Sunday, September 09, 2007

Swedes get social on Facebook

Facebook has been exploding in Sweden the past few weeks. Swedes being early adopters of new it-technique and a high penetration of broadband are some of the facts that could explain the Facebook growth, according to an article in one of the main Swedish newspapers today.

But the most interesting analysis in the article is the ethnologist's - Swedes are normally socially shy (no one speaks on the bus or the street), but on the internet, we let loose and happily add our colleague's brother. Most friends win!

And one of her questions is really interesting - will facebooking and inspacing ultimately change the Swedish culture? Will we see Swedes talking to strangers on the subway, happily chatting awake, poking each other.

Now THAT I would like to see.

(Want to poke me on Facebook? I'm Ja Cal there too! I'm not addicted yet... )

19 comments:

Idépappan said...

I don't think it will. I think the Facebook craze in Sweden (and perhaps even more in Norway) will soon face its end. But that doesn't mean Facebook won't be a very important, if not the most important, tool in our life. When people finally finds what really good with it.

I am sorry to tell all my beloved friends: I am sick and tired of responding to movie comparisons, zombie bites and send them one dollar lattes. You are waisting my time. I like you anyway.

Better use Facebook like JaCal does. Give me great reference articles, have a great discussion with me. Give me something I can use. For heaven sake, I am man. I don't chat. I don't socialize for socializing. I have family. If I would like to socialize, I socialize. IRL.

Facebooking will die. Long live Facebooking

Var dags glimtarn said...

Hej "alien" :)!

I am Swedish living in Switzerland (Italian part) but as it seems we will move to CA autumn 2008... I am not really comfortable with these relocation plans as our kids now speak perfect Italian after 3 years here and in Como/Italy. Of course they are fluent in Swedish too. But work wants us to move across the Atlantic. Where in CA, how are the schools, life, I have so many questions and maybe you want to fill me in a little?!?

Annika said...

I am so not addicted. I quite don't get it...Really...

Lotta K said...

Jag är jätteanto för jag vill inte hålla på med samma saker som mina 20-åriga studenter. Jag vill inte ha juicy couture-set och jag vill inte ha facebook. Kanske inte så rationellt men sant.

Lotta K said...

"jätteanti" ville jag ha sagt.

JaCal said...

Idépappan - hm... and I was just about to give you a superpoke-zoombie-cafélatte! ;-) (not...). If no new applications for the +35, that actually bring value and not just time consuming... I think you're right...

Var dags glimtarn - Hi there! How exciting!! Welcome to California! Ok - now California is the size of Sweden so it's very hard to generalize (the climate can differ widely) - the only thing sure is that English do come in handy. ;-) Why don't you send me and e-mail (see my contact header in the left side column on the main website) and I'll see what I can help you with! I know all about being stressed out for your kid's languages skills - but one thing is sure - it will not be any problems in the end!

Annika - no, me neither - we'll see. I'm experimenting as of right now.

Lotta K - haha - bummer - visste inte att juicy couture kom med facebooking. ;-) Är ju själv långt från universitetsvärlden och har inte den typen av kontakter alls (även om min 20åriga kusin just nu vill adda mig som vän... vilket jag nog borde se som en komplimang haha). Själv är jag mest nyfiken och måste prova, testa, klura och förstå detta fenomen. Nu har jag gjort det och vi får se vad det blir med det hela... Vi har ju till och med en liten grupp för "Bloggers in the USA". ;-) Men men - som Idépappan skriver - det är inte mycket för den som är äldre och vill vara med "professionell" eller umgås online på ett annat sätt än 20something. Vi får se vad det blir av det.

britgirl said...

What's all this about poking and zoombie's?
I have absolutly no idea what you're all on about!!!
I must be very out of date with everything.
I'm off to listen to the grammaphone!!!

Lotta K said...

I know I am not rational.

Oh the juicy sets. It's a uniform. Sometimes I think I am seeing double in class with all the tanktops and ponytails. Since the students live on campus they don't bother dressing for class. They just show up in their pyjamas.

styrox said...

är du inte litelite beroende trots allt *fnis* ;-)

Kram!

Var dags glimtarn said...

Hej!

Thanks for your answer! I will for sure write to you (ok e-mail :) .

We will probably be placed in San Diego or San Fran. Where are you?
About languages I know how hard it is being my kids did not speak Italian moving here... How do you find the schools?

E-mail you when we know more or for sure that we will be placed in CA :)

Desiree said...

Är inte heller addicted ännu men tycker det kan vara kul att hålla kontakten med andra vänner från Sverige på det sättet. Väntar fortfarande lite på den där aha-upplevelsen om Facebook.

JaCal said...

Britgirl - well, you could always listening to your grammaphone while facebooking?? ;-) No, I don't know half of the pretty teenage-stuff applications - I usually ignore it. But I'm too curious not to try.

Lotta K - aha... sounds like me them when working from home... very thankful for the lack of cameras in my office some days... ;-) From a communication perspective it's interesting to see what these phenomena is doing and what effect it will have. And I'm just too curious to stay away.

