One of the biggest mistakes folks in silicon valley make is starting too much at what goes on out here and ignoring the rest of the world. That is not to say of course that there is always something better somewhere else in the world (since often the best companies move here – e.g. Facebook from Harvard) but it is true that there are lots of interesting things outside of the bubble.
One of the more interesting people I follow in the web analytics space is Alan Long at Hitwise in Asia Pacific. His latest two articles on social media are definitely worth a read.
The highlights are pretty obvious but firstly social networking is growing very fast in Asia Pacific and much of that growth is being driven by Facebook. Here is the NZ example:
Secondly in New Zealand (and very shortly in Australia) social networking has overtaken search as the most visited industry segment online.
I really believe the Marshal McLuhan “the medium is the message” idea that is very popular in the valley right now. If we truly believe the internet is the dominant media vehicle of our time and social networking is becoming the #1 activity on the internet very rapidly (already the majority of page views and time spent in Russia) then we have to accept that the world is going to become more and more driven by conversation and participation again and less driven by just sitting in front of the goggle box and passively consuming.
I think this is a good thing. The next century is going to be amazing!