Google+ The World 2 Come: August 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

SAP Survey

Keywords: Bulgaria

My answers to Shel Israel's questions:

1. Dimitar, you seem to be everywhere I look on the Internet, can you list the social media tools that you use?
Bloglines, Skype, Facebook, Blogger, del.icio.us, MyBlogLog and YouTube are my favourite ones.

2. You say you follow more than 9500 feeds, more than even Scoble. How do you accomplish that? How much time to you spend following your feeds.
I'd like to learn as much as I can. I'm almost always on. Broadband is a bliss! I don't read all of my feeds on a daily basis. Every day there are some knowledge management goals I try to accomplish. My feeds could be described as digital memory silos. Reading on demand.

3. How has social media changed your life?
I have only one word for you. Revolution. Life without internet would be a very tough one for me.

4. Tell me about technology in Bulgaria? What percent of people have computers and connection? How about broadband and wi-fi? How about cellphones?
23% of the households in Bulgaria have computers. Internet penetration in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, is 50%, although the internet penetration in the rest of the country is 25%. Bulgaria has one of the highest penetrations of telephone service in Eastern Europe, with around 38 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. The leading internet service providers are Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC), Orbitel and Spectrumnet. The other big players in this market are the cable TV operators. Also, there are hundreds smaller ISPs, providing LAN. Wi-Fi is not very popular. The mobile phones penetration is 75%. Bulgarians simply love their mobile phones. Buying the most new and expensive mobile devices is a national mania.

5. What about business? What are the largest enterprises in Bulgaria? How do they use technology and social media?
Bulgaria used to be the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe. Now, there are almost 4,000 ICT companies. Companies like SAP and the U.S. auto parts manufacturer Johnson Control have their R&D centers in Bulgaria. Also, in January 2006 HP opened a customer support centre in Sofia for their clients from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The largest enterprises are telecoms (BTC, Mobiltel, Globul), utilities providers, banks, power plants, heavy industry manufactures ( KCM). These corporations work mainly with well-known brands like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP and HP. Their primary concerns are stability, reliability and security. Social media is not on their radar.

6. What are the most popular social media tools in Bulgaria?
Instant messengers (ICQ, Skype), forums, chats and SMS. Bulgarians love chatting. Bulgarians are people you could easily talk to and communicate with. It's not a big surpise that dating sites still rule the internet landscape. The most popular video sharing site is Vbox7 with 460,000 users. The Bulgarian blogosphere is growing. There are over 25,000 blogs. The leading social networking sites in Bulgaria are the local ones ( friends.bg, sibir.bg, one.bg, zip.bg).

7. How is social media changing culture for Bulgarians? How will it change it in the next 5-10 years?
I hope that social media could make our communications faster, cheaper and better.

8. Can you give me a description of what's happening in social media in your overall region including the countries near you?
I see a big potential for growth in any niche. There are lots of underserved markets. Why? We are talking about over 130 million people, including Turkey. Some of the biggest web giants like Google already pay much more attention to the region.

9. What language do most Bulgarians speak? How big a barrier is language?
Bulgarian is the official language, Turkish and Romany are also spoken. Bulgarians like foreign languages. Let me give you an example with myself. I have studied seriously five different languages: English, Russian, French, Spanish and Greek. There is a huge Bulgarian diaspora all over the world, mainly in the USA, Canada, the UK, Spain and Greece. Bulgarians are the second biggest group of foreign students in Germany, after the Chinese. The older generations have studied Russian, the younger - English. There are a lot of polyglots in Bulgaria.

10. What opportunities, related to social media, are there for the international business community in Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is a member of the European Union and could be a gateway to the Balkans and Turkey. The Bulgarian capital market could be described as really fast-growing. Why don't they invest in the Google/Yahoo of Southeastern Europe?

11. Additional comments?
Thank you very much for your interesting questions!

Blogs:
SAP Global Survey: Bulgaria's Dimitar Vesselinov - Global Neighbourhoods

See also:
Bulgaria - The World 2 Come

Update:
Now, I subscribe to 9,876 RSS feeds. My next aim is 10,000 RSS feeds.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Civil petition against the unequal treatment of the citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria by the authorities

Keywords: Roma in Bulgaria

Image: dnevnik.bg

Ladies and gentlemen,

Recently, in the Bulgarian society there has been a tendency for the discrimination of the non-Roma population of the Republic of Bulgaria, e.g. people are being treated in a different way, most often unfavorable and discriminatory, on the basis of their race, ethnicity, background and social status in favour of the Roma population.

