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.
Photo Source: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images (CNN)
At the end of each month, here at Netizency, we explore the dynamic realm of social media and online platforms in the Gulf. Our aim? To shine a spotlight on the key trends that matter and dissect the conversations that are making waves. To accomplish this, we've curated a set of keywords in both Arabic and English that encapsulate discussions relevant to the region's key industries. These keywords are then categorized based on the frequency of mentions, enabling us to dissect the discourse across social and online media throughout the entire month.
In November, the category rankings remained largely unchanged from the previous month, with Electronics, Entertainment, and Health maintaining their respective top three positions. Notably, Malls & Retail displaced Automotive in the fifth spot, indicating a shift in consumer preferences. Let's explore the details.
Photo Source: Netizency
Electronics & Technology
The Electronics dashboard buzzed with tech tidbits and banter throughout November. Stepping into the limelight was the Galaxy S24 series, eagerly anticipated for its January launch. Gadget enthusiasts in the GCC shared leaks about the upcoming S24 Ultra model, where they discussed the device’s speculated shades, including black, gray, violet, and yellow, triggering an upsurge in positive sentiments. They also posted about its possible design changes, indicating a departure from its predecessor, the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The circulated rumors implied that the S24 is set to embrace a flatter, more angular aesthetic, featuring a sleek, flat front and rear glass panel design. User reactions were varied, but a prevailing anticipation for the change dominated the chatter. The discussions also extended beyond aesthetics to the features of the device, sparking chatter about its incorporation of generative AI elements inspired by ChatGPT and Google Bard. Techies claimed that this innovative approach is expected to empower users to effortlessly create content with minimal input—a dynamic element that added to the overall buzz as the release of the Galaxy S24 Ultra draws near.
Speaking of generative AI and ChatGPT, discussions unfolded when OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, abruptly parted ways with its CEO, Sam Altman. Users were engrossed in debates surrounding the unexpected ousting of this pivotal figure in the AI revolution, with media outlets exploring the board's decision, citing a loss of confidence in Altman's leadership. Toward the end of the month, a surprising twist emerged when @OpenAI announced Altman's reinstatement as CEO, alongside Mira Murati as CTO and Greg Brockman as President. Elon Musk’s revelation of his new AI bot, “Grok”, was another key topic that boosted the chatter about generative AI. Designed to respond to queries with a touch of humor, Grok distinguishes itself by leveraging real-time knowledge from X (Twitter) and tackling challenging questions that often baffle other AI systems. While access to Grok is an exclusive privilege reserved for X's Premium users, this didn’t deter users from indulging in playful rivalries. They inundated their feed with memes, humorously pitting all tools against each other, speculating on which one would ultimately win users’ hearts.
Furthermore, as one would expect, the Electronics dashboard featured a pronounced prevalence of Friday offers and promotions throughout the month. Brands like Motorola Arabia, Asus, and others, along with retailers such as eXtra Stores, Amazon, Noon, and more consistently showcased enticing deals on various electronic devices, including laptops, TVs, tablets, mobiles, and more. Influencers actively contributed to the discussions by posting about these deals and endorsing branded promotions, heightening users’ interest. This triggered a substantial response from the community, with inquiries pouring in about model availability, warranty limits, and more.
Photo Source: Corbis/Getty Images (CNN)
The Entertainment dashboard brimmed with lively discussions sparked by various events that took place during the month, with Riyadh Season taking center stage. Users eagerly shared their festival experiences online, while others delved into debates surrounding Byoumi Fouad's controversial remarks following his play "Artificial Marriage" during the season. Fouad criticized actor Mohamed Salam for withdrawing from the play in solidarity with Gaza. Following the circulation of videos of Fouad's remarks, a wave of backlash ensued against him, with users calling to unfollow his social media profiles due to a perceived lack of empathy. Amidst the controversy, positive mentions arose as well, especially following the unveiling of a new museum as part of Riyadh Season, showcasing football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo's illustrious career. The CR7 museum's immersive exhibits provided fans with an exclusive glimpse into Ronaldo's journey. Additionally, the buzz around Riyadh Season hosting the inaugural "Dog Festival," an international competition featuring 250 canine contestants, amplified the chatter even further. The championship includes diverse and thrilling events such as a beauty contest, Saluki Race, IGP, Agility, and Dog Show for pups, capturing witty responses from users in the GCC.
Comic Con Arabia also took the spotlight in the Entertainment conversation, marking its return to Jeddah from November 30 to December 1. This two-day extravaganza promises an ultimate pop-culture experience, featuring DJs, actors, authors, and more from the realms of comics, manga, anime, film, TV, Sci-Fi, video games, and cosplay. Social media accounts, such as the Jeddah Events Calendar, were buzzing all month long, urging users to secure their tickets. They also diligently highlighted various events and the star-studded lineup, including Stephen Amell, Rachel Litfin, FEMM, Shaun Barrowes, Chad Hardwin, and Dolya Gavanski that will be present at the festival. The excitement reached a fever pitch, with KSA-based users actively inquiring about ticket reservations and expressing a strong desire to see K-pop bands grace the festival.
Photo Source: FACT Magazine
A wave of excitement swept through the Entertainment dashboard in mid-November as Real Madrid unveiled its plans for a groundbreaking football-themed wonderland in Dubai. Mainstream media outlets and football enthusiasts alike buzzed with news of the exclusive multi-year partnership between Dubai Parks and Resorts and Real Madrid C.F., known as Real Madrid World. This sports-themed attraction promises an immersive celebration of football, capturing the essence of the Real Madrid experience. The announcement ignited a surge of positive sentiment among fervent Real Madrid fans, who eagerly took to the comments section of relevant posts to express their anticipation for the park's opening.
Similar to October, the Health conversation remained significantly impacted by the dire situation in Gaza. Throughout the month, discussions centered on reports of escalating death tolls, a surge in injuries, and critical shortages in fuel and medical equipment, alongside ongoing attacks on hospitals in Gaza. The collapse of Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest medical complex, remained a central concern. There was a lot of attention to articles reporting the lack of resources, a high circulation of infant images from the hospital, and intensified conversations about babies passing away.
Similarly, there was a focus on the UAE's medical humanitarian efforts for Gaza throughout the month. Prominent accounts highlighted the country’s establishment of a field hospital, providing medical assistance to the people of Gaza, with a capacity of over 150 beds. Also, posts showcasing a UAE plane transporting children from Gaza, along with their families, landing in Abu Dhabi for medical treatment gained widespread attention, with users expressing appreciation for the UAE's commitment to caring for 1,000 children injured in the ongoing war.
Photo Source: WAM (What's On Dubai)
Bahrain's advancements in human genome sequencing also captured attention in the Health conversation during November. Specifically, the acquisition of the state-of-the-art NovaSeqTM X Plus machine, made Bahrain the first country in the Middle East to acquire and inaugurate such a cutting-edge machine for human genome sequencing. News outlets extensively covered the official launch of the machine’s operation by Lieutenant General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Supreme Council for Health (SCH). They emphasized the project's aim to use gene sequencing for developing effective national health policies, therapeutic strategies, and preventative measures. This underscored the country’s ongoing commitment to the National Genome Project.
That wraps up our November monthly recap! Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest social media trends, delivered to your inbox every week.