“I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” Jeremiah 1:5.
I do not wish to make grand or impious claims for the providential purpose of the Orthosphere, but would like to show you some indications of our international reach. This site has been operating for six years, and in that time has had the good fortune to find readers in all but five of the world’s sovereign states. Our readers are, to be sure, preponderantly Americans, but we also enjoy a substantial international public.
Around half of our international readers come from the Anglophone countries of Great Britain, Canada and Australia, but that leaves a substantial remainder scattered across the planet, as you can see from the map below.
The Orthosphere has yet to penetrate a certain fastness at the heart of the Dark Continent, namely Niger, Chad, the Central African Republic, Guinea and Western Sahara. These are not the poorest countries on earth, but they are near the bottom, and in some of them armed militiamen take a dim view of reading infidel websites. I see that we also have yet to attract the notice of the good people of the Svalbard archipelago, but they are really Norwegians. That North Koreans do not enjoy the Orthosphere will, I believe, surprise no one.
When I reduce the set from six years to just the past twelve months, the pattern develops. The hole in central Africa and the Sahel expands to encompass what is now an island of readers along the Christian (and populous) Guinea Coast. A second hole appears in Iran and two adjacent central Asian republics, with a detached outlier in war-torn Syria. There is also the beginning of a South American hole in Guyana and French Guyana, on the northeast coast of South America.
Restricting the set to the past three months, the African hole continues to grow, taking in countries such as Libya and Angola. Surinam joins its neighbors in the South American hole, and a second South American hole pops up in Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. (Brazil, on the other hand, is our largest non-anglophone market). The central Asia hole remains as it was., but a new eastern European hole has begun to open in Belarus.
Drilling down to a one month set, the basic pattern continues much the same, although the African hole has grown to swallow the ancient Christian land of Ethiopia, and the South American hole now takes in Venezuela and Peru. El Salvador and Cuba have joined the Guyanas in an Orthosphere desert that is about to open across the Caribbean. It is hard to see, but Albania and Macedonia have also dropped off of the list, beginning what will become a Balkan hole.
There is also the beginning of a hole in southeast Asia, starting with the bookends of Myanmar and Papua New Guinea.
Limiting the set to just this past week, the African hole is spread over most of the continent. The African readers who remain are mostly from former British colonies (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana). A single reader from Egypt may be a Copt, an expatriate, a tourist, or a bot. I am surprised by Mozambique and stumped by Morocco.
At the scale of one week, most of the Islamic world is also gone, although Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan hang tough. I would guess that these are American military personnel, or perhaps oil-field workers, but who knows.
Except for tourist-rich Costa Rica, all of Central America has followed El Salvador into the hole, and so has the Dominican Republic.
In southeast Asia, only Thailand and Vietnam and the Philippines remain on board. The last two countries are, of course, Catholic, but Thailand is a surprise.
The last map shows today’s visitors. With the exception of South Africa and Kenya, Africa is gone. The Islamic World is also gone, assuming the readers in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are expatriates. The Balkan hole has grown and joined Belarus to create a large hole in eastern Europe. Poland was a no-show yesterday, as were Ireland and Spain.
Asia is also gone, except for India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Japan and Korea. India is huge, substantially Anglophone, and home to a large Christian minority (not to mention many bot farms). Japan and Korea are probably American military personnel. The Philippines are Catholic. Bangladesh is a surprise.
The tendency of readerless holes to spread is certainly interesting. I’m not going to test this by running the numbers, but it appears that bordering on a country without readers increases the likelihood that a country will itself show no readers at the next data interval. This appears to be significant even when other factors are controlled.
Apart from this, the obvious barriers to Orthosphere reading are technology, language and culture. The technological and linguistic factors are too obvious to require discussion. Poor people without computers or internet connections cannot read the Orthosphere, and neither can people who don’t read English.
The cultural factor is also obvious. Much of what is published at the Orthosphere is explicitly Christian, or at least Western, so the Orthosphere is most often read in old Christendom, the European settler colonies, and some more recent missionary fields. Holes began to appear in old Christendom in the one-day set, but not the holes we might expect. In the past twenty-four hours, we have attracted readers from most of the supposedly secular countries of Western Europe, but drawn a blank between the old Iron Curtain and the Russian frontier. Some of this split is certainly due to higher wealth and greater internet access in Western Europe, but it is still interesting.
Thanks to all of our readers, faithful and fickle, foreign and domestic alike. If you are an international readers, please consider leaving a comment and telling us where you are at!