People sometimes ask me why I spend time most days pottering around on my blog, posting poems or thoughts or funny stuff, or wandering around on the internet hunting for stuff I think should be more widely discussed.
Well, this is why …
In the seven days ended today, my blog has had over twelve hundred hits from people in America.
This is hardly surprising: in a Presidential election year, I spend a lot of my time thinking and talking on here about what’s going on in that great country, and especially how annoyed I am by the behaviour of their politicians, in general, and their hangers on. So I do get a fair few people from the States reading my articles and agreeing, and plenty, no doubt, that don’t.
In the last week Australia chuffed up some 600 hits, and the UK almost the same number.
Well, given I am Australian, and moderately well-known for yakking on about anything that occurs to me – and marketing and advertising in particular – that makes sense, I guess.
And I’m from the UK, originally – deep in the last millennia – and I love my football and so on, so all well and good. Welcome, comrades all.
Australia and Canada. Peas in a pod, see?
And riding on the back of their American brethren, presumably, a fair few Canucks stopped by as well. “Eh?”
I like Canadians. I always think Canada is a bit like Australia with snow. Or Australia is like Canada with sunshine. One or the other. Anyhow, glad to have you along.
But then it all gets a bit weird. And this is where the new stats page provided by WordPress to its bloggers is truly fascinating.
The next biggest group of visitors is from India. Yes, India.
Now I do very occasionally post links on the Facebook page of the Economic Times of India, so I guess that sort of makes sense. But there is something wonderful and exciting and really quite peculiar in thinking about people in Mumbai or Agra or Chandigarh, Jaipur or Ahmedabad or Chennai, cheerfully checking out the mental ramblings of a random Aussie.
So a big “Hi!” to all our friends in India, and thanks!
Then, way higher than I would have expected comes (drum roll) Kenya. Now, I honestly know absolutely almost nothing about Kenya, except there are a fair few Indians who live there, like in much of East Africa. So maybe that’s why? Maybe they found me through the Indian connection? Who knows, huh? Anyway, “Hello, Kenya!” Looking forward to seeing your long distance runners in London at the Olympics.
Then things settle down and become a bit more predictable again. There’s a clutch of Euro countries – Italy, France, Holland, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Ireland – all contributing about the same number of visitors. OK, I do write about the EU and the mess its in sometimes, so that makes sense, I guess. And very egalitarian and regulated of you all to send about the same number of callers each. So “Bonjour, Bongiorno, Guten Tag, Top of the Morning to you” too, and so on and so on.
Then, though, it gets really curious.
All the Scandinavian countries contribute visitors. Waves to the frozen north. Mexico – “Hola!” – and the United Arab Emirates – “Salam wa aleikum”– both contribute more hits than dear old New Zealand just over the water. “Wake up, you fush and chuppers!”
Googling Bealrus images brings up a surprising number of pictures of tractors. As the website of the Production Association "Minsk Tractor Works" kindly explains, MTZ is one of the largest manufacturers of tractors in the world. MTZ Belarus is an association of 6 co-operating Belarusian plants. MTZ Belarus has received 32 international quality certificates. More than 3 Millions of MTZ Belarus tractors successfully operate in over 100 countries around the world all year round in various climate and soil conditions. Phew. I thought you'd rather have a nice photo of Minsk.
Serbia. Thailand. Albania. Chile. Pakistan. Israel. Iceland, the Czech Republic. South Africa. Jordan. Korea.
Saudi Arabia. Nigeria. Argentina. Malaysia. Portugal. Ghana. Sri Lanka. Brazil. Saint Lucia. Jamaica – 45 hits from Jamaica yesterday alone – “Er, hello! Why? Who cares? Welcome!” – Qatar. Belarus. Rwanda. Guatemala. Bangladesh. Lebanon. Slovenia.
Antigua and Barbuda. Bulgaria. Barbados. Angola. Croatia. Tunisia. Bahrain. Botswana.
Even poor, bloody Syria. Well, I have blogged about the disgraceful humanitarian disaster that is Syria, so that makes sense.
And let’s not forget: Estonia (I would really love to go there one day), Lesotho, Senegal. Ecuador. Hong Kong. “Ni hao!” Brunei. Belize. Greece. (Glad to see the electricity is still on.) And last but not least, Austria.
The hills are obviously still alive with the sound of keyboards tapping, at least.
It’s an amazing and humbling list.
At this point, I was going to make some profound (well, I would have tried to make it sound profound, anyhow) point about the use of new media to reach wider audiences, the awesome interconnectedness of humanity today, the way that information now flows freely around the planet in ways that we cannot predict or even necessarily understand.
But you know all that. So let’s take that as read.
What I really want to say is how humbled I am – genuinely, quite shocked and delighted and humbled – to be in contact, however fleetingly, with people from all over the world. I guess it’s a bit like when the moon astronauts looked down on the earth and saw it was all just one tiny, fragile, green and blue and white bubble floating in a vast void, and not a collecting of warring and competing peoples and countries.
It changed them forever. And I think it’s changed me, looking at the amazing map that WordPress kindly provides of where everyone comes from who has read this blog, in just the last week.
Nearly the whole globe is represented. It reminds me of the need to entertain, to inform, to express myself truthfully and intelligently, and to be courteous to those who visit. Not necessarily to agree with everyone, of course, but to treat my fellow inhabitants of the earth with respect. And to listen twice as much as I write.
OK, so I can’t resist one small attempted profundity.
Maybe – just maybe – the conversations that the internet now facilitates will one day change forever the balance of power between the rulers and the ruled in the favour of the little people. Maybe, one day, we will all speak truth directly to each other – and the politicians, and the religious leaders, and the media, and the businesspeople, and the worker’s leaders – well, they can all listen to us for a change, because we don’t need to talk through them to talk to each other.
We can just talk to each other now.
So who will be here next week? What will they think? What will they say? What will you say?
I can’t wait to find out.
PS Oh yes. And I still get more hits on my blog from people looking for “tits” than any other topic. There, now that brought us right back down to earth, didn’t it?
PPS It also occurs to me that I never pull my punches in saying what I think. But in all the time this blog has been running, and now more than 23,500 hits and climbing, there has never had a single comment left that I genuinely felt was abusive or rude. That means something, too. It means a lot, actually.
PPPS Someone else was impressed with the new WordPress reporting. For a good laugh, checkout Did My Post Suck Today?