Everyone thinks Twitter when they think of microblogging, but watch for Plurk, a microblogging rival who has made quite a splash in Asian markets.
What makes them so special? Plurk offers services in local languages, which is something Twitter struggles to deliver. Plurk provides their services in 33 different languages so far, but 45 more are getting ready for release as we speak. Some of the languages include Russian, Hindi, Chinese in traditional and simplified character forms, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek and Japanese.
While Twitter is behind in this language support race, they have quickly added Italian, French and Spanish within the last month in response. Difficulty in localizing Asian languages is their reason for not supporting more of this market.
Plurk doesn’t seem to have the same issue, but this may also have to do with their language strategy. They send out an e-mail with a string of English to volunteer translators to localize the content and send it back. There is a surprising amount of people who have a strong desire to localize a microblogging site to have it in their own language.
Plurk is so popular in Asia because they have penetrated a market where English is very uncommonly used. They are the number one microblogger site in Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan, where Twitter continues to dominate Hong Kong and Sinagpore.
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