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Connecting the dots ~ Balance of a year

Posted on December 29, 2017 10:56 PM in , ,

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✓ 1st Book (in the correction phase, but here we are)
✓ 2nd Degree (in Humanities, the first was Technical)
✓ 1st scientific article (a peer-reviewed one)
✓ 1st Course in Tor Vergata University.
× Definitive breach with my ex girlfriend.

An intense year. No doubt.

In search of a pattern

"There are things that don't look connected, but at some point you can connect them and everything makes sense", says Cheryl in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (the remake is not a great movie but contains several good insights).

Jobs 21297033685_5df62b949c_b.jpg

Sometimes I put together some elements to find a pattern, a model of meaning. Steve Jobs focused his famous Stanford speech of 2005 on the concept of connecting dots, adding that to achieve it you can only look back. It's like that, and sometimes I can do it well, sometimes less. On many occasions, this year, I have been able to connect the dots and see a bigger picture, and it was perhaps the year in which it happened more clearly.

Not for everyone is this way, or not for all things (the theme of personal and collective narration is a leitmotif of my research - so somewhere here the longread is assured). If I look at the stories of friends, ex's, or colleagues, I realize that for some of them, it's not easy to connect dots and see a "design". In some cases, they do not give importance to things that, instead, make sense to connect. In other cases we are fixed in a narration that apparently makes sense, but which is not connecting the "right" things. We often do not give space to what is painful, because we don't want to see it in our life, and consciousness. So we tell us a story, but the dots do not connect, or something is always missing... and the painting simply doesn't appear.

The last check on my list is in this category: it was a loss I do not understand well. I can cling to a poet motto, or tell me that it helped growing (in some circumstances, it was), but the truth is that after all these years I'm still unable to catch sense of this story - maybe our singer Vasco is right: there is no one. No dots to join, no pattern.

The personal point of view

In connecting things, there is a personal focal and an extended one.

In the personal focal I can say that a recognizable pattern was certainly the field of study, on the topics that were of my greatest interest: research on digital processes and teaching. The possibility offered by the degree in humanities, combined with the one in computer engineering, gave me the basis to configure a path of deepen professional growth in these two areas. I saw how everything I had done was necessary. Clearly, in order to achieve these results, it was necessary to work hard, but there is a common thread that links the past things - even apparently wrong (such as the degree in engineering, in fact) - to what I have done nowaday. Those skills and past "wrong" studies now make sense.

That's why when I see friends avoiding connecting experiences, I get to say "believe me, it's not useless". Yet I already know that they will not believe me. I too, often, struggle to recognize the experiences, especially the painful and senseless ones. It is way a continuous work, which we never stop learning to do - with a method. Often we find ourselves failing to reread our personal history from different perspectives, and - specially - with a different look...

The tiring adjective refers to all the things that have happened in a single calendar year, so many. Beautiful (most), but also exhausting, because I had to review almost all of my work and study models. It seems not so, but it's like changing head or almost, after 45... Someone could call it "a beautiful challenge" (a term that immediately makes you think of the marketing language). Complicated challenges, too. At the end of the year I experienced two events that are difficult to manage (and we are the third adjective, difficult), I prefer not to talk a lot about. From the seemingly simple distortion to the wrist - that instead is perhaps something other -, to important people who moved away from my routine for work and obedience's reasons. And I will miss them...

Here comes the... Newsletter

Since I'm not the kind of person who stands still for a long time - nor I do everything right, but the contrary*, in January will start my newsletter, which in a flicker of imagination I called "LGPost". It'll be weekly and based on the platform drawings from the social feeds I read (Twitter, plus Facebook, Linkedin, in the future), and some articles that I report directly. Hence, if you want to sign up, I'm glad!

* At the time of Splinder - an italian blog community - I wrote a little "eulogy of balance"; today, unfortunately in the maximalism era, articles against mediocrity are rampaging on Medium. Maybe I should find that post...

