Priorities, people

Americans are regularly accused of living in a ghetto and rarely caring what happens in the outside world. This is a gross exaggeration, of course, but rings true for many. So what about China? Danwei’s founder Jeremy Goldkorn explains:

There has been some discussion on several China blogs recently about a statistic that only six percent of the hyperlinks on the Chinese Internet are to websites outside of China. You can follow the discussion on BlogNation, Shanghaiist and chez Thomas Crampton, and also chez Rebecca MacKinnon, and Tobias Escher.

The question that immediately sprang to your correspondent’s mind however was this: what percentage of the American Internet links to websites hosted in foreign countries or written in foreign languages. I have not been able to track down any numbers about this, but Deb Fallows of the Pew Internet and American Life Project sent me the results of a survey done in November 2005.

A random digit dial telephone survey of 1,931 Americans asked about where respondents got their online news from.

Only 12% of them said that they had ever got news from “the website of an international news organization, such as the BBC or Aljazeera”. Only 3% said they had used such a source “yesterday”. To put it in context, only 46% of respondents said that they got their news from “the website of a national TV news organization, like or

Nonetheless, it seems that America’s Internet users are in as much of ghetto as their Chinese peers.

Of course, some in the Chinese media, like The Beijing News, prefer to focus on the big issues.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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