Online activity sees 30 percent increase during Ramadan

Updated 16 July 2013

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.


NASA finds Indian moon lander with help of amateur space enthusiast

Updated 03 December 2019

NASA finds Indian moon lander with help of amateur space enthusiast

  • NASA released an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that showed the site of the spacecraft’s impact
  • A version of the picture was marked up to show the associated debris field

WASHINGTON: India’s Vikram lunar lander, which crashed on its final approach to the Moon’s surface in September, has been found thanks in part to the sleuthing efforts of an amateur space enthusiast.
NASA made the announcement on Monday, releasing an image taken by its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) that showed the site of the spacecraft’s impact (September 7 in India and September 6 in the US).
A version of the picture was marked up to show the associated debris field, with parts scattered over almost two dozen locations spanning several kilometers.
In a statement, NASA said it released a mosaic image of the site on September 26 (but taken on September 17), inviting the public to compare it with images of the same area before the crash to find signs of the lander.
The first person to come up with a positive identification was Shanmuga “Shan” Subramanian, a 33-year-old IT professional from Chennai, who said that NASA’s inability to find the lander on its own had sparked his interest.
“I had side-by-side comparison of those two images on two of my laptops ... on one side there was the old image, and another side there was the new image released by NASA,” he said, adding he was helped by fellow Twitter and Reddit users.
“It was quite hard, but (I) spent some effort,” said the self-professed space nerd, finally announcing his discovery on Twitter on October 3.
NASA then performed additional searches in the area and officially announced the finding almost two months later.
“NASA has to be 100% sure before they can go public, and that’s the reason they waited to confirm it, and even I would have done the same,” said Subramanian.
Blasting off in July, emerging Asian giant India had hoped with its Chandrayaan-2 (“Moon Vehicle 2“) mission to become just the fourth country after the United States, Russia and regional rival China to make a successful Moon landing, and the first on the lunar south pole.
The main spacecraft, which remains in orbit around the Moon, dropped the unmanned lander Vikram for a descent that would take five days, but the probe went silent just 2.1 kilometers above the surface.
Days after the failed landing, the Indian Space Research Organization said it had located the lander, but hadn’t been able to establish communication.