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Brainstorming for a more global conversation

I thought this morning's Global Voices session went pretty well. Most of the people in the room were, of course, American. I started by talking about how – according to initial findings by Ethan Zuckerman – the American blogosphere actually talks about less of the world than the mainstream media does.

Here's a map that came out of Ethan's research from last year. Blogcompare Countries in red were better represented in the blogosphere than in Google news (which last year was mainly mainstream media news sources) Countries in blue, were less well represented in the blogosphere than in the mainstream media. (UPDATE: Ethan has a new post with more research on this issue.)

Why don't American bloggers link very much to bloggers around the world? People in the room suggested there are 2 main reasons: One reason is that they don't know where to find the good blogs from other countries – unless Instapundit or somebody has linked to them. Another reason is that people don't have enough context or knowledge about events going on in foreign countries to blog about them.

The Global Voices project, with our Index and Aggregator, is trying to provide a solution to the first problem. The other problem has to do with lack of context. How do you get people linking to fascinating posts on Armenian or Bahraini blogs when they have no context about the situations in Armenia and Bahrain? This is more difficult and there are no clear solutions. One idea that came up in the session would be for bloggers who blog for global audiences to provide links on their sites where people can go for more information about their country – and recent news about their country. The GV wiki should probably do a better job in providing links to reliable contextual information.

Dave Winer says he would very much like to help out by organizing "blog tours" for A-list bloggers to go to various countries and report on them from a personal perspective. I think this is great. I also think that if A-list bloggers have face-to-face meetings with local bloggers in different countries, they'll wind up linking to them more frequently over time.

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8 comments

  • Kenyan Pundit

    I think the tours would work best if, as you suggested, the A-list blogger meets up with a local blogger/s during the trip.

  • All nations are insula to some degree or other…

    The Saudi Arabia Municipal election post was insightful.
    Context in this case was not a requirement.

    Although my own little country, Scotland,
    has a democracy and parliament which has
    the most advanced digital technology
    networks and communication channels
    available in the world today…

    Only a handful of the 129 legislators
    attempt constituency e-engagement.
    Some will retire from politics
    without ever using a computer
    or the internet…

  • This is a superbly great idea….

    -R


    FixTheWorld
    http://fixtheworld.blogs.com/fixtheworld/

  • It might be interesting to see if these tours could work in countries with
    difficult relationships with bloggers. This could be dicey but might bring
    additional light on those situations. I suppose it would have to be a case-by-case
    basis.

  • I loved the session and although didn’t have much to contribute at that time, I finally found time to pen down my thoughts on the session at my blog (http://patrix.typepad.com/nerves/2005/05/global_voices_r.html).

    Feel free to check it out. Thanks for all the info, Rebecca.

  • Global Voices: Rebecca MacKinnon

    The second session I attended on Saturday morning was more pertinent to my blogging interests. Global Voices is basically a feeds aggregator blog to gather blogs from all around the world namely to highlight blogs that usually aren’t in the

  • We’re out here, I’m an American who has been blogging from the city farthest from the sea in the world for about a year (which is in Northwest China near Russia and all the ‘Stans)… I managed to connect with a large group of expats in China, but our linking with our homes in the West are very limited.

    By the way, I got here via Simon World, http://simonworld.mu.nu/archives/080499.php, of the China expat blog circuit. While expats are not locals, and nobody appreciates that more than us, there could be more linking between us and the countries we left.

  • i have a project I would love your help with, a way to unite the blogsphere.

    I have started a campaign against political and religious ignorance (Bloggers Against Ignorance) but i need promotion to get the word out. Please go and look here :

    http://www.huge-entity.com/2005/05/bloggers-against-ignorance.html

    for more information

    cheers

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