How the Web is not happening in Italy

I have always been amazed by LinkedIn stats about my network. Why?

Because I have lived by now for the past 12 years in Italy, after coming back from California. Granted, I always worked in fairly international environments, so about 50% of my direct (first-degree) contacts are in Italy, and the other half is abroad.

But when I look at the total people I could theoretically reach (up to the third degree), it’s a completely different picture. The top five locations (see upper right corner in the screen shot) are all in the US and UK. Paris has also been part of the top five in the past. Italy, not really.

My LinkedIn network stats, September 2007

What does this mean? It means that my non-Italian contacts have many more contacts, and their contacts have more contacts in turn, then my Italian contacts. Which does not, I think, reflect what happens in real life: Italians are strong and talented networkers, and much if not most business gets done through networking. Yet, it seems to be less of a priority for my Italian contacts to track their contacts through a platform like LinkedIn. Maybe it’s because we don’t move around so much: if we hardly ever lose track of each other, then “getting back in touch” is less important. Other explanations are welcome.

I am also often amused by the other two network profile boxes – add a colleague in Netherlands, and the Netherlands becomes the fastest growing location; link up with a friend in Finland, and Finland shoots up the ranking. Hey, and should I ever go to Daytona Beach, I can probably go out for drinks with someone. But what’s not amusing is that New York, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, and London are in the fastest growing most of the time – I feel like a character caught in the wrong spot in a Richard Florida book. No Italian location (not even the Milan area, where most of my Italian contacts are) ever gets to the fastest growing. Maybe it’s good that I don’t often link with one of those “power networkers” who suddenly double my Milanese network in a single burst – networks should be built slowly and patiently. But I can’t help thinking that the humble microcosm of my LinkedIn contacts is a mere reflection of how the Web is not growing in Italy.

3 thoughts on “How the Web is not happening in Italy

  1. Of course it skews results. Still, the picture is much starker than I would expect. Think about it: LinkedIn tells me that I have access to more people in Boston (where I have only been three or four times in my life, never spending more than a few days) than in Milan, where I have spent cumulatively 21 years.

  2. Dear Paola,
    I have been teased by your post and I have checked what my Linkedin account looks like, in this same perspective.
    Here below are the results.

    Top locations in your network:

    8% 1. San Francisco Bay Area
    6% 2. Greater New York City Area
    3% 3. London, United Kingdom
    3% 4. Greater Los Angeles Area
    3% 5. Greater Boston Area

    Your region: Milan Area, Italy: 33,300+ users

    1. San Francisco Bay Area (249 new)
    2. Greater New York City Area (236 new)
    3. London, United Kingdom (143 new)

    My impression is that, also depending on the algorithm that Linkedin use, the results are significantly affected by the Network itself, and its different density in the US compared to the tiny diffusion in Italy.
    I’ve been living in Italy for 45 years now, and top locations in my network are in the Bay Area (where I happened to work for a couple years) and in NYC (where I have been only three times).

    Ciao,

    Dario

    Ps: have a look at: http://dario2u.wordpress.com/ and leave a comment on my brand new blog (which is extremely thin, specially compared to your one…)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s