A Selfie with the King. Saudi Arabia: A Completely Different Social Media Experience

Short thesis

From royal gossip to social campaigns, the fight for identity or debates about religious topics, there is almost nothing Saudis don't discuss on social media. In this talk we'll look at some of the most important social media incidents of the last years and explore the impact Social Media has on Saudi society. What social and political role does Twitter play in Saudi Arabia and how is this role different from the European context?


Did you know that Social Media plays a huge role in Saudi society? Saudi Arabia as a country is pretty unknown and inaccessible to most people. You could meet Saudis on Social Media though, but do you? Probably not, the filter bubbles seem water tight. Saudi Social Media users account for 40% of all active users in the whole Arab world and in relation to the population as a whole, more people are using Twitter in Saudi Arabia than in Europe.

Although you'll find phenomenons like selfies and hashtagwars you know from the European netspace, Social Media has in some aspects a different meaning and importance for Saudis. Looking at what we share and what is different we learn something about ourselves and about Saudi Arabia, a country that is much more than the onedimensional representations you'll find in the media. Let's roam the Saudi Twittersphere!