Posted by: Kevin Perry | August 18, 2010

Who needs Twitter anyway…is the cheese moving?

I am not much of a Tweeter these days, but many would argue that if you want to be heard, whether you are a superstar, athlete, activist, gamer, or a company doing business, Tweeting is the place to reach your audience and deliver your message.

Social Media has become so pervasive that it seems as though Twitter can make or break a product, help create a movement, and/or sway someone’s opinion of a person/idea. Taking a note from a great book that everyone should read, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson M.D., the cheese is moving and if you are not on board, you will be left behind as a very hungry mouse. In the Twitterverse, some Tweeter somewhere will capture your ideas and thought leadership leaving you and your product behind.

Adding to the complexity of real-time social media is the ability to ‘autotranslate’ tweets. The ramifications to brand, image, and the possibility of legal liability surrounding mistranslated tweets create a multilingual Pandora’s box. I don’t think the laws have caught up to the potential legal implications of tweeting, but you know it is coming. For a better idea of what I mean, check out this cool site called TwitterLaw. Clearly, ’gisting’ translation is not going to cut it in this day where shelf life of content is short…very short. To address these issues, social media requires a solution that caters to the real-time nature of global communication. The world is shrinking. Long gone are the days when content and messaging in a singular language will allow an organization to prosper. To remain competitive, grow and succeed in the global market, businesses must to be able to address their customers in their native language. Kathleen Bostick, VP of Marketing at Lionbridge, blogs about the vast numbers of international Twitter users and the best ways to communicate with them across language boundaries. She offers some great examples of why ‘gisting’ doesn’t cut it, and what you can do about it.

What do you think? Do we really need better translation? Or is ‘gisting’ good enough? Happy tweeting.


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