US State Dept tweets in Arabic

Ahram Online, Thursday 10 Feb 2011

The US State Department introduces an Arabic feed on Twitter, in a move to increase its participation in the Arab world's "conversations"

The US State Department is now using Twitter to communicate with the Arab world in Arabic, according to the Washington Post.

Foggy Bottom is using @USAbilAraby ("USA in Arabic" in English) in a feed described as the "Department of State Arabic Media Hub."

"The US foreign ministry has recognized the historic role of social media in the Arab world and we want to be part of your conversations" one of the first tweets stated.

The account had about 300 followers by midafternoon Wednesday, reported the Washington Post, noting that the State Department "appears to be using Modern Standard Arabic, a formal, high-register Arabic that is the most common form of expression for media outlets and public and religious officials."

The region's younger online activists typically use both Arabic and Latin script, alternating between formal and colloquial language.

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