Tuesday, September 5, 2006

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The most blog-friendly country in Europe

Here's a question: blogs have had the greatest political impact in which country in Europe?

Answer after the jump....

According to the Financial Times' Martin Arnold, the answer is... France:

Next year's French presidential elections will be the first to take place since blogging caught the public imagination.

With surveys showing the French are among Europe's the most active readers of blogs, the ruling UMP party for the first time invited 12 of the country's leading blogs to attend its youth convention in Marseilles as part of the press corps.

The UMP's move is a sign that France is catching up with the US, where bloggers have been attending Republican and Democratic party conventions for years.

"A big population of French people only get their news via the internet, so we wanted to reach them, as well as to create some excitement around the youth convention," says Thierry Solère, head of internet strategy at the UMP.

Loïc Le Meur, author of one of France's best-known blogs - www.loiclemeur.com - says: "They have really created a buzz in the blogosphere. It is really very clever, as they have understood that they can reach several million people through us."....

Last year campaigners in favour of the European constitution were caught out by the No campaign's domination of the online debate ahead of the French referendum that rejected the treaty.

It has since become de rigueur for presidential candidates on left and right to start a blog. Ségolène Royal, the favourite to be the Socialist presidential candidate, has invited readers to submit ideas for a manifesto-style book she is publishing online....

France has stolen a march on the rest of Europe in the blogosphère. More than 4.5m people have created a blog in France, or 18 per cent of the 26.9m people who have an internet connection, according to a study published last week by Ipsos.

While 36 per cent of internet users visited blogs in France, this figure was only 24 per cent in the UK, 18 per cent in Italy and 9 per cent in Germany, according to a study in June by Média-métrie. France's blogging boom is being driven by the young: 80 per cent of French blogs were created by people aged 25 or under.

Question to readers -- why France?

posted by Dan on 09.05.06 at 10:54 AM


There is a well-established tradition of writing diaries and memoirs, moreso than anywhere else.

posted by: Cisco on 09.05.06 at 10:54 AM [permalink]

First, the French had a think called mini-Tel, a very primitive sort of internet, way back in the early 90s. Of course, we had a primitive sort of internet -- or more properly a text-based internet, back then too. But some French actually used it. I remember there being minitel kiosks set up in post offices. So there was some tradition of electronic information exchange before the WWW .

Second, the French are actually very forward thinking, despite the neocon propaganda against them. Think of the Concorde, Airbus, a very active space program, the TGV etc. So it makes sense they would adopt the internet. Of course, both the government and the French people have sought to carve out an internet Francaise , and seem to have some success in doing that. More power to 'em.

posted by: Mitchell Young on 09.05.06 at 10:54 AM [permalink]

Minitel – one word – appeared in the early 80s. I remember writing with a friend a BBS connected to a bank of 1200/75 bps modems... It evolved from a techie think, mostly free [local calls being charged in France, there was a cost] into a commercial enterprise for lots of "pink" Minitel "sites" and more legit providers. Some of them are still in activity, believe it or not. IRC-like chat channels have existed on Minitel sites for 20+ years.

The telecoms biz having been very strictly regulated until quite recently, the adoption of Internet was slower [didn't want all these Minitel monies go away after all], but then they did it with a vengeance. And people like Loïc did indeed help. And now the Minitels in post offices are replaced with Net kiosk [usually eMacs or iMacs].

posted by: dda on 09.05.06 at 10:54 AM [permalink]

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