living in Europe: my social media withdrawal

September 10, 2010 at 11:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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When I first moved to Germany there was one thing that surprised me — posters. Tacked up on lamposts, pasted to buildings, these advertisements for tradefairs and concerts are on every main corner. Of course, staid Germany would never allow for rampant posters, but the point is that the communication was like being thrown back in time.

Since I got here I have been wondering, where are the websites? Where are the social media?  The websites I do find are built as photo images, or if they are halfway decent they are probably owned but the government, like Stadt Bonn. There is no where to interact, just a growing list of websites I should awkwardly check if I want to know if anything is going on. But complaining about social media in Germany is too easy — I should not let myself get caught up in sloppy thinking. There must be some good social media being used in Germany and Europe. Its time to be better informed.

First, what are Germans doing online?

View the full slide show here from Trend Stream.

According to this study, motivations in Germany to use social media are first, to research purchases, and second stay up to date on news and events. (Which is similar to the US- the same categories are important to Americans, but they do them at greater levels). But as a culture, Germans do not shop — you can’t use a credit card here if your life depended on it — and this must ultimately limit web purchasing.  And, traditional news via the printed newspaper, radio and TV had not seen many of the changes the have hit the American media. News comes on the hour on public-private stations in a even-keeled voice, and there are few pundits or opinions.

But maybe, living in Bonn, a small city, I am just in a social media withdrawal that would occur if I had moved to the middle of Indiana…. but I doubt it, because I would still watch TV that would drive me online (to share a pissed off opinion to Fox news… or look something up I saw on TV). It’s probably more like the same withdrawal I would get to moving to any small town in a country where I do not speak the language. I think it is more an urban-rural barrier. Apparently London is the social media capital of the world according to top number of users of Digg, Twitter and FB. And Russians are the giant social media users of all of Europe (see the Trendstream slide show.)

The differences in social media use in Europe and the US is a subject for a book — one that would immediately go out of date. But, my new plan is to SEEK out this information and make a more informed analysis, instead of just grumble about what I miss from NYC. First order of business, find some hot social media Euro bloggers to read regularly.

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