During the blogger embark on the USS Nimitz this past May, I enjoyed learning how social media is being used aboard an aircraft carrier at sea. Similarly, when I was invited to join the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris, I looked forward to experiencing social media in France first hand. Especially with - as fellow Geek Matthew Buckland referred to - a "top secret, Illuminati-type organization". Except we were not secret about anything as we all share openly our thoughts online.
True to expectations, only moments into the first Traveling Geeks French start-ups meetings and LeWeb discussions, the similarities and differences of social media around the globe quickly came to light. Similarities were easy to see in the programming and features of application development, which quickly proved to a be a global language. As for differences, they fell primarily into three buckets (with comedy insight provided by a Current TV video on the bottom of this post):
1. Where are the girl geeks in Paris? I know there are girl geeks in Paris; I found a link to my favorite Girl Geek Dinner organization in Paris. I did enjoy talking with Anne-Celine Jeanneau from Zoomorama (pictured, right) at the Paris Digital Content Companies Incubator. While fellow Traveling Geek Eliane Fiolet lives in the US now, she was born in France and is one of the most knowledgeable geeks I know! I was thrilled to see Geraldine Le Meur on the LeWeb stage, someone who ranks TOPS in my Tech Mom Twitter list.
When I visit different countries, I don't keep track of how many women versus men I am meeting with. But I do enjoy seeing women globally communicate their strong, social media voice. In Silicon Valley, I connect with girl geeks through BlogHer, She's Geeky, Anita Borg Institure, Women 2.0, Girl Geek Dinners and Girls in Tech (and more). While I don't expect every area to have so many groups, I do enjoy meeting with local girl geek organizations while I am traveling and sharing ideas. Renee Blodgett and Eliane Fiolet worked hard to have diversity in the Traveling Geeks crew. Back in the US, BlogHer is researching into how women use social media: "BlogHer Team to Bring Research and Insights About How Women Use Social Media, Blogs to the White House and Republican Leadership".
2. European Geeks Out Style Silicon Valley Geeks: While Silicon Valley geeks put on a clean tee shirt for tech conferences, European geeks take it up a notch. Here is a random geek waiting in line for LeWeb. I told him I was chronicling European Geek Chic. He looked confused but smiled for the camera. To top it off, he and many other Euro-geeks paired the geek uniform of jeans with a nice pair of (non-sneaker) shoes.
Just to keep up with the style, I put on every black and stylish piece of clothing I had. If I had time, I would of shopped from the assortment of beautiful french scarves to take my outfit up a notch. Luckily I am back home in my gym clothes, which is my preferred blogging uniform.
3. Where are the conversations? Person to Person or Twitter to Twitter?: In Silicon Valley, online social networking ID names rival business cards as a means for introduction and maintaining contact; I introduce myself as "TechMama on Twitter". My perspective is that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are required applications for global business interaction, especially for those wanting to do business in the US. These applications are becoming the center of the conversation, with complimentary applications being built around them.