In a blog post today, Twitter announced that more than 60% of users reside outside of the U.S., mostly due in part to the service being launched in other languages last year.
That expansion took place in October of 2009 and in November, the site became available in Spanish and shortly thereafter, French. December was when the site was available in Italian and German. However, Japan has been online for just about two years.
Twitter’s lead engineer for the international team, Matt Sanford, wrote today:
“In the days following the tragic Chilean earthquake, people turned to Twitter to establish much-needed lines of communication. Signups spiked 1200% and nearly all of those were using Spanish as their language. In Colombia, signups are up 300% after politicians like Piedad Córdoba Ruíz began using Twitter as a platform to speak to constituents. Signups in India have increased nearly 100% since the beginning of 2010 due in part to politicians like Shashi Tharoor and Bollywood mega-stars Sharukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Abhishek Batchan. We partnered with Bharti Airtel, India’s largest carrier, to ensure that a large portion of India’s 550 million cell phone users can send and receive tweets via SMS at standard rates.”
The company has been able to expand relatively quickly due in part to their translation and outreach efforts in terms of volunteers. With this help, Twitter's global traffic is starting to mirror the growth of Facebook.
As Mashable reported earlier this year, In fact, half of Twitter messages were in a language other than English. Since June of last year, Twitter users from outside the U.S. have grown from less than 45% of all accounts to a stunning 63% majority.