If you’ve never used Twitter before, maybe it’s time for you to open a new account—in Arabic!
According to the cited Gulf News article, Arabic is:
“The eighth most used language on تويـــــــتر (Twitter), and this rank is expected to climb higher since the recent launch of the micro-blogging platform’s Arabic interface.”
Semiocast, the Paris-based company that provides data intelligence and research on social media, said that:
“Arabic grew fastest compared to other languages.”
In a study released a few months ago, it stated that:
Al-Arabiya: Twitter reaches out to Arabic speaking users
UAE users told Gulf News that they witnessed an increase in the number of followers for their Twitter accounts:
“I now get an average of three to five followers every day. Going by my interaction, the level of participation has increased by 30-40 per cent with many older Arabs, who previously shied away due to الحـــــاجـــــز اللُّغـــــــوي (the language barrier), signing up.“
The gathered data indicates that the number of tweets have known نُمُــــــــو أُسِّــــــــــي (exponential growth):
“There are more Arab speakers now. More people are following influential authorities.“
“The Arabic interface will certainly encourage more and more people to contribute to the Arab voice.“
For the individuals interviewed by the Arab newspaper, this change has implications that are both ثقـــــــــــافيــــــــة وتجـــــــــاريــــــة (cultural and commercial):
“Traditional texts and poems were often diluted in meaning when translated in English.“
“Tweeting the same in Arabic retains the true meaning. Also searching for trending topics or علامة المربع (a hashtag) is easier because of the standard Arabic interface. Further, the opportunities for التَّسويـــــــــق الإلكترونـــــــــي (e-marketing) are now huge with a far bigger audience.”
Social media instructor Khalid Al Ahmad, who is credited with creating ‘The 100 Most Influential Arabs on Twitter‘ list, said there is a huge need for Arabic content as it has been poorly used in the past.
In an email interview, Jordan-based Ahmad told Gulf News:
“Arab user-generated tweets لهم أكثــــــــر مصداقيـــــــــــــــة (are more credible). Brands along with governments should realize this and build relations with them. Though Arabic represents a small percentage of twitter languages, إنَّهـــــــا الأسرعُ نُمُـــــــــــوًّا (it is the fastest growing!)“
Of course, although the Gulf News article stops short of evoking the political and geostrategic implications of such a development, one wonders if it will not contribute in any measure at launching the second phase of the Arab Spring.
In other words:
- Is the “Arab Spring 2.0” now على الأبـــــــــواب (around the corner)?
- Will it necessarily take a confrontational form, as in the two extreme cases of Lybia and Syria, or will everyone seize the new opportunities presented by the new situation to prompt a peaceful e-volution, rather than a violant revolution?