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Social Media Growth Is More Likely To Occur Outside The U.S. With Non-English Speaking Users

July 9, 2010

Excerpt from NYT, Business Day, July 8, 2010

“In 2008, Facebook was available only in English. Still, nearly half of its users were outside the United States, and its presence was particularly strong in Britain, Australia and other English-speaking countries. To break into non-English speaking countries, Facebook began an unusually large scale effort to have its users translate the site into more than 80 languages. Other Web sites and technology companies, notably Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, had used volunteers to translate their sites or programs. But with 300,000 words on Facebook’s site – not counting material posted by users – the task was immense. Facebook not only encouraged users to translate parts of the site, but also let other users fine-tune those translations or pick among multiple translations. Nearly 300,000 users participated. The effort paid off. Now about 70 percent of Facebook’s users are outside the United States. And while the number of users in the United States doubled in the last year, to 123 million, according to comScore, the number more than tripled in Mexico, to 11 million, and it more than quadrupled in Germany, to 19 million.”

So, what does this mean? Social media growth is more likely to occur outside the U.S. with non-English speaking users. Adjust your efforts to mirror this shift and you will continue to ride the social media wave.

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