Thursday, July 16, 2009

Will Twitter Be the Modern Esperanto?

With the recent disclosure of numerous internal and confidential documents from Twitter, the world has gained a deeper insight into the core business strategy and goals of this fast-growing company. The most major goal seems to revolve around the total number of users. With that, Twitter states that it desires to become "the pulse of the planet" and questions whether its role is to build the "new Internet."

Even a fractional success could change the way we communicate using the Internet and other digital platforms. But unfortunately, these lofty aspirations remind me of the intent of another global man-made communication system: Esperanto. Esperanto is a modern language first designed in the late 19th century. It is a hybrid of primarily European languages with its own grammar, alphabet, and other communication rules. The language was conceived to unite the world and to serve as the new global method for understanding and interaction - to essentially become the new "pulse of the planet."

Although Esperanto did at one point have millions of supporters and speakers, it has failed to reach its intended status. This lack of success is due to numerous fundamental flaws including the fact that the language didn't take into consideration the increasingly influential world outside of Europe. I believe that Twitter faces the same fundamental flaw. It seems to be failing to consider the increasingly influential world outside of North America. Its founders, staff, and most successful users still come from a predominantly U.S.-centric culture. If Twitter truly intends to be "the pulse of the planet" it must quickly expand its source of inspiration, design, and usage.
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