Call to action: Help me with a panel on European Social Media (by Friday)

I need your help. A few hours ago I was contacted by Robin Grant of UK-based social media agency We Are Social, who told me he could not make it to his own talk at SXSW this Saturday, and could I step in. Speaking at SXSW seems like a pretty big thing to me (hey, it’s SXSW!), so I was hesitant at first, but of course curiosity won in the end. So I’ll be filling in for Robin at this talk:

Lost In Translation: The Nuances Of European Social Media ( Saturday, March 13 at 12:30 PM).

The original announcement:

Europe is ahead of the US in terms of the consumer usage of social media, and yet little attention is often given to the nuances of what is on one hand is the world’s largest economy and on the other a collection of 48 countries with very different cultures. Find out why the blogging scene in Paris is 2 years ahead of the US, the Brits are all a Twitter, the Dutch prefer Hyves to Facebook and the Germans will take any chance to give brands a hostile reception in social media.

For obvious reasons I have no time to really prepare anything, but I’d love to take your collective knowledge about European Social Media into the conversation. Now here’s what I’m asking you: send me your inspiring examples, stats, ideas and thoughts on the topic. Whatever you see fit, let me know about it, and I’ll try to work it in. Help a fellow geek out!

Best way to get in touch about this is via email ( or Twitter (@thewavingcat). Thanks, thanks and thanks!


First off: congrats to getting the slot. Don’t be nervous, you’re awesome and you’ll kill it.

I think one of the main reasons Europe is behind is that it hasn’t been able to create services with an impact on a cross-European level. Holland has Hyves, Germany has/had StudiVZ etc. Europe has no own Twitter or Eurobook, the markets and cultures are still fragmented and the adoption of the big hits like Facebook and Twitter come late.

I think the lack of hardcore engineering (for consumer web startups) and (aside from a few) ballsy serial entrepreneurs is another reason.

It’s hard to generalize and this topic could fill more than just a panel or presentation so I’ll leave it at that and wish you the best success representing Europe in Texas.

Don’t forget to highlight the few but great highlights Europe has to offer ;)

In no particular order, some thoughts on EU vs. US social media:

@stephtara once said (sorry, the link disappeared somewhere…): In America, you’re told to build a personal brand. In France, people would say you talk too much about yourself.

10 European countries outrank the US in broadband penetration

Translation of Facebook’s “Friend” in German. And some guys saying that “A lot of what Facebook does is illegal in Germany” (is that true?) in Financial Times’ A future alongside Facebook:

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