Hughes Aubin is an tireless digital innovator, observing the impact of digital technologies on the society for years now. He mentored the project Identiscoop developed by Edouard Durand as final thesis work, a mobile application for a better control over one’s online digital identity. Hughes shares his reflection and experience, about extimacy or the subtle frontiers between what we hide, transform or exhibit from ourselves while being online…
From Hughes Aubin to Hugobiwan Zolnir and back, managing plural identities online
Grégoire Cliquet: You go by several pseudos, Hugues Aubin. Among them are “Hugobiwan” and “Zolnir.” Could you explain how you handle your digital identity via your social network experiences? Are there really three different identities?
Hugues Aubin: Actually, the names you’ve just mentioned refer only to two identities: “Hugobiwan Zolnir” and “Hugues Aubin.” I have other ones, which I am glad you haven’t found, because they were specifically made not to correlate. In my mind, “Hugues Aubin” is nothing other than a civil status, a kind of normative display of myself. I’ve chosen not to use my first or last name. My exposure under this pseudo is, for the most part, limited to my professional activities. If you google my name, you’ll mostly come across hits related to my duties as ICT Project Managerfor the city of Rennes. This identity is more functional than cultural, thus devoid of any sentimental hues. The second identity, “Hugobiwan Zolnir”, is reserved only for personal matters. After just a few clicks, any Internet user can discover the connection between this identity and that of “Hugues Aubin.” However, this second one does not at all serve the same purpose nor have the same status as the “Hugues Aubin” one. In fact, it is centered on my personal interests. Since I take an interest in my job, this identity serves to forge bonds between trend monitor tribes, experimentation fiends, the people whose paths I crossed during art- or digital-related projects, and those to whom I feel close be it on a sentimental or geographic note, for example, folks in Rennes. I have a professional identity called “Hugues Aubin” and another named “Hugobiwan Zolnir” that breeds a lifestream or network based on common interests and hobbies. In addition, I sometimes come up with digital identities for very specific tasks, such as experimenting with online services, and wherein the chances are slim to none for anyone to track down the link between these and “Hugues Aubin” or “Hugobiwan Zolnir.” I take caution even further by using a specific mailbox for each account. On the one hand, I sport a rather sentiment-neutral, normative image with a strong grip on my many work projects, and on the other, a pseudo that truly embodies my network, passions and projects. Both are very useful to me in that they enable me to weave fairly open networks knowing that “Hugues Aubin” stands but three clicks away from “Hugobiwan Zolnir” and vice versa.
Grégoire Cliquet: From this angle, there are two distinct identities.
Hugues Aubin: It’s how I use these two identities that accounts for the difference. Sometimes, for instance, I post comments to blogs under the name of “Hugues Aubin,” but only on professional blogs to which I post a professional opinion. When I put in my two cents to a community or personal collective by expressing a point of view or pointing out a must-see, then I use the other name.
Grégoire Cliquet: You mention the use of other pseudos. Without disclosing them, how many identities do you have? Would you say there is a difference between a pseudo and an identity?
Hugues Aubin: Yes, without a doubt. I use roughly three identities, with one being labeled as “top secret.” To me, a pseudo is not an identity. Identity is not only what is conveyed through digital identity, reputation, traces, etc. There’s a lot more to it than this. Identity is not how you showcase yourself, but who you really are. When a police officer asks me to identify myself, I reply “Hugues Aubin.” In response to a less neutral speaker, I think twice before answering because what this person really wants to know is “who I am.” One of the main issues arising from this is that each person is a single entity having learned to divide him/herself up into fictitious, code-based identities. This is what I do naturally when splitting up my civil identity, intended for more formal use, and personal identity. I think we all have a self and then several more or less strategic characters. The mere act of getting dressed is proof that we constantly resort to identity strategies. And it is getting much easier to handle these identity strategies with the dedicated mechanisms now available on the Internet. We realize that character strings have a real impact on search engines. With a Google, Liberty, Alliance or Yahoo account, I can create up to 15 or 20 accounts linked to different services. This state of things brings about strategies, but if the tools worked otherwise, then these strategies would be different. One thing is certain: Choosing or being given a pseudo is not only quite significant and symbolic, but also volatile. Some resort to “upside-down” strategies, which means that they focus their activities on their birth name, and use a pseudo to subscribe to online services they want to test, for instance.
