An English Only Web is Not an Open Web. #TeachTheWeb in Your Tongue.
To help fuel the next wave of open we must recognize that cultural hegemony threatens the web as much as any content silo or data surveillance programs. When languages are lost cultures are silenced. As part of our mission of keeping the Web open we must empower missing voices.
We have received feedback on the Participation team’s recent efforts to have leaders share their story of the Mozilla Festival. Many people noted that they did not complete the #mymozfest challenge because they were uncomfortable writing in English.
You should be uncomfortable. We need efforts to diversify the web content and not greater efforts to conform. English is the default setting of the Web. It is up to people like you to ensure that global citizens who share your history and culture can read, write, and participate on the web.
Local content will lead local opportunities to #teachtheweb. Localised web resources will be an economic engine.
As participation leaders we want to increase involvement across all of Mozilla. Know your audience. If you will draw more volunteers in different languages please do so. The Open Web has to have linguistic diversity.
Some people noted they are excited to try blogging to practice their English skills. Others, as stated avoiding English because of their skill level. My first tip is to think about avoiding words all together. A photo montage, with a caption or two in your language of choice can tell any story.
It is Your Web
We get the Web we help to build. If you want a Web full of content your grandmothers, cousins, Moms, Dads, and friends can read than help to create content in your first language. Most importantly to help draw in leaders who will ride the next wave of open we need to recognize an English only Web is not an Open Web.
Also published on Medium.