Ala Shashaa, Data and Insights Director at the regional digital marketing agency Netizency, shares with Communicate a social recap analyzing the discussions in the GCC’s public sphere and highlighting the most relevant trends.
Every month, Netizency identifies a group of Arabic and English keywords from different industries in the region, classifies them according to the volume of mentions, and analyzes the topics of conversation across all social and online media.
It is the new year, but some things never really change – like the fact that the Electronics conversations continue to lead the online sphere in the GCC. Entertainment ranks second, followed by Health, Education, Finance, Automotive, Malls, Retail, and finally Telecommunication.
January marked a glitzy beginning, with plenty of buzz on social media across all categories. The excitement was palpable as people shared their celebrations, hopes, resolutions, and desire to take up new challenges for the new year ahead. But that’s not all – here is a recap of the top trending stories during the month from Electronics, Entertainment, and Health.
#CES2023 made waves during January in the GCC with the conversations ranging from light to heavy. Tech fanatics shared reviews of the newest innovations that sparked their attention, such as Lenovo Yoga Book 9i Dual-Screen laptop, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Satellite, Samsung Display’s Flex Hybrid, the MarsCat - touted as the world’s first bionic pet cat- and more! But not all reviewers were impressed by the show. Some users took to social media to express their disappointment that it did not live up to its hype this year, claiming it failed to show game-changing breakthroughs and instead focused on evolving existing technologies. Besides that, we’ve seen an uptick in positive sentiments coming from KSA during the event after Dr. Khulood Almani, a Saudi digital entrepreneurial consultant, was named the top influential tech leader in 2023. Users were very proud of such global recognition as expressed in their comments on relevant posts.
#LEAP23 is another tech show that made its way into this month’s Electronics trending conversations. Scheduled to kickstart from February the 6th until the 9th, posts highlighting the big tech names, experts, partners, and multinational companies that will take part in the event encouraging users to register have gained popularity throughout the month. The excitement around the concert of Abdul Majeed Abdullah, who will also perform at LEAP, has also fueled interest in the tech show even further. NFT also popped up in the relevant word cloud of the tech show coming from an online competition run by Nuqtah. The start-up encouraged users to list their NFT artworks on their marketplace for a chance to be displayed at LEAP and get seen by thousands of attendees. This was met with a resounding "yes!" from the Nuqtah NFT community.
If you haven't been living under a rock, you've probably heard about ChatGPT, the latest development in the world of generative AI. The platform has gone viral since OpenAI released its text-based artificial intelligence tool inspiring a lot of chatter during January. Users of ChatGPT flocked to Twitter to sing the praises of the app, which they said saved them days of work. Others have fretted about the potential demise of Google and worried about the future of blogs, search ads, and SEO. While others have warned that the tool is still in its early stages and requires improvement in robustness and accuracy. We will have to wait and see how this will evolve and what Google’s comeback strategy will be. However, it is really refreshing to see something innovative coming from the tech sector other than the news of laying off thousands of employees and crypto taking a nosedive, among many other negative headlines that have been dominating the industry for a while.
And now, let's go on to the Entertainment section.
The 25th Arabian Gulf Cup, PSG vs. Al Nassr friendly match, Golden Globes 2023, Miss Universe 2023, Joy Awards, Pathaan taking over Burj Khalifa, and Doja Cat channeling her red Avatar inspiring a lot of TikTok trends along the way — there was no shortage of hype around the Entertainment conversations this month. But let’s zoom in on the key events that drove the conversation into the stratosphere!
First off, the new year! From Bahrain's first fireworks show to celebrate the occasion to Burj Khalifa welcoming 2023 with a world record-breaking laser and firework displays, Riyadh Trio Night, and videos showing all the fun and fireworks in Qatar and Kuwait — as one would expect, the grand celebrations have ignited the conversations from all over GCC. The flurry of selfies and videos from users showed a lot of positivity and happy spirits as they welcomed the new year. Of course, gathering recipes, outfit ideas, resolutions, and all the “new year new me” posts were also at an all-time high!
The next story might have taught many of those going through a breakup a new coping mechanism — yes, we are talking about Shakira and Miley’s new heartbreak-inspired hits! Both songs went viral as soon as the internet got a hold of their lyrics. Many of the posts related to the tracks revealed that they encouraged women to rise up, stand up for themselves, and know their worth. Both songs have also inspired a lot of TikTok dances and trends along the way. Our favorite was the one that had women labeling their jams with a special sign as a way to find out if their partner is cheating - inspired by Shakira’s story of course. Casio, Rolex, and Bruno Mars were also part of the trending conversations about both tracks – and if you don’t know why just go listen to the songs and you will find out! (In case there is a tiny chance you haven’t already been bombarded with both of them).
And then there was Louis Vuitton’s menswear show at Paris Fashion Week, which took the spotlight after videos of Rosalia jamming out to the iconic Arabic Basbousa song went viral. The brand has definitely switched up the traditional fashion runway format and caught the attention of many fans in the GCC. It also sparked a new challenge on TikTok showing users dancing with an exaggerated shaking of the shoulders to the beat of the song. While it was pleasant to watch, it was very hard to get Basbousa, Miley’s Flowers, and Shakira's latest hit out of our heads all month long!
That's it for Entertainment, but let's see what's trending across the Health conversations.
Held at Dubai World Trade Center, #ArabHealth2023 took center stage during January across the health-related conversation. News and health social accounts were actively posting about the four-day showcase, which included more than 3000 exhibitors from over 70 countries. Photos and videos of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum officially opening the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress were all over the online sphere. Relevant conversations also included health officials and digital health companies posting about their latest projects that are revolutionizing the hospital-based approaches, which in return captured high retweets from users in the GCC.
Source: UAE Government Media Office. In the image above: His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Academic Health Corporation
Speaking of revolution, ChatGPT was also trending in healthcare conversations and not just across technology and electronics. Doctors were sharing the search results of ChatGPT as they consulted the platform on certain diagnoses. They were impressed by the end results, claiming that it will surely improve healthcare and play a key role in its development. The positive sentiments have also spiked specifically after the announcement of ChatGPT passing the US Medical Licensing Exam and achieving over 50 percent in one of the most difficult standardized tests around the world. The news has been met with cheers from doctors and users alike and served as a clear indication that Generative AI is here to stay and will not be a momentary fad.
The cherry on top of the Health conversation this month is the story of Iraqi conjoined twins, Omar and Ali, who were successfully separated after an 11-hour complex surgery in Saudi Arabia. Photos of the doctor and nurses team at the surgery were widely shared on social media, which were met with positive and uplifting comments from users in the GCC. Saudi users were particularly vocal in their gratitude toward the government and medical professionals for their delicate care, which was widely seen as a huge leap forward in the healthcare sector.
Phew, what a January! We’ve reached the end of our monthly recap and we shall see you soon in the upcoming month. If you can't wait that long though, you can always subscribe to our exclusive weekly newsletter to hear from us sooner!