crowdsThere’s a big trend currently sweeping though the Nordic and Baltic countries. This is not a new phenomena for those who have been following what has been going on with the Internet, but it seems that the bigger public has been hit in the head with it and now doesn’t really know what to think of it. Internet is becoming more social and most of everybody seem to be lost on what it really means.

A symptom of this is the social media consultants of all kinds that supposedly give advice the companies that have been hit to get their head around what the social Internet really means for them. Unfortunately very few of these social media experts advising the companies really understand what a more social Internet means, where it’s going and what’s its real promise for the whole civilization in the long run (more on this in the video below). There’s more to social Internet than creating Product pages for companies on Facebook, telling them they need to be on Twitter and hiring students to become community managers.

Now, in all honesty I wouldn’t be really that concerned if social media experts, PR people or advertising folks don’t understand where the web is going, since it really wouldn’t be the first time. What is significant though, is that developers and startups building on the various building blocks understand the implications and can make educated choices.

I sat down with Chris Messina, a prominent open web advocate, in San Francisco to talk about where he thinks the social web is currently at, what challenges he sees it is facing and where he would like it ultimately to progress. It’s a lengthy video, but worth a watch since the issues Chris talks about are only going to increase in importance for all of us. While you’re at it, see also the seminal piece Chris and Jyri Engeström wrote for ArcticStartup a while back.

The work that Chris started to do in the US starts getting traction also here in the Northern Europe. Probably not least due to the workshop that Chris and Jyri organized in Helsinki a while back. This Saturday (yes, that’s tomorrow!) Mike Bradshaw organizes an OpenWebCamp for all interested (sign up here). I hope we will see the smart people putting up similar events soon across the other Nordic and Baltic countries. Just as Chris says in the video below, ‘all the really good ideas and innovations need to be localized’ and its up to the rest of us to do it in the case of the social web. Finland is starting tomorrow with the workshop. I’m hoping to see similar events soon take place across the Northern Europe.

Photo by James Cridland