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Non-Americans, What Is a Dead Giveaway That Someone Is an American?

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One of my co-workers is a Ukrainian-American. She grew up in the United States, but speaks Ukrainian fluently. She tells me that when she visits Ukraine, even when she's wearing clothing typical of that country, people instantly identify her as an American.

That's because, Ukrainians tell her, she walks like an American. That is, she moves like she "owns the ground" she's walking on. This is a mannerism apparently so distinctive that Ukrainians can spot Americans just by watching them walk.

Redditor ILoveTallWomen asks how Americans abroad can be identified as Americans in non-obvious ways. Here are some of the responses.

bushcat69 answers:

On campus in South Africa the female US exchange students uniform: tiny shorts (regardless of body shape) hidden socks and trainers, hoody (usually branded America college variety), back pack, hair tied up and a water bottle. Can be found frequenting coffee shops with free wifi.

hbombs68 responds:

We (Americans) describe distances in driving time, as apposed to miles or kilometers.

My European relatives always make fun of me for having no clue how far away the next town is, but knowing exactly how long it takes to get there.

Jonas_soe writes:

They will start a conversation about anything with anyone. This can be a good thing because it's easy to socialise with an American, but out in public (on the bus, in the mall etc.) I, as the archetypical Dane that I am, usually just want to keep to myself.

EDIT: I should add that I don't think this a bad thing at all. While the stranger you just met might not always be in a talkative mood, it really is kind of neat to be able to strike up a conversation with just about anyone :)

ars3nal comments on fashion choices:

When I was visiting Germany in college, a girl said to me, "Do you know how I know you're an American? You wear white socks." Needless to say, I haven't worn white socks since.

RegionFree adds another fashion note:

I asked my wife (Japanese) she said "In Japan I can spot Americans by the way they dress. Compared to Europeans, Americans tend to lack fashion sense."

I'm American, so I can't answer.

I can answer: meggings with crocs are the height of fashion. The rest of the world just hasn't caught up yet.

Non-Americans, how would you answer this question?


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As an American who's been living in Europe for the past 14 years, here's what I've noticed: As someone else mentioned, the American tourists are always the worst dressed, hands down. They are the ones in sweats (those should be outlawed in public- especially on men- yuck) and flip-flops. If you ever see a woman in a skirt wearing tennis shoes- she is 99.9% guaranteed to be an American. Most Americans talk way louder than anyone else in any given place- it's like they WANT every stranger around to hear what they're saying. Having said that- I get homesick for my fellow countrymen and love running across them in unexpected places.
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We do take readers feedback seriously, Coconutbrah :) And we do try to improve the blog whenever we can.

Topic overlap was something that I've looked into at great details in the past. It's actually quite surprising that we have very little overlap with Boing Boing, metafilter, digg, and reddit, given that all of us cover a huge number of topics every single day. But I suppose it's possible that certain things stick in your mind - so if we cover two reddit posts in a two days, that stands out (even though that meant an overlap of 2 out of 60 posts or just 3 percent).

As an aside, I've been a long time redditor (there from the beginning, we've actually had a deeper discussion and collab with the founders of reddit when they were small) and I've been happy with the explosive growth of the site, but at the same time dismayed at the meme-ification and Lolpic-ification that accompanied (or perhaps caused) reddit's growth. Reddit of today is nothing like the thoughtful geek-haven of yore.

Thanks again for the feedback - if you have any more, please let me know at any time :)
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Adding more original content is a good idea. Actually, I'm working on a piece right now. But as Alex says, that takes a lot of money.

Honestly, I don't understand the criticism. As I look at the front page of reddit right now, there's only one item there that has been posted on Neatorama recently. There's significant overlap between reddit and Neatorama, but only if you take the truly massive reddit as a whole. And who wants to try to keep up with, say, more than 50 subreddits?

I've long taken pride in the quality of the work that we do here for the resources that we have available. There are a lot of sites like ours that just grab content and publish it without attribution or a hat tip. But we're very conscientious hat tippers and make a substantial effort to credit content creators. I could name a few websites that don't habitually do so.

Like Miss Cellania says, we're a link blog. We try to find neat things that have not been widely circulated on sites similar to ours and post them before they do. We also operate an online store in which we sell physical products. We advertise our product lines when possible. We're a commercial enterprise, so we try to make money.

What I'm trying to understand, Coconutbrah, is what you think that we should do that would be commercially viable. We're glad to get feedback. But I'm not sure what to do with your critique.
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Adding more of a Neatorama take to the topic could be enough, TBH. Linking and culling the top comments is not doing much. Adding some editorial opinions could tip the scale. 60% regurgitation is too high for me. Thanks for taking me seriously, though. I did actually mean it as a possibly useful reaction for you and appreciate the actual replies.
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