Spanish as a blogger

A couple of days ago I wanted to explain why I have been writing this blog in Spanish. I had been doing some spring cleaning on the blog: behind-the-scenes maintenance on, including updating plug-ins; trimming clutter from the sidebar, since I haven’t been using categories or tags; and adding my own Now page, inspired by Derek Sivers.

I realized a few things while poking around settings for the Jetpack plug-in. First, the Akismet filter has prevented over 300 spam comments each month this year. It’s amazing that my little ol’ blog receives so many ridiculously worded comments, even with the marginal cost to send spam being incredibly low. Thinking about that reminds me of this message on Usenet that I remember from as far back as 1986:

This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world. Your message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere. Please be sure you know what you are doing.

Second, I saw that I continue to receive few visitors, which is fine and even liberating, for reasons described yesterday. The visitors that I do get seemed focused on posts that I write in English. Beyond the front page, hardly anyone seems to engage with anything that I write in Spanish.

Third, I saw that all of my automatic reposting to social media had been deactivated. Twitter/X no longer supports cross-posting, and Facebook allows it only on pages rather than personal profiles, so I only activated automatic reposting to LinkedIn.

After reactivating LinkedIn cross-posting, I saw an uptick in traffic to this blog. This concerned me, because I didn’t want to spam friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, flooding their feeds with Spanish every day, especially because I suspect most of them don’t understand the language well. So I decided to explain, in English, why I am writing in this language that is not my first. Leading up to that explanation, I started with why I write at all and then why I blog. Now here we are at last, where I explain why I write in Spanish.

The short answer is that I want to become more fluent in Spanish. My skills are reasonable; I’m now at the point where I can interact with people, not only in set transactions at stores and restaurants, but also asking questions at museums and talking at length with fellow travelers I’ve just met. Sometimes I can simply understand something I hear or see, without even consciously switching over to the task of translation. 

While my listening and reading skills are fairly strong, I lag a bit in expressing myself in speech and writing. For this reason, I decided to blog in Spanish. I’m finding that this makes me a more careful writer: not knowing the language nearly as well, I strip down and clarify my thoughts. I keep a tighter focus on the main point I am making, becoming less distracted by my own side thoughts. Overall, I think slightly differently, while having just as much fun with wordplay, sentence structure, and argument construction.

It’s true that I will build less of an audience this way. After all, English is the favorite language of the Internet, not just of my own personal network. But again, I’m not overly concerned about getting hits.

So this is my way of explaining to acquaintances why they will see Spanish from me every day. If they wish, they can always unsubscribe from my feed, much as I described I am doing from my own email subscriptions, in Paulatinamente, which coincidentally is the first Spanish post that they would have received since I reconnected this blog to LinkedIn.

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