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When part of the world is sleeping, I’m blogging.

When you’re commenting on my blog, I’m asleep.

Oh, the joys of time zones.

Today’s Lesson

My friend Catherine (from England) and I have this problem when we post. She’s 8 hours ahead of me, so if I were to publish a post in the late afternoon, it’s my tomorrow for her. Depending on when she posts, it’s her yesterday for me. When we email each other and talk about yesterday, today and tomorrow, it gets pretty confusing

When I set my blogging schedule to post Monday through Friday, I took into consideration what time my posts would go “live”.

I wanted to cater to my readers all over the world, so I chose midnight (PST – Pacific Standard Time) as my publishing time. That worked for awhile, but I decided to make a further adjustment. I changed the clock on my blog. Now when my blog clock tells me it’s midnight, it’s actually only 10:00 p.m. PST.

Are you confused yet? :)

Changing your blog clock is very easy. In WordPress, go to your dashboard, then to “settings” (in WP 2.5+, or “Options”, pre 2.5+). If you scroll down, you’ll see the clock section. For PST I should have the clock set to “-7″. I changed it to “-5″.

Some may say it doesn’t matter when we post, to me is does.

Today’s Assignment

In case I’ve confused you and you’re not sure what time it is for your loyal fans, check out Time And Date.com.

I figured out Australia is 15 hours ahead of me, and Hawaii is four hours behind.

What time zone are you in?


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Look Who's Talking
  1. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I’ve just set up Washington and San Francisco clocks on my computer (Mac widgets) so I can see when my US friends are sleepin’. BTW it’s 4.30 p.m. Wednesday at the moment in eastern Australia. Cheers!

    Robins last blog post..Gratitude and Miracles

  2. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Barbara,

    Interesting point you make about the timings of posts.

    I too am with Catherine in the UK – albeit over the border in Scotland. We’re on Greenwich Mean Time- like you say 8 hours ahead.

    I, too, find it a bit like being caught in a time warp when I chat to my online contacts about posts I’ve read :-)

    You’re very considerate in trying to cater to your international readers.

    What I have noticed is that the majority of blogs- no matter where they are in the world- post in line with US time. This is totally understandable as the US is the largest market for blog readers.

    This, inevitably, means that it’s usually after 5 pm here in the UK (9am US time) before the day’s posts begin to flow into the feed readers.

    The main effect of this is when us non-US citizens are able to join in the conversations through the comments sections. We are either amongst the first (cough! cough!) or at the very tail end ;-)

    On balance, it’s not such a big deal as I think it’s pretty much swings and roundabouts because these effects balance out across all blog readers across the world.

    (Just now it’s 8 am on Wednesday 9 July here in the UK)

  3. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Robin,

    In order to figure out when our readers are up, your idea of setting up clocks is a fantastic idea. You’re waaaaayyy ahead of me. :)

    Hi Scott,

    It was my conversations with Catherine that made me think of this. Ian, who is in Liverpool was also frequenting my blog, and I wanted my posts to be there for them in the a.m.

    I would hit “publish”, go to bed and wake up to comments on my blog. What a great way to start the day!

    Months ago I read that the best time to have a post to “hit” is 11:00 a.m. EST. Whether that holds any weight of not, is beyond me.

    Hehe, Now that you know what time I’m posting, you can be one of the first to comment.

    BTW: It’s great to see you here again. :)

  4. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:

    I’m in Guam which means that the time is GMT +10.

    It’s 9:12 pm right now and early am for everyone in the US. It’s also the end of July 8th for me and just the beginning of July 8th for everyone in the US.

    I have opted to show the date but not the time in which I post. I figure if I post at night on July 8th then everyone else reads it on July 9th and it’s as close as I can get to sharing the day. The only real hard time is when I am celebrating a holiday way ahead of everyone. In that case I remind people where I am and tell them how it went.

    I find it hard to comment on blogs at night- my night. It’s too late for me. Barbara, I do try to look at yours otherwise I’m late for the party!

    Dr.Casons last blog post..I’m the NBOTW at Blogging Without a Blog

  5. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I get so confused with the timezones. Do you remember when we were doing a guest post for each other and i didn’t get mine done in time, because we were talking about completely different days?

    I try to publish my posts early in the morning, so that people in your timezone get to read them the evening before. But it isn’t always easy to get them done in time.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..Is Your Soul Damaged?

  6. Al at 7PNo Gravatar says:

    Hmm, that’s a very interesting point you brought up, Barbara!

