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.
The Online Project (TOP) family extends its wishes to all Arabian Bytes on the advent of the Holy month of Ramadan. The Online Project released its second industry report in 2012, which is under the theme of exploring user behavior trends during Ramadan. Our rationale was that the nature of the Holy month, affects the personal and professional schedules of people in the Arab and Muslim worlds dramatically. It all started with Ramadan 2011, when our analysis team, which is tasked with keeping tabs on all activity related to the pages of our clients, noticed an interesting change in user behavior on Twitter.
Little Monsters; The Social Network!? It can only mean one thing… our weekly Arabian Bytes wrap-up! Tweet-a-meet with Qatar Airways Qatar Airways are taking their Tweeters travelling! In an innovative Tweet-a-Meet campaign, the airline is offering two friends, separated by distance, the opportunity to physically meet in one of their favourite travel locations. The campaign asks followers to pick a Twitter follower to team up with, and Tweet about one of the 117 Qatar airline destinations around the world using the hashtag #tweetameet, in order to potentially win tickets to the destination.
Following a recent Arabian Bytes post looking at Facebook use in the Arab world, we have come across this rather nice infographic by Shusmo looking at Twitter use in the region: Image source: Mashable Created in March 2012 using data from a Dubai School of Government report on Arab Social Media, the infographic shows that there is total of 1,311,882 active Twitter users in the Arab world. KSA is the country with the highest proportion of Twitter users with 393,000 marked as active, followed by Kuwait with 235,000 and Egypt with 215,000 users.
Technology and media are evolving before our eyes it seems, a point the Pivot Conference has illustrated beautifully with an infographic they compiled showcasing how seven tech and web companies today started out. It’s a great reminder that we are right in the middle of a technological revolution. While established industries rely on large scale manufacturing and mature worldwide delivery networks, new communications technologies have resulted in cottage industries popping up across the globe where language and cultural awareness are a marketable asset.
It’s that time of the year again. Ramadan is just around the corner and each time I think about it, I have a rush of excitement. The Arabian Bytes team take this opportunity to wish everyone Ramadan Kareem. May this holy month of usher upon you peace, harmony and prosperity. So, below are some of the top digital stories I would like to share this week: Yahoo! Maktoob launches richer Ramadan content
The social influence of tweeters and bloggers in Middle East is playing a vital role in shaping the society, whether it’s by initiating a social movement, influencing to buy a new product and people turning to them for latest news. When you’re embarking on a campaign, one of the most important goals is finding social media influencers. If you can get relevant and well known influencers behind, it gives your campaign an invaluable edge.
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.
Oh, such a dramatic week. First, Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs – now known to have had an affair with Welsh model Imogen Thomas – put his foot in it by attempting to sue Twitter after some of its users posted his name despite the fact he had taken out an injunction preventing UK media from naming him. The only problem is that it caused so much outrage that Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming used parliamentary priveleges to name him anyway.
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.
Being here in the Middle East we’ve been able to witness history unfold at a rapid pace over the past few months. From Tunisia to Egypt and now Libya, it seems impossible that news can move any faster than it already is. But now Al Jazeera has gone a step further and released a mesmerizing new tool that tracks tweets about Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain in real time. Apart from being fascinating to watch, it’s also an interesting tool to see topics and trends as they evolve in real time.
We here at Arabian Bytes have of course been watching the situation in Egypt unfold with great interest, and have especially noted the growing power of social media to shape these events. Rest assured we’ll be posting more about Egypt, Tunisia and the importance of social media soon so stay tuned. In the meantime, we wanted to turn our attention to a “what not to do” case study of hijacking a hashtag.
I attended my second Tweetup last night at the Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi. My first experience with a tweetup was actually my second day in Abu Dhabi, and it was a great way to meet people in my new hometown to answer many of my “newbie” questions. When I mentioned that I was going to a “tweetup,’ I got a lot of quizzical looks from people. Yes, it sounds a little geeky, but once you get to the event, you quickly realize there’s a lot more behind the 48×48 pixel icon.
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.