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Social Networks in the Middle East, Gulf and Saudi Arabia - Literature review Example

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Close to 4% of the world’s internet users are from the Middle East where 40% of the population in the region have internet access and 80% of the internet users visit social network sites (GO-Gulf, 2013). This is comparable with other parts of the world where every 4 out of five-internet users use social networks…
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Social Networks in the Middle East, Gulf and Saudi Arabia

Download file to see previous pages... The regions digital market has increased tremendously in 2011, with a 240% rise of twitter users in Saudi Arabia in 2011 (Ramzy, n.d) Social Media Sites Number of Users (in millions)     Facebook 58 Twitter 6.5 LinkedIn 5.8 (GO-Gulf 2013) Facebook is the leading social network platform in the region where United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the highest penetration with the service reaching to about 40% of the population. In terms of penetration, LinkedIn has overtaken Twitter especially in the UAE where the business-oriented network LinkedIn reaches 12% of the population compared to 3% for twitter (Richards, 2012) In the Middle East, that 65% of the social media users are male whereas only 35% are female (GO-Gulf, 2013). This is one of the major differences in social media usage between the MENA countries and other parts of the world where statistics show that women are more likely to use social networks than men. Female users in the world stand at around 71% compared to 62% male users. The low number of females in the Middle East is attributed to the religious and cultural restrictions imposed upon women. Women are confined to networking with the family only (Walid andMounira, S, 2013). The greatest percentage of social network users is between the age of 18 and 34 which make up 68% of the social network users whereas the most popular topic for discussion in social networks is music and movies, which take about 67% of conversations in the social networks. On the other hand, religion is the least favourable topic for discussion in the social networks (GO-Gulf, 2013). In the recent past, Iraq, Egypt and Algeria have experienced the biggest facebook usage surge with increases between 48 and 61%., due to the facebook blackout that was imposed by the fallen regime in Libya, facebook usage has dropped in Libya but it is expected to rise after it was revived (Messieh, 2011). The rise in facebook usage in these countries is attributed to the role of facebook and social media in general in the Arab Spring that saw the fall of major autocratic regimes (Dennis, Martin and Wood, 2013). For instance, News Group, a Dubai based company released a report for which they had monitored social network activities of over ten million accounts a day prior to the events at Tahrir square. They concluded that there were indications of unrest in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world before it got into News headlines (Himelfarb, 2011) The Most Popular Topics for Social Media Users in the Middle East Topics %age     Music & Movies 67% Community Issues 46% Sports 43% Politics 34% Religion 14% (GO-Gulf 2013) Egypt has the largest market for social networks in the region even though the penetration is quite low at around 13%. Statistics show that 1 in every four Arabs in facebook are Egyptians while 80% of the Market share in the gulf region is in the United Arab Emirates (EAU) and Saudi Arabia ( Richards, 2012). The country with the largest social media penetration is the UAE with 47.83% of the population on the social media (Messieh, 2011) The number of social network users is increasing in the region for instance; Egypt alone had more than 1.6 million people who joined facebook between January and September 2012. Saudi Arabia and Syria have also seen close to one million new members join the service whereas it is only Turkey and Djibouti that registered a fall in number of members in facebook in 2012. Twitter has also seen a tremendous growth in the region ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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