    I live in the US East Coast and I try to have blog posts before the 9AM start of the work day. Since I try to get the post before Feedburner emails my posts in the 7am-9am time slot, I try to get it by 6AM (not sure when the cutoff time is, so I figure an hour is enough). Now you’ve given me even more I need to figure out! :)

    Al at 7Ps last blog post..If Life Was Predictable, It Would Be Boring

  7. I love the time stamp feature. I don’t really worry too much about when I publish, but that each post has enough space between the one before it and after it.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..RSS Blogging Idol

  8. I’m on Eastern time, but WordPress thinks it’s an hour earlier because it doesn’t know about Daylight Saving Time. I usually publish late night EST, so my posts are ready for Europe in the morning, although night owls on Pacific time (like Barbara and Vered) sometimes beat them to it. When you consider all the different time zones around the world, it’s hard to post at a good time for everyone.

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..Indulging Your Inner Child

  9. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    East coast here… -5/4 UMT depending if that stupid daylight savings time crap is going… :P

    While Drupal allows me to set the time/date like WordPress, the Auto Time Zone module sets users time zones automatically. Not sure if WordPress has something like that, but anyone who has an account will have the time adjusted to their time zone and set. It can also, optionally, set “guests” (anonymous users) time zones.

    While I use it on other sites, I don’t use it on my blog for a simple reason. I want people to see what time it was for me when I posted it.

    Though at the moment, the theme I use currently only displays the Date, and not the time. But if it did, you’d see the ‘local’ time of my posts. Which leads to some humorous posts when you find out that I’ve snapped a pic of something odd, or posted a blog entry at some weird time of my day.

    Though if you want to avoid confusion (or at least try), it’s always best to use UTC, or if you want to be a bit silly, Internet Time thought unlike UTC, I don’t think WordPress can support that. :)

    Though since people’s since of time has been based (in most cases) on the concept of “local time,” and as Today/Yesterday are relative time segments attached to the concept of Day and Night and not time… no matter the unit of time used, those to terms will always be tricky and there will be confusion.

    I suspect we will, in the not so distant future, need to learn a new time unit that isn’t tied to the rotation of the Earth.

  10. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    I’m located in the middle of the US – Central timezone.

    This is an interesting look at timezones and posting – something I really haven’t given much thought to before this. But when you really think about it, someone else’s tomorrow Is your today and vice-versa. I tend to post when I can find the time to, usually either in the early morning or later evening (CDT).

    Lances last blog post..And The Thunder Rolls

  11. I don’t worry about any of it, Barbara. Takes the stress right out of blogging. I post whenever.

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafes last blog post..Dance Lessons With James Brown

  12. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t worry about it too much. I try to have a new post waiting in the morning for US readers, but your mention of 11 p.m. being supposedly ideal makes sense. My traffic tends to peak around then, which I never understood.

    I may experiment with late night postings as opposed to early mornings and see if it works better for readers. For me, it doesn’t matter when a blogger posts, since I’ll only be able to get to it when I find some spare time. (I’m still searching…)

  13. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Am I awake yet?! I just woke up (Thursday PST) and had to read this over twice before it sunk in! Haven’t had my coffee yet.

    I consciously set my Feedburner feed to deliver posts before the EST population in the US wakes up. I didn’t know about the 11am idea — oh well. I’m trying to feel out a comfortable weekly posting schedule for myself, so the delivery time is secondary at this point.

    Question for you: Do you think it’s really important *for our readers* that we always post on the same days of the week? Or is it OK to set a goal of 3 posts a week, somewhere between Monday & Friday and that’s good enough for our readers to count on. They’ll know there’s new content during the week but not on weekends. Or is it vital to them to know we’ll always publish exact days, i.e. Tu, Wed., Thurs.? Or is the posting schedule I set really just for me so that I have a structure and goals to stick with? Guess I’m awake now, eh?

    Have a great morning, afternoon, evening or sweet dreams! Time for my morning coffee here. :-)

  14. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    I’m pretty sure Panama is on Eastern time. Since I’m a night owl (and I’m talking staying up until 2:00 a.m.), I’m usually on twitter at the same time as the bloggers from Australia. However, one of my goals is to become an early riser, so we’ll see if that changes. Thank you for the tip on how to change the time on my blog, it seems to be set about 6 hours before Panama time.

    Marelisas last blog post..Finding Balance through the Four Elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air

  15. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    Adjusting your blog time to match your majority audience is a great idea it make sure your blog is ready to well come your loyal readers with new content, and your Email subscribers have another reason to visit your blog as soon as they check their inbox :)

    Sunil Pathaks last blog post..Practical Guide For Successful Blog

  16. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I am in the central time zone so it is hard to adjust to all others. However, I commend you for your efforts and being on the west coast, I can see why you do. great idea!

    Lindas last blog post..Solar Power Plastic

  17. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there Barbara. You have made an interesting point, and I agree with Scott; you are being very considerate.

    I don’t have a posting schedule… yet… at least once per week for now. Time hasn’t made it into the equation yet. I am always curious to know what part of the world other bloggers are from. Here in Vancouver, BC, I’m on Pacific time.

