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This article was published on October 16, 2011

Yahki: A Middle Eastern alternative to Storify

Yahki: A Middle Eastern alternative to Storify
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

We came across Yahki, a Cairo-based alternative to Storify, through an interview on ArabNet with Ashraf Tawakkol, the CEO of  Taya IT, the company behind the site.

Yahki, an Arabic word related to story-telling, makes it easy to create a summary of an event or story using content from all over the web. The site launched its public beta in July, and is expected to come out of beta in late 2012, at which time more features will  be added.

To sign up for an account, you have to connect to your Facebook account, which is probably a move that will deter some from signing up. We would definitely recommend that Yahki give users as a choice, as it could have a negative effect on people signing up for the service. That said, Yahki’s registered users are increasing by 200% per month.

If you don’t mind having to use Facebook to sign up, you can take advantage of Yahki’s features straight away. Select a category, choose your title and description and then begin to add content from all over the web. The site currently supports YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Wikipedia and Twitter. You can also add links from Google searches, and text of your own.

When creating a new story, you can drag and drop items from the menu and then conduct a search on each site, and select which items you want to add.

The final product is a list of items, which you can share with your friends on other social networking sites. Yahki also allows you to follow other users on the site, so there is potential for it to become a social network unto itself.

Users can comment on, like or share other people’s stories through Facebook and Twitter. Like Storify, with Yahki, you can embed your summary or story on your website using the provided embed code.

Yahki is coming up against some pretty stiff competition. Storify was named one of the 50 best websites of 2011 by Time, but the bilingual approach that Yahki offers could prove to make it a popular option for Middle Eastern Internet users. The Middle East is one of the regions with the highest growth rate for Internet penetration, and as more people come online, access to tools like Yahki in Arabic are bound to be popular.

At the same time, Yahki is faced with other obstacles, besides tough competition. Popularity of social networking in the region has spiked in the past year, but as Tawakkol told ArabNet, the concept of curation is new to the Arabic web. It is in the hands of the Middle East’s early adopters to utilize these kinds of tools, and in the process spread awareness for not only its uses, but the very need for curation.

With sites like Twitter and YouTube become indispensable tools for citizen journalists, Yahki can give them the means to organize and present their content in an easy-to-consume manner.

Storify has addressed an obvious need for curation of all things web-related, and Yahki has the potential to do the same in Arabic.

Have you tried out Yahki? Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

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