Thursday, 24 February 2011

Keeping an eye on Saudi Arabia, there is an active social network community

Late in to the night in one of the most traditionalist nations on earth, the tweeting score is 33 in Jeddah. This is a city of about 2 million people. And tweeting is a fraction of many other larger cities in Asia and Europe, not to mention America. But still the number is far highter than in Madison, 20 at the same minute in time. There a clearly hundreds tweeps on mobile devices Some people are pointing to Madison as a point where the revolution in the Arab world might be spreading to American. Web 3.0 Analysis points to a greater chance of Saudi Arabia seeing some protests next month.

Firstly there is, in several Saudi cities, enough active tweeps that any message an opposition movement would want to get out can be gotten out. We have been seeing elevated adoption of twitter in the Arab world in recent months. We did initial measurements at the start of the year in Cairo, tracking tweets in places we were familiar with. We have seen a massive rise in Egypt and the Gulf in the production of twitter users of "tweeps" as they often call themselves.

But also the more important social network most likely remains Facebook. Facebook has been named to us directly again and again by protesters with families Bahrain and actual protesters from Egypt. And Saudi facebook protest has been active. A week ago we reported a Saudi women's group on facebook. The group has almost 600 members. Not a massive group, but we have heard that there is a Day of Rage group on facebook forming calling for March 11. We saw a group like this form before Libya and one was also active in Egypt and Bahrain. We posted an article at the time about the Libya post which shows more iformaiton about the one before Lybia.

So we can conclude that conditions of web usage in Saudi Arabia are sufficient for a large demonstration to self organize. And that there are continued reports of a March 11 group being formed on Facebook, but we as yet have not found it.
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