Making the world a better place through social media

Updated 05 January 2013
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Making the world a better place through social media

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. 


Monet sister Vetheuil paintings reunited in the US for first time

Updated 21 May 2018
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Monet sister Vetheuil paintings reunited in the US for first time

WASHINGTON: For the first time since they were painted more than a century ago, two oil paintings of Claude Monet’s garden in Vetheuil have been reunited, in Washington.
Monet moved to this village in the Paris suburbs in 1878 with his sickened wife Camille and their two young children as they faced financial difficulties, along with the family of one-time patron Ernest Hoschede.
The period that ensued was one of the most prolific for the French Impressionist, who produced in just three years nearly 300 paintings, including “The Artist’s Garden at Vetheuil” (1881).
Until August 8, the National Gallery of Art is presenting two of four known works of this lush summer scene with huge sunflowers, including its own, larger piece and another temporarily on loan from California’s Norton Simon Museum.
“It’s a turning point in terms of his career, his struggles, he’s turning more toward landscape, he’s becoming more interested in atmospheric effects,” National Gallery curator of 19th century French paintings Kimberly Jones said in an interview.
The Norton Simon’s version, believed to have served as a model for its companion, is more heavily worked in most areas.
“Before these two pictures were together, we always described the handling of this one as quite loose because we didn’t have another example, and we had always believed ours was a study for the larger picture,” said Norton Simon assistant curator Emily Talbot.
“All of the things that have been published about these two pictures we’re starting to question just by having them in the same space.”
Where Monet layered meridian green thickly on top of cobalt blue to give more interest to the sky in the Norton Simon’s picture, in the companion piece it’s defined instead by contrasts of thick and thin, and patches of exposed canvas ground.
The National Gallery’s senior conservator of paintings Ann Hoenigswald spent months removing a discolored natural resin varnish from the museum’s masterpiece that had flattened the work visually.
“The minute I got the varnish off, it just soared,” she said.
“What I find really exciting is the energy of the brushwork. You see the richness of the impasto and the speed at which he moves his brush across, and all the bristles of the brush, or a little lip of paint that just comes straggling there.”
It was not until almost 10 years later, in 1890, that Monet began painting formal series each comprised of dozens of works depicting a single subject — the Rouen Cathedral, London’s Houses of Parliament or water lilies — at different seasons or times of the day usually from the same vantage point.
The garden proto-series “could be the germ of an idea that’s just starting to develop in his mind,” said Jones.