On Localization: Why need a Vietnamese Twitter-like?

In the previous discussion on” Twitter fails in Vietnam“, Lawrence argued that a Vietnamese clone of Twitter would eclipse our global visibility in #Twitterville. While this argument is sound, I believe localization matters for a few reasons.

Language

Most of us on #Twitterville are now using English as the de facto language. While this greatly helps us communicate with the world, it is certainly not the language of choice for the rest of the Twittered Vietnam.

Cultural Differences

After following Twitterati for a while, I’ve come to realize that such differences exist just as they do in real life. People in the States talk to each other, and sometimes I don’t get to fully understand what they’re saying. This requires me to spend some time getting used to the flow of conversation and gradually convert them into my “tribe”, one at a time.

Local success

Chinese Twitter clones have proved that localization sometimes work even better than the original.

Do note that these are some of the reasons I’ve proposed for those thinking a Twitter clone is necessary. It’s self-contradictory but I must agree with Lawrence that there’s no point in having Twitter clones in Vietnam, not only because of what he said, but also because Twitter is a service that hasn’t found its way to profit, and it’s even harder to achieve that in Vietnam, a very small market. More importantly, Twitter API-ed clients and services play a crucial part in fueling the growth.

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4 Responses to On Localization: Why need a Vietnamese Twitter-like?

  1. ePi.Longo says:

    I don’t agree with you bout the prob of profit. They (twitter) are finding the model of profit and at least they can use ads as a traditional and can’t-be-denied model. But I do agree with you on Language & Cultural aspects. But we need to talk more bout the Cultural and find out exactly what we need to talk under this umbrella.

  2. Dan says:

    I agree that you’ll get much more out of twitter by using it your native language…no reason to restrict yourself! Choose your own communities, by language, topic, people, whatever is interesting :)

    The question to me is, why is a clone necessary rather than just using Twitter in Vietnamese? IMO, a clone is only a needed if A) a viable business model emerges for a microblogging network & B) that model can be applied to a network with 10-20m users max & C) Vietnam’s online market is willing to spend its dollars on whatever that business model is.

    My hope is that Saigoni.ca and the rest find a way to integrate with twitter, since the microblogging networks are really just utilities like SMS and the telephone system…in the long run twitter is hoping that by owning the network of people (and their data, i.e. past tweets), that they can control whatever services get built on top and profit from them.

  3. clarious says:

    The question remains: How many Vietnamese will know, not to say use, about it?

    No matter how hard I try to convince people to use twitter, I am still the only one who use twitter in my list of 120+ users in yahoo.

  4. AnhHung says:

    @epi_longo: You can refer to Dan’s point on Twitter’s business model.

    @dshupp: You should check http://me.ola.vn out, it’s much better than Saigonica.

    I think a good solution to “global visibility” would be a mechanism which allows one’s tweet to go to both Vietnamese clones and Twitter AND replies from Twitter and the clones to appear in the same @replies page. Would this be a better option than having the clone integrated into Twitter?

    @Clarious: I think that’s the problem with all microblogging services. In order to catch up in Vietnam, the clone has to undergo the same slow take-off phase as that of Twitter. However, Twitter’s increasing popularity IMHO is due to lots of free PR from many sources, and the amazing number of applications/clients built around it. If the clones cannot do this, I think their chances of success are pretty slim.

    @clarious

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