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. 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.