Ted.com video on how to start a movement and applications for IALs

Monday, April 19, 2010

Here's a recent video of very short length (3 minutes) about how to start a movement. I always type out the transcript to videos in a language for which subtitles are available (in this case I went with Spanish) before watching Ted.com videos, and too much time on the internet meant that I guessed what video was being shown to the crowd just a few paragraphs in.

The question is whether this has any applicability to the IAL movement, since in this case it only took a few followers to start a movement but even the largest IAL (Esperanto) has a few hundred thousand followers but still struggles for recognition, and perhaps the time it takes to learn a language has something to do with that. Something else like Apple products for example is a much easier 'movement' to join since even though it costs a lot of money it still just involves one spontaneous purchase, followed by perhaps an hour to begin to get used to the product after which we have one more user.

So here's one idea for how to make the barrier to entry a bit easier (and yes, creating this takes work and money): Step 1) create a magazine, a real paper magazine. It doesn't have to be super impressive but it has to be monthly at least. 2) offer all new adherents to a language a one-year subscription for free. Now we have a monthly reminder to the new adherent that the language exists and is used, and it shows up in real paper form instead of just online, because though convenient we know that pretty much anything can exist online with only the slightest of effort.

Panorama in Interlingua shows a good contrast to this. Panorama is 28 pages in length, and is published six times per year for 15 euros. Not a bad price for a user of the language, but both too infrequent and too expensive for a new user. A free magazine of just four or eight pages once a month would be ideal.

How to prevent people from simply signing up as a joke and wasting money in sending the magazine to fake addresses? Easy: make the signup sheet in the language, and have a few required fields to fill out. Questions similar to this (a few yes/no or simple multiple choice questions but a few that need a real response) should suffice.

  • Quande tu comensat studiar Occidental?
  • Esque li subscrition es por tui hem o oficia?
  • Vole tu reciver novas anque per email quande noi have coses a raportar?
  • Have tu alcun altri missage por li redactoria del revúe?

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