Tomorrow’s American election stands out for many reasons; among them that a large percentage of the world’s 6.5 billion people will have something to say about who wins. Never before have so many individuals shared so many opinions about any other single topic in the history of humanity. Thanks to the constant curation of Amira Al Hussaini and her team of contributing authors, the Global Voices’ project Voices Without Votes has become a one-stop shop to discover what bloggers from other countries have to say about America’s presidential election.
Like for so many others, I found Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic piece to be a refreshing affirmation of why it is that bloggers do what we do: share our words with, potentially, the rest of the internet, today and forever in the future. But the excerpt I found especially resonant was this:
A blog bobs on the surface of the ocean but has its anchorage in waters deeper than those print media is technologically able to exploit. It disempowers the writer to that extent, of course. The blogger can get away with less and afford fewer pretensions of authority. He is – more than any writer of the past – a node among other nodes, connected but unfinished without the links and the comments and the trackbacks that make the blogosphere, at its best, a conversation, rather than a production.
Much of Sullivan’s emphasis focuses on the blog not as a source of information, but rather, a mouthpiece of conversation.
For the past three and a half years I have worked for a website that aims to measure the pulse of this constant conversation on a global scale. “The world is talking. Are you listening?” asks Global Voices‘ tagline. With the exception of a few truly global events over the past five years (the Southeast Asian Tsunami, for example), there have been surprisingly few occasions during which the entire world came together to weigh in on a single topic. In fact, our notion of the blogosphere as a single sphere of what Sullivan refers to as “nodes among nodes” has transformed into a collection of loosely connected globs defined by language, nationality, ideology, and interest. On Tuesday those globs will drift tantalizingly close, even overlap, for a day of agreement, debate, discouragement, and celebration.
Keep refreshing Voices without Votes to see what the rest of the world has to say about the most-talked-about election of all time. For more background information on the project, I highly recommend Jose Antonio Vargas’ WaPo piece, “The election that has the whole world blogging.”