the country and we all agreed he would be amazing, as we wanted to do something on flash mobs for quite some time. The guy delivered and then some more, and the talk was absolutely harmless (aimed at revealing the best tools to help set up a flash mob, not actually overthrowing the power).

Funny enough, he was on a list of activists to watch and TechSoup Ro and its director were later featured on a super-conspiracy-theory blog that is used for discrediting people and actions that might endanger the status quo. To cut a long story short, we were very surprised to find out that we are responsible for a number of outrageous epic events, such as the Arab Spring. A bit frightening but it became a good conversation starter. I think we all deserve some beers, right?

  • Speaking of beer, I might have mentioned it before, but its presence can be instrumental in the success of the event (depending on the culture of your country), so it needs a special paragraph. People here are much more friendly over a beer, and absolutely lovable after the second one. Make sure they are ordering the right stuff and people will network at your event. Next thing you know- they’ll be asking you “What’s happening with NetTuesdays? It feels like it’s been over a month since our last beer together!”
  • Bake a cake or something. I am quite sure that the ingredient behind the success of our NetTuesday events is homemade-stuff-with-lots-of-chocolate. I bake cookies for every event, and, leaving joke aside, it is my way of showing people I care. The cake doesn’t even have to taste good, as long as it shows you took the time to do something for your nice guests. Whatever you decide to do to surprise them, make sure your evening ends without human casualties.

I hope I convinced you to start netsquareding and that you’ll have as much fun as we do in getting people together at your events. You will very soon see the outcome of your effort: NGOs that have a stronger online presence, programmers that feel good about their work, creative new tools that come out of random beer talks, and friends that help each other while producing an important change in the community.

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October 21 2010


Building the Local Philanthropy Workshop in Romania: An Interview with Chris Worman

Recently, I had a chance to connect with Chris Worman to learn about his team's efforts in creating a local philanthropy workshop in Romania. I was interested to learn about the event and how they are continuing, even after the event, to build understanding about local philanthropy in Romania and throughout the region.

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September 08 2010


Reflections from the Local Philathropy Workshop in Odorhei (Romania)

Last Saturday, Sept the 4th the Local Philanthropy Workshop in Odorhei (Romania) has oficially came to an end.

The event brought together a small group of NGO leaders and IT&C specialists actively engaged and committed to helping NGOs leverage technologies towards their mission-based activities.

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September 02 2010


The Local Philantropy Workshop Experience

The second day of the Local Phliantropy Workshop, kept in Odorheiu Secuiesc Romania, put on the same table NGO and IT mentors. NGO, found about a lot of tools that will solve the IT problems. There were 4 contents: Communication, Social Media, Web Site Building, Productivity. All the NGO's exposed their problems, and IT mentors, tried to come with the best solution. I were at the Socia Media "table", and we spoken about Facebook, Twitter,  Linked, Blogs, and how this tools will improve your popularity. He have a great fun here, and also learn about a lot of interesting things... See you later

August 31 2010


The Local Philanthropy Workshop: The state of civil society in Romania

I'm here in Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania, for The Local Philanthropy Workshop run by the OdorheiuSecuiesc Community Foundation and TechSoup Romania. This three-and-a-half day event will really kick off tomorrow morning and lead well into the weekend, bringing together NGO and IT participants to work together, share needs and expertise, and build capacity to move Romania and our communities further towards the civil society and engaged philanthropy environment we all want. There will be plenty of conversations, workshops, and learning opportunities here at the conference facility, but our goal is to share out throughout the event so you can join the conversation!

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