Who's Tweeting in the Middle East?

SpotOnPR Chart of Twitter Users in Mideast, July 2009
A chart of Twitter users in the Middle East from The National, July 2009.

A new report, posted to the Creative Commons Arab World Google Group, from Spot On Public Relations offers some numbers about Twittership in the MENA region. Among the stats are that Twitter use in the MENA is growing at a rate of 17 percent a month and has increased ten times in the first 7 months of 2009. Other insights: most Tweeple (people who use Twitter) in the MENA are men and only about half of Arabic speakers are tweeting in Arabic.
In Lebanon, we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of Tweets this year, as well as the establishment of various Twitter networks and events, like last week’s Twestival and twitleb. All this despite the fact that outside the US, UK, and India, we cannot receive Tweets on our mobiles—unless perhaps we agree to receive huge amounts of spam.
I started using Twitter from Lebanon in the fall of 2007, but it wasn’t much fun because not many people I knew were on it. As the community grows, it’s become more engaging and maybe even will emerge as a platform for activism here, as it has elsewhere. There’s even a guide for how to do it (which SMEX translated into Arabic).
For instance, just the other day I complained about how loud the generator was in my neighborhood. @salimhb replied: “@SMEX where are u in ain el remmeneh, I think we share the same generator.”
When I tweeted about the noise our generator was making, I got a surprise reply.

The generator was replaced and is no longer an issue (besides all the other issues generators raise in Lebanon). But if it hadn’t been, maybe we could have aggregated more people disturbed by the noise and mobilized for action!
Photo: The replacement of our generator, one of many of Beirut’s privately-run fuel-based generators that provide electricity when the government electricity is cut. In our neighborhood (Ain er Remmeneh), we rely on this generator 4 to 8 hours a day. We pay between $40 and $80 a month for this service, on which we can run only our fridge and a few lights. The noise when it was uncovered sounded like a jet engine.


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