Speaking in tongues: refocusing our multi-language engagement strategy

According to @nadia, we need ideas and practices to improve our engagement strategy. The main thing that happened seems to be this: we rely a lot on anglophone social media/blogging etc. This means that, when we suddenly move onto Polish or Czech, we skid, because we have very little audience in those languages, and the audience that we do have risks to be put off by all this speaking in tongues.

We are dedicating next Monday’s bi-weekly meeting to this, Monday 13th at 17.00 CEST on Zoom. We will:

  • Audit what’s been done.
  • Brainstorm on how to move forward.

In this case it will not be a stand-up meeting, but a long one. Budget two hours. Everyone welcome, but I need the following people: @hugi, @natalia_skoczylas, @noemi, @johncoate and @marina.


Gotcha. I will be there.

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Key changes to propose/discuss for POPREBEL:

Redirect resources and focus on organising and driving participation to 3 rounds of local workshops in each country (one per topic).

Scrap local connector role and instead recruit one co-organiser for each local, theme specific workshop. Local marketer also helps us to recruit for this role.

Scrap Global growthhacker role and instead hire local people to organise and draw people to the local workshop activity.

Only do festival in year two not #1. Run the matchmaking/proposal writing events as autonomous one in Brussels.

So Local marketers are to:

  1. Set up Edgeryders WS events on FB for each theme, starting with health based on the info already published on the platform.
  2. Get critical mass of people to sign up to the FB event pages for their language/country. This includes the ones for virtual cafes.
  3. Get critical mass of people to sign up to the FB event pages for their language/country.
  4. Manage/curate the FB event pages and drives engagement from them onto the platform

This keeps the conversations/communication in all the languages separate while still being tied to edgeryders. Our main social media channels are only used for Anglo comms.

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This is the Futurespotters model which worked best in Georgia, with Inge whom we invited, with others, in a recruitment process after individual online research for community mobilizers. She took care of everything language wise - remember the community even set up their own fb group - mostly in EN because of expats.

We need one of us to be present at the workshops.

The matchmaking event in Bxl would be the equivalent of the Tbilisi conference (well, in a different formatb). So after 4-5 months people can meet in a bigger and more actionable context. That should be a good enough value proposition if you ask me, the only issue is hiring fast and spending time with people so that they learn and adapt stuff to local context…

I’ll be there.

As I mentioned @alberto I have my flight at 4 p.m on Monday, I could join at 6…

That’s a very tricky business. I lived / worked ‘in it’ for many years. It is essential, so my experience that the native / fluent speaker : 1) scale down (vocabulary, grammar, metaphorical meaning) and 2) set their “understanding module” on wide scan when less-fluent speaker express. The less-fluent speaker should use “switching to her/his native tongue” as signal when she/he feels bulldozed by the native / fluent speaker (opening phrases in other-than-anglophone does the job) . I will try to link into your discussion on Monday.


Will join, at least for an hour (grading :roll_eyes:)

Great thread already! It’s quite easy to be research director with a team like you :black_heart:

We (@natalia_skoczylas and me) had the same challenge and same solution idea back in 2015 in Nepal. Result: offline, local, native-language based community building works quite well, but it may not result in the expected activity on an associated online platform. The difference of course is that POPREBEL is 3 years, while the project in Nepal was 4 months only.

And one thing about the topic of engagement in a predominantly English forum: expect a lot of reluctance from not-so-confident English speakers to publish publicly and permanently here on edgeryders.eu. In Nepal, we experimented with small competitions (with prizes) where the submission was by publishing an article on the platform. That works, but does not create online discussion, just online articles. Now the same people write without confidence issues in English in private, ephemeral media (i.e. Facebook chat, WhatsApp, Telegram, OkCupid, etc.). Just observations, so far. Natalia and me will be ready to give some input from the Nepal experience in the call, if that’ll be helpful …


The plan laid out by @Nadia looks more feasible to me in this version - looking forward to having this discussion.