I have always been struggling with the gap between the two languages that I’m most proficient in. My native language is Dutch, but for my work and most online communication the main language is English. Most Dutch people can read English, not many non-Dutch people understand Dutch. The solution to this for a blog is of course fairly simple, split your blog into two languages using either a translation plugin or setup two installs of WordPress. I’ve done the latter now, be it in a multisite setup. Hello shiny new Dutch blog!
But, the blogs are not the biggest issue here. What about social media, Twitter and Facebook? In the past two months I have been trying to create a perfect system where the content I posted to those networks was only to be seen by the people understanding the language the content was written in.
This involved a list in Facebook (which was pretty easy to use, no issues there) and I created a separate Dutch Twitter account for my Dutch tweets. While this works, be it with a little extra effort, this experiment failed big time for me and tonight I decided to stop tailoring the content on Twitter like that and I probably will do the same on Facebook.
Reason #1: It should be the other way around
In the past, I wanted to do everything perfect for my followers. My Twitter bio is pretty clear on what I do, so it would be odd if you started complaining about the loads of WordPress tweets, once you start following me.
I wanted everybody to be able to follow my every tweet. If you don’t like what I’m tweeting about, the button to unfollow is only one click away.
But, what if that one tweet was something the follower didn’t understand because it was written in Dutch? This has been bugging me for so long, that I ended up doing the experiment with the separate Dutch account. Conclusion: I shouldn’t be making the decision what someone can or can’t read, you are perfectly capable of skipping a tweet you don’t understand.
Reason #2: The world isn’t split in just languages
So, I had this separate Dutch Twitter account, following just people speaking and understanding Dutch. And I still had my main Dutch Twitter account, where I continued tweeting about WordPress like I always did.
It didn’t take long before the first problem arose, what about Dutch people who do like WordPress? Should I follow them from both accounts? But the problem was even bigger for them, which account should they follow? The Dutch one, or the English one? Or maybe even both? Long story short, this ended up being even more confusing than it already was.
Reason #3: It takes a lot more time to do it right
Everybody knows how time consuming social media can be and most of you probably only have one Twitter account. If it is just for fun and games, you do not want to keep track of multiple Twitter accounts. It takes more than double the time it takes to properly manage one account.
Conclusion: It is not worth it, don’t do it
I stopped the experiment, trashed the Dutch Twitter account and asked all my followers there to please follow me back on my main account. If people like what I’m tweeting about, I’m sure they can skip the occasional Dutch tweet. And most of my Dutch speaking followers can read English, so they can read all of my tweets. Splitting those tweets is cumbersome, don’t do it.
Sorry if this post sounded a bit grumpy. I don’t like my experiments going bad, even the ones that were bound to fail.