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Going global the local way

Deepa Natarajan Lobo, Bengaluru, Aug 05, 2015, DHNS: 0:16 IST
The feature to tweet in regional languages has become a convenient option.
Type and tweet in the language you know! Microblogging site Twitter has gone more native by introducing a new feature for its avid users — they can now tweet in Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi and Tamil apart from the existing Hindi and Bengali. So users don’t have to rely on extra apps and websites to translate their tweets anymore as they can directly tweet and upload pictures in the language of their choice. And they are more than happy.

Karthik Srinivasan, who heads social media practice in Ogilvy, occasionally tweets in Tamil. “I would tweet with the help of a website called quillpad.com. But with this new addition, it’s all the more easy,” he says.

“People in metros have stopped thinking in the local language. They only think in English as a result of which, even while they talk, they struggle to find words,” he adds. “Even the trends on Twitter have been in regional languages of late,” he says. As a social media expert, he feels it’s too early to gauge its impact. “Regional languages were supposed to take over social media by storm but that hasn’t happened so far. The bigger challenge lies in finding takers for the languages,” he notes.

For many, the local language factor helps establish a better connect.

Says Andre, an advocate, “Twitter is more of an information portal than a platform to interact with people. Certain authorities like Bengaluru Traffic Police have been tweeting in Kannada for a while now. There is some information you cannot get in the papers or on television instantly. For instance, if a tree has fallen in an area during the rains, you can get information about it on Twitter easily. And if such information is given in the local language, there is a better connect. This is definitely a step ahead and will help Twitter get more users.” 

With Bengaluru becoming more hyperlocal by the day, it’s definitely a great trend, feels Sudeep Sahu, who handles the after sales account of a phone company on Twitter.
“When it comes to advertisements, Twitter is a lot less cluttered than Facebook.

One can get instant news on a small screen unlike Facebook, where it takes time
to get the information you need. Twitter has always supported many languages in its web version and since I work involves Twitter, I have seen people tweeting in different languages,” he informs. “This is great in the hyperlocal sense — this will help each area or community of the City be all the more self-sustained. More and more apps will come up for various purposes and people don’t have to travel out of their areas if they need anything.” 

Manu Prasad, a professional, feels that a move like this will bring more people to Twitter. “However, India on the whole is a unique challenge for social media due to the number of languages it has. Of course, there have been debates on whether the web should have more Indian content and it is a Catch-22 situation. Unless the content is there, how will people use it and if people don’t use it, how will more Indian content come up? However, there are more regional bloggers today than a few years ago and the creation of content in other languages is definitely easier. So a step like this is surely a positive one.”

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