The best is yet to come (2nd degree)

Posted on June 8, 2017 11:00 PM in , ,

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On May I obtained my 2nd degree in Information Sciences, Communication and Publishing at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. There was the Computer science engineering degree, but this was the “mine” one. In this journey I found a really good and professional path on issues I’ve been following for years - Sociology of communication, but also my old passion: Psychology - and specially a great human experience, meeting extraordinary people. I’m thankful to those who had the patience to follow me with timely advices and the necessary structuring of my (so many, too many) ideas. This good mix has led to the drafting of an original work whose research object, the «Digital clusters», will write about (hopefully soon) in a separate article. It has been so an awesome experience, that probably will continue in a teaching program in this university: that’s really a great news.

Why I’m talking here about it? For a couple of reasons. The first one is to keep track in the blog, about such an important event for me. From the first post it’s exactly fifteen years (it was 2002 when I started): now and then I read what has changed around me, and how “I am changed”; the blog - in my opinion - remains the best place to fix some experiences and concepts along the path.

The second reason is to focus some of the elements from this particular experience of study. I basically found three underlying themes:

1 - Change when things don't go. After the happy experience in Nice (from 1998 to 2004), where I brought my early experiences and skills, I worked for a few years in Telecom Italia (italian main telco company), and later in a consulting and system integration company, then as a programmer in one of the most valued and productive teams I worked with in the Rome area. And yet... in that time I had the toughest crisis: at the end of 2010 I realized that Programming and Web development was no longer my way…
   It was not only a cognitive problem (the stomach pains was afflicting me from a couple of years) but the fact that I was changed. From the early years of editorial debut to the period of software engineering, my interests shifted more and more to other topics. I still used the typical technical tools like Eclipse, configuring perfectly for PHP and SVN versioning, but things were getting worse every day.
   So. In 2011 I decided to take a sabbatical year, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I had a degree in the computer science field, worked as programmer, and it was very difficult to reconfigure (to use a congruent term) a professional career - although in a state of crisis. I remember how that time was horrible.
   By re-reading that experience, I can say it was the more useful phase. I had to get away from a world that was no longer my own, to understand that my world was another. In the end of that year there was an event - those who change your life: Giovanna Abbiati (with whom I would later do big important things) called at my phone: she asked me if I was available to teach in the upcoming «Master in Communication and New Media» at the Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum. I already did some courses on Programming topics, but in small ambits and with few people. This was an opportunity for a “quantum leap” and to really test myself. I answered yes, with fear but also great motivation. In that ambit I discovered what I call a sort of “teaching vocation”. It was really a revolution: indeed the beginning of change. In the next years I realized a training course on Social media issues, that I knew very well as early adopter, along with the digital skills known as a technician, bringing in dowry and covering many topics in the set number of hours (pushing a little bit).
   I found that the process of transferring my experience and skills to others was fatiguing but at the same time beautiful: teaching is an adventure that makes you understand more, tell you more, requires you to learn more and learn a lot from the students and colleagues. It was a leap that led to the reconfiguration of my professional career. At that time I realized that the relationship with computer science was changed: what I studied and learned needed to be reorganized to be transferred to others who would use all in different and new ways. From that experience, for example, took place the great initiative of the TEDxViadellaConciliazione in 2013, which in these days has been resurfaced for Pope Francis' talk - who in that year was just elected - at TED 2017 Vancouver (here is the video speech).

2 - Need for continuing education (especially in those times of illiteracy). When you practice a profession like engineer, or doctor, or architect, you should always keep up to date. What in ITC is obvious (technology runs in our lives), in my experience can apply to (almost) all the qualified professions. On the other side this is a very common problem, because not always is easy to attend courses (if undone by the working company, you have to pay courses by yourself, not to mention time to dedicate, topics to choose, etc.). Technological issues - as said - are strongly “under pressure” in the professions but not only there. I haven’t use the term “pressure” randomly: sometimes talking to friends working in different areas, such as psychologists and psychotherapists, or theologians, even in these fields a continuous update path has become indispensable. To remain in the example, only in the field of Psychology in the last twenty years has changed almost everything! Many of the models considered good up to the nineties, are in an undergoing deep review process - due to new findings in neuroscience and psychotherapy, and so on. It’s clear that those who studied in those years ’80-’90 are faced with a complex (and sometimes unqualified) recalculation path in their life - without mention the dozens of different models and schools. The same concept can be extended to other professions.
   Now, imagine what’s like when you needs to teach, in one, or - as my case - in contiguous disciplines and fields: professional updating should be continuous and as much diversified as possible. I realized this lesson: if I wanted to be a “good teacher” I had to fill several gaps in human sciences and to connect different fields. As engineer I was covered by the technical side, and with the magazine experience I dealt with issues about communication and publishing. But, the more I deepened these issues, the more I realized I needed an upgrade, not only based on personal readings. In late 2014 I decided to start a new study, which led me to choose the Tor Vergata Philosophy and Literature university ─ after selecting the two other public Rome’s universities ─ as the most appropriate to what I was looking for.



