Bahrain social media users on rise
Manama, June 9, 2011
Bahrain has been named among the top five Arab countries in terms of usage of social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
The word 'Bahrain' was also among the top 'hashtags' posted by Twitter users in the Arab world in a series of regional trends focusing on the events of political unrest across the region in the first quarter of this year.
The number of Facebook users in the Arab world increased by 30 per cent in the same time period, to reach 27.7 million, according to the new Arab Social Media Report (ASMR).
The second edition of the report, produced by the Dubai School of Government (DSG), also revealed a substantial shift in the use of social media from social purposes towards civic and political action in the first part of this year.
The Arab world's 1.1m active Twitter users generated a total of over 22.7m tweets during that time.
Among the other findings are that social media growth was fastest in countries experiencing political unrest.
'Social media and its ability to influence grassroots civic engagements, participatory governance models and new social dynamics have been under intense debate in the Arab world this year,' said DSG's Governance and Innovation Programme director and report co-author Fadi Salem.
'The growth of social media and the shifts in usage trends have played a critical role in mobilising, empowering, shaping opinions and influencing change among the youth in the Arab world.
'A critical mass of young and influential social media users exists today, who lead the shift of usage trends from social into political nature across the region.'
The ASMR series aims to highlight and analyse usage trends of Facebook and Twitter across the Arab world.
It is part of a larger research initiative focusing on social engagement through information and social networking technologies for better policy, good governance and social inclusion in Arab states.
The DSG was established 2005 in co-operation with the Harvard Kennedy School.-TradeArabia News Service