by the Dubai School of Government
The societal and political transformations sweeping the Arab region have empowered large segments of the region’s population. Many stereotypes have been shattered, with Arab youth, “netizens” and women becoming the main drivers for regional change. Arab women in particular have become more engaged in political and civic actions, playing a critical leading role in the rapid and historic changes that have swept the region. Meanwhile, the debate about the role of social media in these transformations has reached policy making circles at the regional and global levels.
Throughout 2011, social media usage continued to grow significantly across the Arab world, coupled with major shifts in usage trends. From merely being used as a tool for social networking and entertainment, social media now infiltrates almost every aspect of the daily lives of millions of Arabs, affecting the way they interact socially, do business, interact with government, or engage in civil society movements. By the end of 2011, Arab users’ utilization of social media had evolved to encompass civic engagement, political participation, entrepreneurial efforts, and social change.