Are there cultural differences in social media?

As ashamed as I am to admit it, I am very simple-minded when it comes to cultural differences.  I have been outside of my home country once; I traveled to Fulda, Germany, in 2009 for a two week study abroad trip during college.  It may have opened my eyes to cultural diversity when I was there; however, I know the experience was not enough to keep them open long-term.

For my blog post this month, I had the opportunity to talk social media with seven SMC members from around the globe.  

Syed Raza of SMC Delhi, India. 
Erno Hannick of SMC Amsterdam, Netherlands. 
Simon Small of SMC Melbourne, Australia.
Yasser Monkachi and Lamia Benhiba of SMC Casablanca, Morocco.
Carla Miranda of SMC Lima, Peru. 

I asked them all the same five questions and was quite surprised with the answers.

Describe the local technology scene in your city:

Yasser and Lamia: The local tech scene is very active for an emerging city like Morocco #Twittoma is a unique experience and community of Moroccan Tweeps.  
Simon: Melbourne has a vibrant collect of start-up, technology, social media and digital events, unfortunately since Australia is so far from headquarters it makes it difficult to get insight from the big players like Google and Facebook.
Erno: SMC Amsterdam is one of fourteen Social Media Club’s in the Netherlands.  The city has so many different events, you have to be selective if you don’t want to be out every night.  

Is your community fairly new to social media or more advanced?

Syed: Yes, India is experiencing social media upbeat only from 2009.
Erno: Our community is more advanced in social media.  A lot of marketing agencies and large companies have offices in Amsterdam.
Carla: There is a small group of people that have advanced knowledge, but the general opinion is that even the agencies and consultants are still learning.  

Is there a large business community supporting innovation around digital?

Simon: Not that I’m aware of, there’s a vibrant start-up community, but big organizations are not that proactively innovative.
Yasser and Lamia: Some businesses have started showing interest to social media essentially as a marketing differentiator.  They still haven’t come to the point of supporting communities, setting up standards or nurturing innovative projects.
Erno: Yes, we see marketers and communication managers from large companies as well as independent professionals attending SMC Amsterdam.  

When was your local Social Media Club first established and how has it grown?

Yasser and Lamia: Our club was established in May 2011, but our community has already grown.  The interest in the club’s activities is rising. 
Syed: SMC Delhi was established in 2009 and SMC Assam is in process.  If approved, it will be the chapter with the largest number of members. 
Carla: We started our activities in June 2010 (celebrating Social Media Day for the first time.)  Since then, the community has grown a lot and we have gained recognition amongst agencies, companies, universities and the general public.  

A few of these responses probably sound pretty familiar.  Some of us may have been involved in Social Media Club for just a few months while others have been involved for a few years.  Some of us may have networking events to attend all the time while others may only attend one here and there.  It just goes to show you that we may be more similar than we think.  

Despite living in different countries and speaking different languages, we all share one thing in common and that’s a passion for using social media tools to explore our world.  These diverse Social Media Club chapters are a reflection of their local scene and I appreciate they all have very different perspectives towards how social is impacting their city and how it relates to business, education and individuals. I look forward to following the growth of some of these newer social media communities over the coming years.

Social Media Club Lima, recently hosted Brian Solis, who shared his thoughts on the social media scene in Peru. Solis also points to The State of Social Marketing Report 2011-2012, which the SMC editorial team highlighted yesterday.    


Image Credit: Google Maps