Styrox - väntar med spänning på mer "användbara" applikationer...

Var dags glimtarn - I'm in northern California, outside Sacramento. Schools differ a lot depending on the school districs and where you live. I happen do live in a great area with perfect public schools, but there are also a lot of private alternative should I want (and want to afford...). Too bad I have never been to Italy (one of the few countries in Europe I have actually never been) - couldn't say much about the difference between the two places. Climate wise I think their pretty much alike. Since your kids are already bilingual, picking up a third language is much easier then the second.

Desiree - ja, ingen riktig aha ännu. Vi får se vad det blir av et´! ;-)

PL said...

Du är svår att hitta på Facebook.

JaCal said...

PL - tycker Facebooks sökningsfunktion är urusel faktiskt - den ger alldeles för generösa träffar - hur hittar folk folk?? Men jag är där. Ja Cal...

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baconröv said...

It's a load of bullshit that Swedes are "socially shy". Go to Göteborg! While in other parts of Sweden, Stockholm being one part, people might not speak to strangers on the bus, the street etc. in a lot of other areas like the west coast and a lot of other parts of southern Sweden they do. Besides, facebook is mostly used to keep in touch with people that you know but don't see in real life that often so why would that have anything to do with not talking to strangers on the bus, street etc (which you seem to interpret as being "socially shy)?

To all foreigners: Stockholm gives Sweden a bad name. Go to Gothenburg if you want to experience the niceties of Sweden.

JaCal said...

Baconröv - (now, that is one interesting choice of nickname...) - it's always tricky to generalize even small, tiny countries like Sweden (look at all attempts to generalize Americans or French people for that matter). When you've lived abroad and come back and travel around you clearly see there might be some differences - but there are things like a Swedish culture for sure - even thought it might be expressed differently in different parts of the country. The reference to being "socially shy" is the ethnologist's in the article I was referring to - a very interesting article I thought (did you read it?). I do think the social networks online bring out behaviors that we might not see irl, regardless of where people actually live, in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Paris or Åmål. People say (write) things that they might never say face to face - for good or bad. And I'm not sure I agree with your definition of Facebook - I can see very different uses of the site - some are very active with close friends and some with friends far away.

As for the polarization between (in reality very small) cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg is really sad and silly. I never understood it when I lived in Sweden and now, living far away, even less. They are both beautiful in different ways and has different characteristics. I have experienced pretty good times in Gothenburg - and pretty bad times. Just as I have in Malmö, Hudiksvall and Stockholm for that matter. Why not appreciate that there are so many beautiful cities in Sweden? ;-)I'm sorry you seem to have had such a bad time in Stockholm and hope you someday encounter a "Stockholmer" who is nice.

Robert (formerly known as baconröv...) said...

Ok, to be honest maybe I overreacted a bit. I'm not angry at you but rather at all the people who say Swedes are so shy and asocial all the time. People that give Sweden and Swedes a bad name around the world. I'm not socially shy or quiet nor are my friends and I certainly don't feel like most Swedes are. At least not in Gothenburg. Even though, the stereotype fits a lot better in Stockholm or the northern half of our country.

I mentioned the thing about Stockholm because when a lot of foreigners (and Swedes...) speak about Sweden they use Stockholm as their only preference. Most Stockhlmers are not at all like, for example, most Gothenburgers. So that makes me pissed off. When I've been to Stockholm I felt that people were a lot ruder and quieter (they didn't talk to strangers etc.) than in Gothenburg. In Gothenburg it's not unusual for strangers to talk with each other. Foreigners who have visited Gothenburg usually say things like "forget what people have told you about Swedes - they're not at all cold and rude" (granted, that line was totally made up by me but it's pretty similar to what tourists say when they're in Gothenburg or what you can read in travel blogs, papers etc. So to sum it up, when people use Stockholm or Norrland as a ground to generalize about all Swedes and all of Sweden it makes me pissed off since a lot of places are so different, like Gothenburg.

Btw, if you think that the "polarization" between Gothenburg and Stockholm is sad I can tell you it's nothing compared to rivalries between different cities in other countries...

JaCal said...

Robert - well, it would be fun to see some cultural research to see if you can define culture and hence how Swedish culture is defined - haha - maybe statistics will show that Swedes are open and funny despite all the stereotypes! All Americans aren't loud, vote for Bush, and wear white Nike shoes either - but a lot of them do - hence the stereotype, but who knows what statistics would say.

I'm glad to hear you're not shy or quiet - or your friends!;-) Now, I have never actually lived in Gothenburg, just visiting so I have no real idea what it is to live there or if what I've encountered during my visits is a valid view of the city's inhabitants or not.

I admit that I speak (write) with Stockholm as my main point of reference - that's where I was born and grew up (as I have stated) - just like you speak of Gothenburg as your main point of reference when you speak about Sweden and a person from Norrland would use his/hers environment as a point of reference.

The only place I have actually lived permanently besides Sweden is the US and at least here - there are polarizations - but not to the silly expense as between Gothenburg or Stockholm. Maybe because the larger cities are almost as big in population as Sweden... ;-)