   It was the right choice: there I found very special people, starting with my tutor who cut out a “tailor-made” plan of studies for me, revealing optimal, and my supervisor, who dealt with me structuring my research at the moment I was still clearing it to myself.
   From this adventure I took at least two important lessons: without a broad-spectrum culture, which joins both technical side (in my case the hard sciences) and human one, you can’t be a good teacher, nor a coach or a trainer. Among other things, I’ve observed how important can be the process of cultural deepening to read the complex reality that surrounds us - in terms of politics, narration, psychology, and all data about social networks. I found that the so-called “digital illiteracy” (which needs, however, always a specification) and cultural illiteracy in general are creating a situation, in most cases, dramatic, and not only in the “less-developed” nations or in western ones. There is a lot, lot to do.


3 - The Dynamics of Social networks. I could start with the "fanaticism runs over the net" - I think it's an experience everyone has met in online discussion. However, today's situation has become very complicated. Precisely on recent years, my research has focused on the distorting dynamics of digital processes, highlighted by social networks. There is religious and historical fanaticism, political fanaticism, social, and in general, an ideological narrative that lives in pseudo-truth, from several decades. But it’s only when these ideologies meet the social networks’ dynamics that the structure changes and grows dramatically: the distorting narratives are amplified and reinforced in ways that make the leap enormously extended to amounts of people previously confined to small communities - for example misinformed, or not wanting to broaden their viewpoints. Small groups of persons sharing an even wrong point of view, in little places, isn’t alarming but simply natural.
   But. For a few years now (generally dating from 2009-2010, the spreading era of Social media) hundreds of thousands - and millions - of individuals share common narratives in a diffusive model in thousands of online groups and social pages, where algorithms have a preponderant part. Algorithms try to comprehend users’ preferences, and the filtering models act by showing what is considered “liked” by the user - often not wrong. The effect is a kind of loop: people make choices, and select first sources and content to search for specific topics, that confirm beliefs and preconceptions (including cognitive bias and so on), algorithms begin to filter content by presenting more and more of that kind of content.
   Starting with the “filter-bubble”, identified in 2011 by Eli Pariser, from the customization of Google's search results, it has been clear that the distortion phenomenon became so large that it produces an even more alarming effect: the conversational model is deteriorating, in such a quick way that’s making people less able to confront and dialogue, but rather more closed and refractory. We’re no more talking about “digital bubbles” as in the past, but as “armored cells” (Luciano Floridi). This is a process especially known to communication experts, but it went up to forefront in Donald Trump's US elections, as for the term “fake news” used sparsely. The problem of misinformation and false news has been focused in a couple of huge researches released in recent months (mainly the Anatomy of news consumption on Facebook, published on PNAS at the beginning of 2017), showing as the primary consequence of the distortion process the extreme polarization on specific topics. Continuing in this research field, I observed something else, that makes this model very aggregative, triggering a disagreement between experience and reality (where narrative and narration are common elements) that produces glaring effects: elections are the more noticeable example, but prodromes are visible already in many places of the social networks.

   These three themes have made more "clear" my study path, by properly deepening the fields of communication, sociology, psychology and history. When you teach, you must first learn: it’s trivial, but you can decline it in a variety of ways. As an example, I learned (and I'm still learning) to think in a scientific way, that it is neither easy nor obvious. An historian can distort the truth, if he renounces to deepen the facts to "make right the counts". So, when writing scientific papers - or at least in a certain level of rigor - you’ve to get used to demonstrate everything you claim, link to the facts and to arguments, debates and ideas, and even to put them into question, if necessary.

