Monday, July 31, 2006

Why the French are so passionate about blogs.

On a much lighter note, the International Herald Tribune recently had a fascinating article on the success of blogs with the French. In fact, it seems that "the French distinguish themselves, both statistically and anecdotally, ahead of Germans, Britons and even Americans in their obsession with blogs, the personal and public journals of the Internet age.".
The article called France's Mysterious Embrace of blogs gives some worth reading hinsight on the particularities of the French culture with regard to the Internet and blogs. I think their basic points are for the most part quite true and it is good to read something that encapsulates so well a complex phenomenon:
French blogs stands out in other measurable ways. They are noticeably longer, more critical, more negative, more egocentric and more provocative than their U.S. counterparts, said Laurent Florès, the French-born, New York-based chief executive of CRM Metrix, a company that monitors blogs and other online conversations on behalf of companies seeking feedback on their brands.
"Bloggers in the United States listen to each other and incorporate rival ideas in the discussion," he said. "French bloggers never compromise their opinions."
They also passionately debate why they blog so much. One common explanation in the blogosphere is that there are so many French Internet surfers to begin with.
Last year the number of French people online passed the halfway mark of the total population of 61 million, with 85% of Internet users in May using high-speed broadband at home, according to Médiamétrie.
Cultural explanations describe blogs as a natural outgrowth of the French national character.
"It is clear that in France we have very large egos and love to speak about ourselves," Le Meur said. "If you look at Germans or Scandinavians - off- line and on the Internet - they really don't talk about themselves."
Historical explanations highlight the long French experience with online communication thanks to the Minitel, a text-based computer network that France Télécom popularized in the 1980s, well before most people had heard of the Internet.
But the French can be quirky as well as serious. One of the most popular video blogs, Bonjour America (, was started by Cyrille de Lasteyrie to explain France to foreigners - and to find a way for him to meet his hero, Clint Eastwood.
Other popular blogs include a cooking diary called C'est Moi Qui l'Ai Fait and a journal by an advertising executive called Dark Planneur.
[highlights are mine]

I'm thinking maybe we should have done this blog in French... Oh well, English is the international language after all.


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