Chapter 1 of The Bulgarian Constitution states that:

"§ 6 (1) All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
(2) All citizens are equal in front of the law. Limitations of their rights or privileges based on race, nationality, ethnicity, sex, origin, religion, education, beliefs, party affiliation, personal and social status or property status shall not be tolerated."

Today, in the Bulgarian society there are plenty of examples for the violation of the above quoted law. As such, we quote the following:

1. The case in the residential district Zaharna Fabrika, Sofia, where as a result of battery Prof. Stanimir Kaloyanov was killed and so far the perpetrators have not faced any responsibility for their actions due to their Roma origin, having in mind that the residents of the district know who these individuals are. The Bulgarian institutions refuse to guarantee a fair trial and security for the residents of the district in the future, and in the recurrent events, e.g. assaults and harassment. The authorities do not provide transparency of the results of the investigation. In a similar manner, the state and its institutions refuse to protect the train commuters in Bulgaria when individuals of Roma origin throw stones at the trains on a daily basis. The latter individuals do not face any sanctions and the police do not try to limit or terminate their actions, having in mind that they are recurrent. It is also common that individuals of Roma origin encroach upon agricultural property and, as a result, the owners of the property are left with nothing to live on. The perpetrators are rarely caught and even less frequently – punished. The examples above show that the law has been violated and this gives us reason to claim that the citizens of Bulgaria are not equal in front of the law.

2. The Bulgarian state provides free apartments to individuals of Roma origin and does not provide such to non-Roma citizens of Bulgaria. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which forbids privileges based on ethnicity.

3. The Bulgarian state provides all sorts of aid to individuals of Roma origin and does not provide such to non-Roma citizens of Bulgaria, having in mind that in both cases the individuals are extremely poor. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which forbids privileges based on ethnicity.

4. Unequal treatment of the rights of Bulgarian citizens on the basis of their origin by the following Bulgarian institutions: Elektrorazpredelenie EAD (the Electric Company), the public transport companies, the Police of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Court System, etc. A well-known fact from our everyday life is that when Bulgarians do not pay their bills to Elektrorazpredelenie EAD within deadline, the company immediately cuts their electricity, based on their non-Roma origin, and does not cut their electricity, based on their Roma origin, regardless of the fact that the Roma community have millions of leva debt to Elektrorazpredelenie EAD dating back 15 years and they do not even try to pay that debt on the ground of being unemployed and at the same time they often refuse jobs offered to them by the employment offices. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which forbids any privileges and inequalities based on ethnicity.

5. The citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria are not equal when they apply for universities, even though The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria explicitly forbids that. For example, article 22 paragraph 3 in the admission requirements book of the Technical University of Varna states that 5 places are reserved for the admission of students of Roma origin.

6. State institutions, organizations and media propagate ethnic hatred and aggression in Bulgaria by claiming that the Roma minority is being discriminated by the majority, having in mind that racial and ethnic discrimination and their propagation are indictable by the constitution. There is no adequate state policy towards the Roma minority and this instigates racism and hatred towards the Roma minority. The tacit toleration of the situation, which sometimes receives large publicity, creates a dangerous precedent in Bulgaria, where there has never been racism. On the contrary, our country has provided refuge for ethnically persecuted Armenians and has saved the Bulgarian Jews from the Holocaust. And now, unconsidered acts are making us face a future ethnic conflict. The Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian institutions have to take urgent measures to prevent that, instead of instigating ethnic hatred. The inequality of the citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria is a result of the discriminatory policy of the Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian institutions against all Bulgarian citizens except the Roma. This is a violation of The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The undersigned plead for EQUALITY and NON-DISCRIMINATION. We insist that the Bulgarian authorities abide by the law quoted above and not violate the rights of the Bulgarians and of the non-Roma citizens of Bulgaria in favour of the Roma. We state that in case the authorities fail to abide by that law, we are ready to seek assistance from international organizations and courts, to organize protests and demonstrations and boycott Bulgaria and it institutions, goods and services and as an extreme measure we ourselves will make sure that The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria is not violated.

We state explicitly that the current petition is not bound to any political party and we do not wish that any political party recognizes it and uses it for its own purposes. The petitions is a result of the discontent of citizens of the Republic of Bulgaria who think that their rights have been violated. The text of the petition was composed by the following non-political members:

Veselina Ivanova Katsarova, translator
Desislava Dimitrova Stoeva, journalist
Valentin Georgiev Gurkov, associate professor at The National Sports Academy
Veselin Iliev Vasilev, accountant
Georgi Ognyanov Naumov, computer programmer
Ivanka Lukova Chervenkova, civil engineer

Source: bgpetition

Blogs:
Roma Violence in Bulgaria - mirchev.blog.bg