Grégoire Cliquet: Speaking of multiple identities, do you monitor your e-reputation? Are you careful about keeping your different identities separate before going online? Do you google your name afterwards? How do you tackle the issue of who you are on the web, Hugues Aubin? What steps do you take toward assessing this?
Hugues Aubin: Yes, I’ve been “googling” myself systematically for the past eight to ten years, almost unwittingly. Since you have very little control over your digital identity on the web and very few ways to free yourself from a tight spot, you must, first and foremost, make sure nothing gets out of hand as a result of your own doing. In other words, post cautiously. That’s how you must proceed before you even go online. Then, once online, it’s extremely simple. You can use keyword-based alerts on Google news, Google web, etc. You can also enter your name on Google regularly, every ten days or so. I’ve been scoring my name three times a month for quite some time. I’ve come across some very funny findings. I know other guys go by the same name as I do. These namesakes with whom I share the third or fourth page of results evolve. I get to see what someone who types my name into big search engines would see, and this is very interesting to me. I am also aware that other “Hugues Aubin”s are floating about on social networks, such as Facebook. It goes without saying that, even though I’m not a Facebook regular, I created an account under my official name, Hugues Aubin. That way, at least, I can claim the page as my own in the event of a dispute. So, I’d say “yes”, you can very simply monitor your digital identities, if not for anything else, to avoid unwelcome surprises like realizing a namesake has taken an extreme political stance, and that you’ve been unknowingly slandered.
Grégoire Cliquet: Are you concerned at all about this?
Hugues Aubin: No, but what would bother me the most is not having the necessary tools on-hand to check what others have access to and could see. Having these tools handy and being fortunate enough to work in a field that requires a thorough knowledge of digital tools, I am, on the one hand, aware that I cannot control everything because you can hardly tone down misuse and abusive behavior of that kind; but, on the other hand, at least I am informed. That said, I can raise awareness among all members of my community by either launching a counter-buzz or having a say in the matter.
Self exposition in 3D massively multiplayer environments
Grégoire Cliquet: You are a Second Life user, and you are known as “Zolnir” on this platform. Could you tell us more about this identity, which is, also, an avatar (virtual embodiment of that character)? How do you perceive this “Zolnir” from Second Life? To what extent is he or is he not you?
Hugues Aubin: It’s quite simple. The city of Rennes conducted Second Life-supported projects that were managed not by the Hugobiwan Zolnir avatar, but by the city’s official avatar, otherwise known as Clap Clip, which was used by a variety of players due to its functionality and specific rights. This was a smart way to embody the project and those involved. The interesting part here is that we resort to an account instead of a digital identity that is embodied by a character behind whom several individuals are hidden. This ended up wreaking a bit of havoc, for in the end, Clap Clip had to reveal to his fellow chatters to whom they were talking in order not to shatter their trust. As far as I’m concerned, things are crystal clear: Hugobiwan Zolnir is my real “me.” He stands for what I like, what I don’t, the projects I want to carry out, my favorite things. Today, an avatar is a bit like an upgraded mouse in the sense that, instead of clicking on things, you can share with people via tit-for-tat relationships. To complete anything in collaboration with your peers, you must give a little bit of yourself, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Opensim (Second Life’s Open Source version). Users strive to feel as free within the digital world as they do in real life. In massively multiplayer environments, people are very emotionally involved, and, contrary to what one may believe, they do not go out of their way to hide, which, in turn, results in rather surprising project dynamics. A Blue Mars, Wonderland, Second Life or any other 3D environment user who grooms his cat avatar in a particular way reveals his/her tastes more visibly than if he/she were to wear an inconspicuous piece of jewelry, for instance. When they visually model their avatars, as they would do with clothing, users don’t hide at all. They actually put themselves out there more, and potentially throw themselves to the wolves by revealing their inner self. Your would think users hide their true self behind a mask, but in fact by choosing and shaping their avatars themselves they reveal a lot about themselves. It is almost as if they had a self-written haiku on their chest.
Grégoire Cliquet: Which means that the more visible you are, the more you expose yourself?
Hugues Aubin: Not necessarily. What matters, though, is how you expose yourself within these 3D massively multi-player environments where content is user-generated (250,000 user-generated objects come to life every single day).
Grégoire Cliquet: Let’s turn now to reality checks. When you happened to come into face-to-face contact with people you knew from Second Life, did you notice anything different? You said earlier that someone decked out in an outfit riddled with poems by Baudelaire must be drawn somewhat to the poet and his work. Did you notice the same trend in real life? What difference have you spotted between a first “digital” contact and a subsequent relationship in the physical world? As a result, do you feel closer to those you met prior to Second Life more so than on other platforms, or do you feel you know more about them?
