My HeyDay

Sometimes I think it is my mission to bring faith to the faithless, and doubt to the faithful


I'm a friendly guy studying a Ph.D. in Social Sciences. I'm from Barcelona but I live in Madrid since 2001 -and I will be moving to Yale, USA, this summer 2006 for two years-. I love distant travels, specially to Latin America -I'm looking for an excuse and sail to Brazil. My Ph.D. is about tax strategies that gov's pursue in order to avoid the control of taxpayers/voters. I like history, videogames, strategic games, commercial and alternative cinema, any kind of music, sea sports, sculpture, wine regional varieties, politics, sci-fi, ...

This was written four months ago or so at Orkut. In all this time I have been exploring how Americans interconnect in the Net. Surprisingly, they do in a extremely different way to us: Messenger is not (by far) the most common way of messaging, but AOL; and Skype is not so popular than in Europe. Gmail is a marginal mail service, but contrarily they do a more extensive and intensive use of the net for everything: from trade (e-commerce) to get dates or to establish professional networks or fan communities. They seem to ask to internet things that we usually consider strange, like helping in daily duties or making friends. Things are beginning to change here in Spain a bit, but many people would consider those usages as characteristics of freak or asocial persons.

Why those differences? One structural explanation, like this of Alesina et alt at NewYorker, would say that the strenght of unions in Europe made politicians in Europe to response differently to their American counterparts facing the 1970s oil crises and rampant inflation. While in America the oil crises was fought with more work hours per week, same wage, in Europe unions made corporations to raise wages to compensate for inflation or, alternatively, to concede a lot more of holidays to their workers. In France during the 1980s, rulers passed many laws expanding the number of mandatory holidays for the work force, thus expanding the time in the café, the museum or the rave party in Ibiza of many Europeans.

This should also be reflected in the usage of internet, and the way Americans face the net differently to Europeans. Think on that: if you don't have enough time after your workday, you will demand express and substitutive services (delivery or take-away food, house-cleaning services, gifts delivered online, online bank services, 24h malls, etc). All this can be found in the American Net. But much more: if you don't have time to socialize with your neighbours or your friends, you should find ways of selling/buying/bartering things you need or don't need without the use of casual social networks: so the birth of the Craiglist anything market, Friendster, Orkut,...

I'm just wondering how they get dates, how they use to buy food stuff, if there are networks of books interchange, favors, etc.

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