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Europe: Social media backwater?

23. 03. 2009.

I posted recently on the NowEurope site wondering about whether Europe was sleeping through the Twitter revolution. As I’ve been sceptical for a long time about Europe’s competitiveness (although I wish I could say otherwise), and as I’ve been more involved with “social media” (or whatever you might want to call it) lately, I’ve been thinking and trying to watch and observe: where is Europe in this new paradigm, particularly in relation to our dear friends across the Atlantic?

Well, here’s a measure. Mashable is arguably one of the more relevant sources of information on social media, Web 2.0 etc. etc. etc. Just today on Twitter there was a new, routine tweet: Mashable published a calendar of upcoming “Social Media and Web Events”. Well, I thought, this might be a nice oppotunity to take a rule-of-thumb measurement of US vs. Europe and the “rest of world” – which event was happening where, and, in particular, how many events from particular geographies would be listed on this calendar?

Well you probably won’t be shocked or surprised but the results were, to me, even more depressing (from a European standpoint) than I expected. US beats Europe 30:5, with Canada scoring 3 and Israel 1.

Clearly this is not an objective, committee-based, paperwork-heavy doctoral thesis and analysis. It’s just one of the more popular and authoritative web sites where flocks of experts and other interested people go for information. Probably it wouldn’t be hard to guess that Mashable carries more weight in the tech world than all the EU sites & portals put together.

So: America rocks & rips, EU plods and tags along. Not so encouraging, but better to be aware of it than close our eyes and pat ourselves on the back 🙂


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  1. I would say that Europe is far from lagging behind when it comes to social media, and especially using this list of events is misleading. First of all, Europe has had its share of online social media successes — iWiW, Xing, even Tulumarka; actually, if we check the list of social networking sites it’s noticeable that the majority is either based or popular in Europe. (That being said, I’ve always wondered how come Skype never turned its popularity to a SN site?)

    And regarding the Mashable’s list you link to, I notice a number of glaring omissions which would make the rate you quote much more favourable for Europe. You should compare the list with the one I’m running on Upcoming and which is aggregated here, and you’ll see a few events they have missed: The Next Web in Amsterdam; WWW 2009 in Madrid; Internet World, WebTech eXchange, Mobile Web 2.0 Summit, Fuel 2009 and @media 2009, all in London. The list goes up only to July, but autumn has a few of the really important events, such as Picnic 09 in Amsterdam, The Future of Web Apps in London, LeWeb in Paris, and of course Web.Start in Zagreb. 🙂

    And I even didn’t mention the borderline events such as Red Herring or TED Global, strictly local events such as PODIM or Web::Strategija, a bunch of BarCamps and of course the mini Seedcamps.

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