The top Tweeter in the Arab World is a woman and she is a Queen
By Iqbal Tamimi
The names of the top 10 influential Arab tweeters were published by Arabian Business today, the first position was occupied by a woman and a queen.
In the five years since its launch, Twitter’s 140-character updates witnessed a rapid increase of Arab tweeting personalities in every field. Shane McGinley reported that more than 140 million tweets are published every day.
Tweeting proved to be the most influential tool of communication during the ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions. In Tunisia and Egypt, protestors used it to organise mass rallies that aided in the overthrow of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and overcome the authorities attempts to impose an internet blackout in Egypt. The top 10 players in the Twitterverse according to Arabian Business are:
At No.10, Amr Diab, The Egyptian singer who sold around 50m records and won the World Music Award for Bestselling Middle Eastern Artist in 1998, 2002, 2007 and 2009. His followers are 7071.
No.9 Wadah Khanfar, the director general of the Al Jazeera TV Network, who has grown the station from a single channel to arguably the most influential voice in Arab media today. His followers are 12333.
No.8, Muneer Al Busaidi, An Arab comedian and life coach, Al Busaidi describes himself as a traveller and speaker. His followers are 28,568.
No.7, Wael Abbas, an award winning Egyptian journalist and blogger, Abbas has been a guest panellist on The Doha Debates and in 2006 was voted one of the Most Influential People by the BBC. His followers are 31,322.
At No.6, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, his profile describes him as a ‘diplomat, ambassador, world traveller and bon vivant’. His followers are 31,169.
At No.5, Sultan Al Qassemi, an Emirati popular commentator and journalist, his followers are 65,013.
No.4 Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who rose to prominence as a key figure in the Egyptian revolution. He was named among TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential in 2011. His followers are 142645.
No.3 Mika, a Lebanese singer who netted a global hit with his song ‘Grace Kelly’, his followers are 171476.
No.2 HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. His followers are 381,275.
At No.1 is HH Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, the wife of King Abdullah II of Jordan. She regularly tweets on everything from the quality of education for Jordanian children, to her charity work around the globe. Her followers are 1,479,523.
The above reported results, invoke a number of questions such as: why only one woman has been listed in the top 10 position of tweeters in the Arab World. Is it a coincidence that she is a queen? Why the two top tweeters were almost head of states? Do heads of states or queens tweet personally or such tweeting activities are done by someone else employed to execute such task, since such personalities are always busy with official commitments? Why would such politically influential personalities resort to tweeting instead of being content with their influence through the mainstream media? Is it because they seek to influence people through every communication platform available, or it’s only a mere personal choice of self expression outside the boundaries of imposed norms? Do they suffer the feelings of being isolated from the rest of the crowds? Most important of all, how these findings were achieved. Were the number of followers, the best way to measure popularity from scientific research point of view, and what about the non-Arabs who tweet regularly about the Middle East such as Andy Carvin, the NPR social media director whose Twitter account become the go-to source for news of revolution in the Middle East, who once went 20 hours straight, pumping out more than 1,400 brief messages on his Twitter account? Were his alike of tweeters excluded from this research? And what about those who blog using pseudonyms or using multiple or different tweeting identities? And what about those who started blogging much earlier than others, since there is no mentioning of the time span of the monitored tweeting activity.
I hope whoever published theses findings can answer the above questions or at least some of them, to shed some light on the limitations of tweetmania research, since many news sources publish and circulate research data without adhering to the essentials of methods of research.