JEDDAH: MARWA HADDAD
Published — Sunday 6 January 2013
Last update 5 January 2013 11:42 pm
Social media has acquired a prominent position in our society in terms of the extent of its impact on communities and the large number of users. For instance, there are approximately 2.9 million twitter users in Saudi Arabia, according to one recent study, and it is the world’s fastest-growing Twitter zone.
The wide variety of social networking sites has led to a proliferation in the number of campaigns conducted for various reasons, such as boycotting certain products or television networks, calling on worshippers to ask for forgiveness, matrimonial purposes, supporting football players in famous international clubs, or promoting different causes.
Many social media users Arab News spoke to said the effects of campaigns conducted through these channels is generally positive.
“Social media is very important. It is the core of any community, and has a positive impact in voicing social issues,” said media advocate Rajab Al-Selmi, stressing that social media is also a significant marketing tool nowadays, as opinion polls are conducted through these sites, with a wide audience range.
Omar Al-Tamimi, founder of a consumer account and an activist on Twitter, said that his campaign is dedicated to boycotting certain products. “Our campaign aims to protest the high price or the poor quality of certain products,” he added.
Campaigns on these sites attract a large number of users from different backgrounds, highlighted in the sizable amount of users on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which have 89.74 and 53.85 percent of active users respectively.
“I founded this account because there are no other accounts that deal with consumers’ needs and issues. We are trying to instill a culture of consumer awareness as the number of users is on the rise. We encourage all consumers, young ones in particular, to boycott a certain product when its price increases without any rational or economic justification,” said Al-Tamimi.
Another founder of a campaign account on Facebook said that such accounts are founded for the purpose of raising awareness on certain social issues and promoting cultural dialogue and that these sites are an effective tool and weapon to dispel information to users. “Facebook is a wide arena for updates and a forum for people to debate various issues, negative or otherwise. It is effective because of its transparency, ease of communication, and its ability to garner reactions from people in a free manner,” he said.
“For how long will this congestion last” is the name of another campaign that addresses traffic congestion in Jeddah. Subscribers to this account amount to a staggering 22,028 users. The founder of this campaign said that funds for this campaign came from a media institution with a television channel and a newspaper.