Guest blog post from Feras Hilal of The Online Project Ever wondered when’s the best time to engage with your Facebook fans and Twitter followers during Ramadan? We did too. And to help brands in the region, we’ve delved into the differences between the user habits on Facebook and Twitter during the Holy Month. Ramadan has a significant impact on people’s behaviors and daily routine in the Middle East. The pressure now is on brand managers and social media strategists who need to know the differences between their audiences, and make adjustments to their marketing messages accordingly.
**First **** LinkedIn **MENA office opens in UAE Exciting news for the Middle Eastern business world this week as LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 175 million members worldwide, announced the opening of its first office in the Middle East and North Africa. Located in Dubai’s Internet City, the office will serve as regional headquarters to over five million members in the Middle East and North Africa, one million of which are based in the UAE, where a team of approximately half a dozen will support the growing membership and client base.
A dirty QWERTY, regional social TV, Facebook postcards and top-Tweeting cities? It must be time for our weekly wrap-up! Social TV UAE based companies Arabi on TV and SkyGrid have collaborated to develop Touch TV – the first free application to watch TV shows on Facebook, according to a report in Gulf News. The app, which works on all major operating systems, is designed to tap into the way people in the region access social networking sites for entertainment.
Is Facebook dying? In its first report as a public company last week, Facebook announced that it has lost $157m from April to June. Shares have now fallen to a new low of $23.71 compared to the initial price of $38 when Facebook first became listed on the Nasdaq in May. On top of this, it has been estimated that Facebook has over 83 million illegitimate accounts, adding to the growing concern about the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing and advertising platform.
A big shout out this week goes to Matthew Weiner, he is the prodigy behind Mad Men. This week AMC aired the season 5 finale of Mad Men. I highly, highly, highly recommend everyone (especially those that work at an agency) to watch the show. Aside from the show’s talented cast, excellent costume designer and dramatic story line, Mad Men perfectly depicts the agency life like no other TV show or movie in Hollywood – especially in terms of handling clients, staff and everyday work life.
Last week, one of the leading social media agencies in the Middle East, The Online Project, published what may well be the first report and infographic that answers the question: ‘Who in the Middle East uses Facebook the most?’ Facebook Marketing Why Global Brands Need to Change Strategies in the Middle East View more documents from The Online Project Global brands wanting to tap into Middle Eastern market, with its 300 million inhabitants, the majority of which are youth, are definitely the biggest beneficiaries of such a report.
We are kick-starting TWTW with a twist in light of last week’s Facebook special, introducing….. Face-who? Come meet our soon-to-be new social media friend, Salamworld It’s Facebook, with a ‘halal’ twist! The new social networking site, Salamworld, is set to launch during Ramadan this July. Based upon Islamic ideals, the site ‘hopes to bridge cultural, traditional and sectarian barriers and bring Muslims together in one online community’ (source The National).
Does everybody know what time it is? For my American friends it is not Home Improvement’s ‘tool time’, but it’s our favorite TWTW time! This week’s TWTW has a particular theme and I am sure has been a popular talking piece – it’s Mark Zuckerberg and everyone’s guilty pleasure Facebook. Facebook CEO rings opening bell on IPO day On Friday May 18thMark Zuckerberg became a billionaire from the Facebook IPO. In the early hours of the IPO day, Mark rang the opening Nasdaq bell from Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park, California.
In the wake of Facebook’s stock market flotation on Friday, here is a neat infographic by Khaled El Ahmed detailing the use of Facebook in the Arab world so far this year. Source: Wamda Facebook use in the Arab world has grown exponentially over the last few years, with an approximate total of 43 million Arabic speaking users today. According to the infographic Egypt is leading the forefront, with users in May 2012 totaling 10,643,740; this is followed by KSA with 5,333,360 total users.
Welcome again to our weekly edition of the hot and happening news from the digital world. This week has been really exciting for us, with the official launch of BlogLeveland re-launch of TweetLevel and all the conversations it stirred up around social influence, instantly after its launch. For more details, please check out our Arabian Bytes article here. Below are some of the other interesting social media / digital stories that caught my eye this week:
Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in digital and social media. As always, the news and latest developments in the digital world have been overwhelming and really exciting. Here are some of the news pieces that caught my attention: Mubarak fined for information shutdown Hosni Mubarak was ousted in an uprising in Egypt in January 2011. A Cairo court yesterday fined the ousted president and two ex-ministers $US90 million for a mobile and internet shutdown during the uprising.
