News Column

Bahrain Sees Surge in Social Networking

July 9, 2012

Gulf Daily News website

More than 120,000 people in Bahrain have joined social media networks since last year, it has been revealed. There are 340,000 active Facebook users and more than 60,000 people on Twitter, said Social Media Club Bahrain president Ali Sabkar.

According to the latest figures, a total of 247,000 people used Facebook last January and 42,349 were on Twitter in September last year.

Mr Sabkar said the growing numbers were among 43 million Arab Facebook users and 1.3m Twitter accounts.

"People in Bahrain, considering its size and population, are already one of the leading social media users," he said on the sidelines of the Social Media Awards ceremony at the Elite Resort and Spa, Muharraq.

"Social networks' use jumped considerably in Bahrain in the beginning of 2011 and people here have not looked back since.

Mr Sabkar said Bahrain now has 900,000 internet users, out of which 51 per cent were active on social media sites.

"The age of communication and digital relationships between brands, the media and consumers has changed faster and in ways few could have anticipated and Bahrain is at the forefront of this revolution," he added.

"Social media has become a tool with measurable power that truly has a place within almost any kind of business."

He said the awards would encourage users to utilize social media networks for personal and business objectives.

"It is no secret that social media has led to a democratization of media and has paved the way for a new generation of online relationships and conversations," he explained.

"It encourages creativity and the blend of cultures and strengthens the sense of community, sharing and connecting whilst making all sorts of relationships, particularly business relationships, more transparent."

During the ceremony, which was sponsored by [telecom firm] Zain, awards were presented in 12 categories, with winners being selected by a jury after nearly 2,000 nominations were received for the best users in social media in Bahrain.

They include Gulf Air, Bahrain City Centre, local diner Blaze Burgers and Seef Mall.

"This only shows the strength of the network we have in Bahrain," added Mr Sabkar.

Zain corporate communications manager Samya Husayn said Bahrain was leading the Arab world in Twitter usage already and is next only to Kuwait.

She said as the prevalence of social media continued to rise, organizations of all types and sizes were recognizing ways in which it could help them better understand, respond to and attract the attention of their target audience.

Source: (C) 2012 BBC Monitoring Media. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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