Saudis flock to Clubhouse amid soaring popularity

Saudis flock to Clubhouse amid soaring popularity
In Saudi Arabia, the chatrooms have brought together technology enthusiasts, stock market investors, media influencers, as well as officials. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 16 February 2021

Saudis flock to Clubhouse amid soaring popularity

Saudis flock to Clubhouse amid soaring popularity
  • Top government officials also join the invite-only app to reach out to the public

JEDDAH: The uncensored audio-conversations social app, Clubhouse, has witnessed the migration of thousands of Saudi users in the past weeks.

Not available for Android users yet, Clubhouse is currently the first most popular app in the Social Media Network category of the App Store in Saudi Arabia.
The app’s growing popularity is also expanding to other Arab countries.
“It is a really enjoyable, easy-to-use platform that gives all users the equal opportunity to mingle, talk, and join rooms,” user Fahad Mohammed told Arab News.
What is unique about Clubhouse is the real-time voice conversations that any user can listen to.
Moreover, it is an invite-only platform, meaning that users cannot simply download it from the App Store and create an account like any other social app. Instead, those who wish to join the network must receive an invite from an existing Clubhouse member.
However, Clubhouse announced earlier in January that their focus now is on opening up Clubhouse to the whole world.
Currently, each new member is allocated one invite. After a while, new users get three more. If someone receives an invite by an existing member, they can eventually pick up to four other people to join.
Due to its invite-only model, Clubhouse memberships are highly precious. Therefore, many users in Saudi Arabia are offering invites for sale on Twitter, with prices ranging between SR15 to SR200 ($4 to $53) per invite.
There are also those who are offering invites in exchange for a follow and retweet.
Many Saudis said they were becoming addicted to this innovative medium of communication. Mohammed said he had been away from interacting on social media for a long while; however, he finally found the platform that made him want to give virtual interactions another chance.
“Honestly, I have been spending hours on this app lately,” he said. “I believe Clubhouse will initiate a new phase in social media networks. It offers a comfortable environment for users and has a huge potential to grow fast and offer promising services.”
In Saudi Arabia, the chatrooms have brought together technology enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, bookworms, stock market investors, social media influencers, as well as officials.

FASTFACTS

• Clubhouse rooms organize people into three groups: A host, moderators and audience members.

• The setup looks like a virtual panel discussion at a conference.

• Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb and Minister of Communications Abdullah Al-Swaha also joined the network.

• Many users in Saudi Arabia are offering invites for sale on Twitter, with prices ranging between SR15 to SR200 per invite.

• The sudden increase in users came after Tesla founder and Silicon Valley giant Elon Musk engaged in a lengthy discussion with Robinhood trading platform CEO Vlad Tenev at a Clubhouse chat room.

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb and Minister of Communications Abdullah Al-Swaha also joined the network. Al-Khateeb participated in a chatroom on Saudi tourism on Sunday.
The app has also appealed to those who just want to have fun and meet new people, or even find their significant other.
At its beta version stage now, Clubhouse rules are loose. Although the app strongly discourages any discriminatory and aggressive behavior, it is up to the hosts or moderators of the room to control the conversation.
“It is a nice thing to be able to join chatrooms and share your opinions and ideas with people you appreciate,” user Sarah Al-Mulhim told Arab News. “Personally, I would only join serious discussions with people I already know in some way or another.”
She added, however, that she would not make an effort to engage in casual discussions with people she does not know anything about just to pass time. “It’s a total waste of energy,” she said.
Osama Adel agreed with Al-Mulhim. “I don’t like the fact that anyone can join and say anything they want. It is getting chaotic in some rooms, especially when there are a bunch of strangers who are trying hard to impress one another and show off. I only liked the rooms that I joined with friends.”
Clubhouse rooms organize people into three groups: A host, moderators and audience members. The setup looks like a virtual panel discussion at a conference.
The invite-only app is all anyone is talking about on social media these days, though it has been around since March 2020.
The app had only 1,500 users in May 2020 and was worth $100 million, according to CNBC.
The app started to circulate in the Kingdom among entrepreneurs and technology investors; then influencers and content makers joined, which helped it go viral.
It quickly became one of the top social media networks, with 6 million registered users and a value of $1 billion. Four million users registered between January and February this year, according to a Backlinko report.
The sudden increase in users came after Tesla founder and Silicon Valley giant Elon Musk engaged in a lengthy discussion with Robinhood trading platform CEO Vlad Tenev at a Clubhouse chat room, according to several US technology sites.
It is not the first time millions of social media users have followed Musk’s footsteps; he promoted the Signal app several weeks ago as an alternative to WhatsApp. Musk is the top followed user on Clubhouse, with over 240,000 followers.


Riyadh to host global conference on industrial safety, loss prevention

 Local and international industrial safety experts are expected at the event. (Shutterstock)
Local and international industrial safety experts are expected at the event. (Shutterstock)
Updated 17 September 2021

Riyadh to host global conference on industrial safety, loss prevention

 Local and international industrial safety experts are expected at the event. (Shutterstock)
  • The conference would also provide a great opportunity for organizations to share knowledge and help shape perspectives on matters important to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is gearing up to host a high-profile international conference aimed at tackling industrial safety challenges.

The Saudi International Conference for Industrial Safety and Loss Prevention is set to take place in Riyadh from Oct. 3 to 6 under the patronage of Minister of Interior Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, who is also chairman of the Saudi High Commission for Industrial Security.

In a message posted on the conference website, HCIS Secretary-General Col. Adel Zayed Al-Otaibi said the high commission was organizing the event in cooperation with local and international partners.

He pointed out that the conference was being staged in line with the important strategic role played by the HCIS and its responsibility in supervising petroleum, industrial, and service facilities along with the application of regulations and instructions designed to preserve their integrity and prevent loss.