Hugues Aubin: I must admit that I avoided this moment for as long as I could. I had no desire to physically meet the people with whom I had been involved in Second Life. But then, time got the best of me, and I ended up meeting about sixty of them. All I can say is that these interfaces are very demanding and time-consuming, which is both an asset and a drawback. They tend to be invasive. In real-time, people are side-by-side, and they don’t benefit from the snug simultaneity granted by Facebook statuses. As a result, they are forced to spend time together. To me, the ties interwoven are made from the same stuff as those between people who have talked for a long while; they are real. There can be no digital relationship without a video chat or real-time voice chat to summon real-life conditions. Thanks to this type of interface, you can communicate with remote acquaintances, and build time rituals. I’ve noticed that Twitter enables communication in a real-time flow. In the morning, at breakfast, you say “hello” and “good-bye” to the same people, and at times, new faces appear. This daily bonding overcomes the feeling of talking to strangers whose face you’ve never seen. This also applies to all networks featuring functions designed for people to bond for a certain time or over a certain project. Second Life is slightly different: Users actually own a 3D avatar that spurs their peers to try and spot physical resemblances, distinguishing marks, and sometimes, to no avail. The same trend can be observed on Twitter. You strike up a strong connection in a physical- or digital-hybrid social continuum, and this type of relationship has become very effective. Going back and forth between physical and digital continuums considerably strengthens the bonds while intertwining the upsides of both. I think the same thing happens on real-time or asynchronous 2D platforms where users can spend quality time together. Indeed, when you spend time with someone, even via long-distance video chat, more emotion and memory spoors are generated, and the desire to experience things together is increased. Thus, as lifestream-based platforms keep developing, much shared emotion is spawned at a particular time on a similar attention catcher. Applying these technologies to cultural events so that participants share a continuum of experience and emotion regardless of whether they are on-site or physically remote. Without a doubt, the interwoven links prove resilient, and are reinforced by a back-and-forth motion between physical and digital worlds. Even though three-dimensional platforms feature other assets, these links can be contrived via mobile phone or 140 characters.
The paradox of user-generated content
Grégoire Cliquet: Let’s further our discussion on your take regarding user-generated content, about the ongoing craze for the 2.0 web. Would you say we are living in times of digital exposure? Do we not feel obligated to produce more and more content, to leave more and more spoors behind? Isn’t the current situation twofold in that users want to leave as much of themselves as they can online while they move about in a people-tracking system? Having witnessed the Web’s gradual evolution, how do you perceive it? Do you think borders between private and public space are beginning to crumble?
Hugues Aubin: Yes, this is paradoxical. A very interesting phenomenon is currently at play. These two trends need to be debated. Today, however, one out of five users generates content (percentage of creative professionals not included). Scale-wise, the 2.0 netiquette is all about openness. People are now massively taking to expression and sharing tools. In this day and age, very few digital and multimedia items can exist without buying into the social network system. Not only do these tools convey messages, they also enable those interested to get in touch. This massive phenomenon of utmost importance shakes legitimacy rules, and disrupts the way we are used to conveying messages. Users are glad to contribute, no matter how great or small, and even those who do not have any intention of responding to such and such a post are overjoyed to spot a “comment” button. In fact, some may even go so far as to complain to the blog or site owner about the lack of such a button. The general public is now increasingly taking to tools of expression as they become more user-friendly by the day. The leaders are those equipped with significant crowdsourcing and recommendation features, including Amazon, Google, etc. In parallel, social networks are booming. Non-socialized media-objects, which once clustered within “attics” far from socialization, just like the good, old fossilized encyclopedias whose contributors remained in the dark and whose content could neither be commented upon nor relayed to a blog are now outdated. Media-objects have been swallowed up by this socialization. Maybe this is but a temporary trend, and perhaps some type of more qualitative storytelling could arise to cope with the current saturation in the field of media-objects. Still these socialized media-objects do have an outstanding upside: They are associated with personal spaces. Whether on a blog or FlickR-type platform designed for user socialization purposes, everyone builds a content-fed personal space, which, in turn, becomes socialized. This trend is significant because it upgrades the openness, networking, group creation, chat forums, etc. that were seen in earlier versions, such as FlickR. Social networks are a great place for sharing ideas, and