If you are writing a public blog, professionally or with your students, you need to asks yourself the question “Do I have a global audience?”
Between search engines, technorati, other bloggers who reference yours and comments you leave on other blogs and (now) Twitter, the word gets out fast. If you want NO ONE reading your blog, you need to password protect the folder you have installed it on or choose specific options within the blogging services you are using.
Let’s assume that you are “open to the world”. There are many different free statistic services out there that are interesting and informative to look at.
My Hosting company’s statistic page tells that my domain is registering on average 1000+ visitors per day. FeedJit, which shows Real Time Blog Traffic, gives even a greater insight on where visitors are coming from. Which city, country, entering or leaving through specific posts and pages. I am learning flags and geographic locations of countries, I would not have found on a map before.
Country Page Views for Map Area from FeedJit from today:
|United States [69%]|
|United Kingdom [4%]|
|Hong Kong S.A.R., China [1%]|
|New Zealand [1%]|
|South Korea [<1%]|
Since last year, I have had a Clustrmap on and off in one of my themes’ sidebar.
Looks like that I have visitors from almost every continent. Scientists in the Antarctic are not interested in my blog??
So, now that you know that you have blog readers from all around the world… What now? Should your writing change? Not necessarily, just maybe be more culturally aware. Yes audience DOES matter. Last month I wrote a post “Where are my blog readers coming from?” and gave a few examples
Not everyone outside the USA knows what the grades A, B, C, D and F mean. In Germany students earn a “1” as the best mark, while you fail with a “5” and a “6”. In Argentina, a “1” would be the worst grade and a “10” the best one you could get. Anything below a “7” will send you to the dreaded exams in December or March (which by the way is the beginning and end of SUMMER break there).
Here are a few more examples on how a blogger can become more “globally friendly”.
I went into my WordPress theme code and changed the way each posts the posting date. The month is named, instead of using numbers.
From personal experience I know how confusing the date 6/4/2007 (for example) can be. Is it the 6th of April or the 4th of June? No way of finding out, unless some research about the author and what cultural background is conducted. When I first arrived in the US, a bank refused to cash one of my checks, because it was “pre-dated” for them. I had written, without thinking, 10/5 (for May 10th), they on the other hand interpreted the date to be October 5th. Since then (20 years ago) I have “compromised” and write any date “backwards” from right to left. Like that I still get to write my format of preceding the month by the day. 🙂
Another globally (or regional) friendly tip for bloggers is, when using any type of acronyms. That can range from FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) to NCLB (No Child Left Behind). Those are country and state specific abbreviations that can leave others out of the conversation if not explained.
Sheryl Oakes has posted a great article “Go Global with GlobalSpeak“a while back about this very subject. She mentions Time Zones and region specific vocabulary that might contribute to confusion in a global conversation.
While looking for references to this blog post I ran across the following article: “Worldwide Success- How to be global“, which points to another great one “ï¿½How not to be a cultural knucklehead in a global business worldï¿½.
I have chosen some of their points (that are ALL valid) and mashed them up for my purposes of being a globally friendly blogger and teaching my students to be more globally aware.
- Take local measurements into consideration. Not everyone in the world uses inches, feet, miles, pounds, fahrenheit. Make an effort to give an approximate equivalent to centimeters, meters, kilometers, kilograms and celcius. (It is really easy to do in Google Search. Just type in “40 miles in kilometers” and it will give you the result.)
- Be aware of national Holidays
- Don’t refer to the Super Bowl as a World Championship 🙂
- When using metaphors, always explain them. Not everyone will get them. I know this again from personal experience… Blank stares are a common sight for me…
- Stay away from Global stereotypes.
I can relate to the stereotypes listed Escape from Cubicle Nation
- Canadians are basically American, with warmer coats. Don’t believe it for a minute. Although it may be hard to tell the genetic difference between a fresh-faced American and Canadian, the cultural differences are many. They have a different form of government. They have a very different foreign policy. They have a very distinct culture. They have a different history ( I made the mistake of calling Canada Day “Canadian Independence Day” in a blog post. Glenda, my saucy Canadian friend quickly shot me a snide email: “Canadian Independence Day? Independence from what?”)
- Brazilians speak Spanish. They speak Portuguese, as they were colonized by the Portuguese, not the Spaniards.
- To ensure someone with a strong accent understands you, speak louder. Comprehension will happen by using clear, jargon-free language, not by raising your voice and shouting. And just because they have a strong accent does not mean they don’t comprehend you perfectly well.
Here are some other stereotypes, I have encountered:
- I am “American” can also mean that you are from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, etc.
- Just because I speak Spanish does not mean I know everything about the Peruvian, Colombian, “insert any Spanish speaking countries'” culture. Just because someone from the USA speaks English does not make them knowledgeable about Australia or New Zealand.
- Just because I am/speak German, does not mean I can’t be Jewish
What are some stereotypes you have run into concerning your nationality? Share with us, so all of us bloggers can become more globally friendly and aware.