Issues related to industrial safety and loss prevention in key industrial sectors such as oil, gas, minerals, petrochemicals, and chemicals, would be comprehensively covered at the meeting, Al-Otaibi added.

He noted that the conference would also provide a great opportunity for organizations to share knowledge and help shape perspectives on matters important to the Kingdom.

Local and international industrial safety experts, and senior representatives of government organizations, and professional and academic institutions, are expected at the event where delegates will be able to listen to top speakers offering advice on how to improve the overall performance of organizations.

As well as keynote speeches, the four-day gathering will also offer training workshops, panel discussions to debate the latest trends in industrial safety, and networking and interaction sessions with sector leaders and professionals.

Following the opening ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 3, Monday will be dedicated to conference sessions, with Tuesday and Wednesday focused on technical workshops.

Workshop topics will include lifting equipment inspection, working at height, health and safety leadership excellence, introduction to incident investigation, contractor safety management, industrial hygiene, and incident response and crisis management. Certificates will be awarded to successful candidates.

Saudi Aramco is the success partner and co-organizer for the event, while strategic partners include the Saudi Electricity Co., Saudi Basic Industries Corp., and Saline Water Conversion Corp.


Jeddah exhibition celebrates late calligrapher Mohammad Bajnaid

Photo/Supplied
Photo/Supplied
Updated 29 sec ago

Jeddah exhibition celebrates late calligrapher Mohammad Bajnaid

Photo/Supplied
  • Saudi artist and calligrapher Mohammad Salem Bajnaid contributed to the design and embroidery of the Kiswah — the cloth that is draped over the Kaaba in Makkah on the day that pilgrims leave for Mount Arafat during the Hajj

JEDDAH: Sharbatly House Museum in Historic Jeddah is currently hosting an exhibition celebrating the work of the renowned Saudi artist and calligrapher Mohammad Salem Bajnaid. The show is part of Saudi Arabia’s Year of Arabic Calligraphy, launched by the Ministry of Culture with the support of the Quality of Life Program.
Bajnaid, who died in October 2019, was widely recognized as one of the most talented calligraphers in the Arab and Islamic world. He contributed to the design and embroidery of the Kiswah — the cloth that is draped over the Kaaba in Makkah on the day that pilgrims leave for Mount Arafat during the Hajj — and was also the creator of the Kingdom’s gift to the UN for its headquarters in New York in 1982.
The new exhibition in Jeddah runs until December and features 21 works from throughout Bajnaid’s career, some of which are Quranic verses and prophetic hadiths. The show is split into four main areas: The Ancient House Suite, Womb, Science, and Patience. It has been curated by the artist’s grandson, Salem Fouzi Bajnaid, who told Arab News: “The credit behind all the efforts in setting up this event goes to (the artist’s) family and friends, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture. We’ve witnessed such an amazing response on the first few days, with art admirers from everywhere coming to appreciate the work being displayed here.”
Salem led visitors on a tour of the exhibition, explaining that calligraphy is an integral part of Arab culture, and adding that he hopes this show will help preserve it and pass it on to future generations.
Dutch artist Al-Jawhara told Arab News she had visited the exhibition on its opening day. “I have never seen any of his work before,” she said. “I was surprised by the intricacy and detail of his exquisite calligraphic work. One just cannot move on to the next piece without praising the previous one.”


Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 6 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 535,373
  • A total of 8,651 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced six deaths from COVID-19 and 75 new infections on Friday.

Of the new cases, 18 were recorded in Makkah, 15 in Riyadh, seven in Madinah, seven in the Eastern Province, six in Jazan, five in Tabuk, three in Najran, three in Hail, two in Asir, two in the Northern Borders region, one in Al-Jouf, and one in Al-Baha.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 535,373 after 64 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,651 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 40.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum

Saudi Defense Ministry hosts its first Strategic Communication Forum
  • Event is part of project to develop ministry’s internal and external communications to meet the requirements of modern media applications and practices

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Defense held its first Strategic Communication Forum on Thursday in Riyadh. The aim was to engage the ministry’s communication staff across the Kingdom with its targeted operating model, to help achieve the objectives of its transformation program.

The event, which took place under the patronage of Khalid Al-Biyari, assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, also formed part of the ministry’s project to develop its internal and external communications to meet the requirements of modern media applications and practices.

The forum included a number of workshops, presented by Prince Ahmed bin Salman Applied Media Academy, focusing on communications-related subjects such as creative content creation, video production for social media and event management. The participants included officials and communication specialists from the Saudi Armed Forces, joint forces and the military’s Health Services Department.

Al-Biyari said during the forum that the ministry views strategic communication as a crucial approach to achieving excellence in performance.

“Adding strategic value to communications raises our media practices to a more advanced level in terms of planning the dissemination of key messages,” he said. “The rapid and frequent advancements in technology make it inevitable that all organizations, not only the Ministry of Defense, must think of communication with audiences strategically.”

Ahmed Ali Asiri, the deputy minister for strategic affairs and a keynote speaker at the event, stressed the importance of strategic communications to the ministry’s media activities. He said it is imperative for all employees to receive updated information accurately and in a timely manner, to ensure the quality and efficiency of operations.

He added that strategic communication is vital to send the right messages about the work of the ministry.

Abdullrahman Al-Sultan, the ministry’s director-general of strategic communications and media, gave a presentation about the role of his directorate, its organizational structure and the strategy behind its operating model.


Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call
Updated 17 September 2021

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

Saudi crown prince, Spanish prime minister hold call

NEOM: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in a phone call on Thursday with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The pair discussed bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Spain and ways to enhance them.