The big #rpReview: re:publica 2008 – The Critical Mass

In our last #rpReview we began our tour of the past with the very first re:publica in 2007. Over the coming weeks and months in the run-up to #rpTEN we'll be looking back at past re:publica events. What inspired us, what themes were at the forefront at each re:publica and, most importantly, what were your best memories of the past years?

Today, we're looking back at #rp08. The “critical mass” slogan was not just that year's motto – it defined the event itself, with 950 participants gathering at Berlin's Kalkscheune from 2 – 4 April 2008. Around 100 talks, discussion sessions and workshops framed the second re:publica. The conference was marked by exciting people and interesting content.

But it wasn't just re:publica's increased size that defined 2008. That year, the focus was also on the world-wide growth of social networks. Twitter was a particularly hot topic, with Sascha Lobo, for example, inviting guests to a Follower Party at his home. The themes and topics on the #rp stages focused on key developments, which would become important over the course of the next years. Harvard professor Viktor Mayer-Schönberger held a keynote speech on data protection for web 2.0 and the right to be forgotten. #rp founder Markus Beckedahl focused on Advocacy 2.0 and digital activism. A prominent example that year was the “Message to Scientology”, uploaded to YouTube in 2008. Accredited to the Anonymous collective, the video was a call for action against Scientology and gained huge international attention. Together with the German Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education), #rp08 held its own sub-conference on the topic of video blogs.

But #rp08 was not just home to discussion and political action. Johnny and Tanja Haeusler entertained with their “Web Side Story” musical reading and, what is by now tradition, the conference again ended in song.

By the way, the full conference programme is still available online at our #rp08 website.

That concludes our throwback to #rp08. But we're not done yet. We're still looking for your stories! Are you still thinking about that special talk or session? Do you have a favourite #rp anecdote? Maybe a past re:publica was the foundation for a close friendship?

Let us know! Send a short and sweet message on Twitter, using hashtag #rpReview as well as the #rp hashtag of the year you're referring to (#rp09, #rp10 etc.). Want to send us something a bit more detailed? You can write us at redaktion at We look forward to your stories, pictures and links! Check out the #rp08 group on flickr for some inspiration:

Photo with kind permission by Simon Bierwald (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo with kind permission by Simon Bierwald (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo "Followerparty bei Sascha Lobo" with kind permission by Kathrin (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

top photo with kind permission by Simon Bierwald (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)