View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heralding and Evaluating the Growth of Twitter in the Emirates

A study by PR firm Spot On reports there are more than 12,000 Twitter users in the Arab world, reflecting a surge from 100% to close to 300% over the past few months in the region.

An ITP news item (21 July 2009) states, ‘UAE leads region in Twitter growth’ reporting that the UAE has 4,952 users compared to 1,741 users in Egypt and 1,405 Saudi Twitterers.

Tweeting in Perspective
Tom Gara from The National (20 July 2009) puts this growth into perspective with his headline, ‘Facts show Twitter yet to lure Middle East users’. He adds:

“The most promoted website in the country has as many customers as the average corner store.”

Twitter Prediction
Gara believes Twitter has not and will not change “the dynamics of a Middle-Eastern internet culture that has shown a clear disinterest in the kind of open, public self-expression that Twitter is all about.”

Facebook v Twitter
He draws a comparison with Facebook where 780,000 people have set up an account, of which 75,000 use the site in Arabic.

Gara believes the ‘walled garden’ privacy of Facebook is the advantage that Facebook has and he reckons that issues of honor and protecting the name are powerful deterrents from the open-for-the-world to see style of Twitter.

Your Social Media Preference
What form of social media do you prefer and why?

Is Twitter likely to gain any significant and lasting traction?

Tom Gara, Facts Show Twitter yet to Lure Middle East Users, The National, 21 July 2009.
Vineetha Menon, UAE Leads Region in Twitter Growth, ITP, 21 July 2009

Follow Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai on Twitter, ETE, 9 July 2009.
Twitter saves a Life in the UAE and Rania the Greatest Twitterer in the Region? ETE, 20 May 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.