where you can choose to expose yourself through a status, and can respond to that of your peers. Therefore, legions of seemingly public areas are sprouting up all over the web. But they’re not actually public because they’re hosted by huge, private platforms based on the all-too standard trade: data in exchange for upgraded tool power. This type of platform offers a substantial benefit: the more items it gathers, the easier it gets for users to find others’ socialized objects, and with just one click, befriend the people whose items appeal to them. As people recommend one another, the value-added increases, and the platform fleshes out. Even in a country like France where the gap between private and public life seemed unbridgeable, as the deeply-ingrained money taboo rightfully shows, social networks have become second nature (especially for MSN or thirty-something Facebook users). This is truly revolutionary. Now the default online behavior of these categories of population is telling their life. To claim some kind of privacy, you need to be very proficient in establishing a set of parameters. Besides technically speaking, these networks are grounded in the immediate and semi-automated. For example, you can post a comment on your wall from your phone, etc. The rising trend at the moment is the increasing automation of series of digital traces. Another way to express this is the design of automated and semi-automated “cross-posting” that draws from several sources, including home automation systems, cars, telephones, etc. This will automatically result in shaping a graduated web structure composed of several small, interconnected elements in which platform managers play an essential part. The social network dynamic is crucial for aggregating these elements (media, text, sound, image, video). Content-sharing platforms (FlickR, Youtube, etc.) are a must in this process. The main reason why such aggregations are operational is due to a contribution/satisfaction factor for the user within this physical/digital social continuum. Take by way of example grandparents who are anxious to talk to their grandson. Even if he does not answer the phone, they can catch a glimpse of what he has been up to, etc.
At the École de design Nantes Atlantique, we strive to explain to students that while Facebook is a free platform, it is, nonetheless, strategy- and logics-driven, etc.
Yes, this is mandatory. In Charente Maritime, a school teacher launched an experiment. She introduced her students to Twitter. At first, the school principal was quite reluctant to give this initiative the go-ahead, but in the end, as the operation had solid foundations given a thoroughly written educational process, he was reassured. When he saw how successful the operation turned out to be, he asked the school teacher to set up an experimental curriculum with her students. This discovery-oriented training program comprised of network memory, extimacy and e-reputation management saw the day in September 2010. To my knowledge, it is the sole junior high school curriculum of its kind in France, and yet, these notions are really crucial. “Schmitz”, Google and Facebook bosses have recently made outstanding statements! Speeches that inform you that the youth of today might have to change their name when they turn 18 are quite telling. There is obviously a “close link” between functionality and free service. People would accept anything provided they could get it for free. One very clear example involves applications enabling you to send virtual flowers or hearts via Facebook. To use these applications, you must allow them access to your Facebook data after which the application will then know everything about you. There is not any function to let you know exactly how much of your digital identity you are, ultimately, revealing, to quantify which contents you are making available and which configurations you are using: completely exposed, hidden, semi-hidden, etc. Facebook allows you somewhat to do so, but not with this type of application. Given that Facebook boasts several hundred million members, I think you get an idea of how huge the amount of data collected each week must be. This kind of tool provides extremely powerful tracking capacities. Another issue also comes to mind: Network memory. If ever I were to spot a picture I don’t wish to see online, I’ll never be able to find all of the copies of it diffused on the web. That said, the web is an ever-renewed space, and you can trace back information pretty far. Twitter, for instance, has a memory that goes back approximately 9 weeks, but as it is regularly scanned by search engines, it is possible to go even further back in time. I don’t think those who feed lifestream-type flows actually have the means to erase their own spoors. Along the same lines, I can’t afford to waste time deleting my first 14,000 tweets! We need to teach children and everyone else how to be cautious about what you disclose on the web. This urgency is all the more so knowing that the parents of young Internet users have a limited choice between expensive filtering software, for those who can afford it, or a low quality one that is offered by Internet service providers. […] A number of players are aware of this need to educate, but concretely, as far as tools and practices are concerned, we still have a long way to go.
Identiscoop, a tool for managing extimacy ?
Grégoire Cliquet: You supervised Édouard Durand. What is your take on the role of interaction designers and design within this context?