Prominent Emirati commentator and journalist Sultan Al Qassemi. With such a huge following on Twitter, was he tweeting updates during the Arab Media Forum? The tenth Arab Media Forum kicked off this morning in the presence of 2,400 media personalities and experts from the Middle East region, and Arabian Bytes was there to catch all the action from Day One. After being officially opened by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the two-day forum – which is taking place at the Grand Hyatt Dubai – began with a keynote speech by Egypt’s Minister of Culture, Emad Abu Ghazi (who attended after Egypt’s post-revolution Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, apparently pulled out at the last minute).
So, it has been quite the Walt Disney week, hasn’t it? A royal wedding, a papal beatification, and the death of a prominent terrorist. Introducing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Last Friday’s British royal wedding was reportedly watched by 2 billion people worldwide, which shows a 1.25 billion increase in 30 years since Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana. When it comes to social media; the U.S.A generating most of the social media buzz (55.
Hot off the launch of Facebook for Journalists, Facebook has moved on to a different constituent, this time advertisers. The company is now hoping to create a better and more lucrative relationship with advertisers via a brand new stand alone community site called “Facebook Studio“. This new channel on Facebook allows advertisers and users to view advertisements by a variety of big-name brands, and interact with them through the traditional Facebook features (i.
So I would like to start off by making two statements. Number one: Yes, Facebook is a company that you can actually work for. And two: No, I was not featured in the Social Network movie – I joined quite a while after those alleged events took place. Abu Dhabi was, however, somewhere I never expected to be this time last year when I was getting ready for my first day at Facebook.
On April 5, Justin Osofsky, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook, announced through a blog post: _“_Today we’re launching a new Journalists on Facebook page to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories.” Essentially, the people at Facebook are extending an olive branch to journalists, with whom they have often had a rocky relationship. To say that Facebook and the press have had a complicated relationship since the social network’s launch over seven years ago is probably an understatement.
It is obvious to say that social media has become a force to be reckoned with in the engine we call mass communication. What wasn’t so “obvious”, however, was exactly how powerful Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would one day become. I started working for Facebook a year ago, and little did I know what this year would have in store. Throughout my various interviews for the first Arabic role at Facebook Dublin, I constantly reiterated the importance of allowing people an open forum to speak freely and honestly.
A recent article by David George-Cosh in The National discusses upcoming upgrades from Etisalat and du which are set to make Internet connections in the UAE up to seven times faster thanks to new cables. Beyond the obvious benefits of allowing all of us here in the UAE to download faster and watch streaming videos, investments in internet connectivity are a positive development for the trends toward greater internet usage and consumption, already one of the highest in the region.
Mashable.com released a lovely infographic about the history of social media that got us here at Arabian Bytes reminiscing about the very first social networks we started using regularly. Image courtesy of Flickr, rishibando, as seen on Mashable.com Do you remember the first website that got you all excited about connecting to others across the world? Or the first chatting service you were hooked on, whilst other family members complained about how the telephone was never free to use anymore (RIP the humble dial-up modem).
Our colleague recently posted some interesting Twitter stats and across EMEA. Based on the latest Comscore data, Twitter usage in the Middle East was up 104% from November 2009 to November 2010. In related news, a recent survey by the TRA of the UAE showed Twitter was the second most popular social network in the UAE, with 9% using Twitter (though far behind Facebook’s 97% dominance). Perhaps Twitter’s upcoming Arabic interface will help fuel even more growth in 2011, but no matter what it’s clear that Twitter is on an upward trajectory in the Middle East.
The spate of 2011 prediction articles that have been rolling out to mark the New Year make for some enjoyable reading. Below are some links to trends I’ve found particularly interesting. Of course, I couldn’t resist throwing in three of my own about the Middle East so here they are… Social buying heats up (more) in Middle East In an already crowded field including GoNabit.com and Cobone.com, the granddaddy of social buying sites, Groupon, has recently launched a UAE site at Groupon.
Ben Flanagan from The National recently wrote an interesting article about Middle Eastern social networking sites. Do you think a local website can be as big as an international one in the Middle East? Let us know your thoughts. Article Excerpt – Click here for the full article Local social networks have home advantage in taking on big boys By Ben Flanagan There are more than 600 million faces on Facebook, and the number of regular users is expected to rise to 1 billion in the next few years.