    Davinas last blog post..Magic Happens

  18. Avani-MehtaNo Gravatar says:

    Good point. I have family and friends in India, UK, Australia, US … have simply stopped looking at time to post a blog since it’s always too late or too early for someone. While conversing, I usually use “my time” or “your time” to distinguish which time zone I am referring to.

  19. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    YEAH I’m confused and i’m on the east coast. i thought you didn’t sleep but when i found out where you were, it all made sense. my blog is set to my time, i set it to go live at midnight or a little after

    Naturals last blog post..We Interrupt This Program….

  20. I can’t say I haven’t given this any thought, but it hasn’t risen to the top yet in terms of the things I need to work on with my blog. It is interesting to see when new posts come online, especially if I’m on the computer at an unusual time for me.

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..Is Decluttering the Same as Simplifying?

  21. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    I don’t show the time of my posts either, just the date. The date also helps for my “archives” page (in the header).

    I don’t put too much weight on when I comment on other blogs as with the erratic schedule I have, a day (or two) may go by before I can visit my favorite sites. Then I’m the last to show up.

    Hi Catherine,

    Yes, I remember that. It was soooo confusing.

    Hi Al,

    I didn’t know Feedburner had an email “schedule”. Maybe that’s why some have mentioned they aren’t notified (via email) of posts until many hours later.

    Hi Karl,

    Spacing posts out does help. If we post too many posts in one day, it can easily overwhelm our readers (although some say it’s best to post multiple posts daily for search engine purposes).

    Hi Hunter,

    You’re right. WordPress doesn’t take Daylight Savings Time into consideration.

    A lot of times just as I’m getting ready to go to bed, I’ll see one of your posts going live, so I make time to read it and comment. :)

    Hi Hyrcan,

    The whole time concept is confusing, isn’t it?

    But a new time unit? Do you think that will actually happen?

    Hi Lance,

    Knowing I had loyal readers in the UK, I started thinking about when would be the best time for me to post with my Monday through Friday posting schedule, hence this idea was born.

    Hi Mark,

    You have a great attitude. I think that’s the artist in you…”it’s done, when it’s done”.

    Hi Linda Abbit,

    With so many of us following blogs in either a reader or via email, whenever you post, we’ll be notified, so if you’re you’ve set a schedule of posting three times a week, you can pick and choose your days.

    I find by “announcing” I’m posting M-F, I hold myself accountable to stick to that schedule. That works better for me, i.e., the routine.

    Hi Marelisa,

    I’m a night owl too. I’ve tried to switch that and become an early riser, but I keep drifting back to being a night owl. I’m guessing it takes lots of practice.

    Hi Sunil,

    Since we do write for our audience, and we live in different time zones, I wanted to please my readers.

    Hi Linda,

    Yes, the further west we go, the bigger the difference. Good thing I don’t live in Hawaii. Well, maybe that really wouldn’t be THAT bad. :lol:

    Hi Davina,

    We’re on the same time zone and not that far from each other.

    BTW: Catherine is thinking of moving to Vancouver. The two of you need to connect so you can tell her all about your neck of the woods. :)

    Hi Avani,

    That makes it difficult when you’re conversing, doesn’t it? Just saying “your time” or “my time” is the easiest way to avoid confusion.

    Hi Natural,

    I remember when you emailed me and asked if I ever slept. Haha. I LOVE my sleep, so I won’t give that up.

    Hi Ann,

    Between time zones and using the post time stamp, posts are constantly going “live”. If you follow a lot of blogs, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up.

  22. hyrcanNo Gravatar says:

    @barbara: Eventually we’ll have to, it gets really confusing for my secret moon base employees to schedule conference calls with world leaders.

  23. I don’t worry about accomodating timezones. Instead, I just make sure I post at the same time every day. That means people will read today’s today, today’s tomorrow, or tomorrow’s today. As well, I check other people’s posts at the same time every day, so I am either reading today’s today, yesterday’s today’s, or tomorrow’s the day after..okay, maybe that one is pushing it. *smile* Bottom line, I figure if blogs are posted on a consistent schedule they all get read in a timely fashion.

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Men work in clusters

  24. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Hrycan,

    I hate when that happens :)

    Hi Urban,

    WOW, I read your comment, then had to reread it. There were a lot of todays tomorrows and yesterdays. “lol”

  25. Wendi KellyNo Gravatar says:

    The time thing drove me crazy when I first started posting. I tried to change it but I think I just messed it up further. The Pen Men are in process of creating my new home now so I’ve given up changing it. I post in the afternoon every other day so everyone has two days to read one post and that seems to be working

    It’s the little stuff like this that make my blogger head spin!! LOL!

