Sixty per cent of my Twitter stream is not in English. Instead it is mostly in Spanish with a little French and Italian, occasionally some Portuguese and Catalan, and a few times I struggle to decipher it in German. But my Google+ is a different story. So far, almost everyone who shows up in my Google+ writes in English. And I have bad news to all the people who treasure their own languages. The quality of the content is far better.
Without offending anyone who is mostly a non English speaker, and prefers Spanish and/or other languages, I have to admit that one of the successes of Google+ is that almost everything I get is of above average quality AND in English. My mostly Spanish Twitter stream has many tweeterers from Spain and Argentina. While I was born in Argentina and live in Spain, I realize that the problems of Spain or Argentina are repetitive and hardly inspirational. I am so fed up of reading about what a crook Cristina Kirchner and her cronies are or how incompetent Zapatero and his colleagues can be dealing with the Spanish economic crisis. I am obviously following too many people in Spanish that add little discovery, novelty and inspiration to my life. And if they point out to new things, I generally read them in English first.
This also makes me think that while there are 400 million people who speak Spanish and maybe another 300 million who speak the other languages my Tweets are in (French, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan and German) it is hard to find something truly original and new in languages other than English. This is sad but true. Indeed the most original thinkers in those other native languages, write in non native English (half of the creative minds of Silicon Valley were not born in USA). This is not about saying that no genius emerge from the Spanish, French, German, Italian and other cultural circles. They do. But when they do they are rarely expressing themselves only in their native languages. Yes, literature may be an exception but there is hardly any of that in the limited world of the 140 characters of Twitter. And I love that in Google+ I don’t need to struggle with excess brevity.
I wonder if anyone has studied how many discoveries, original sciences, or amazing start ups, happen in all the other languages my Twitter stream is in. Because if Google+ is any indication, sadly not much. Non English languages are probably 60% of my tweets but only 10% of what’s new and awesome. And my Google+ because it is in English and because I am following quality rather than friendship or national interest is mostly new and frequently awesome in a way that only Quora has been to me lately. And this is why I have decided that while I continue to tweet in different languages and follow people in different languages, Google+ will be English only for me. I won’t even answer comments in other languages so as to keep the flow in English.
This does not mean that my life will only be in English. And not even my life on the internet. After the birth of Google+ I will leave Facebook even more as a place to interact with friends. Indeed I erased 4000 people from Facebook lately and I left it as a site mostly of people who I know and care about. I will probably soon erase some more and go down to a few hundred. So when it gets to express love, emotions, and local society and politics Spanish will continue to be my main language and Facebook and Twitter my vehicles. But that will not happen in Google+.
Now that I have Google+ I will keep Facebook for love and emotional relationships, Twitter for sharing and learning about information, Quora for elaborate thoughts and Google+ for intelligent conversations and discoveries. As far as Tumblr and my blog are concerned I will continue to use them the way I have until now. I generally start a thought on Tumblr and when I elaborate on it enough it moves to my blog as this post probably will.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars
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