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Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle East - Fadl Al Tarzi


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Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle East - Fadl Al Tarzi

  1. 1. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle East Arabian Social Media Conference, Kuwait, May 9-10
  2. 2. About Us| Background The MENA region’s first and leading provider of Arabic social media analytics & engagement services Founded in November 2009 and officially launched in February 2010 Core services include: monitoring, analysis, reporting, and engagement including OCRM Regional & Global presence in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, KSA, Kuwait, USA, UK and Argentina In partnership with Alterian, we have developed the world’s leading Arabic social media listening tool Over 120 staff members on the ground across the Middle East
  3. 3. What are we talking about? According to Brian Solis“Social Media is the democratization ofinformation, transforming people from contentreaders into publishers. It is the shift from a broadcastmechanism, one-to-many, to a many-to-manymodel, rooted in conversations betweenauthors, people, and peers.” “Social media is basic communication, like what you do everyday.” “It describes the zillions of conversations people are having online 24/7.”
  4. 4. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastGovernments and Social Media• Governments all over the world have been late to join the social media scene and slow to recognize it as a legitimate form of media.• In the past, Arab governments have either ignored social media or tried to control it.• Social media has often been labeled as a kind of “yellow journalism” and its users accused of being rabble-rousers. State access to conventional media has been used to fight this battle.• Governments are now starting to experiment to different degrees with social media and attempting to diversify their media policy and strategy to include and acknowledge social media.
  5. 5. Social Media for Predictive Analysis – Egypt example 70% of online conversations directly called for a larger economic role by the government Term February 2011 Mentions % Increase from January Salary increase 1.2 million 63% Food subsidies 800 k 54% Job creation 1.5 million 46% Public healthcare 700 k 21% Sample Verbatim from social media users in Egypt: "This is privatization: the government sells its"I say no to privatization, and I call on the government properties, which are originally owned by the people, at to cancel it at all as it does not work for our interests. very low prices for the interest of a bunch of corrupt The state has to support its development institutions people. Privatization means stealing the money of the and do without any foreign aids. " people.“ "Desert lands in Egypt are large and abundant, and it is our rights as lower-income people to have wide and beautiful apartments with green areas around. “
  6. 6. Detecting Trends through Social Media In Q 1 2010 57% of Arabic conversationson social media included socio-economic Revolutionterms, this number drops to 37% in 2011. Freedom Corruption Income Political Salary Jobs Parliament Mubarak Socio- Economic NDP Minister Police MinimumBrutality Wage In Q 1 2010 35% of Arabic conversations on Corruption Housing social media included political terms, this number increases to 88% in 2011
  7. 7. User discussions on Social Media sparked a revolution Egyptians anticipate the popular sit-in of anger day on the streets amid security enforcements for fear of chaos in the country . January 25 (Police Day) is the confirmed date for 278,186 the Egyptian popular Following the uprising, to protest the incident in poor living conditions in Fever of the Facebook users in Tunisia, an Egyptian the country Tunisian Egypt continue to man sets himself on revolution discuss holding a fire outside the Egyptianspreads among revolution on Jan main gate of the people still the Egyptian 25th with the aim parliament. Two contemplate a public, amid of demanding similar incidents 137,486 possible public calls by many improving the followed on the revolution on Egyptians to citizens’ 19th. January 25 stage a conditions revolution on Tipping point from January 25. socio-economic to 44,664 38,086 political 36,270 27,810 11,682 1/16/2011 1/17/2011 1/18/2011 1/19/2011 1/20/2011 1/24/2011 1/25/2011 Calls for the January 25th revolution became the 4th most discussed subject on social media across the entire Arab world” on January 20th
  8. 8. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhy Are Governments Shifting Towards Social Media?1. The Arab Spring: Ignoring social media can contribute to unexpected outcomes
  9. 9. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhy Are Governments Shifting Towards Social Media?2. Social media is where the people are, especially the younger demographic.Arab Social Media Fact Box*:• There were an estimated 1,150, 292 active Twitter users in the Arab region at the end of March 2011.• At the end of the first quarter of 2011, the number of tweets in the Arab region had risen to 155 million a day, up from 55 million a day the same time the previous year.• Between January and April 2011, the total number of Facebook users in the Arab world grew from 21, 377, 282 to 27,711,503 users.• Youth between the ages of 15-29 make up 75% of Facebook users in the Arab region.• There is an average ratio of 2:1 male to female Facebook users in the Arab region, compared to 1:1 worldwide.*Taken from the Dubai School of Government’s Arab Social Media Report
  10. 10. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle East
  11. 11. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhy Are Governments Shifting Towards Social Media?3. Governments or leaders need to go to their constituent’s turf to hear what they have to say and speak into the ear of the audience, wherever it is. Constituents are not likely to come to leaders, and even if they do, their message will likely be distorted by layers of bureaucrats and media elites. FB users Penetration Twitter Penetration (%) users (%) Saudi Arabia 4,092,600 15.08 Saudi Arabia 115,000 0.42 UAE 2,406,120 29.13 UAE 201,000 2.43 Kuwait 795,100 22.82 Kuwait 113,000 3.24 Qatar 481,280 28.32 Qatar 133,000 7.83 Oman 277,840 8.95 Oman 6,680 0.22 Bahrain 302,940 24.54 Bahrain 61,900 5.01
  12. 12. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhy Are Governments Shifting Towards Social Media?4. Social media has become one of the fastest ways for governments to create dialogue with the public and communicate their side of the story. Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces joined Facebook on February 16, 2011. The Qatari Interior Ministry joined on September 6, 2011.