    Wendi Kellys last blog post..Searching for the Stars

  26. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Wendi,

    I’m looking forward to seeing your new “home”.

    For bloggers, there’s so much to learn. Mark might have the right idea…just don’t worry about it (but I still do :) )

  27. I just set my posts to publish at the same time each day (very early morning). However, I have noticed that the majority of my readers are coming in during the late evening.

    I may try to post then as an experiment, but I think that posting schedules probably affect timely news-style blogs far more than mine.

    Sara at On Simplicitys last blog post..Weekly Links: Missing in Action

  28. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sara,

    It might be fun to experiment, but with the great content you share, we’ll all show up soon or later.

    You’ve brought up a great point. For those blogs that are breaking news, time is certainly of the essence.

  29. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I never gave much thought to it. Although I do find it interesting to think aobut how everyone is on different schedules. If I actually schedule a post, I date it for 5:00 a.m. central time. That’s what time zone I’m in.

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Daddy and His Girls

  30. Hey Barbara

    Yeah I think the people in Australia have a slight advantage. They can write weekly posts for the week all on Monday while everyone else is still enjoying their weekend.

    For me, I just post usually at either 1am (time stamp) or right away if I feel like it. I don’t really have a set day, just that I want to post 2-3 times per week.

    By the way, I’m in Pacific time (USA).

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..50+ WordPress Plugins & Hacks Candy Store

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Debbie,

    That is one thing about blogging, people from all over the world are visiting.

    Hi John,

    I agree, some time zones could have an advantage over us. But then we have to ask ourselves, if it was us with an advantage, would we use it? :)

  32. I am in Arkansas in Central Standard Time. When I go to India, it is difficult to remember to call my husband when he is awake and I am awake. Once I thought I had it figured out that it was about midnight in Arkansas and it was 11:30 a.m. where I was in India. When I called him I woke him up. It was almost 2:00 a.m. It is about 11 1/2 hours ahead in India than it is in Arkansas until you figure in Daylight Savings Time.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworkers last blog post..Independence, Not Just For A Day

  33. Funny, I read this last night and then was able to help a friend trouble shoot the problem with his posting schedule off in England. Perfect timing Barbara!

    Dr. Nicole Sundenes last blog post..Getting “The Big Diagnosis”

  34. Barbara –

    Blogging is an amazing tool to create new friendship. I thought Catherine is in US but now I know that she is in England. World has really become smaller and smaller with the advent of technology.

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.coms last blog post..7 Habits to Master the Art of Winning against the Odds

  35. I think I’m in the same time zone as you, Barbara, Pacific Standard Time. I’ve grown fond of my time zone, yes I have.

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..Bloomin’ Onion and Mountain Dew: The Documentary

  36. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Patricia,

    That’s true. When we travel, we have the time zones to contend with too.

    Hi Dr. Nicole,

    Isn’t that great how that works? All we have to do is figure out when our cyberfriends are awake.

    Hi Shilpan,

    Catherine is a cyberfriend who I met last year via blogging. We have since become great buddies and have gotten used to the 8 hour time change.

    Yes, the world is getting smaller. :)

    Hi Bamboo,

    I’ve been in this time zone for a long time. I get confused when I’m out of it.

  37. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I like to post entries in the morning. That way they are up for a good portion of the day. I’m not sure time-zones matter much in the world wide web. I think it is more important to write from the heart so that posts can be somewhat timeless. But most posts won’t “expire” in a day or two so it doesn’t really matter IMHO.

    Chase Marchs last blog post..Governed by Laws

  38. Hi Barbara,

    I come from Singapore and am guessing that I am somewhere between 12-15 hours ahead of all of you in the States. It is quite tough really…if I want to communicate with most people, I have to stay up. I also miss out a lot on teleconferences because I just can’t wake up in the wee hours of the morning here.

    I do admit I find “time” quite confusing. Just the other day, I called some one in the States one hour ahead of appointed time. I was so embarrassed!

    Evelyn

    Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Maps last blog post..Draw Inspiration From Never-Give-Up Success Stories

  39. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Chase,

    Hopefully our work is timeless, but unfortunately visitors to our blogs often only check our most current post. I like having blogs in my reader. That way I can see which ones I haven’t read. That’s especially convenient when life happens and I don’t have time to visit my blogging buddies.

    Hi Evelyn,

    Having a 12-15 hour time difference would be extremely difficult, as your day is our night and vice versa.

    Re: your call one hour early. At least it wasn’t one hour late. :) I do think most people understand the confusion when there’s that big of a time difference.

  40. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sara,

    Your first comment ended up in my spam folder. I just fished it out.

    That’s 11:00 a.m. EST (not p.m.), but I really don’t know how accurate that information is. I’m sure it has a lot to do with what the content is too.