   Today, this is perhaps one of the crucial points of many interpretative criticisms: in such a rich contextual information, to distinguish things with the due time and level of deepening is a challenge for everyone: there is an right-false process (of probability) where the user is constantly subjected to a “fatigue of refinement and selection”; it’s difficult even for the “experts”. It’s a mix of intuition and ability and is complicated, realistically, for most people to understand where the opinions or fake news (often spread in beautiful mail) stop, and where the "nude fact" begins. I could also quote the Rashomon effect, where four direct observers of a fact report four different versions of it.
   The risk is to rely on third part institutions (from digital platforms to government sources) to decide what to read, see, and search - in a selection process that inevitably can’t be transparent, cannot show the “unknown unknowns”: the things we’re not seeing (concept made famous by Donald Rumsfeld in 2002).

   So a new challenge begins. That will start from putting hands on the work done, for the necessary corrections and improvements so that the book can spread with a better certainty. Afterwards, thinking about a training program on the above topics. It will be a challenging commitment, but working with people with whom there is a beautiful feeling and a profitable ideas combination, is very rare in my experience. During these months I’ve worked not only improving the ability to select, connect things, and write them correctly (especially less narratively), but I had to “invent” a method to achieve the goals I set out, and apply them! To complete the project alone, but not "alone", thanks to the precious and patient help of the people I've been lucky to meet on the road.

In short: I thought I would stop, and instead there’re so many things to do now. In the Self-management course at my Athaeneum I will need some advice, probably. :-)

The choice of advancing professional studies

Posted on December 9, 2014 7:06 PM in ,

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(the post has been updated from first publication)


In these days I've finally decided on the type of training and professional update that I will take. By now it was necessary, and couldn't be postponed anymore.
I had many choices in front of me: I was chosing even a new faculty, and I was really interested on Psychology or Educational Sciences. But in the progress to come to a final decision, I went for elimination..

- Psychology at my age is a bit late, I could make a three-year degree (bachelor), but it doesn't create many job opportunities and above all, to do this work seriously serves a full degree and many years of expertise or specialization.

- Same goes for Educational Sciences: it's true, the teaching has become my passion and both a profession, but the only degree that's valid had to be taken before, plus, it's still oriented on the support teacher professional figure. That perhaps is not exactly the most suitable for me, I don't know.

I opted for an international Master of professional specialization, in "Education Leardership, Management and Emerging Technologies" at an online University that's very good. So, you will see me extremely busy for several months from now. This choice goes in two directions to get me advancing in studies, updating my knowledge on arguments of computer science and education, technology and more, and will facilitate my inclusion in teaching in the public service. That sounds good and completes my professional formation in the direction of academic fulfillment.

Looking at 2015

I was quite surprised to receive a series of confirmations that I didn't expect to be all concentrated in the same time. That's a challenge I've to understand better to set a coherent outlook to the new year's organization. In part, that's because in 2014 I have sown much, and as seems, several plans come finally to fruition.
Among them, an advanced course on the PHP language and a series of courses in the MIUR ambit (italian Ministry of Research and University) for public figures, where I'll teach some of the topics in Communication and new media taught in Atheneum's Master, and it will also include elements of cyberbullying, as well as the target of some lessons will be for teens and pre-teens.


What was looking like a good choice i the first time, didn't result in this one. So I decided to stop the progress in the above mentioned master and started postgraduating in Information and communication science whereas I could find a perfect syntonization with my passions and needs. 

The day the new computer went up (2nd time)

Posted on May 12, 2014 10:49 AM in , ,

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This morning I woke up early because of the delivery of my new pc, scheduled by courier between 8.00am and 14.00pm.

This is the 2nd time this pc is delivered to me, since the first time, at the end of April,  was severely bent in the middle, and the computer was returned to the store to be changed. The merchant ByTecno, thought, was really correct and immediately proceeded to change it on my report basis.

Now the baby is in the house! I've to install some good software...