  13. 13. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhat is the added value of social media? Elite-dominated platform One-to-many Public-dominated platform One-to-many Social Public-dominated platform media Many-to-many New media Traditional media With social media, every user has the right to produce content and messages are delivered through dialogue rather than instruction or pedagogy. Successful social media strategies will recognize that the most valuable element of social media is the user-generated content.
  14. 14. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhat are people talking about in the GCC? Top political discussions in GCC countries in the past ten days: Topic Volume Bahrain protests on Labor Day 120,587 Bahrain MP survives armed robbery 90,470 Saudi Arabia withdraws ambassador from Egypt, closes embassy 50,267 Saudi Arabia stops issuing visas to Egyptians 20,847 Bahraini King accuses media of exaggerating events in Bahrain 20,795 Bahraini activist Nabil Ragab arrested upon return from Beirut 20,537 Qatar considers cancelling sponsorship program 20,394 Saudi hashtag “An Egyptian who impacted my life” trends on Twitter 10,899 Kuwait’s current and former PM’s quizzed over graft case 10,517 Dubai police chief makes statement about Iranian escalation over disputed islands 10,249
  15. 15. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastSocial media at play: Citizens take initiative to thaw Saudi-Egyptian tensions Louay AlKhlewy : “Some wanted to drive a wedge• Users discussed the arrest of the Egyptian lawyer in between the Egyptian and Saudi peoples, but it Saudi Arabia, the protests at the Saudi Embassy in turned out to become a good change to renew the relations of brotherhood and love.” Cairo, Saudi-Egyptian relations and the closure of the Kingdom’s embassy in Egypt. Noha Redwan : “I just want to say something to• Responses ranged from anger with the Egyptian’s arrest the people who observe the hashtag # ‫أثر_ في_حياتي‬ to criticism of both the Saudi and Egyptian governments’ _‫( :سعودى‬Our problems lie in governments, not handling of the situation. people). There’s a member of every Egyptian family working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”• Following the embassy closure and attempts at the official level to thaw the tensions, there was a parallel movement on social media platforms to thaw relations Abdulaziz Arab: “The greatest blessing is that I memorized the holy Quran and the Seven on the popular level, sparked by Twitter hashtags such readings, and got a license to preach with the as #ٌ‫ مصرً_أثر_فٌ_حيات‬and # ٌ‫.سعودً_أثر_فٌ_حيات‬ help of an Egyptian sheikh.”• The hashtags quickly trended as both Saudi and Egyptian tweeters began to express their appreciation for Yasser Hareb: “Thank you wonderful influential figures and thinkers from both cultures. Saudis for what you wrote; it shows maturity and popular wisdom.”
  16. 16. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhat are governments/leaders taking away from all of this?• That social media is forcing them to compete to convey a message and is no less important than traditional media.• That social media can and often does shape the news.• That social media can be one of the tools in a process towards responsive, negotiated, manageable change(s) rather than explosive and unstable change. This is an interest they now share with many Arab publics that desire change and reform, but not necessarily on the revolutionary models of today.
