At the close of every month, here at Netizency, we delve into the vibrant world of social media and online platforms across the Gulf. Our goal? To shine a spotlight on the key trends that matter and dissect the conversations that are making waves. To achieve 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 from the first day to the last of the month.
In September, the category rankings remained firm compared to the previous month, with Electronics, Entertainment, and Education maintaining their top positions. Trailing behind in successive order are Health, Finance, Malls & Retail, Automotive, and Telecommunication.
The digital chattersphere was buzzing with a diverse mix of stories this month. They ranged from joyous celebrations of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) birthday and KSA National Day to heart-wrenching tragedies like the Morocco earthquake, the Libya floods, and the Iraq wedding fire. Here’s a preview of the top categories’ trending topics.
Electronics & Technology
In the realm of Electronics and Technology, Apple continued to reign supreme in the GCC region. The launch of the iPhone 15 models, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and Apple Watch Series 9 sent waves of excitement across the digital landscape. Viral videos capturing the bustling crowds at Dubai Mall’s Apple store during the launch event added to the buzz. Conversations ranged from the new devices’ premium price tags and enhanced battery life to detailed recaps of the Apple Event. Users also discussed iOS 17 and Apple’s introduction of 24 new default ringtones after nearly a decade, with some questioning their relevance in a world where silent phones are the norm. Retailers capitalized on the hype by offering iPhones as prizes to celebrate Saudi National Day, sparking a surge of retweets from users for a chance to win.
Google also made headlines this month as it celebrated its 25th anniversary. Tech enthusiasts and media outlets highlighted the brand’s journey from a dorm room project to a tech giant, showcasing its logo evolution and 92% global search market share. Screenshots of the anniversary doodle were widely shared, and discussions revolved around Google’s most searched categories over the years. Familiar names like Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Wordle, Gangnam Style, Pokémon Go, and others consistently dominated these lists.
The debut of WhatsApp Channels sparked a flurry of posts as well. This one-way broadcast tool enables users to receive updates from their favorite individuals and organizations in a dedicated tab, separate from their personal conversations. Tech pundits discussed the new feature’s key differences from WhatsApp Communities, while others shared tips and tutorials on how to use it, create their own, and leave those they’ve joined. Influencers also urged their followers to join their channels to stay up-to-date on their latest news, further fueling the hype around the new option.
WhatsApp’s latest update picks up popularity across the internet.
As anticipated, the Entertainment category was ablaze with activity this month, primarily due to the spirited celebrations of Saudi National Day. From Cristiano Ronaldo in traditional attire to influencers painting the Saudi map on their faces, the festivities were on full display on social media. Notable brands like Cadillac Arabia and Babyshop also got involved, with the former extending an enticing offer to KSA gamers to join the ‘Maseerat Cadillac,’ their inaugural game parade on Forza Horizon 5, and the latter unveiling a fresh collection of Saudi-themed clothing. Whether a gamer, fashionista, or patriot, there was something for everyone to enjoy. And with so much excitement to go around, it’s no surprise that our Entertainment listening dashboard brimmed with activity.
Additionally, K-Pop mania swept the GCC like a tidal wave in September, fueled by the announcement of two upcoming mega-events. The first was the return of Hyperound K-Fest in Abu Dhabi this November, featuring a star-studded lineup, including ENHYPEN, Sunmi, Epik High, DPR Ian, XG, Cherry Bullet, and Peakboy. Fans eagerly sought ticket details to secure their spots, sending excitement levels soaring. The revelation of KSA’s K-CON Korean Festival’s second edition in October also ignited fervent conversations. With 14 Korean bands set to perform, fans passionately expressed their enthusiasm through their responses to relevant posts.
The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi was another hit in the Entertainment category. Nickelodeon Arabia and affiliated social accounts were abuzz with updates regarding the performances and appearances of global and regional stars. Our social media feeds overflowed with news of the winners, with special attention given to Mayan El Sayed (Favorite Actress), Ahmed Dash (Favorite Actor), Siilawy (Favorite Male Newcomer), Ghaith Marwan (Favorite Influencer), and many other deserving victors. However, the true highlight was the record-breaking 46 million votes from around the world in this year’s edition, tripling the previous record and highlighting the remarkable influence of children’s voices.
This month’s Education discussions centered on the escalating significance of technology in our world and its impact on digital literacy. Several accounts were posting about initiatives in the region designed to address this matter. One notable example was the partnership between Zain KSA, Aanaab, and Code School Finland, which aimed to enhance digital education within the Kingdom. There was also a spotlight on UAE-based efforts, especially Omar bin Sultan Al Olama’s participation in UNESCO Digital Learning Week 2023. His involvement in a special scientific ministerial session titled “Reimagining the Futures of Knowledge and Research Using Generative AI” attracted widespread attention from mainstream sources. They highlighted his statements emphasizing the UAE government’s steadfast dedication to prioritizing digital education in the future of learning, in alignment with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s visionary approach.
The International Day to Protect Education from Attack also took center stage in Education this month, particularly within Qatar. Conversations were active under the hashtag #UniteToProtect. News outlets reported on Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Education Above All and UN Sustainable Development Goal Advocate, participating in a high-level event at the UN Headquarters in New York to mark the occasion. Brands like Ooredoo Qatar also played a significant role in the chatter by promoting the initiative and encouraging users to donate to Education Above All. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs consistently posted about its efforts to raise awareness regarding ensuring education for children in conflict areas. Mainstream articles underscored the country’s resolute commitment and its call to prioritize education both in times of conflict and peace.
In addition, the Riyadh International Book Fair was another key topic in the Education discourse this month. Hosted at King Saud University, the event gathered over 1,800 publishing houses from 32 countries, showcasing their latest publications. Social media platforms buzzed with images and videos capturing the diverse pavilions and activities, promising an enriching experience for book enthusiasts. Oman was also featured prominently in the discussions as it was chosen as the guest of honor for the event. Media outlets focused on the profound historical ties and shared commitment to cultural cooperation between the two nations, among various other themes related to the Book Fair.
With this, our September monthly recap comes to a close! Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest social media news, delivered to your inbox every week.
*This article was originally published by Communicate ME, access it here.