In less than a week, I’ll be in Paris for Le Web 3. It is my first conference in Europe. And the first time I have been back to Paris since studying there 20 years ago. I majored in french literature but my last true french conversation occurred one year after my return from Paris on that last final back in 1987.
I am familiar with the subject matter being presented at Le Web. But I also know that I understand very little about the European perspective about social media. Why? I am an American web guy.
And I guess that is what I find so exciting about returning to Paris. I feel like I am about to visit a place I feel I know so well yet barely at all. But really what I will see is a new visage that I will look at from every angle to try and discover something that I remember from my days there as a young man.
Will my views about the Internet change, too? Will I see a new face to the web? How will my views be affected from my years here in the states?
And so, I am arming myself with questions to help alter my American web guy perspective:
- Is RSS an important a tool for Europeans as many of my colleagues here in the states view it? Will RSS see faster adoption in 2007 as many expect to occur next year in the states? Who is using RSS? How?
- How is user generated content viewed? From a European perspective, how is it viewed differently than in the US?
- Are copyright concerns creating a chilling affect as they seem to be here in the US? How is copyright law affecting European net culture?
- In the US, we have a seeming red hot love for social networks these days. Is the love as strong in Europe? How is it different?
- What is the next, cool thing in mobile social networks?
- What about downloads? Are Europeans as mad about downloads in Europe as we are in the US? What are the download barriers? What is the role of the broadband vendors in Europe? How do people download? Are there methods people use to keep costs down?
- How is video shared? Do Europeans care about video sharing? What is the hot mobile equivalent?
- Is there really a debate about web 2.0 in Europe and how it compares to the US? In what ways do Europeans feel they are ahead? How do they feel they are behind? What are the dynamics affecting the balance?
- What is the talk about widgets in Europe?
- How is streaming viewed? Flash-based players?
- How are independent artists and musicians using the Internet in Europe? In what ways is it thriving? What examples are there that it is not?
We’ll see. I have dozens of other questions I could ask. Are these too simple? Obvious? I could get the answer to many of these simply through research. But I do find that personal reporting, asking questions, helps me understand a bit more about my own perspectives. I know that sounds obvious. And I admit, I have other motives, too. I want to meet people. I want to make some new friends. And hopefully return from Paris with knowledge that makes me more than just an American web guy.