There are growing signs of progress in the Middle East, if you measure by the total number of Facebook users. That number has skyrocketed since 2010, going from 15 million to near 40 million.
Of those users, a growing number are starting to prefer using the site in their own native language, Arabic.
Of the 39+ million Arabic users on Facebook, 39% prefer to view the site in their native language, while 36% like it in English.
As more users in the region are coming online, with an obvious desire to access sites in Arabic, there is a rising demand for content that appeals to them, and quite a few social media sites are trying to meet that demand.
Twitter recently added support for right-to-left languages, including in Arabic, while Storify is working with a team of volunteers in the Middle East to translate their interface into Arabic.
Arabic is one of the fastest growing languages on sites like Twitter and Wikipedia, and with Yahoo having just licensed the technology behind smart transliteration tool Yamli, it is becoming increasingly easy for Arabic speakers to interact in their mother tongue online.
via The Next Web
The numbers are not overwhelming, by any means, considering that there are 152 million users in the U.S. and 232 million in Europe, but it is a positive sign.
// Photo – Sean MacEntee
Both Om Malik and Robert Scoble make interesting points, Facebook paid double for what many considered Instagram to be worth and Facebook desperately needs help with mobile devices.
From Om Malik:
A few days ago Instagram was rumored to be valued at $500 million. A few months ago it was $300 million. Its last round — just a year ago – valued the company at $100 million.
The rising valuation of the company was reflective of the growing audience it has been garnering, despite being just on the iPhone. It had reached nearly 30 million registered users before it launched an Android app.
So the question is: Why did Mark Zuckerberg buy Instagram at twice the valuation that professional venture investors were putting on it?
From Zuckerberg’s post on Facebook:
This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.
My translation: Facebook was scared shitless and knew that for first time in its life it arguably had a competitor that could not only eat its lunch, but also destroy its future prospects. Why? Because Facebook is essentially about photos, and Instagram had found and attacked Facebook’s achilles heel — mobile photo sharing.
From Robert Scoble:
Facebook has a problem. After its IPO completes it needs many quarters of strong revenue and profit growth to report to convince investors to stay put and convince new ones to buy the stock.
Zuckerberg is aiming at turning the $80 to $100 billion valuation that will happen at IPO into a $500 billion to $1 trillion company. How will he do that?
Look at mobile.
Today Facebook has NO revenues from mobile. None. That’s amazing, since so many people, hundreds of millions of us, use Facebook on mobile clients.
That will change very quickly after the IPO. Instagram will play a huge role here, plus Facebook gets a very talented mobile development team that has built world-leading mobile apps on iOS and Android (which got a million users in its first day).
“There is a 100/10/1 “rule of thumb” with social services. 1% will create content, 10% will engage with it, and 100% will consume it. If only 10% of your users need to log in because 90% just want to consume, then you’ll end up with the vast majority of your users in the logged out camp. Don’t ignore them, build services for them, and you can slowly but surely lead them to more engagement and potentially some day into the logged in camp.”
– Fred Wilson
from Don’t Forget Your Logged Out Users
via swiss miss