When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Panodyssey is a creative and collaborative platform where professionals and non-professionals creators alike can share their fiction or nonfiction content. It brings together writers and readers around common values that reconcile ethics and the digital world.
Image of a collection of pens.
Corporate News

Can A Collaborative Writing Platform Serve As A Springboard For Europe’s Culture Sector?

The digital age has brought about significant changes in all industries. The cultural sector is no exception, with the rise of social media sparked a bonafide revolution in the way musicians, filmmakers, writers, etc., create and share their content. In Europe, the issue is particularly salient in the writing world, as the region faces a lack of alternatives to the American and Chinese social media platforms dominating the market in terms of online text diffusion. Alexandre Leforestier, the founder of Panodyssey, an innovative social network dedicated to authors and readers, recently shared his thoughts on the need for a European digital industry that serves the culture, citizens, and democracies of Europe.

Panodyssey, the collaborative platform gathering professionals and non-professionals creators, was born out of a simple idea: the need for Europe to create a solid and independent European digital industry. In a recent interview [in French] with Club Italie France, Panodyssey’s founder Alexandre Leforestier said that while both American and Chinese cultures have their respective, undeniable benefits, he believes it is crucial for Europe to build its own thriving digital industry that promotes European values and caters to European citizens. This is the driving force behind Panodyssey, which aims to offer a platform that fosters a peaceful and advertisement-free social environment, respects users' behavior and choices, and provides transparent algorithmic functions.

The dominance of American and Chinese tech giants, such as the GAFAM and TikTok, in content distribution to European internet users has raised concerns about the bloc’s cultural leadership on the internet. Leforestier stressed that the distribution of content should not be exclusively controlled by said tech giants. Instead, Europe needs to rise to new challenges and create a strong European alternative that combines ethics and digital innovation while combating digital pollution.

Lessons from the music industry

The European Commission has shown a strong commitment to addressing these concerns and establishing a new digital framework focused on transparency, protection, sovereignty, and regulation. The Panodyssey founder commended the efforts of European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Thierry Breton, who encouraged entrepreneurs and investors to create new projects in line with Europe's digital strategy. This strategic support from the European Commission has provided a favorable environment for Panodyssey and similar innovative initiatives.

Drawing from his extensive experience in the music industry, Alexandre Leforestier highlighted the early impact of the digital revolution on music distribution. His journey in the music industry, witnessing deep changes in the way people consume and share music, taught him valuable lessons about innovation and the inner workings of major American tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and YouTube.

Europe needs to rise to new challenges and create a strong European alternative that combines ethics and digital innovation while combating digital pollution.

With Panodyssey, Leforestier aims to disrupt the current paradigm where the GAFAM dictate the rules, often at the expense of publishers, distributors, and authors who face the threat of extinction — instead providing a platform for authors and publishers to come together in a community that shares the same values and vision. The goal: to develop innovative solutions and tools that promote high-quality content and offer new possibilities for creators.

Panodyssey's approach is distinct from existing social media platforms: By certifying all user accounts, the platform establishes a trusted digital space where individuals, organizations, and brands have full control over their names and reputations. This certification process also safeguards intellectual property by creating automated registers linked to certified accounts. Additionally, Panodyssey allows users to customize and control the algorithmic system, creating a more personalized experience that does not rely on advertising models. The resulting reading experience is therefore in a unique position to attract a quality audience, ultimately benefiting publishers, authors, and readers alike.

In tune with Europe’s values — and goals

Panodyssey's innovative approach aligns with the European Commission's efforts to build a more ethical and user-centric digital landscape. By emphasizing transparency, personalized content discovery, and the promotion of diverse high-quality content in European languages, Panodyssey contributes to the broader vision of a strong European digital industry.

One distinctive feature of Panodyssey is its commitment to supporting European languages and cultures. The platform encourages the creation and discovery of content in various European languages, promoting linguistic diversity and cultural exchange. This focus on multilingualism sets Panodyssey apart from other global platforms that primarily operate in English, catering to a more diverse and localized audience.

As Panodyssey continues to grow and evolve, Alexandre Leforestier envisions partnerships with European publishers and media outlets to further amplify the platform's reach and impact. By collaborating with established players in the industry, Panodyssey can tap into existing networks and leverage their expertise to expand its user base and provide more opportunities for content creators.

