GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
Abdul Ghaffar
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Social Media: Impacts on Arabian Gulf Youth and Government
Paper Proposal Text :
The “Arab Spring” has been well known for its use of social media networks, as part of a broader networked public spheres, and its implementations have been well illustrated. Internet-based spheres have no doubt facilitated civil movements throughout the Arab World. These phenomena have affected the Arabian Gulf (AG) region as well. Yet, the effects encompass a wider scope that has empowered youth in the region. Not only has it impacted political dimensions where youths have engaged in, networked public spheres have also created forums for relatively free forms of self-expression that has blossomed into the creation of a highly developed media apparatus. Rapid development and spread of Internet social networks could not have been realized without the high broadband penetration rates within the region.
A high rate of broad brand penetrations within the AG region has allowed Internet users to become exposed to social media and adopt such technologies, which in time have created a network effect for mobile devices or applications such as Black Berries to Twitter. Value of the network was determined by quantitative figures, which yielded higher possibilities of interaction. It could be claimed that the high penetration rate of brand band and mobile telecommunication technology has catalyzed the emergence of Internet-based media networks. A unique aspect of the emergence of social media applications is the ability to protect one’s identity when engaging in self-expression. This notion of anonymity is a crucial factor that compliments the AG cultural trait of reputation and face saving. Thus, allowing youth in the AG, who highly regard their own reputation, to connect and freely express themselves without the anxiety for potential cultural repercussions. This notion has given a sense of empowerment towards youths in the region, by providing forums for expression and means for real time connectivity and interactivity, which could provide an alternative to the traditional media apparatuses of the AG region. Youth of the AG and their use of networked public spheres have ushered new dynamics that portrays old realities that is being contrasted by new technologies. The contrast provides an alternative source of information that is highly interactive and real time in nature. As a result, governments in the region are seeking methods to further regulate such sophisticated spheres.
The following work will investigate why social media was able to blossom rapidly in the region and identify what were the effects on youth and responses from government. The work will initially disseminate statistical information regarding broadband penetration that led that created optimal conditions for adoption of social media. Following how youths have implemented such technology, and will consist of social and political dimensions. Followed by what measures were taken by governments in the region to adapt to the growing trend of social networks. It is imperative to mention that the scope of the work will look at causal factors for why social media was able to develop in the AG region, and how youths and governments reacted to its development.