Multilingual in the fediverse

#thoughts #multilingual #mastodon #fediverse

I've been

on a mastodon server for ages now, in total at least a week. For all this time I've felt like several people on one instance. Or several personalities, perhaps? It isn't quite right, but it isn't wrong either.

First I joined a big server, but quickly moved—so that doesn't count. My dissociative feeling came from having different—and in some ways discordant objectives here. There. On Mastodon.

My trouble is, or was, related to being multilingual. My native language is Norwegian, and like near 90% of people living in Norway—I know a bit English as well. As a third and fourth I try and learn Welsh for fun, and I really should learn German because of family.

Being multilingual

I wondered if I should keep one account for each role, each—dare I say—ego? To know if that was a solution I had to find out who I am online, and how different I am from myself. To enumerate, I am:

  1. Norwegian—I do kind of care about my home country and my fellow Norwegian citizens. Yes all of them. If you live here, you count. If you live abroad, but feel some kind of kinship, you count.

  2. Western Internet citizen—I read and write in English, and I care about the world. I acknowledge that I am a privileged white male; my problems are first world problems, BUT! I want to learn.

  3. Wanting to learn Welsh me—I want to learn Welsh. Dw i eisiau dysgu Cymraeg. I currently use Duolingo, Google Translate and time to help me learn, but actually seeing people use actual words in actual sentences are wonderful. And helpful. It is sometimes kind of easy to guess what Duolingo wants of me.

  4. Tech me. I work as a consultant / programmer / rubber duck. For whom? Not that important; with what? The same. I want to listen to tech people and learn from them.

  5. The thinking me. Or... homo, cogito? I should've learned Latin. No, wait. I do think, I think. I think about thinking, about being human and about thinking about thinking. Sorry for being confusing. I'm also a doubting human.

The trouble here

is, how many of these diverse groups of people I want to follow will want to listen to me? All of me.

Norwegian speaking people won't have too much trouble by Norwegian or Western internet citizen me.

Western Internet citizens won't be bothered too much by me posting about western white cis male wanting to learn about not being the same. And I don't really want to post about it. Because that is dumb; being dumb is dumb.

Welsh wannabe me wants to listen, but some Welsh people might follow back. They probably does not want to listen to Norwegian me, but are absolutely THRILLED I am slowly learning their language. Minor overstatement.

Tech people probably want to tell me stuff indirectly, but won't follow. At least not the big ones. And I mostly want to listen not talk, so most of what I type will be noise for them. If they end up listening.

Cogito ergo sum.

All the me trouble listed above, and maybe some more, is solved by creating more accounts—and listening/posting in discreet bits across multiple communities.

Except that thinking me might be interesting to ALL of the above. I might over-estimate my own ramblings, but thoughts are thoughts. And I can't post reflections on all the accounts. Thus we arrive at the end.

Too long, did not read

Or, how I learned to love the mastodon. This might be a bit premature: I feel that—thinking, along with asking people—I arrived at a consensus with myself.

One account should be good. If I over-estimate the importance of my thoughts, then the people following me aren't that important to me after all.

Or, rather: If I talk a bit in Norwegian and boost some posts. If I hammer out some strange sentences in Welsh. If I boost a tech post and ask a stupid white cis male question...

If my thoughts are good and interesting for people, they will keep following me. If my musings are boring and dull—they would leave anyway. I am not driven by numbers, really. It doesn't matter much in the end.

I could talk... I could write for nobody, and still be content. I could look at an empty screen, and I still would reflect for myself. Feedback is good, it is great, it fuels the will to write instead of just thinking.

The end

is far away, but if you read this. If you read this without scrolling to the bottom looking for a tl;dr — I salute you.

Feel free to follow this blog, or not. Maybe just my Mastodon account? Linked in the About page. Or not. I'd really appreciate feedback. Private is fine, as a DM on Mastodon, or any place else you might find me. Even if it only is to tell me “It is too long and rambling”. Even for “You're grammer am vrong!”

Thanks for listening.