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Brendan O’Brien

Editors’ Association of Earth has 10,000 members!

Illustration of five people standing in front of a globe with a megaphone, video, and chat icon above them.

Editors’ Association of Earth (EAE) is a Facebook group set up in February 2013 by Greg Ioannou and others, with the aim of fostering links between editors internationally. On Oct. 17, its membership reached 10,000. It’s a testament to editors around the world that EAE has become so successful.

Editors’ Association of Earth Facebook group
yupiramos ©

EAE has evolved in an organic way, without too much direction from the admins (as befits a group with a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist philosophy); its values are collegiality, inclusiveness and tolerance. Members are generous in sharing their knowledge and experience. For EAE, the enemy is rigidity and meanness of spirit — not authors. Negative attitudes to Englishes other than one’s own are frowned upon.

Offshoot editorial groups

There are various EAE offshoot groups for particular purposes, such as a group for ads (EAE Ad Space) and a closed group (EAE Backroom) for more private conversations. Peevery is reduced to the same status as the spotting of typos: both are confined to a spin-off group (Stickleback Corner).

EAE caters to the social as well as the business aspects of our working lives. Many of the more active members have gotten to know each other quite well over the years. Online friendships have developed and sometimes carry over into “real life,” with people meeting up when they can. Work referrals and new clients have ensued.

A global network

Around 71 per cent of EAE members are in North America (49 per cent in the U.S. and 22 per cent in Canada). The countries with the next highest numbers are the U.K., Australia, India, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, the Netherlands and Germany.

Reflecting the group’s Canadian roots, Toronto has by far the highest EAE membership of any city: as many as the next three (New York, Melbourne and Seattle) combined. Following these are Vancouver, Ottawa, London, Delhi, Calgary and Edmonton. At this moment, 80.3 per cent of EAE members are women, 18.6 per cent are men and 1.1 per cent are “custom.” According to Facebook, more than two-thirds of members are “active.” Posts, comments and reactions each month total tens of thousands.

The success of EAE inspired Editors Canada to host its first international editing conference in 2015. In 2020, Editors Canada will host its second international editing conference in Montreal.

A resource and a respite

People ask to join EAE every day (not always successfully, as the groups are for editors only). Some members post and comment frequently; others come and go; some lurk for a while before perhaps plucking up the courage to ask a question. There’s a lot of humour and joking alongside the serious stuff. Really, it’s a club where one can find fun, support and information. Members use it in whatever way suits them; the more they put into it, the more they get out.

In a blog post earlier this year, I talked about the importance of networking. Groups like EAE supply a space where we can stay connected with colleagues, exchange information and ideas, collaborate and build relationships.

These are special groups because of the special people who are in them. I hope they will continue to provide a resource and a respite for both new and experienced editors for a long time to come.

Has EAE or another online forum helped you in the past? Share your stories below.

Previous post from Brendan O’Brien: The Aging Editor

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