  17. 17. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastHow are governments/leaders using social media?• Basic monitoring to gather feedback on domestic and foreign policy issues, officials’ performance, etc.• To participate in public conversations that have been taking place in the absence of governments and officials for years.• To better manage public services and make them more responsive and user-friendly.• The UAE’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) recently won Best Social Media Campaign in the Government Sector at the Internet Awards Middle East.• Some governments continue to use social media to identify and subvert critics and opposition.• Threat detection and predictive analysis: trends often emerge online before spilling offline.
  18. 18. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastThe Arab Social Media Report of May 2011 found mapped calls for protest onFB with actual protests offline. It found that in 9 out of 10 cases, protests thatwere initiated on FB materialized on the street:
  19. 19. Public Sphere Revolution: The Advent of Social Media in the Middle EastWhat are the potential uses of social media in the Arab political sphere? • For governments, unfiltered engagement at levels of policy and public service provision. • For politicians in countries with competitive politics, to build and communicate with constituents, manage campaigns. • For special interest groups, to find like-minded individuals and promote causes/interests. • For traditional media, a source of stories and an insight into emerging trends.
  20. 20. The 5 Step Process for Managing Social Media Define Keep it simple Objective If you haven’t defined your objectives yet, gather intelligence then build a more informed decisionMeasure Listen Listen Engage Analyze Measure Analyze Engage
  21. 21. The Four Phases of Social Media Management
  22. 22. 5 Common Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them1. Showing up isnt enough. Customers and prospects are busy, connected and interacting with everybody but you today. While creating a presence is a start, it is how you engage with people that attracts them to you. This requires an engagement program -- that is, a plan for using social media to meet goals -- that extends beyond the typical marketing of "follow us on Twitter" or "Like us on Facebook."2. You cant be everywhere, nor should you. Many entrepreneurs are excited about technology and they overextend themselves because they want to be part of the latest trend. The key is to only be where your customers, prospects and those who influence them engage.3. Authenticity and transparency are nothing without a connection. • The two magical ingredients to a successful social media effort are: authenticity and transparency. The only problem is that they dont really equate to a strategy. Rather, these two traits contribute more to a "digital way" or "guiding light" than they do as a form of effective engagement. • Without delivering value, conveying a meaningful mission and vision, or establishing a connect-worthy presence, authenticity and transparency have nothing to reinforce.
  23. 23. 5 Common Social Media Mistakes and How to Avoid Them4. Talking to people isnt a business/government strategy. • Some people run effective social media programs by listening instead of actually saying anything. • But no matter if you converse with customers or not, you must have a purpose before you can engage. They want tangible value and through research, youll learn what a desirable engagement program actually looks like. • Dont get caught up in only replying to brand mentions. Your real opportunity is to also engage and convert those people not already talking about you.5. Keep your core customers tuned in – even if you’re a gov organization. • Companies believe that uploading a video to Youtube is the key to anything going viral. What they dont know is, 48 Hours of video is uploaded every minute to Youtube. The chance of your video going viral naturally is basically nil. • However, with the Old Spice and Evian Rollerbaby examples, they identified all of the potential influencers in their space and reached out to them in advance of and during the video release. They sought help to make sure that the video was shared. • Remember though, going viral only counts if it impacts your brand. If it creates lift, leaves an imprint or if it drives action or outcomes, thats when youre going viral.
  24. 24. Top Analysis Mistakes1. Analyzing with no Context2. Thinking followers & fans are worth money3. Automating Sentiment Analysis4. Focusing on a single SM platform5. Measuring influence by number of followers / fans6. Measuring with no objectives7. Event-based & not trend-based analysis
  25. 25. Some great quotes!“You are the tool for social media, Twitter is just an app for you to grow and influenceyour society.” – Razan Khatib“Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the peopleand the people will provide for you.” -Matt Goulart“ATA – be AUTHENCTIC, be TRANSPARENT, be ALTRUISTIC, and you will find enoughsuccess in social media to have a satisfying career and experience.” – Nils Montan“Networking is not about hunting. It is about farming. It’s about cultivatingrelationships. Don’t engage in ‘premature solicitation’. You’ll be a better networker ifyou remember that.” – Dr. Ivan Misner, NY bestselling author & founder of BNI“You will make mistakes. If you are sincere about helping the community, theauthenticity will show and your mistakes will be forgiven.” – Zia Yusuf, executive vicepresident for SAP’s global ecosystem and partner group
  26. 26. My favorite Quote“If you make enough people angry – you will be replaced” Fadl Al Tarzi
  27. 27. Fadl Al TarziWrite to me @fadl@newsgroupholding.comTweet @@FTarziVisit our our