twitter,  Weblogs

We’re all Canadians now


Happy Canada Day by Our Enchanted Garden

A tweet from Jennifer Jones the other day made me reflect on the prevalence of Canadians amongst my favourite bloggers/twitterers. In response to Dean Shareski tweeting "Now I’ve got colleagues saying to me, "Can you ask your twitter
network…….?" Ask them yourself! I didn’t say that but I should have", Jennifer responded ‘Mine say ‘ask your Canadian friends’. This is much the same for me – I have a blog rule that goes something like ‘if one of the Canadians hasn’t blogged it, then it can’t be important’.

Here are the Canadian bloggers that form the core of my blogroll:

D’Arcy Norman

Brian Lamb
Scott Leslie
George Siemens
Stephen Downes
Dean Shareski

Then there are the ‘Honorary Canadians’, those who seem associated with the above, to the extent I probably thought they were Canadian at some point (indeed, since it’s often hard to gather info they may well be for all I know):

Alan Levine
Jennifer Jones
Chris Lott
Jim Groom
Jared Stein

This is a semi-serious question: why do Canadians seem to take to blogs and Twitter so well? Is this a genuine observation, or just my perception? Is there something about the environment, education system or culture that might make it so?

I’m not sure Europeans can become honorary Canadians, but Tony would definitely qualify.


  • Greg

    Here are my 2 cents worth, as a Canadian. Canadians blog a lot because we’re (1) well wired, (2) fairly well educated by world standards, (3) socially minded, (4) mostly able to speak English (which is useful on the net) and (4) often indoors until Summer hits. I don’t know many twittering Canadian, but am working at it ( ).

  • Scott Leslie

    Well, if you’d ever actually physically sat in a room of Canadians you’d know why we’ve taken to these online forms so well – we’re such an ill-tempered bunch, always bickering about hockey playoffs and the price of Maple syrup, that when we saw the chance to converse in a way that reduced the likelihood of physical altercations, we jumped at it. Plus there are only so many babies you can make through the cold Canadian winters, so we spend the rest of the time reproducing intellectually online. Plus we really really want to be liked 😉

  • D'Arcy Norman

    Scott might be onto something. Canadian gatherings can be interesting, if only to watch people calculating in their heads how best to navigate without violating the various peace bonds and restraining orders that were issued after the LAST gathering. Things are much more civil online…

  • Scott Leslie

    By the way, none of the ‘honorary Canadians’ you mentioned actually are citizens, yet, but we had a discussion at the Tim Horton’s last night and the three of us who make these decisions (it’s not a big country after all) decided that:
    – this Lott character was ok, his passport’s in the mail
    – Levine is actually one of our moles (damn, I wasn’t supposed to let on),
    – Stein needs to do some work on his attitudes towards profligate government spending (it’s our national way of life!)
    – Jones we can’t accept because she is a citizen of this subversive “Internets” and might cause trouble, and
    – we’ve offered refuge to this Groom fellow many times, only to have it thrown back in our face wrapped in a star spangled bandana with his ass sweat on it, and if he ever shows his face up here again we may have to give him a Sudbury Salute (don’t you wish you knew what that was!)
    But Alec is right, as honoured as I was to be on the list you mentioned, he did a service by gathering together a big list of worthy Canadian edubloggers ( and even that is likely only a small portion of what’s out there. It’s true, we rock! Accepting applications for citizenship daily along with my DoubleDouble…

  • Martin

    @greg – I think that’s a pretty good summary actually.
    @scott – thanks for that image re. Jim’s ass sweat. My marmite on toast seems less appealing now…
    @john – have added Melanie in, thanks (although, damn, another Canadian in my blog roll!).
    It may not be that Canadians are over represented in the blogosphere as a whole, but in _my_ blog roll they are. As well as Greg’s list there may be something about their sensibilities/humour being more british than many US bloggers. I have grown rather tired of many big name US bloggers (not really ed tech ones) whose posts seem to be variations on ‘This is why I’m great’.

  • Jim

    I am not, nor have I ever been a part of the commie Canadian party. I am a red-blooded American and as Scott Leslie points out, I spit on their offers of citizenship. I am a proud part the greatest empire to ever emerge from colonial ashes. I am living the dream, and when I get a free moment, I plan on heading up to Canada and kicking some royal Canadian ass.

  • Melanie

    I think Canadians differentiate ourselves in the blogosphere in relation to critique (versus hype/opinion). Unlike some in the edusphere, we don’t get rah rah about plugging new ed tech without some analysis about the ethical questions of using those products in our classrooms.
    The American edubloggers we’re most drawn to are those who privilege analysis and critique over empty hype and/or subjective opining.
    As for the “commie” comment, Canada has three major political parties. And our British legacies bear more relationship to conservatism (particularly in our social behaviours) than the convenient sweeping generalisations applied to our ideology as a whole. They’re neither rooted in fact or informed by any thorough knowledge of our history or current political moment.
    I realise many Americans are fond of painting our Canadian sensibility as somehow “communist” because we have socialised medicare and actually put tax dollars into our education and other social services (rather than a private military industrial complex), but this is no longer correct given our current conservative government and the changes they’ve introduced. Also, there are a great many Canadians who want more American models – like privatized health (i.e., tough luck if you can’t afford to get your teeth fixed buddy).
    I like democracy. I like the fact that I can enjoy some privileges of my hard work. And I believe hard work should be rewarded. Sadly, the relationship between “rewards” for “hard work” do not reflect the difficulty of any particular occupation. By and large, the people who do the very hardest and dirtiest jobs – ironically – have the lowest incomes. I don’t believe the solution is the redistribution of wealth – far from it. I also don’t believe that the fattest fat cat CEOs have salaries that bear no relationship to the merit of their “work” – for those who do any work at all – and that the Ken Lays of the world (robbers) bear blame for a great amount of inequity and mismanagement of business.
    Our New Democrat party, which is firmly planted in labour politics, is about jobs and job creation. Again, not communism. NDP isn’t against profit for its own sake, economic prosperity or democratic right to wealth. Where the variations exist is in relation to the laws and regulations that apply to how business is conducted and the social consequences that are introduced in accordance with our laws – for example pollution, workplace safety, fair wages, etc.

  • Marion

    Despite my accent I actually have a Canadian passport, but i don’t think that is really going to be enough to count me in …I really have to get better at blogging…

  • Brian Lamb

    It’s say the flattery you extend my way by including me on that list is sufficient for me to nominate you for the Honorary Canadian roll. Do try to make it over here so we can induct you via a secret ceremony (which is not hazing, really, it’s actually quite nice).

  • Martin

    Aw gee thanks Brian – I do foresee one problem though: I really don’t _get_ ice hockey, which I think will exclude me from about 50% of conversations there. Don’t suppose I can convert you to cricket?

  • Jared Stein

    I’m honoured (British spelling) to be an honorary Canadian. The best part is, as Scott pointed out, I’m technically _not_ a Canadian citizen but I can still claim to BE Canadian without ACTING Canadian: I won’t have to pay the higher taxes to fund social programs, I can own a handgun, I never stand the risk of being labeled a “commie”, I only have to speak French when I’m in France, and I won’t habitually add “, eh?” and “, right?” to the end of alternating sentences, nor will I have to pronounce “about” as “aboot”. Add to that the bonus of still getting to put my jackets in storage in April, and “honorary” seems the only way to go!
    P.S. Laugh, already!

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