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.
At the end of each month, we, at Netizency, study the popular conversations happening on social media and online platforms across the Gulf to highlight the most relevant trends and analyze the discussions that have gained momentum. To do so effectively, we’ve identified a group of keywords in Arabic and English that define conversations according to the most relevant industries in the region. We then classify them according to the volume of mentions and analyze the topics of conversation across social and online media between the first day of the month to the last.
Despite capturing a considerable dip in its conversation volume, Electronics managed to maintain its reigning position as the most popular category in the GCC this month. All other categories held steady in their rankings as compared to April.
May, the month that felt like a year, flooded our screens with jokes and memes as if we were enduring an eternity instead of just 31 days, and trapped in a never-ending loop, yearning for the month to end instead of simply passing through! Amidst this comical chaos, certain topics emerged as the champions of the virtual realm. Join us as we explore the ones that had the online community buzzing during this seemingly endless month.
Electronics & Technology
Apple was a key champion in the Electronics conversation this month, provoking a mixed bag of emotions ranging from pure excitement to intense outrage. Starting on a positive note, the highly anticipated iPhone 15 took the spotlight as recent leaks unveiled its design and functionalities. Tech enthusiasts eagerly shared the leaked photos of the upcoming range, sparking a frenzy of discussions surrounding its standout features, including the exclusive Pro Max periscope camera and lightning-fast 15W wireless charging. Moreover, Apple Watch emerged as a true hero in a heartwarming tale of a woman whose life was saved by its timely intervention. When she suddenly collapsed due to a serious injury in her heart artery, her Apple Watch sprang into action, alerting emergency services and earning high praise for its life-saving capabilities. Another piece of news that amplified the positive sentiment around the tech giant was the grand entrance of the ChatGPT app on iOS, which was met with virtual high-fives as users eagerly embraced the opportunity to chat with the AI-powered marvel via their Apple devices. But alas, not all was rosy in the Apple conversation. The brand’s decision to discontinue "My Photo Stream" triggered a wave of discontent, with frustrated users vowing to defect to Samsung or other contenders in protest and lamenting Apple's history of removing useful features and gadgets for profit.
Additionally, the conversation surrounding foldable phones skyrocketed in May, largely driven by the announcement of upcoming releases from industry giants. Among the highly anticipated contenders is the Motorola Razr, scheduled to debut in June. Users expressed their eagerness for the arrival of the "Razr Ultra," boasting a large, expansive screen for full apps and more. Google Pixel Fold was another model that garnered attention in the foldable frenzy. Despite some criticism regarding its design and price, the Pixel Fold showcased impressive software, cameras, and overall appeal, as evident from users' positive comments. Meanwhile, Samsung was rumored to unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 on July 26, hot on the heels of its competitors. Huawei's Mate X3 foldable phone also joined the conversation, boasting a book-style foldable design that transforms it from a 6.4-inch phone into a 7.85-inch tablet when opened. Remarkably, the Mate X3 weighed less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max and had a slimmer profile when unfolded, earning Huawei the title of the lightest commercially available foldable phone. So, in this unfolding saga of foldable phones, the excitement and competition were as flexible as the devices themselves!
Generative AI’s growing prominence has made its presence in the trending conversation across this category inevitable. The buzz surrounding this technology is diverse and dynamic, but there are two distinct themes that stood out as key drivers of the discourse in the Gulf throughout the month. One prominent theme revolved around the impact of AI on jobs, generating a mixed range of sentiments as apparent from users' tweets and comments on relevant discussions. Some expressed concerns about the unknown implications of AI's rise and its potential threat to employment, while others enthusiastically embraced its transformative potential. The second trending theme in the AI conversation highlighted the partnership between Abu Dhabi's Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) and Google, utilizing AI to tackle traffic congestion and enhance transportation efficiency and aims to create a smarter and more connected city. As the conversation unfolds, it becomes evident that AI's rise sparks both concerns and excitement, leaving us to ponder: Will we ride the wave of opportunity or get caught in the traffic of uncertainty?
Next up: Entertainment conversation trends!
The Entertainment conversation witnessed a spike thanks to two grand royal celebrations that took place in May. From the United Kingdom to Jordan, the conversations were filled with excitement, admiration, and a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity of our world - of course with some memes and jokes as well! First, the coronation of King Charles III unfolded as a historic spectacle, steeped in tradition and grandeur. Social media feeds were flooded with videos of the event but with a special focus on the elegance and grace of Kate Middleton. Her fashion choices, tiara selection, and overall radiance garnered admiration and awe.