Panodyssey aims to play a crucial role in fostering a vibrant and diverse digital ecosystem.

With its focus on ethics, transparency, personalized experiences, and support for European languages and cultures, Panodyssey represents a promising initiative that aims to redefine the digital landscape in Europe by offering an alternative to dominant global platforms. It has the potential to empower content creators, foster cultural exchange, and provide a space that aligns with the values and aspirations of European citizens.

As Europe continues to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the digital age, such projects, along with the support of the European Commission and other relevant programs, play a crucial role in fostering a vibrant and diverse digital ecosystem that reflects the rich cultural heritage of the continent.

Eating Through Lockdown
Kay (Karen Patricia) Redrup*

Eating Through Lockdown

-Sponsored content-

Lockdown was severe in Istanbul. No sooner had Wuhan shut down, than we did. We are a city that never sleep: social and always out — in cafes, bars and tea-gardens.

How were we to cope with lockdown? I made a quick call to my close friend David, permanently stationed in Bangkok, but who was on mission for the UN in Eastern Turkey at the time: "Dave, they are closing Istanbul's borders at midnight, if you don't get here now you will be shut out". And so, my bubble was formed, Dave, my son and myself. Every evening Dave, skilled at many things but not cooking, came over for dinner. After which we'd go for a walk down the quiet streets until curfew, where he'd drop me off at my house before scuttling back to his home a few doors down.

Some days, lockdown was even more severe and I'd prepare food for Dave to warm up at home over four days that we were forbidden to leave our homes. A month into lockdown, I'd watched Tiger King, I'd considered making sourdough bread and wondered how best to serve my time, in what I now saw as a form of prison. Good behavior would get us out early, so I wasn't prepared to break any rules.

Oh my god — wow that is good.

Facebook came into its own with friends and friends of friends posted up pictures of their banana bread and sour dough recipes. And then an alumnus of my school in Singapore posted up an old handwritten recipe on Facebook. It was for basic chicken curry.

Suspiciously, I viewed the ingredients.

They were simple and I wondered how this dish could impress my tastebuds. “Oh my god”, "Wow that is good”. We all exclaimed. I immediately wrote to Americk and asked him to send me more. Every day he did and we began cooking in tandem, sharing our pictures of each meal.

Family photograph provided by the authorPersonal archive

As the days passed Americk and I struck up a friendship, fueled by the recipes but not limited to them. We wrote from the soul of all we had lived, we shared fears, loves and thoughts. And then we discovered a friendship that pre-dated even us. While he was clearing his desk drawers (as we all did in those early days of quarantine), he found a photograph of his parent’s wedding. In that group photo, I recognized my parents, as well as my aunt and my grandmother.

Our story actually began with them. When my grandmother was returning to Singapore from a trip to the UK, she met Americk’s mother on the boat. During the six-week voyage to Asia, the two women formed a bond. Americk’s British mother was on a life-changing journey: to marry and settle in a new country. With no friends of her own in the tropics, my grandmother suggested her daughter (my auntie Pat) as her matron of honor. That contact came with my father and my mother.

His dishes have unlocked a camphor wood box of memories.

Dutch in origin, my mother, too, had recently moved to Singapore; a land far removed from her native Holland. Americk’s father and mine were both lawyers of Indian descent, thus cementing another similarity in our friendship. To learn that Americk and I had a pre-history was exciting. We had no idea of this link when he posted the first recipe. Nor did we know that Americk’s mother had taken us together, along with my sister, for our polio vaccine when we were children.

Today, neither Americk nor I live in the country of our birth. He resides mostly in Perth, with a law practice in Kuala Lumpur. He cooks these dishes from his past to ensure they live in his present. For me, they have unlocked a camphor wood box of memories: of eateries, hawker stalls, social gatherings and family. And spurred me to write a cookbook containing all the gems Americk sent me.

In them is our story which is not just about food, but also about connections, journeys, and adventures — and always about friendship, family and homeland.

*The author, of Singaporean and Dutch origins, currently works as a chef in Istanbul. She also blogs on expatalchemist.com.

This article was chosen as the winning entry of the joint Panodyssey-Worldcrunch writing contest "My Pandemic Story."