Online activity sees 30 percent increase during Ramadan

Updated 16 July 2013
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Online activity sees 30 percent increase during Ramadan

According to a report by The Online Project (TOP), a leading social media agency in the Middle East, high levels of Internet activity are observed during the month of Ramadan in the Middle East. Results show that residents are active on social media by up to 30 percent more during Ramadan, posting a greater amount of religious content.
TOP studied Facebook and Twitter penetration in nine different countries across the region, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE to provide a broad outline of social media trends in the region, taking into account levels of engagement, response, insight and the timings of their interaction.
“Ramadan is a sacred month, where strengthening connections with family, friends and fellow Muslims is commendable,” says Manal Assaad, a social media strategist and marketing consultant. “Naturally, many tend to resort to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to greet people and spread a good vibe. Many also view this as an opportunity to initiate or join charitable activities and invite others to participate. Campaigns such as “Iftar Sayem” are easier to plan and organize through groups on Facebook or hashtags on Twitter.
Assad says that as fasting limits activities that can be done during the day, including going out, people have more free time to spend on social networking. “Times that would normally be spent having breakfast, lunch or snacks are being substituted for time spent on social networks in Ramadan. Given the mobility of social networking, we are able to log in any time anywhere and keep ourselves distracted with online activity until it is time to break the fast.”
“Night time is also a popular time for users to spend on social networks,” says Assad. “During Ramadan, people tend to stay up late or wake up for Sahoor (the pre-dawn meal), thus giving them extra time to check out their Facebook and Twitter feeds.”
Assad adds that another aspect not to be forgotten is the rise of TV shows and viewership during Ramadan that also plays a role in increasing engagement on social networks, as viewers resort to Facebook and Twitter to discuss shows such as Khawater and exchange opinions, images, quotes and clips.
High online penetration in several countries in the Middle East is seen during the night or early hours of the morning. In Saudi Arabia, the popular social networking site Facebook is mostly active at around 10 p.m. among residents. In addition, the number of Twitter posts appears predominantly between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
“People tweet more to avoid watching TV and YouTube during Ramadan,” says Ahmed Shamim, a social media specialist (@DFundamentalist). “In my case, I share help tips for Ramadan, retweet religious quotes and share Hadiths on my Twitter account during Ramadan. I follow several muftis and scholars as well.”
Shamim says that the shorter working hours during Ramadan give people more free time to spend on social networking sites and provides a diversion from music and movies. The Online Project report also showed that social media users are inclined to post more positive content during Ramadan than before, while negative content is declining.
Brand engagement levels and consumer targeting showed a 33-percent hike in Facebook and an 11-percent hike on Twitter in Saudi Arabia during the holy month.
Company spending on traditional advertising in newspapers and on television increase at an average rate of 20 percent during the holy month, while consumer spending among Middle Eastern residents also rises. Most notably, the four largest telecom companies spend around $ 200 million during Ramadan.


India to make new bid to launch Moon rocket on Monday

Updated 18 July 2019
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India to make new bid to launch Moon rocket on Monday

  • India would become the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the moon
  • The project is one of the cheapest amongst its kind internationally

NEW DELHI: India will make a new bid to launch a landmark mission to the Moon on Monday, a week after aborting lift-off at the last minute because of a fuel leak, officials said.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said it had rescheduled the launch of Chandrayaan-2, or Moon Chariot-2, for 2:43 p.m. (0913 GMT) on Monday.
India is aiming to become just the fourth nation after Russia, the United States and China to land a spacecraft on the Moon.
Indian space chiefs called off the planned launch of the rocket 56 minutes before blast-off on Monday morning because of what ISRO called a “technical snag.”
Media reports quoted ISRO scientists saying a helium fuel leak had been detected.
India has spent about $140 million on preparations for the project, which is one of the cheapest among international space powers.
By comparison, the United States spent about $25 billion — the equivalent of more than $100 billion in current prices — on 15 Apollo missions in the 1960s and 70s.
The rocket will launch from a space center in Sriharikota, an island off the coast of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
It will carry an orbiter, lander and a rover which has been almost entirely designed and made in India.
The orbiter is meant to keep circling the Moon for about one year, taking pictures of the surface and sending back information on the atmosphere.
A lander named Vikram will take the rover to the surface near the lunar South Pole.
India’s first lunar mission in 2008 — Chandrayaan-1 — did not land on the Moon, but carried out a search for water using radar.
A soft landing on the Moon would be a huge leap forward in India’s space program, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi determined to launch a manned mission into space by 2022.
India also has ambitions to land a probe on Mars. In 2014, India became only the fourth nation to put a satellite into orbit around the Red Planet.