About Christel Van Der Boom

Christel Van Der Boom

Christel Van Der Boom has lived in the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. (Massachusetts and Northern California). She is a communicator who is passionate about the Web, media, technology and music, and their impact on people’s daily lives.

Her professional experience covers public relations, marketing, corporate communications, as well as social media programs. Currently, Christel heads up marketing and communications at The Ellerdale Project. Most recently, she was senior vice president at Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm. She has a track record of establishing leadership positions for Internet and technology companies.

Early in her career Christel worked at public radio stations in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and in Tuebingen, Germany. She holds a master's degree in communications from the University of Amsterdam.


Latest Posts by Christel Van Der Boom

Sarah Palin’s Alaska

November 15, 2010 by  

Share:

Last night, the reality show Sarah Palin’s Alaska started. On the TLC website, the station that broadcasts the show, I noticed they call it a documentary. I guess that’s a form of reality TV…

I didn’t watch it and am not planning on though I’m sure I’ll see bits and pieces of it because I expect people to share the best (and worst) parts on social networking sites.

Palini also published a book and she is frequently asked to speak at events, for which she charges something north of $75K.

We constantly see polls about how popular Palin is and many people wonder if she will run for president in 2012. She says she’s considering it and she was extreme active in the recent mid-term elections.

The other day, I heard an expert on TV say that she would never be able to win an election and that she probably know this. But by merely keeping the speculations alive, she’s able to generate more interest for all her other endeavors and keep the prices up. Interesting theory…

Burning Man: A Week Free From Commerce

October 10, 2010 by  

Share:

In a capitalist society like America, it’s hard to get away from commercialism. Here, TV and radio shows are interrupted every few minutes for commercials, alternative music festivals are supported by brand name advertisers and public radio or sports stadiums couldn’t exist without corporate sponsors.

Burning Man is an exception to that rule. This annual art festival, held in the Nevada desert, keeps commercialism at bay, which makes it a very unique experience. Well, and there are a few other reasons that make it unique too… Burning Man is all about self-expression and participation, so it’s not your middle-of-the-road art festival. Everyone is adding to the experience.

The festival attracts around 40,000 people each year, which means that for one week out of the year a city of tents, RV’s and trailers arises on a dried lake bed –fondly called the Playa by Burners– in the middle of nowhere. This place actually has a name: Black Rock City and you can find it on Google maps even though it only exists on week a year. (The Google founders are known to be Burners, as are many others in Silicon Valley.) The only two things you can buy at the festival are coffee and ice, served by volunteers.

Everything else, you have to bring yourself, though chances are that you’ll drink someone else’s wine and eat their food.  Two of Burning Man’s mottoes are: extreme self-reliance and gifting.

In Black Rock City there is a gifting economy, often confused with a barter economy. When I was there this year, a man come by our camp with homemade beef jerky and another one with blackberry jam. We walked along the Esplanade (the street closest to the open space in the center) and received free pizza, free champagne and free popcicles from people who were just having fun handing these things out. Then there are the many bars and party tents where you just have to hold up your cup to get a sip of whatever they are serving.

Burning Man is like a Utopia; an ideal world where money doesn’t matter.  Everyone who’s ever been has wondered for at last one moment why life can’a always be like this because the world seems to be better off this way…

For the record: Burning Man isn’t free. A ticket for the 2010 event cost up $360, depending on when you bought it (the closer it gets to the event date, the higher the price of a ticket). If you do the math that can easily lead to a revenue of $10 million or more. Apparently, in the last years, Burning Man has been turning a decent profit. Ironically, this has led to disagreements among the three founders. Maybe they should go back to their own founding principles….

Burning Man to Get Away from Commercialism

September 5, 2010 by  

Share:

In a capitalist society like America, it’s hard to get away from commercialism. Here, TV and radio shows are interrupted every few minutes for commercials, alternative music festivals are supported by brand name advertisers and public radio or sports stadiums couldn’t exist without corporate sponsors.

