Since I live in the UK and play on European servers, I’m used to guild members being from a multitude of countries. It’s quite a nice experience, actually – especially for someone from the US, where you may occasionally play with Australians or Canadians, but that’s usually as exotic as it gets.
In my Warcraft guild, we have people from all over – our guild leader is Spanish, there are people from Poland and the Netherlands, Portugal, Andorra, Turkey, Croatia, Sweden, and so on and so on…plus the odd Russian or French player who opted to stay with friends rather than piss off to those servers when they opened. Everyone has an interesting accent but they all speak and write almost perfect English (which makes me feel positively illiterate, with my one language and a few remnants of high school Spanish).
We have to plan raids around a variety of holidays, and discussions of things like Christmas traditions are fascinating. Part of the criteria for joining the guild is the ability to speak and write English to an understandable level, and having conversations in one’s own language in guildchat is considered to be rude. A shared language is important.
However, that connection doesn’t seem to carry over very easily to sites like Facebook. It makes sense, as most people have family, work friends and real-life friends on their social networks, and of course you would communicate in your home language in those areas. Add in good friends from the guild, however, and it turns into an online Tower of Babel – you have friends posting things that you can’t understand or share in.
It’s a shame, really. Most people are tending to narrow their focus down to less networking sites, as people abandon MySpace and Bebo and concentrate on sites like Facebook. Twitter exists, as do blogging – but those can be integrated into your network of choice. This is why separate gaming networks where you can share personal updates with guildmembers aren’t the best idea – too scattered. Translation tools would be useful, however – our social networking tools need to adapt and become more useful globally.
That’s what I would like to see – a Babelfish type of translation tool for Facebook, so that the one part of my life that is not connected can be. I wouldn’t add most of the guild, to be honest…but there are some that I have on my friends list, or would like to.
I just haven’t the faintest damn idea what they’re posting about. :D