Where have I been for the last month? No Blogos postings? Been on Twitter, that’s where. You can reach out to me (if it’s really me, or just me, which it might not be) at @localization. If you don’t know what Twitter is, then it’s a kinda cross between making a long-distance telephone call in the 1980s and hanging up after 10 seconds and a bunch of drunks screaming into the night at their “friends.” Er, I mean, it’s a social media micro-blogging tool.  It’s the latest thing. Or was, given the pace some people tire of social media. Multilingual is there too, tweeting away (@multilingualmag).

Anyway, after about a month, and picking up about 180 “followers” hanging on every letter of the @localization wit, wisdom and erudition encapsulated in those 140 character “Tweets”, I can say I really like the medium. Besides the directness implicit in making comments on just about anything in 140 characters or less, there’s something refreshingly honest and a lot more robust about Twitter communications. Unlike blogging-which for the most part is really a load of guys with beards moaning about stuff, making contrived pronouncements about subjects they haven’t really a clue about, or suits scratching each other’s backs now, anyway, isn’t it? Unless it’s been written by me, of course.

In the localization/internationalization space (I refuse to use the word “globalization”), I can see a number of possibilities for Twitter, some of which we’ve explored already in the past month’s exchanges (and some are being implemented as cloud or collaborative customer solutions by enterprises already, by the way):

* Cloud service and solutions – vendor feedback, terminology queries, internationalization issues (“my Tweetdeck don’t work with Japanese characters, what’ll fix?”), location of resources, tools support (“how do I do X or Y in Trados?”), and so on. Real time and searchable knowledge.

* Communications, marketing and promotion – announcements, headsups on events, soliciting submissions, calls for papers, making time-bound offers, spreading the word virally, and more. Although I certainly want more from Twitter than just reading Tweets about what conferences and reports are for sale, directing me to the standard press releases for more details. If you’re using it for that, don’t be surprised is somebody asks you for a discount. Or a hard question about the content. You’ll have to respond. Great way to build a network of contacts, gather market intelligence, too.

* Information filtering by peers – gathering information, links, opinions, survey responses, obtaining recommendations, and so on. Using the intelligence of your followers to mine raw data for you.

* Real time commentary and feedback on events, products, services – for example, using hashtags to track webinars, or conference presentations as the event occurs. Come to think of it, why even bother going to the conference at all to obtain the real time feedback? It’s all there on public view as it’s recorded (for example, the Twitter “hashtag” #DuLu.) Listening to customers, users, and so on.

There are all kinds of possibilities, admittedly low-level at present, and non-revenue generating. You can get a flavor by looking at these Twitter hashtags: #l10n, and #i18n.

I can see some limitations at present, namely the lack of any supporting metadata around Tweets which would allow analysis, but I am sure that can be dealt with over time.

Anyway, all I can do now is encourage you to come on over to Twitter and hook up with us @localization and @multilingualmag.  10 minutes a day is all you need to join in the fun.

I’ll get back with more Blogos stuff as soon as the beard grows a little more.

Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.


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