Burning Man is an exception to that rule. This annual art festival, held in the Nevada desert, keeps commercialism at bay, which makes it a very unique experience. Well, and there are a few other reasons that make it unique too.

The festival attracts around 40,000 people each year, which means that for one week out of th eyear a city of tents, RV’s and trailers arises on a dried up lake bed, called the Playa, in the middle of nowhere. It actually has a name: Black Rock City. The only two things you can buy here are coffee and ice, served by volunteers. Everything else, you have to bring yourself, though chances are that you’ll drink someone else’s wine and eat their food. In Black Rock City there is a gifting eceonomy, often confused with a barter economy. We had a man come by our camp with homemade beef jerky and blackberry jam.

We walked along the Esplanade and received free pizza and then there are the many bars where you just have to hold up your cup to get whatever they are serving Burning Man is all about self-reliance, self-expression and participation, not focused on commercialism.

San Francisco’s Cafe Culture

August 9, 2010 by  

Share:

San Francisco is one of the cities in America that has a real cafe culture. There are lots of cafes on street corners; in addition to the big chains like Starbucks and Peet’s there are many little coffee shops owned by locals.

The concept of a cafe is somewhat different here than in The Netherlands, where I’m originally from, or most place in Europe for that matter. As a European, I grew up with cafes as places that also serve alcohol. When you go there for a cup of coffee you take your time, sit down and have a conversation with the person you came with. It’s a moment of relaxation. You get your coffee in a ceramic cup, order it from a waiter or waitress and don’t get is to go.

When you go into a cafe in San Francisco, chances are you see a lot of people with laptops. Everyone seems to be working. It doesn’t look like fun at all! The thing is that people approach the cafe differently. More like: you have to work anyway, you may as well do it in a pleasurable environment.

You order your coffee at the counter. Hardly anyone orders a straight-forward cup of black coffee anymore, or even a cup with cream and sugar. A lot of people even go beyond a regular cappuccino, and order one with soy milk. And of course, you have to decide which size you want.

Another thing that’s typical about cafe culture here are the baristas, the people that make your cup of Joe. They take coffee seriously… especially lattes and cappuccinos. By the way they pour the milk in the cup, they make little pieces of art.

World Cup in San Francisco

Share:

In 2005, I moved from Amsterdam to San Francisco. This year, was the second time I experienced the World Cup while living in the US and it was quite different from four years ago. Four years ago, I would have missed the whole event if I hadn’t gone looking for it. Now, it’s clearly in the mainstream media. Besides the fact that the U.S. had a better team and won some games, there were a few other reasons why this soccer tournament was more popular.

Probably, the main reason for all the media coverage this year is the fact that ESPN bought the rights to all the games this year. Four years ago, only the Spanish language Univision had the right to broadcast the games in the US. On top of that, FIFA, International Federation of Association Football (aka soccer) has been promoting the sport heavily in America.

Another big difference with the 2006 World Cup was social media. On the first day of World Cup, Twitter went down more than once because around the world people were talking about it. Americans were automatically part of this global conversation. On Facebook I saw many of my friends in the U.S. post about the World Cup as well. It was fun to see who was rooting for which team.

The World Cup was alive in the Bay Area! Many of my friends seemed genuinely interested in the games and were watching them at home and in bars. It makes sense. If I look at the people who live here, many of them are like me: they moved here from other countries, or their parents did. Everyone was rooting for their own team without a sense of rivalry. The fact that we were all interested in the World Cup rather bonded us. It’s one of the things that makes the Bay Area great and unique.

World Cup finals at the Civic Center in San FranciscoIt made the World Cup 2010 more fun for me. As the Netherlands progressed and kept winning games, my friends were rooting for me and my team. On my Facebook wall, my friends put “Go Orange”, which gradually changed to “Hup Holland hup” as they figured out that’s how we cheer on our team in Dutch.

This all came to an epiphany on July 11, the day of the finals when Spain won from The Netherlands. The City of San Francisco had put up a couple of big screens at the Civic Center and hundreds came out in the colors of the two countries. And even though my team lost that day, it was an amazing experience.