Hugues Aubin: I think designers have quite a lot to do in this field. First, if you want an overview of your digital trace, namesakes or what could be harmful (or not) in online content related to you, you need tools that enable design to make intelligible, understandable and ergonomic something that is alive, otherwise known as the life of the network. Here the metaphor raises an issue, and if we manage to produce this metaphor, it is a good start for the issue is rather complex. Interaction design is perfect for fulfilling this need because the matter to be controlled is not motionless. All I need is to own one or several accounts in order to (re)act. I can submit an abuse report, delete such and such a status, message someone whose content I dislike, etc. However, I don’t have the time to repeat the same action on 50 different sites, which explains the need to develop ergonomic syntheses, indicators operated by web-connected algorithms. In the long run, we could develop not only a synthesis, which would already be a wonderful tool, but also a retroaction tool. Such a tool is entirely legitimate since Internet users can make mistakes if they do not have control over their extimacy. Their name and image are under threat of being assaulted, hijacked or slandered. A useful thing would be a dashboard, a kind of summarizing interface that would provide real-time user activity assessment by scanning the network, and also offer up solutions.
Grégoire Cliquet: I’d like to ask you one last question about your latest project, Open Data. Where are you in the process?
Hugues Aubin: I’m currently working on it together with Xavier Crouan, Head of Digital Innovation at Rennes Métropole. I focus on blind spots, which are quite tricky actually. We pin many hopes on the application contest we’ve just kicked off (NB : competition took place during spring 2011, see: http://www.data.rennes-metropole.fr/ ), even if this project also obviously implies deeper notions.
Grégoire Cliquet: Doesn’t this non-stop connection logic completely oppose the desire to remain anonymous? Though Open Data is a praiseworthy initiative – in that it aims to meet user needs as precisely as possible – ] it also enables everyone to know almost simultaneously what users are doing. Isn’t it a trifle worrying and frightening to be part of an all-knowing and ever-present network?
Hugues Aubin: According to what the law defines as communicable public data, it is forbidden to mention any name-related data that has to do with the Open Data contest. This could not be clearer! Then, the following question must be asked: Could the development of hyper-local services, in a social continuum made up of users equipped with mobile phones and profiles, and by optimizing this service through geo-localization and time-related information, be seen as a means to keep track of the lifestream? It goes without saying that such user profile groups amount to a huge data tracking potential. The city of Rennes has quite a unique approach when it comes to managing the situation. The BUG Association has developed three extremely original projects: The first is a social, geo-localized network called “La ruche” (“the beehive”) that will soon be available on mobile phones; the second is “wikiterritory”; and last but not least, is a portfolio consisting of a set of pages that hosts profiles and upon which knowledge is indexed via tag clouds and roughly-designed, graphic infovisualization. These three projects have something in common: You can subscribe to them without disclosing your real name or e-mail address, reassuring all users that their identity will never be sold to a third party. A user name valid for the three applications enables you to project augmented reality-driven daily planners, or geo-localized wiki. This citizen-oriented platform designed to foster social bonds is physically rooted in meetings called “apéruches” during which debates address digital identity control and “wiki-counter”-type initiatives (encounters bringing together all wikiRennes co-workers). We are fierce defenders of this approach because it is based on a model that enables users to benefit from social network functions completely unrelated to their name, yet still in a position to send a potential employer a resumé, to be contacted by people located nearby, etc. This initiative means a lot to us because we are certain that personal data protection is a hot topic, and that this type of protection is not necessarily incompatible with lifestream functions. To now loosen the stranglehold of the main leaders, new platforms, and especially city-run platforms, will have to be brought to life. Otherwise, we are bound to see digital identity-related disputes erupt everywhere. Some Facebook-type networks are reaching critical size, and this will, undoubtedly, trigger issues. At some point, we’ll, inevitably, be faced with migrations (groups of people who decide via the same social network to migrate to another platform).
Grégoire Cliquet: Indeed. Might this be the case with Diaspora?
Hugues Aubin: I don’t know, but I’ve already seen thousands of avatars migrate to other platforms in less than two weeks. These users did not migrate their 3D objects; they migrated their entire community. We would love to see people initiate an alternative, citizen-oriented solution enabling users to benefit from a portion of the leading networks’ functions without having to buy into their policies, for not everyone has teams as huge as Facebook or Google, and which would harbor some kind of “digital third place.” This third place would embody a network where users could rest assured knowing that they would not be tracked down for business purposes, and where they could carefully balance their degree of extimacy. This is a highly strategic issue in today’s age because the main obstacle keeping people from joining social networks is wariness: Internet users are worried about leaving spoors behind and losing control of their digital identity. Some are even frightened by their nephews’, nieces’ or grandchildren’s behavior within these networks. This fear puts off many, and prevents people from joining although it has been proven that these circles are effective building blocks on the hyperlocal front.