Meanwhile, in Jordan, a different kind of celebration took center stage. The anticipation leading up to Crown Prince Hussein's wedding reverberated through social media feeds, as Jordanians, Saudis, and all Arabs united to honor the beloved prince and his bride-to-be, Rajwa Alseif. One moment that truly encapsulated this unwavering pride was the unforgettable henna party hosted by Queen Rania of Jordan. It was a vibrant and joyous affair, brimming with traditional music, dance, and the intricate artistry of henna tattoos. Users across various social media platforms marveled at the stunning display of Jordanian heritage, expressing their admiration for the royal family's dedication to preserving and sharing their rich cultural traditions. These royal celebrations not only brought joy and excitement to the Entertainment scene, but also served as a reminder of the power of tradition, cultural heritage, and the unifying force of celebrations that transcend borders.
The Entertainment conversation was also ignited by the electrifying ‘Rawaea Almugi’ night hosted on the Abo Baker Salem stage in the KSA. The lineup of popular Arab singers, including Sherine, Angham, Mai Farouk, Zena Emaad, and many more created a buzz that flooded our social media feeds. Countless videos from the concert attendees filled our TikTok’s For You page, leaving us yearning to be a part of this unforgettable experience. Comparisons between each singer's performances became a topic of conversation. Users were specifically excited about their rendition of the timeless classics, where the nostalgic melodies and poignant lyrics transported everyone back to the good old days, evoking a sense of longing and appreciation for the sheer beauty of the chosen words and music, rekindling fond memories, and reigniting the passion for these timeless treasures.
The Cannes Film Festival also created an uproar in the Entertainment world with its allure and captivating moments. Users eagerly shared their thoughts on celebrities’ fashion choices, while news outlets buzzed with updates on the prestigious awards and movie rankings. Among the highlights was the groundbreaking victory of the Egyptian film "Eissa," which secured the esteemed Rail d'Or Award. Additionally, the Jordanian film "Inshallah a Boy" garnered two accolades at Cannes' Critics Week, running alongside the main festival. Notably, the warm welcome extended to Johnny Depp at the festival's opening stirred discussions among his Gulf-based fans, considering his past legal battles. The conversation encompassed a wide range of topics, and while there's much more to discuss, it's time to shine the spotlight on Education.
Saudi Arabia made remarkable strides in the Education conversation this month, with notable achievements to celebrate. The Saudi Chemistry team secured two medals at the 57th edition of the Mendeleev Chemistry Olympiad held in Kazakhstan, adding to the Kingdom's impressive tally of 21 awards in the competition. In other news, Saudi students also excelled at the International Invention, Innovation, and Technology Exhibition (ITEX 2023) in Kuala Lumpur, winning a total of 18 medals, including 10 gold and 8 silver, across various fields. These achievements demonstrate the Ministry of Education's commitment to discovering, nurturing, and supporting talented students who represent the Kingdom on the global stage. And they were truly remarkable achievements that left academics inspired, sparking an outpouring of admiration and congratulations in response to relevant posts.
In a major education breakthrough, the UAE witnessed a spike in Education conversations as news spread about iSHP 2.0, an innovative AI-integrated education portal that was recently launched by School Hack. This cutting-edge platform is set to transform interactive learning in leading UAE schools, striking the perfect balance between AI assistance and human ingenuity. With unique user numbers, students can engage with AI in a controlled environment, unleashing its potential while maintaining integrity. This showcases the UAE's commitment to innovation in the education sector, leaving students, parents, and teachers buzzing with excitement and positive comments all over relevant posts.
The Education conversation in the UAE also experienced a significant boost as news outlets covered the changes at the Ministry of Education. Intriguing developments unfolded as new ministers were chosen, tasked with re-evaluating the way young people are taught. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, emphasized the importance of preparing graduates for the future workplace. The changes include structural reforms, with a particular focus on enhancing state schools and early childhood development. This profound shift towards a dynamic approach to learning has generated a palpable sense of anticipation and sparked discussions among students, parents, teachers, and the community at large - and rightfully so.
That's a wrap on our monthly roundup. But you can stay in the loop with our exclusive newsletter, delivering the latest trends directly to your inbox each week. Subscribe here.