Social networking is growing exponentially in the UAE. One of the best benefits of social media is that they provide an easy way to be quickly connected with others wherever a user is. The majority of the online population engages in social networking sites daily for socializing, share photos or videos.
With the availability of social networking apps, consumer’s constant connection to the Net has increased as users have found new ways to communicate and post messages to others, whether it for personal use or for business purpose.
The Arabs are making themselves heard online and are now between the most present in the social arena. These past few years have shown a phenomenal digital growth in UAE in Internet and mobile usage, while social network platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and more) have gained immense popularity in the country.
In the UAE, many Arabs are Facebook users; the platform tops the regional rankings for the highest user penetration when it comes to utilization of social media.
According to Global Media Insight’s UAE Social Media Statistics 2015, since January 2014, UAE has experienced a 23% growth in active social media accounts and more than 56% of people are active in social media, and as many as 52% make use of their favorite social apps on mobile devices.
The UAE adoption rate of mobile internet and growth of users who are active with social data powered by 3G and 4G mobile networks puts the region ahead of other Middle Eastern countries.
Online visual platforms like Instagram – that make use of pictures to tell the story – have exploded in popularity over the years since 2010. Though Instagram has seen a slow start in the UAE, as “only 18% of the population uses the platform actively,” according to Global Media Insight, the Dubai royal family has linked to the site its strong online presence.
Among those who have great success in the social media realm is Dubai crown prince who has one of the most followed accounts on Instagram; Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum with 3.5M followers (in addition to 1.61M of Twitter followers) has risen to social fame thanks to an account that is fresh and interesting with few official shots and many everyday scenes, from fishing to horse riding, to being surrounded by children.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum who was appointed as crown prince of Dubai in 2008 is today one of the most-followed people on social media in the Arab world and beyond, lapping even the account that the Prince of England, William, shares with his wife Kate Middleton and his brother Harry, a profile that, nevertheless, accounts for over a million followers. Whether it be because of his adventures in competitive equestrian, his interests as a diver and skydiver, or because of his poetry (under the name Faz’za) if not for his work as chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, member of the Dubai sports council and the Dubai autism center, he plays a major role in the UAE society and social media landscape.
The royal family, however, is no stranger to social media fame. Sheikh Hamdan’s father Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is also on Instagram with 1.57M followers. When it comes to Middle Eastern leaders, Sheikh Mohammed is one of the most influential figures in the region with social media accounts.
Dating back to the time he was appointed Crown Prince of Dubai in 1995, he has launched various pioneering initiatives and projects and is today among the most followed royals and leaders of business and society on the Web, as shown on his various social networking accounts and the number of followers he has on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Like father like son; the official online accounts of the members of the Royal Family continue to engage followers from all over the world and are the perfect reflection of the importance that social media and online presence now has in the new Arab society.