Arabic readers continue to receive good news this year. The latest line is that Taghreedat, a Qatari grassroots initiative to increase Arabic online content, is partnering with the social media archiving site, Storify, to launch an Arabic version as well as to create the first free online dictionary of social media and technical terms.
This followed Taghreedat's achievement, backed by Abu Dhabi's twofour54, to create an Arabic interface for Twitter. That effort coordinated 2,500 volunteers worldwide, including 400 in the UAE.
With an estimated 450 million Arabic readers in the world, and just 2 per cent of the web's total online content being in Arabic - more initiatives like this one need to be undertaken. The demand for these sites definitely exists, illustrated by last year's 2,146 per cent - you read that right - increase in Arabic Twitter messages, making it the fastest-growing language on the social media site.
There are those who argue that Twitter is hardly the medium of long-form intellectual inquiry. We might refer them to the fascinating Arab political debate of the past 18 months. But they are also right - more Arabic websites online in every form would translate into a greater stake in society.