Bloggers as Unwitting Ambassadors

The summer after I graduated from college I spent two weeks traveling through Japan. I walked through the neon streets of Tokyo and the breathtaking gardens and temples of Kyoto. What I remember most, though, is the role I played as an American ambassador.

In addition to arranging a full program of sightseeing, my host families set up several “cultural exchanges” in which they expected me to be an expert on all things American. I spoke about current events and politics to students at Reitaku University, talked with young mothers about the expanding opportunities for women in Western society, and met with a group of employees to discuss marketing.

Most of all I tried to leave a positive impression about the United States. I knew that what I said, how I said it, and my overall demeanor would have a greater impact on the people I met than some brief blurb about the U.S. they’d read in the newspaper.

That trip was many years ago. But the role I had to play is not dissimilar to the one we as bloggers and writers hold now.

Most of the blogs I read come from the U.S, but several are from Europe, Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world. I read them to gain an international perspective and to measure my opinions and responses against those of others who aren’t necessarily shaped by an American mind-set. I also know that what I write here is read by a few people in different parts of the world.

Acting as ambassadors of our respective countries is no small burden. But it offers a tremendous opportunity for us all.

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