It's a HP Envy 15, with a Full HD screen of 15,6" - I choose this machine because of the double initiative of HP:
1) taking back of a pc with i5 processor, valued 140 €, and
2) the return of 15% on the price of a HP laptop purchased.

This combination, and the fact that I've found it at a best price of 800 € instead of 1000 on the Internet, means that the total savings will be almost 50%!

Follows the specification of the machine (mine it's a J104SL but has same specs):


Nome del prodotto15-j104el
Code F9E68EA
Microprocessor Intel Core i7-4700MQ w/Intel HD 4600 (2,4 GHz, 6 MB cache, 4 cores)
Chipset Intel HM87 Express
Memory 12 GB of SDRAM DDR3L at 1600 MHz (1 x 4 GB, 1 x 8 GB)
Memory slots
2 available to the user
Video card
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M (2 GB of dedicated DDR3)
Hard disk
SATA 1 TB (5400 rpm)
Display LED BrightView FHD diagonal 39,6 cm (15,6") (1920 x 1080)
Network card
LAN Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 integrated
Wireless operations
Combination of 802.11b/g/n (1x1) and Bluetooth 4.0
Audio Beats Audio w/4 speakers and 2 subwoofers
Keyboard Full with adjustable backlit and numeric pad
Pointing device
HP Imagepad with multi-touch gesture support
Ports 1 multiformat SD reader
1 headphone/mic combined
4 USB 3.0 (1 HP USB Boost)
1 RJ-45
Dimensions 37,95 x 25,07 x 2,79 cm
Weight 2,1 kg
Battery Lithio-Ion 6 cells (62 WHr)
Photocamera Webcam HP TrueVision HD (frontal) w/digital dual-array microphone

Resolutions for the new year

Posted on January 2, 2013 1:32 AM in

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enjoy life play

My Have to's for 2013 (this is a post in continuous update)

1. Reduce the Shift - significantly
2. Launch of the Great Event Ever Seen since TEDx :-)
3. Slightly reduce the sense of guilt (to know how to achieve it..)
4. Restart Beta. (or, at least republish it).
5. Start LG Post. Seriously. Or, start a new magazine! Maybe it's not only curated news, but a stream of my consciousless links, video, and articles I read.
6. Learn, learn, and learn again.
7. Work, work, work.
8. Write, write, write (and code).
9. Change my old Kawa Z.
10. Buy a bike.


Work harder on the projects deserving attention (and being able to recognize);
Be kinder ( we've to work a lot!).; Share carefully...; Transform the Have tos in Want tos...
Improve the Get Things Done and continue applying the Present Principle;
Read at least 10 (fully) of the dozens of waiting books.

And...maybe as Gerry McGovern says, the 2012 was not so bad at all.

P.S. Be patient!

Update: 11. go at least to 3 Museums - and 1 done (Vermeer)!

12. Teach, teach, teach. Write more slides, think to new fields and approaches for the lessons.

My personality info

Posted on April 23, 2008 11:02 PM

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I've done the MYERS-BRIGGS personality test, plus the Multiple intelligences test. The results ( :

INTJ - The "Strategist"
Temperament: NT (Intellectual)

Primary Function: Introverted Intuition
Population: 1.5% (2.5% male, 0.5% female)

INTJs are introspective, analytical, determined persons with natural leadership ability. Being reserved, they prefer to stay in the background while leading. Strategic, knowledgable and adaptable, INTJs are talented in bringing ideas from conception to reality. They expect perfection from themselves as well as others and are comfortable with the leadership of another so long as they are competent. INTJs can also be described as decisive, open-minded, self-confident, attentive, theoretical and pragmatic.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Here it is the full description of INTJs people:

Portrait of an INTJ - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging

As an INTJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things rationally and logically.

INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others.

With Introverted Intuition dominating their personality, INTJs focus their energy on observing the world, and generating ideas and possibilities. Their mind constantly gathers information and makes associations about it. They are tremendously insightful and usually are very quick to understand new ideas. However, their primary interest is not understanding a concept, but rather applying that concept in a useful way. Unlike the INTP, they do not follow an idea as far as they possibly can, seeking only to understand it fully. INTJs are driven to come to conclusions about ideas. Their need for closure and organization usually requires that they take some action.

