Ramblings on social media

One profile, one language?

In a recent article, I have argued that bilingual or multilingual sites ought to have languages kept separately (One page, one language │ Thinking aloud about website management), but I am decidedly undecided when it comes to social media presences, such as Facebook or Google+. I have separate Facebook and Google+ pages for different languages, but it becomes difficult with regard to personal profiles. Speaking, reading, writing, listening, and thinking in two languages, Japanese (my mother tongue) and English, that is part of who I am. If a profile on social media platforms were to represent fairly the whole person, then I would or perhaps should be posting in both languages. Yet, I do not.

My personal Facebook account has been more or less dormant for quite a while, and it is very skeletal. I rarely sign in to my Facebook account, as I post on Facebook pages via Hootsuite, and whenever I do actually sign in, many people’s marital status seems to have changed, and I struggle to remember who was with whom. Unlike Facebook, I use Google+ quite intensively, and I post almost daily on my personal Google+ profile. On the Google+ profile, I more or less post exclusively in English. This is because I came to use Google+ for being active in Google product forums, and most people that follow me and those whom I follow are speakers of English. To a certain extent, there is a cycle, since the more I post in English, the likelier it is that English-speaking people follow me. I wonder what is people’s tolerance level for seeing posts in a language they do not understand. What would happen if I were to start posting in Japanese? Would that repel English-speaking followers? Would I gain many Japanese-speaking followers?

Would it make sense for me to maintain two Google+ profiles, one in English and one in Japanese? The answer perhaps depends on how I intend to use Google+ profile: do I want it as an online and social identity representing the integral person, or do I want it to use it as a means, such as to project myself as a brand? I am the former, in the sense that Google+ is not much a means to something, but as a product I enjoy using, by connecting with different people, and having conversations with them. If I had been the latter – building a persona and a brand – then it probably makes sense to create two Google+ profiles, finely tuned for each linguistic audience.

It is probably worth experimenting at some point, and even though I have another inactive Google+ profile on another Google account, I think will stick with one Google+ profile, and post in two languages, since it would seem rather odd to split my personality into two profiles. While I very much doubt splitting personalities on social media would lead to a split personality in the real world, you never know.