Importance of social media in MENA

16 Aug 2014

Everyone remembers the Arab Spring, an initiative driven by the social media to bring about democratization in many nations in the Middle East. Why many liberal and democratic nations view it as a boon for the more traditional MENA region, the impact and importance of social media was revealed only during this revolution. But while this example might seem like a good reason for regions leaders to ban this technology all together, they have also realized that it is a great business platform for many young entrepreneurs.

Spreading news stories and getting campaigns together is not the only purpose for while social media has become a success in the Middle East. It has been more efficient in creating interactive platforms for new technology developers and young businesses looking to advertise in a more economical fashion. More than 90 percent of Internet users in all the MENA countries use social networking sites. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram are the most preferred social networking sites. With the rapid and massive adoption of Facebook and other services across the region, it is not surprising that digital networks have been making a significant social and cultural impact.

According to Ogilvy, the top five social media trends that showed dominance in the region for the year 2014 are – the adoption of Google Plus and other newer social media connection platforms, increase e-commerce sales, virtual storytelling through visual aids, social interactive events and improving and increasing business relationships through social ties.

For the Arab nation’s young populace, the social media platforms are seen as a way to express themselves. In a region where freedom of speech is curtailed, the internet is offering them new impetus to express themselves and their ideas. This has increased another importance aspect in the region – tolerance. People are hearing true views and opinions of people and are now more open to listening to others. This has helped people find a voice and an identity. Many people from the smaller Arab nations feel that their voices are also significant and are heard now since they started using social media. The impact on the culture of the region is high and people are happier to be able to express their opinions on an open platform and interact with other like-minded individuals, which was an opportunity that was not available to them earlier.

It is clear that adoption of social media in the Arab region is steadily increasing and the value that social networks have to users in MENA countries is highly significant.

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