2.0 Tales: A not so flat world

11 12 2008

This is an old story, but since I never blogged about it, I thought it would be worthwhile to share

In the summer of 2007, I was visiting the IBM’s Banking Industry Solution Centre (BISC) in Barcelona, and was asked to run a session on Web 2.0 and Social Computing to the local team of young developers. At some point, I was mentioning how the world was not actually flat, and how different countries tend to choose distinct online social networks. I then asked: “Facebook is popular in Canada and in the US, Bebo in UK, Orkut in India and Brazil. Which Social Network is popular here in Spain?”. All those young faces were staring at me as if I were the biggest loser on Earth. Then, somebody took the courage and said: “Err. None. Here in Spain, we just go to bars and talk to each other”.

Confirming that assessment, I found later that the Forrester’s European Technographics Benchmark Survey for Q2 2007 revealed that both Spain and France had the lowest number of joiners (those who participate on social networking sites like MySpace) among the European countries included in the research, at 5 and 4% respectively.

The lesson learned was that one-size-fits-all does not apply when it comes to the enterprise adoption of social software. It’s important to understand how different age groups, cultures and personalities react to social computing initiatives and tailor your strategy accordingly.

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La Boquería: Barcelona’s Cool Market

21 01 2008

I did not have much time for sightseeing this time around in Barcelona. In my last day there, I followed the suggestion of a fellow IBMer and visited La Boquería, also known as Mercat St Josep. I couldn’t sleep past 5:30 am anyway, so I just had breakfast in the Calderón Hotel and left for the market.

This market is a great place to visit, especially in the early morning hours, while merchants are still getting ready for the day. Like many other markets in large centres, visiting La Boquería is a very sensorial experience. Unlike the ones I have been to before, the one in Barcelona has a large variety of fresh seafood, some of which I had never seen before. When I say fresh, I mean REALLY fresh: some of them were still moving.

Hopefully, next time I go to a tapas bar, I’ll know the difference between chipirones and calamares. And when I see barnacles on the beach from now on, I’ll check if they are the expensive – and weird – variety seen in the two pictures at the bottom of this post.