We, in Europe, see ourselves as whingers (Britons are supposedly nicknamed “whingeing poms**” by Australians) and on both sides of the Channel, one keeps hearing complaints about this and that and the other. Yet, seen from down under I realised that our image and potential is probably a lot better than we think and that “old” Europe isn’t yet finished. I asked Joanne Jacobs who now leads 1000heads in Australia to share her view of Europe, social media adoption by businesses and also Asia. I have known Joanne for many years now. We met while she was based in England as part of the Like Minds alumni. Not only is she a social media expert but she is also a trained actor, able to deliver a pitch on stage, captivating hundred of people, with a timed presentation and … cracking jokes on the go without losing track! She came back to Australia over two years ago and we caught up with each other through Skype … despite time differences which, as you will see, are far from being abolished.
** “prisoners of her Majesty” for those who don’t know the joke…
Europe? More Internet savvy than we may think, Australian expert says (photo: antimuseum.com)
Interview of Joanne Jacobs of 1000 heads Australia
Now that Facebook is 10 years old and LinkedIn 11 years old, what is your view of the status of social media in general?
We are living through this transition phase but I think that it will change in the course of the next 5 years to 10 years. One will develop some degree of maturity as to what we should be measuring.
You relocated to Australia a couple of years ago what did you find?
I have to say, that coming back to Australia was very hard indeed for me. Never let it be said that technology overcomes the tyranny of distance. It doesn’t. And one of the main reason why doesn’t is that time zones exist. I was not able to communicate as effectively with the people and the networks that had built up in the UK and Europe. So, it was therefore very difficult for me to come back to an environment which was so isolated that it was effectively between 9 and 11 hours difference in terms of time zones. It was quite difficult too because, even though Australia is a technology savvy country, there are serious problems of interconnectivity here, the cost of broadband in this country is unbelievably expensive and the quality of the connections that we get is poor. So in terms of social media, the community was smaller, there is less engagement, and ironically, they are little communities in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, but we are all disconnected from one another because it takes an hour to fly between Melbourne and Sydney and that’s one of the shortest journeys that we have in this country. So, even inside our own country, we suffer from the tyranny of distance.
You mentioned losing your Twitter following from the UK when you moved to Australia can you expatiate on that?
In many respects, that issue of losing my following was a product of those time zones differences. when you are no longer communicating regularly at least during working hours, with the people that you are engaging with, you will then lose followers because people will not be able to communicate with you any more nor share information nor participate in discussions. For me in particular it’s been really difficult to participate in online events that were happening in Europe or in the UK because they are always happening between 7:00 PM and 6:00 AM my time. By participating in those events, even remotely, you gain a lot of information from various subject matter experts. So, I lost a lot of followers that way and I also lost followers I believe because I started to communicate with other people in other interest areas and I had to communicate with a community locally, and as a result was considered less of an influencer in the areas and the markets and the audiences within my previously connected life.