We can start by talking about globalization and what it means to be able to connect to so many people across invisible distances, share information daily, learn new things from multiple sources and everything else that, thanks to the web, has been embedded into our lives long enough to make us forget what it was like without it. And then we get to the exciting world of social platforms, where culture and content come together, creating a social experience where users “sign-in” to find immediate entertainment and a new form of self-expression.
There are many social platforms out there, and most have made it big in one particular country or another. For instance, Orkut is most popular in Brazil, Bebo rocks in the UK, Friendster is huge in many Asian countries, and MySpace still holds the majority of US users (although this is changing as Facebook moves closer and closer to the top).
But it wasn’t until Facebook opened up its platform that users had the opportunity to interact globally, given the site’s worldwide popularity. International users are not just connecting with friends; they’re actually spending time on the site. Friends For Sale is a great example of an app that has managed to engage a huge number of users from all over. At the recent Facebook Developer Garage in SFO, Siqi Chen, CEO of Serious Business, stated that some of their “highest paying users are in Saudi Arabia”, according to Inside Facebook. Not only that, but Siqi also mentioned that “a woman has spent over US$30,000 in the game so far".
Belonging to a network where a diverse group can find common ground, and a fun way to connect on a daily basis whether to simply keep in touch, play a game, join their favorite group or fight for a cause, has proven to be a trend that is here to stay. Facebook is now available in 22 languages, as reported by Nick O’Neill last month, and developers should keep international users in mind if they want to keep up with the site’s continued expansion.
I’m anxious to see where this global phenomenon will take us a couple years from now. And if nothing else, I hope it keeps serving as a valuable tool and a great place to virtually coexist.