I decided that for a month I will use only “Canadian internet” And so, my year of Canadianness reaches its crescendo this month with all-Canuck Internet use.
What do we mean when we say “the Canadian Internet”? It’s a good question. Do we mean websites that are hosted in Canada? Probably not, because many Canadian companies, media organizations, and blogs host their so-called ‘Canadian content’ on computers that are physically in the United States or elsewhere. Rather stupidly, when I set up this site, I added it to my existing set of sites hosted by the good Americans at Laughing Squid.
Others have pointed out that I shouldn’t use Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or dozens of other sites because they’re American. This seems overly reductive. The computers that host these sites, and the sites and services themselves are the infrastructure of the web. I don’t require that Canadian music be recorded through Canadian soundboards and played on Canadian speakers (if I did, it would have been a quiet year), so I don’t think I should ban myself from these services.
Instead, I’m restricting myself to only electronically communicating with Canadians. On social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, I’ve created lists of Canadian friends and followers. I pay attention to those, instead of the default view of everybody.
Whenever possible, I avoid exchanging emails with non-Canadians. An American friend emailed me the other day, and I sent him this:
It’s in jest, but I’m doing my best to ignore American email. And I’m only reading Canadian news sites, blogs, and other reference sites. I’m a big fan of Reddit, but these days I’m only in the Canada, Vancouver and hockey sub-sections of the site.
I’ve faced a challenge in a bunch of web-based tools we use for work. We use online tools for time tracking, invoicing, project management and so forth. I’m simply avoiding these, and regretting the decision to not use Canadian equivalents like FreshBooks and FunctionFox.
Thus far, the biggest challenge is getting a decent, detailed view of stories that don’t have a Canadian component or angle. I was interested in Louis CK’s recent experiment in self-publishing a recent comedy video, but I had to hunt around for Canadian coverage. Likewise, I’m sometimes interested in how Canada is discussed internationally. The Guardian would have been my go-to site for an external view on Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Agreement.
I am missing vast chunks of the web. I certainly wouldn’t want to keep up this online diet indefinitely. What would you miss if you could only consume Canadian content online?