US State Department Creates Arabic Twitter Account

By Beecher Tuttle February 09, 2011

In an effort to establish a line of communication with the non-English speaking world in the Middle East, the U.S. State Department recently started tweeting messages in Arabic, according to a recent Associated Press report.

The decision to use Twitter as a medium for sharing U.S. policy updates with the Middle Eastern world may be a response to the violent political protests that are occurring in Egypt. The United States is actively trying to quell the social and political unrest in Egypt, which has historically been one of the nation's greatest allies in the region.

Early Wednesday morning, the State Department fired out its first Arabic tweet, which said that the U.S. government recognizes the "historic role" that social media plays in the Arab world, according to the AP. "We want to be in your conversation," the tweet continued.

The following State Department tweet concerned President Obama's position that Egyptians are the ones who need to decide their own fate. A third tweet sent out later on Wednesday recapped Vice President Joe Biden's recent conversation with Egyptian VP Omar Suleiman.

During that phone call, Biden reiterated the U.S. government's hope for a peaceful transition to a new government. He asked "that the transition produce immediate, irreversible progress that responds to the aspirations of the Egyptian people," according to the White House statement.

The State Department's Arabic Twitter account is titled, "USA bilAraby," which translates to "USA in Arabic." The AP reported that the account attracted more than 40 followers within the first hour that it was created.

Egyptian demonstrators have been using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to organize protests and document the conflict for the rest of the world. In response, the Egyptian government shut off Internet access for the majority of its people.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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