Blogging was where we began, and how we built our company so we have preserved this archive to show how our thinking developed over a decade of developing the use of social technology inside organisations

Are we seeing a European social software boom?

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(UPDATED 22/04)Mike Butcher had a piece in the Financial Times this week called European unions forged online that looked at the growing boom in social software and online social networks, and suggested that the European market is ripe for the kind of investment boom that we have seen over the past twelve months in the United States. Headshift get a mention in the consulting/development space (in the full version at least ;-), and there is a good survey of some of the more interesting European online social networks, plus coverage of the amazing phenomenon that is Skype
Elsewhere, following on from a conversation we had about this at the last Six Apart event, Robert Andrews writes in Wired about the explosion of usage in France (“Vive les blogs!“), and highlights in particular the use of blogs by schoolchildren, and the inevitable disciplinary issues this has precipitated. Robert also looks for some uniquely French characterstics to explain this rapid adoption

“The French have a long tradition of speaking loudly,” said Loïc Le Meur, a Frenchman and Six Apart‘s European vice president. “We are the people who made the French Revolution, (the national uprising of) May ’68 — and just look at all our strikes! We always want to debate. Perhaps blogs are the ultimate tool for us to express ourselves.”

Neville Hobson also recently remarked on France’s leading role in the European ‘blogosphere’

It looks like the heart of the European business blogosphere is firmly in France. Another non-surprise, then, when you look at what’s also happening in Paris on 25 April – the one-day Les Blogs conference with 223 confirmed participants (so far), of which about half are from France.”

Personally, I think the charismatic figure of Loic Le Meur has a lot to do with this, but I agree it is tempting to think that there is something about the expressive Gallic soul that means people are more likely to share their views than the more conservative Brits or Germans. Mais, je ne sais rien!Loic’s conference in Paris on Monday – – looks set to be one of the most important European social software events we have had to date. I will be speaking with Ross and Euan about corporate blogging and internal communications, and the participant list reads like a who’s who of the industry at this point in time
Still on the theme of European events, Reboot 7 in Copenhagen during June also looks set to be a very interesting gathering

“reboot is the european meetup for the practical visionaries who are building tomorrow one little step at a time, using new models for creation and organization–in a world where the only entry barrier is passion.”

I will be speaking about our experiences of using social software to change the internal fabric of organisations and liberate human potential …. or something like that. Anyway, there are some really great speakers and I have heard good things about reboot, so I am looking forward to it
Europe has a lot to offer in the social software field, as Blogtalk and other events showed last year. The linguistic and cultural diversity we take for granted is a real strength, I think, when it comes to thinking about how to augment human interaction with online tools. I think we will see Europe start to imprint its own identit(ies) on the development of its own social software tools and markets this year
The phrase “small pieces loosely joined” is actually quite an apt description of Europe, and the social software approach to devolved, bottom-up links and aggregation is perhaps closer to the vision of Schuman and Monnet than the top-down institutional model the EU has pursued ever since – and arguably more robust
Certainly we are starting to notice the first opportunities emerging for truly international social software projects in Europe. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come
More here: on technorati

One Response to Are we seeing a European social software boom?

  1. By Elmine on April 22, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Lee,
    I think there definitely is something about to shift in Europe. Just yesterday there was a Dutch blogging event (http://www.blognomics.nl/) I attended. There are some big companies in NL interested in blogging and other types of social software. Some people move away from their day jobs to focus on social software and become independent consultants. Up until now hardly anyone was interested, but now the climate seems to change. Even podcasting is getting a lot of media attention lately.