Europe is us.

(Translation in Italian at the bottom)

Hi. My name is Francesca.

Last February I got 30, after a week from my moving back to Brescia, Italy, after 4 years of living in London, UK.

London changed me a lot. London itself changed a lot over the years that I lived there.

I moved 6 times in 4 years. The neighbourhood where I have lived for the longest period is Brixton. I fell in love with it. Brixton is one of the most multiethnic neighbourhoods of the city.

If there is anything that I certainly brought with me back to Italy, it is indeed the passion for multi-culture environments.

I am part of that generation of people born between 2000 and 1981, called “Millennials”. Despite all the flaws that my generation has, as well as any generation, I am particularly proud of being part of it.

In 2015 Eventbrite published a research which states that for Millennials “happiness isn’t as focused on possessions or career status. Living a meaningful, happy life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences that span the spectrum of life’s opportunities” (Eventbrite, 2015). My generation is switching from materialism to experiencialism, as well underlines James Wallman in his book “Stuffocation”.

I believe it is not a case, indeed, that within my peers there are more people that invest in travels and experiences of all sorts, than people who buy a car (I am not considering the parents bought ones) or ask for a mortgage. Obviously the crisis of the labour market made the second choice more difficult, if not improbable, for my generation of freelancers, however in London as well as in Brescia I have seen and I still see an entirely different approach to life and money. I have met people who have worked over weekends and summers for two, three, five years in order to afford to leave and travel for a year or so. With the same money they could have bought a new car.

We are definitely a generation of travellers. It is not a coincidence that the percentage of “digital nomads” is increasing.

I have friends in half of the European Countries, and also in other Continents.

Will I ever see them again? I hope so, but even if I would not, I will always have the memory of the experiences that I lived with them and it will be much more valuable than all the t-shirts I could ever buy at Primark, or all the skirts of H&M, or all the Zara shoes.

It’s been months that I hear people speaking about “Brexit”, and, actually, years that I hear people speaking about “Italexit”. Economical problems, immigration dealing problems, political problems.

I believe that if we want the European Union to work we have to be the first to feel it as part of our culture, and to celebrate it.

I believe that, as generation, we have the honour and duty of representing Europe, at least the one we would like, at least among us, because we know it certainly better than who takes the decisions for us. Because our experiences overthrew mental blocks and prejudices. Because we have friends in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brighton, Dublin, Southampton, Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, Porto, Reims, Hamburg, Bruxelles, Prague, Athen.

Because this ethereal Europe, in the end, is us.

The 9th of May is the Europe Day. Our party. Let’s celebrate it, let’s believe in it.

(post originally published on my Medium)

L’Europa siamo noi.

(traduzione in Italiano)

Ciao. Mi chiamo Francesca.

Ho compiuto 30 anni a Febbraio, ad una settimana dal mio ritorno a Brescia dopo 4 anni a Londra.

Londra mi ha cambiata molto. Londra stessa è cambiata molto, negli anni in cui ci ho vissuto.

Ho fatto 6 traslochi in 4 anni. Il quartiere in cui ho vissuto per più tempo è Brixton, di cui mi sono innamorata. Brixton è uno dei quartieri più multietnici della metropoli.

Se c’è qualcosa che sicuramente mi sono portata in Italia, infatti, è la passione per la multiculturalità.

Io appartengo alla generazione delle persone nate tra il 2000 e il 1981, i “Millennials”. Nonostante tutti i difetti che la mia, come ogni generazione sicuramente ha, sono particolarmente fiera di esserne parte.

Nel 2015 Eventbrite ha pubblicato una ricerca in cui sostiene che per i Millennials “la felicità non è focalizzata su averi o carriera. Vivere una vita piena di significato, una vita felice, riguarda anzi il creare, il condividere e il catturare ricordi costruiti attraverso esperienze che allargano lo spettro delle opportunità della vita” (Eventbrite, 2015). La mia generazione sta passando dal materialismo all’esperienzialismo, come ben ci fa notare James Wallman nel suo libro “Stuffocation”.