INTJ's tremendous value and need for systems and organization, combined with their natural insightfulness, makes them excellent scientists. An INTJ scientist gives a gift to society by putting their ideas into a useful form for others to follow. It is not easy for the INTJ to express their internal images, insights, and abstractions. The internal form of the INTJ's thoughts and concepts is highly individualized, and is not readily translatable into a form that others will understand. However, the INTJ is driven to translate their ideas into a plan or system that is usually readily explainable, rather than to do a direct translation of their thoughts. They usually don't see the value of a direct transaction, and will also have difficulty expressing their ideas, which are non-linear. However, their extreme respect of knowledge and intelligence will motivate them to explain themselves to another person who they feel is deserving of the effort.

INTJs are natural leaders, although they usually choose to remain in the background until they see a real need to take over the lead. When they are in leadership roles, they are quite effective, because they are able to objectively see the reality of a situation, and are adaptable enough to change things which aren't working well. They are the supreme strategists - always scanning available ideas and concepts and weighing them against their current strategy, to plan for every conceivable contingency.

INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people's thoughts or feelings. Unless their Feeling side is developed, they may have problems giving other people the level of intimacy that is needed. Unless their Sensing side is developed, they may have a tendency to ignore details which are necessary for implementing their ideas.

The INTJ's interest in dealing with the world is to make decisions, express judgments, and put everything that they encounter into an understandable and rational system. Consequently, they are quick to express judgments. Often they have very evolved intuitions, and are convinced that they are right about things. Unless they complement their intuitive understanding with a well-developed ability to express their insights, they may find themselves frequently misunderstood. In these cases, INTJs tend to blame misunderstandings on the limitations of the other party, rather than on their own difficulty in expressing themselves. This tendency may cause the INTJ to dismiss others input too quickly, and to become generally arrogant and elitist.

INTJs are ambitious, self-confident, deliberate, long-range thinkers. Many INTJs end up in engineering or scientific pursuits, although some find enough challenge within the business world in areas which involve organizing and strategic planning. They dislike messiness and inefficiency, and anything that is muddled or unclear. They value clarity and efficiency, and will put enormous amounts of energy and time into consolidating their insights into structured patterns.

Other people may have a difficult time understanding an INTJ. They may see them as aloof and reserved. Indeed, the INTJ is not overly demonstrative of their affections, and is likely to not give as much praise or positive support as others may need or desire. That doesn't mean that he or she doesn't truly have affection or regard for others, they simply do not typically feel the need to express it. Others may falsely perceive the INTJ as being rigid and set in their ways. Nothing could be further from the truth, because the INTJ is committed to always finding the objective best strategy to implement their ideas. The INTJ is usually quite open to hearing an alternative way of doing something.

When under a great deal of stress, the INTJ may become obsessed with mindless repetitive, Sensate activities, such as over-drinking. They may also tend to become absorbed with minutia and details that they would not normally consider important to their overall goal.

INTJs need to remember to express themselves sufficiently, so as to avoid difficulties with people misunderstandings. In the absence of properly developing their communication abilities, they may become abrupt and short with people, and isolationists.

INTJs have a tremendous amount of ability to accomplish great things. They have insight into the Big Picture, and are driven to synthesize their concepts into solid plans of action. Their reasoning skills gives them the means to accomplish that. INTJs are most always highly competent people, and will not have a problem meeting their career or education goals. They have the capability to make great strides in these arenas. On a personal level, the INTJ who practices tolerances and puts effort into effectively communicating their insights to others has everything in his or her power to lead a rich and rewarding life.

Jungian functional preference ordering:

Dominant: Introverted Intuition
Auxilliary: Extraverted Thinking
Tertiary: Introverted Feeling
Inferior: Extraverted Sensing

Do it yours!

I teach in higher courses about Communication and digital media. I've been coorganizer for TEDxViadellaConciliazione, plus founder of BETA magazine et al.

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Digital Clusters (How the Net is Marking Us), DigitCult, vol. 2, no. 3, 49-62 (2017)

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