The phenomenal success of Facebook in Israel - with more than 2 million users - has left Twitter and its microblogging behind. It never really succeeded in Israel. The less user-friendly interface, its cliquiness, and also the fact that Twitter was not translated into Hebrew - all of these apparently became obstacles to the success Twitter experienced overseas.
However, it seems that small changes are occurring slowly. In a survey carried out last year, French consulting firm Semiocast analyzed 5.6 billion public tweets (those that can be monitored), and found that the number of Hebrew tweets jumped 150%, about the same as Twitter's overall growth worldwide. Semiocast's analytic tools are capable of analyzing a short text and identifying in which of 61 languages it is written.
However, the number of tweets in Hebrew is still low. As of October 2011, there are 32,000 daily public tweets in Hebrew, amounting to less than 0.1% of total tweets last month. Semiocast believes that the reason for this is that many Israelis prefer to tweet in English. It notes that in the previous survey last February, it became apparent that Israelis tweet three times more often in English than in Hebrew.
At the same time that the Hebrew language is lagging behind, the most interesting piece of data from the Semiocast survey is the change in the use of Arabic. Protests throughout the Arab world this past year brought about a rise of 2,146% in Arabic tweets. According to the survey, there were 2.2 million public tweets in Arabic in October 2011, as opposed to only 30,000 in July 2010.
Not surprisingly, the most popular language on Twitter is English, with 39%, or 70 million public tweets a day. Other popular languages are Japanese (14%), Portuguese (12.4%), Spanish (8.3%) and Malay (6.4%).
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 28, 2011
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