Non credo sia un caso, infatti, che tra i miei coetanei ci siano più persone che investono in viaggi e esperienze di diverso tipo, rispetto a persone che acquistano un’auto (non considero di quelle regalate dai genitori) o aprono un mutuo. Sicuramente la crisi del mercato del lavoro ha reso la seconda scelta più difficile, se non improbabile, per la mia generazione di freelancers, tuttavia a Londra e a Brescia ho visto e vedo un approccio del tutto diverso alla vita e all’uso del denaro. Ho conosciuto ragazzi che hanno lavorato durante i weekend e d’estate per due, tre, cinque anni per poter poi permettersi di partire e viaggiare un anno intero. Con gli stessi soldi avrebbero potuto sicuramente comprarsi un’automobile.

Siamo effettivamente una generazione di viaggiatori. Non è un caso che la percentuale di “nomadi digitali” sia in aumento.

Io ora ho amici in mezza Europa, nonchè in altri continenti.

Li rivedrò mai? Spero di sí, ma se anche non li rivedessi più, mi rimarrà sempre il ricordo delle esperienze che ho vissuto con loro e varrà molto di più di tutte le magliette che potrei mai comprarmi da Primark, o tutte le gonne di H&M, o le scarpe di Zara.

Sono mesi che sento parlare di “Brexit”, e in realtà anni che sento parlare di “Italexit”, anche se non con questa espressione. Problemi economici, problemi di gestione dell’immigrazione, problemi politici.

Io credo che se vogliamo che l’Unione Europea funzioni dobbiamo noi essere i primi a sentirla parte della nostra cultura, e a celebrarla.

Credo che, come generazione, abbiamo l’onere e l’onore di rappresentare l’Europa, almeno quella che vorremmo, almeno tra di noi, perchè la conosciamo sicuramente meglio di chi prende le decisioni per noi. Perchè le nostre esperienze hanno abbattuto barriere e pregiudizi. Perchè abbiamo amici a Londra, Parigi, Amsterdam, Brighton, Dublino, Southampton, Barcellona, Madrid, Berlino, Porto, Reims, Amburgo, Bruxelles, Praga, Atene.

Perchè questa fantomatica Europa, alla fine, siamo noi.

Il 9 Maggio è la Festa d’Europa. La nostra festa. Celebriamola, crediamoci.

Sabato all’Abba, Domenica in Piazza Vittoria e Lunedí all’Informagiovani: tre giorni in cui Brescia festeggia l’Europa. Siamoci.

(post originariamente pubblicato sul mio Medium)


Digital Divide in Customer Service

digital divide in customer serviceYesterday I had a very bad customer experience with Telecom Italia Mobile, the main telephone service provider of Italy. The detailed story is available here.


What got me frustrated the most was their incompetence in doing customer service on Twitter. The TIM operator’s replies to my tweets were always the same, so that at one point I even thought it was an automated profile. It wasn’t, but, still, as a customer, I felt treated like a number that wasn’t making a difference in TIM’s budget. Well, indeed, that is true, but today every smart entrepreneur knows that customers engagement and loyalty is crucial to any company. Also, I would say, it is important in particular for telephone service providers, because as soon as customers are unhappy they move towards another telephone company, don’t they?

That’s why, just to stay on topic, my UK telephone company, O2, rewards loyal customers with prices and discounts. Their online presence is absolutely awesome, and their efficiency and creativity on Twitter is exemplar. For instance, here’s the promo video of their #TweetServe campaign, just to give you an idea of how they constantly innovate their customer service.


Speaking more generally, other examples of efficient and customer-centred replies of customer service operators on Twitter can be found on a post of The Drum, dated 2012 — we are in 2015, and TIM still doesn’t get it. The article shows how O2, Sainsbury’s, East Coast Trains and Smart Car personalise their tweets in relation to the style of the customer, they make clever use of slang, write hilarious comments and just reply as they were real people — which, ops! They actually are! Operators aren’t machines, are them?


This is actually my point: doing customer service on Twitter — well, on any platform, but on social media even more — means first of all listening to each customer’s problem (listening= reading carefully and especiallyempathically), then trying to solve it or at least providing them with the moreinformation available. Finally it means giving real answers, not pro forma, and adding a little bit of personality.


Be patient and have a nice day, the TIM operator’s reply to my tweets (the same for 3 times, by the way) was cold, impersonal and, frankly, it just made me feel like an idiot. As I wrote in my previous post, not a sorry, not an apology for the inconvenience. @telecomitalia tweets were even worst: they asked me what was the problem, and once I told them they just replied we know that a TIM operator was already in contact with you, ask him for info.

This post was previously published on Medium, here.