Bilingual Social Networking

January 21, 2011 By: erik Category: Internet, Spain, Spanish 467 views

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Spain and USA Flags MergedAs Facebook slowly catches on here in Spain, I’ve been faced with a dilemma: my Spanish friends want to be friends with me on Facebook, but they don’t understand anything I post. And I understand them perfectly. I have some friends that post things in Polish, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Greek, and it is a little annoying to be excluded from their communication by my ignorance. Possible solutions to my problem that I see are:

  1. Ignore the Spaniards
  2. Post everything twice, once in Spanish and once in English.
  3. Create two separate accounts: one for Spanish and one for English.

I’d rather not take option #1, because I see the value of social networking and of communicating my wise(ass) thoughts to a broader audience. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, then you know that I’m a little too prolific and would agree that option #2 would be misery for all. So I’m going to try option #3. It might turn out to be too much work, or generally a terrible idea for other reasons, but we’ll see. I have created Spanish alter-egos on Twitter and Facebook. If you choose to follow me on both, be prepared for some redundancy.


Update, May 12, 2011: This project has been cancelled due to reasons explained my post Using Facebook Properly.

  • Ah, that explains why fb wants me to be your friend again, and how you friended yourself…

    • erik

      The confusion my self-friending caused made me realize that the two accounts should not be friends. Thanks for that.

  • Sarah

    Wow I have to say that I totally disagree with you here. The way I see it, I use Facebook mainly as a means of communicating with the homeland, so I mainly use English. However, I live in Spain and also have Spanish friends so that doesn’t mean I can’t occasionally post in Spanish. This hasn’t been a problem for me so far. In fact, lots of my Spanish friends have told me that they enjoy “cotilleando” on my fb page as their daily dose of English, and American friends enjoy catching up on their Spanish with some of my bilingual posts and captions. Being bilingual is a big part of who I am, so why separate out the two language identities? I think you’re making a lot more excess work for yourself than necessary, but that’s just my opinion! Let me know how it works out, and which “you” I get to be friends with!

    • erik

      Thank you, Sarah, for your comment. I appreciate it when people openly disagree with me. You’ve clearly thought about this a lot since you have the same problem, and you may very well be correct. This idea is still very experimental. You, and all my bilingual friends are welcome to be friends with both of me.

      However, I’ve already found a status update about Nora that’s funny in Spanish, but doesn’t translate well to English. We shall see. It’ll be educational, for sure…

    • Kind of makes you wonder how people with Multiple Personality Disorder deal with facebook, doesn’t it?

    • erik

      Ha. An American friend just told me that she wants to follow the Spanish Erik on Facebook to practice her Spanish. So that argument swings both ways.

  • Gaston

    ajajjajaa / ejejeje k graciosoooooo / so funnyy dudee
    look like there are so many like us on the web, fb, twtr and so on, we’re on the new generation of humand communication age nor like the regular old letter witch takes year get to port ,did you remenber ?. get togheter broth ejejjee just like one world

  • I have the same thing, but I’m not going to have two FB accounts, it’s just too much of a pain. I mostly just update in English, but sometimes I write something in Spanish, and very occasionally I’ll write the same thing in both languages. When I comment on people’s statuses I do it in the language they use, and If someone is interested enough in what I have to say but can’t understand, there’s always Google Translate…I’ve used that for friends that are bilingual in languages I don’t speak (German, Portuguese, Russian)…and it works pretty well. For me FB isn’t really the problem, it’s my blog. I get a lot of people from Spain that visit it, but very few leave comments, so I’m not sure if they understand it or not…and I’ve toyed with doing a parallel Spanish version, but it would take a lot of time to write everything twice, so I’ve pretty much given up on that idea.

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