For now, the scope of Édouard Durand’s project mostly encompasses customers who represent brands. However, his service contains a strong value-added that private users could enjoy, and this service is right on the money with regards to extimacy control in terms of both diagnosis and suggestions for action. Thus, this project contributes to making people aware and solving the issue. I am positive that Identiscoop is a truly useful project that will, no doubt, appeal to a large number of local environmental players. Speaking of which, in 2010, the Délégation aux usages d’Internet (a delegation in charge of promoting Internet use advancement in France) released a serious game centered on extimacy control.
It is clear that Édouard Durand could not have chosen a more optimal time to launch his project for it is at the heart of current events.
IdentiscoopManaging and visualizing your spoors on the Internet by Edouard Durand
With personal data being massively spread on the Internet, and increasingly so as web 2.0 is developing, new questions are popping up about how individual and collective identities can be constructed from these digital spoors. Edouard Durand has tackled the notion of individual identity as a construct whose grip seems to be on a gradual slippery slope as more and more spoors linger on the web. In parallel with the massive amount of information shared by Internet users, specific tools have been brought to life, including marketing 2.0, people-tracking websites, digital identity management systems, etc. Satisfaction surveys carried out by the young designer highlight that though many Internet users are aware of the situation, they are still at a loss for how to monitor the information they leave behind on the Internet, and are, for the most part, quite pessimistic on the matter.
Thinking ahead rather than censoring
Most “digital identity” management tools currently on the market are designed to seek information on other people. Edouard Durand has focused on developing fully individual uses all the while striving to educate users, which means explaining how individual identity is perceived on the web, how to visualize it and contribute to its growth so as to, ultimately, master one’s own identity.
Regaining control over personal data
The aim is for users to visualize the information they’ve scattered all over the web, and to understand the why and how behind the information available online; all this with a view to triggering useful thinking about our behaviors and intentions.
Though it is technically impossible to erase all data published, one can modify it, post rights of reply, delete old accounts that continue to disseminate information, contact webmasters to ask them to remove certain content, etc.
Identiscoop, a personal “consulting” tool for Internet-based communication
Identiscoop is a Smartphone-supported service that diagnoses and provides solutions to a wide range of consumers, including those less Internet-savvy. In no time, users can get a glimpse of their “digital identity”, and modify its content if necessary.
In this project, issues revolving around Internet-related ethics are prompted by uncontrolled personal data disclosure. The spoors left behind by Internet users carve stilted identities that have been built over time in contexts where users intervene. The designer’s know-how paves the way toward solutions enabling users to regain a sense of control over what is, in fact, ultimately in perpetual motion.
J. Le Bœuf, Head of Studies, L’École de design Nantes Atlantique
E. Durand has followed the double degree curriculum Virtual Reality, leading to a Master’s Degree in Design and a Master of Science in Virtual Reality & Innovation from Arts et Métiers ParisTech Angers
About Hughes Aubin
ICT Project Manager for the City of Rennes
1993: H. Aubin cut his teeth working in the field of local Telematics (also known as ICT) and the web, first within not-for-profit organizations followed by private companies, and, lastly, for local authorities. Since 2004, he has been working as Project Manager for local authorities of the city of Rennes (Brittany, Western France) with a focus on website deployment, multimedia solutions and information-oriented extranet sites all the while conducting a variety of experimental initiatives based on the notion of “mixed” territories with a view to thinking up convenient services for the local population. H. Aubin’s duties are centered on trend monitoring, experimenting with local residents and bringing ICT to local authorities as a management tool (e-administration). In addition, he has collaborated with a number of national networks (Villes internet, Apronet, groupe cyberterritoire, Avicca, DIACT, Fing, etc.).
On the professional front, he co-founded Rencontres du Net public breton (a large Brittany-based Internet-oriented event), Etés TIC de Bretagne (a regional summertime ICT-led event) and Rencontres Nationales de la communication publique (a nationwide event dedicated to new technologies).
He is also very involved on the extra-curricular front, including the co-founding of the French metaverse library and the cyber-territory Metalab3D (in collaboration with Loïc Hay). In his spare time, Hugues Aubin is fond of mashups, and experiments with digital devices (mixed reality, SMS wall, open source hardware, etc.).
His main publications include: Territoires et cyberespaces en 2030 (co-authored with Pierre Musso), Territoires, création et développement sociétal: pour une logique de la contribution (co-authored with F. Cormerais) and Communication publique et incertitude (co-authored with Maryse Carmes, Loïc Hay et al.).