Nicole Simon: A European View on Web 2.0


Nicole Simon gave a great presentation at Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. Topic: A European View on Web 2.0. I strongly suggest watching the slides, no matter if you’re American or work for a US company, or if you’re from somewhere else but deal with US companies a lot: Either way, she’s very much to the point.

The presentation itself is very much self-explaining, so without further ado:

Probably every non-US resident out there who’s somewhat actively involved in the web is familiar with those issues: You can’t sign up for a service, can’t buy a good, and – god beware! – can’t use the service in your local language. The odd thing is: Most netheads at some point just get used to it, and adapt to all the requirements needed to participate: We have Paypal accounts (or had them before there was a local version), order from (instead .de) every now and then, maybe have an American credit card. We speak English, skim NYTimes or Washington Post. I even tried to order MakeZine, but had to cancel the subscription ’cause it took more than 6 weeks to arrive. (Instead I settled for Wired, which is a steep seven times the price abroad compared to the US.) And so on.

And don’t get me wrong: I’m not bitter about any of this. It’s kinda fun, really. But you seriously can’t expect anybody to do that. Which leads to the very odd effect that the web community uses all the US services. But once our families and less webby friends catch up, they often use localized versions, knock-offs, the above-quoted successful copycats, i.e.: everything but the US version, unless it’s translated. (And translated does not just mean another language, but often different sorts of content, different style etc.)

(This, in turn, leads to a sort of digital divide within the web, what someone called a digital divide of the second order: Some people just caught up on how to use email, while others are creating their latest flickr-facebook-netvibes-twitter mashups.)

So this presentation really hit the core. Thanks, Nicole!

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