The social network zone is now more and more like a war zone and every network out there wants to give something new to its users. Starting from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. everyone is keeping the segment exciting and I am sure that very soon Google Plus will also give some shock to the industry. Last week on 14th September which was ‘Hindi Diwas’ in India, Twitter launched itself in Hindi. Yes, now you can tweet in Hindi too along with several other Asian languages such as Filipino, Malaya and Simplified and Traditional Chinese. Twitter had revealed this on 8th September on its blog and it gave a small surprise to the nation by launching it on our ‘Hindi Diwas’!
The mood had been upbeat as the news started spreading and personally speaking I was looking forward for this latest enhancement for two reasons:
- One that Twitter’s growth will flourish in India being an ardent lover of 140 characters.
- And secondly it will provide local businesses an opportunity to reach customers via national language.
It is high time Twitter sees India has the most potent market after US. With the growth in access to the internet in terms of population as well as in terms of medium. The initiative of Twitter starting in Hindi is just a tip of the iceberg., there is a lot more potential for Twitter in India in terms of access, initiatives and engagement. Breaking language barrier is a huge opportunity for more brands to making their twitter campaigns more creative and getting into larger follower base.
14o characters have always fascinated me in terms of how brands can connect, converse and engage with their community. However, over the last few years, the growth of Twitter has not been as massive as other networks such as Facebook especially in India. According to a recent data Twitter is one of the 3rd largest network with approximately 13 million plus users in India. However, support of local language is a feature that is bound to give a lot of food for thought to local businesses to reach out to their target customers. I had contacted Pradeep Chopra, the founder of Digital Vidya before the launch and he seemed to be in consensus. He also emphasized that the latest development will make Hindi publishers and journalists happy.
It’s good news for India and Indians. This will further strengthen Twitters positioning in ‘giving voice to people’. It should help Twitter increase the active customer base; more people will start tweeting. Hindi publishers and journalists should be happy.
With all this excitement doing the rounds, Twitter finally gave it’s taste of local language on the eve of Hindi Divas but the taste didn’t go well with the Indian media and had a trademark #fail.
As for me, the new launch was really not very exciting since neither I have a laptop that supports Indic language keyboard like most Indians nor did the latest move have transliteration for tweeting in Hindi. It was just a lip service feature that follows the same path that Facebook followed some time back when it launched Hindi language support. The launch has been nowhere to what was expected. Sameer Pitalwalla, Sr. VP Interactive UTV had this to say before the launch and I second him totally if the Hindi version were to make a real impact.
It’s still unclear on the extent of the Indic language integration. If it’s going to be limited to menus being localized but no options for users to write tweets in Indic languages, then I would assume it wouldn’t have much of an impact. I think this is part of a longer road map of localizing twitter to be more vernacular, than its current avatar of an English script only medium, as their support for Indic language evolves, it will allow more Non-English speaking users to come on board to the platform, and hence will attract more mass advertisers as well.
We don’t know whether Twitter will make the Hindi version user friendly and effective in the near future but for the time being this Hindi launch has not lived upto its expectations. Do you think otherwise?