We all heard of cultural gaffes that either hurt business partnerships, slow them down or completely undermine them. Classic textbook examples tell us about cultural faux pas during meetings, cultural mistakes in advertising design, and cultural errors in negotiations. All companies go through this experience at least once in their international business deals and apparently Facebook isn’t an exception (although, in all honesty, I didn’t expect the site that brought together people from so many different countries and walks of life to be so clueless when it comes to cultural sensitivity).
A couple of days ago, I saw the following announcement from Facebook Russia: “Всем, кто ожидает прибавления в семействе – теперь вы можете сообщить об этом вашим друзьям на Facebook. Cделать это можно в настройках профиля, во вкладке “Друзья и семья” в предлагаемом списке членов семьи нужно выбрать вариант “будущий член семьи: ребенок”, ввести имя ребенка, если оно уже выбрано, и предполагаемую дату рождения. Эта информация появится на вкладке “Семья” на левой панели вашего профиля.”
“For all of you who are expecting an addition in the family – you can now let your friends know about it on Facebook. Go to your profile and in the “Friends and Family” choose the optionl “future member of the family: a child”, enter the name of the child if it is already selected, and the anticipated date of birth. This information will appear under “Family” on the left sidebar of your profile.”
My jaw dropped when I saw that. And I didn’t really have to read the already accumulated comments from more than 60 people to know how this one is going to land. In a country where superstitions run high, people just don’t share their impending family additions with many – let alone with the whole Facebook world.
What were you thinking, Facebook?
Posted in Cross-Cultural Training, Cultural Misunderstandings, Global, international, International Business, International Partnership
Tagged cultural misunderstanding, Facebook, international, International Business, International Partnerships, Russia
If I have to think back to all my expatriate assignments, a couple of things in particular always come up. FUN and FRIENDSHIPS were really the two cornerstones that made each assignment worth it. Most of my good memories revolve either around having fun or making new, amazing friends and having fun with them.
Let’s start with fun. I know that the word fun has a different meaning to all of us, but without having fun (whatever it means to you), our lives would be dull, uninteresting and boring. What’s your definition of fun? What do you like to do for fun? What opportunities do you have for fun in a country where you live now?
And now the friendships. The friends we make in distant lands support us, encourage us, laugh with us and cry with us (well, when we really need them to). Thanks to the internet and Facebook in particular we can now keep in touch and continue to follow the lives of those friends who we leave behind as we move on to another destination. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but some of the friendships I’ve developed during my overseas assignments have been among the most special in my life.
It’s not an easy task to always have to make friends and then leave them when you leave the country (a helpful article on “How to make friends again… and again … and again” here). But it can be done and the effort is totally worth it. What are your thoughts on this? And what friendship moments will you always remember?
For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.
Dedicated to all my expat friends who made a difference in my life (you know who you are!).
Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.
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Posted in A to Z of Successful Expatriation, Coaching, Expatriates, Global, Happy Expat, international, Moving, Relocating, Success
Tagged Expat, expatriate, Facebook, Friends, Friendships, International Partnerships, Memories, Relocation, Remembering, TCK, Third Culture Kids