Language revitalisation and the ignorance of Social Media

Language revitalisation and the ignorance of Social Media

We are at the end of another Māori Language week here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Most of us have seen and heard Māori language being spoken in mainstream radio, television and newspaper. The children’s television program “Sponge Bob” was also in Māori language.

But alas!, the uptake of social media to promote Māori language has been almost non existent despite the fact that there are large numbers of Māori speakers using social media such as FaceBook and YouTube.

May I suggest to all of you who partake in Te Wiki o te reo activities to consider the huge impact of using social media such as FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter, all the social media tools that our people statistically use for entertainment and communication.

A few quick suggestions would be to encourage all your whānau and networks to only use te reo Māori in Status updates in FaceBook, upload some te reo lessons to YouTube and to get a consensus on hash tags for Twitter and to Tweet about te reo events, kupu o te ra, competitions etc.Maybe even write a small blog article or Tweet in Māori. What other better way to show the world Māori is a living and cool language ?.

I have noticed that a number of learners of te reo Māori have used te reo in their FaceBook status updates and Tweets, but on the whole, most te reo speakers have ignored social media and not even bothered to tautoko our language learners.

There is a small FaceBook group that has been set up for a while where supporters of FaceBook to be translated into Māori can discuss and support each other. But again I do not see any strategy here and certainly no strategic partnerships with any other similar groups.

I contemplate two key questions:

1. Why do we want bilingual interfaces when we do not even use te reo Māori in our daily interactions with social media?.

2. Who are our digital leaders and why are there no partnerships with our language leaders ?.

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