Social Media: What UAE residents like and why

From posting their favourite recipe to looking for a job to speaking about their mood swings or wishing birthday to a person who could well be a toddler or a family member sitting in the next room, people across the UAE and the world over are living their lives on social media but in different ways.

The list can be extensive and overwhelming when we talk about what all people post on such popular sites. Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine why a person would share with the world some of the things that some people do, but that’s another story.

What’s easier is to tell you is which of the popular social media platforms do UAE residents like the most – and why.

You may have guessed it already, but yes, Facebook tops the list. According to a poll run by Emirates 24|7, almost three quarters (74 per cent) of the respondents listed Facebook as their social media channel of choice.

Reasons why so many people prefer using Facebook – or to use it more often – than the other social media channels are interesting. Studies have highlighted that there is a strong link between offline personality portrayal and online personality, and the ones who live their lives on Facebook are extroverts with the maximum number of friends.

Studies have also claimed that Facebook meets two basic social needs – firstly, the need to belong and secondly, the need for self-presentation. So, if we go by these theories, then perhaps most UAE residents are outgoing and friendly people, looking for attention of their fellow beings.

This is followed by LinkedIn, with 9 per cent claiming to use it the most. According to the company’s own estimates, there are over nine million users in the Mena region, which includes the UAE.

People who use these channels are more professional and use it to grow their network, increase sales, for recruitment or just to source news.

After LinkedIn, six per cent of online UAE residents use Twitter and studies have shown that those who are avid users are ones interested in knowing about and participating in world events, popular culture, everyday sentiment, etc.

Not only does this platform provide a chance to be in the know, but also serves as a two-way communication platform, pushing behind primitive media sources.

AT No. 4 on the list, with 4 per cent of residents preferring it, is Google+. This particular social network is not very popular and had been labelled as a “ghost town” in the past for not being actually used much. Nevertheless, with Google recently renaming it Google Hangouts, and adding a slew of features, it seems to be catching up of late although it may be too early to say if it will be able to give the top 3 social media channels any real competition.

A previous study by GlobalWebIndex (via Quartz), showed that Google+ is mostly interesting to and used by people who work in IT, company owners or self-employed people. The study’s data shows that nearly a third of Google+ usage is tied to IT workers, it is to engineers what Facebook is to moms and Twitter is to media geeks.

Very few – just 1 per cent users – say they use Pinterest. This small percentage of people are the ones who take their hobbies seriously and believe in DIY projects.

An equal number of respondents – 1 per cent – claim to use all kinds of channels that come under the social media banner, whereas there are 5 per cent of residents who use other unspecified channels and not the ones mentioned above.

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