Ala Shashaa, Data and Insights Director at the regional digital marketing agency Netizency, shares with Communicate a social recap analyzing the discussions in the GCC’s public sphere and highlighting the most relevant trends.
At the end of each month, we, at Netizency, study the popular conversations happening on social media and online platforms across the Gulf to highlight the most relevant trends and analyze the discussions that have gained momentum. To do so effectively, we’ve identified a group of keywords in Arabic and English that define conversations according to the most relevant industries in the region. We then classify them according to the volume of mentions and analyze the topics of conversation across social and online media between the 1st day of the month to the last.
During March, the category rankings have remained consistent with last month's ratings, with the exception of Finance, which has moved up one spot to fourth place. Electronics, Entertainment, and Education retained their top positions, followed by Finance, Health, Automotive, Malls & Retail, and finally, Telecommunication.
We have selected a collection of noteworthy stories that have pervaded the conversations within the three primary categories of Electronics, Entertainment, and Education during March in the GCC. So let us commence our exploration!
Electronics & Technology
International Women’s Day surged with remarkable momentum during March across all categories in our social listening dashboard, but it particularly shone in the Electronics and Technology sphere. Industry giants, such as Lenovo Middle East, ASUS Middle East, and OPPO Arabia, among others, launched engaging social campaigns to commemorate the day, while the Google Doodle illustrating solidarity for #InternationalWomensDay was a hit among users. Tweet threads featuring inspiring female role models, like Grace Hopper and Adele Goldberg, and showcasing stories of women breaking the glass ceiling in tech gained significant traction, as did hashtags like #WTMDareToBe, #EmbraceEquity, and #EmpowerWomen. Another notable topic that gained popularity among mainstream sources was the revelation that women's participation in the tech sector in Saudi Arabia is over 10% higher than the European average as reported by Endeavor Insight. As anticipated, the online community received this favorably, with users expressing their optimism for a future where women's innovation will play an even greater role in the tech industry, and gender equality becomes an unquestionable norm.
Get ready to geek out, because the Mobile World Congress (MWC) brought the heat to the GCC tech community in March. From Lenovo's latest ThinkPad and IdeaPad to Honor's Magic5 Pro and the Xiaomi 13 Pro phone's global debut, tech enthusiasts were buzzing with excitement. But the real showstopper? Motorola's Razr concept phone with a rollable screen that had everyone talking. Qualcomm also joined the fray, announcing partnerships with major Android phone manufacturers for its Snapdragon Satellite platform, ensuring users can stay connected no matter where they are. GCC tech gurus were in on the action, sharing their reviews on the latest developments. All the previously mentioned topics only scratch the surface of the many conversation themes that generated significant spikes about MWC throughout the month. The discussions were both multifaceted and captivating, and as smartphone manufacturers continue to push the boundaries of technology and compete for attention, the future of tech appears to be filled with limitless possibilities.
Although the subject matter was limited to the US, our next trending story demonstrates how social media transcends borders. The TikTok Congressional Hearing sent shockwaves through the Gulf community and beyond in March, as users were captivated by CEO Shou Zi Chew's testimony before the House Energy & Commerce Committee on consumer privacy and data security practices. As the tough questioning and interruptions raged on by the committee members on TikTok’s CEO, users responded with a mixture of hilarious memes and thirst-inducing fan edits. And many users in the GCC were up for it! But beyond the laughs, the hearing also sparked serious conversations about tech literacy and the role of social media in our lives. Many users defended TikTok, questioning lawmakers' understanding of the platform and its community. Meanwhile, excerpts from the hearing gained widespread attention, with some mainstream sources noting American social media companies' lobbying efforts to ban TikTok. While no one knows for sure what the future holds for TikTok, one thing is certain – its impact on social media and our daily lives is undeniable, and the conversation surrounding it is far from over.
Get ready for the entertainment buzz - it’s up next!
The arrival of the holy month of Ramadan sparked a range of conversations in the Entertainment space during March. Our listening dashboard was inundated with a wide range of user-generated content, covering everything from Iftar and suhoor recipes, tablescapes, fashion styles for gatherings ,and ‘Ghabga’, Iftar tents worth visiting, to house decorations, and more. The anticipation for the upcoming Ramadan series also captured momentum, with users eagerly discussing their favorite shows and sharing their viewing plans. Celebrities and actors promoting their respective shows received significant engagement, with fans eagerly retweeting and sharing their excitement. However, some users emphasized their disinterest in the entertainment aspect of Ramadan and chose to focus on the spiritual significance of the holy month instead.
The opening of the Oman Across Ages Museum was another major event that captured the attention of GCC users this month. As Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tarik inaugurated the museum, people flooded their feeds with stunning photos and videos of the grand opening. The museum is a celebration of Oman's rich history, culture, and economic growth through time, and offers an audio-visual interactive experience. The museum's opening inspired pride and admiration among Omanis for their cultural heritage, as reflected in the trending hashtag #OmanMuseumThroughTime.
Hold onto your popcorn for our next trending story! The GCC online community was abuzz with excitement over 'Everything Everywhere All at Once,' which is breaking records faster than the speed of light, with 158 awards and counting, leaving classics like 'Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' in its wake. With seven Oscars in its pocket, this film has shown that it's possible to be both wildly entertaining and creatively innovative without relying on the same old formulaic dramas. Social media was filled with videos from the ceremony congratulating Jamie Lee Curtis for snagging her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and Ki Hui Kwan for breaking down in tears after winning Best Supporting Actor. However, not everyone in the GCC community was thrilled with the movie - some called it boring and ordinary, unable to muster the will to sit through it, and generally couldn’t understand the hype surrounding it. Well, you can't please everyone, can you?
Now let's dive into education!
"Success" was a resounding buzzword in the GCC's Education conversation in March – all thanks to the outstanding performance of Saudi students in the Gulf Chemistry and Mathematics Olympiad competitions organized by the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States. These bright students won an impressive total of ten medals, including five golds and five silvers, surpassing over 50 participants from the GCC. The KSA Ministry of Education proudly announced these achievements on their official social media accounts, triggering a frenzy of retweets and positive comments. These students rightfully earned the spotlight where their success served as a testament to the remarkable talent and potential of the upcoming generation.
Additionally, the Fourth Gulf Forum for Gifted Students in Dubai recorded a considerable amount of chatter across the Educational dashboard as well. Organized by the Hamdan bin Rashid Center for Giftedness and Creativity, the two-day event aimed to bring together gifted students aged 13 to 18 from GCC countries to exchange scientific experiences and knowledge in their respective fields of talent. Mainstream sources covered the event, highlighting the diverse range of scientific workshops, sessions, visits, and activities presented by various field experts. The forum showcased the commitment to fostering excellence and innovation among gifted students in the region.
Our last story pertains to the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) taking a leap into the Metaverse launching its campus on this cutting-edge digital platform and setting a new standard for immersive learning and collaboration. Students and professionals in the financial and business sectors can now dive into a virtual space that offers a comprehensive learning experience like never before. What sets this initiative apart is that it was fully developed by Bahraini talents, making BIBF the pioneering educational institute in the country to venture into the Metaverse. Social media feeds were abuzz with awareness videos and articles, heralding this groundbreaking move as a first-of-its-kind option in the region leaving users excited about what to come next.
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