Saudi Arabia: The Social Media Culture


According to multiple press reports, Saudis are among the most prolific users of youtube and twitter.  They are taking advantage of the independence and freedoms offered through social media.

However, at the same time, if one wished to make a video with a Saudi, technically permission must be required.  Not only must permission be given for the Saudi to participate but the Ministry of Information also insists on approval of entire content before a video is made public.

Given what the Saudis are saying and doing via Youtube and Twitter, I find the requirements of the Ministry of Information to be rather archaic and frankly, beyond the Ministry’s control.

There are simply too many Saudis around the world who are voraciously utilizing social media.  It’s not only Youtube and Twitter.  Saudis are among the most prolific users of Google and equally enjoy Facebook.

With the various translation applications now freely a barrier, language is no longer a barrier for Saudis to express themselves.  Many of the Saudis who are producing and uploading videos on Facebook also direct you to their twitter or Facebook account.

Here’s a few videos a Saudi woman chose to upload and share with the world and illustrates the freedoms Saudis are taking through social media:



15 Responses

  1. I enjoyed her videos but I will note that she is living and going to school in the UK. I assume the UK is her permanent home so I doubt her ideas are representative of a typical Saudi.

    One question I have that is unrelated to the topic is what does the image of Marilyn Monroe on her website mean to a girl who was born many years after her death? Inquiring minds would like to know.

  2. @Jerry, I guess you’d have to ask her that in the comments section of her videos!

    On Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 7:11 AM, American Bedu

  3. Smart girl! Shows the difference of a girl brought up in a free world with excellent education and the girls brought up in KSA who appear very immature. Her videos go to show that living in the west has not ruined her nor made her immoral.

    Jerry, why do people follow Mohamed and his family who died many years before your death?

  4. Gerry, wrong wording.Should have been “Jerry, why do people follow Mohamed and his family who died many years before your were born?”

  5. Thanks for sharing this link, Carol! you always manage to mine interesting things about Saudi/Saudi people in your blog 🙂

    although it is refreshing to see that Saudis do not all fall within the same stereotypical “negative/bitter” category, and it was nice to hear her childhood memories of staying up late at night with cousins (reminded me of my own childhood)

    though, I second Jerry on his opinion regarding her “saudi-ness”.. It is easy to be positive when:

    a) religion/country/family never posed hard restrictions on her life, choices, and every move she made

    b) she lived in an era when all the religious restrictions have been relaxed.. unlike most angry Saudi women out there who have endured both those points above.

    otherwise, I found her to be a pleasant, average UK teenage girl.. (with some adherence to the nostalgic memories of the land of her ancestors)

  6. Wendy:

    from a secular point of view, my personal understanding of this phenomena (revering a historic figure to this extent) is often due to the fact that people need to cling to a glorious past where they’ve had great empires or achievements.. it gives them a sense of pride and self-worth.. to the Arab Muslims, the figure of the prophet has become something like a national icon, which also happens to be a sacred, religious icon as well.

    Historically, the the Arabian Peninsula has not experienced any kind of wide-spread glory except that which was associated with the Islamic empire (which was born in the Arabian Peninsula, and whose holy scripture was with their native Arab tongue).. hence enforcing this nationalistic sentiment..

    This is why they believe that clinging on to this and mimicking the lifestyle of those from the past will bring them back the past glories.. (you have religious scriptures indicating that as well)..

    many will cling on to religion and religious icons more when they feel threatened by the overwhelming globalization, or as a form of rejection to the values of the west which has contributed to their current political/economic humiliation (through imperialism, colonization, state of Israel, etc)..

    i could be wrong, and will gladly listen to other opinions

  7. That is definitely bold 🙂 and a great initiative!

  8. @W
    ‘girls brought up in KSA who appear very immature’.
    On what criteria this judgment is based? It seem quit harsh. And would posting videos of themselves on Youtube is sufficient per se to qualify them to be smart girls?

    I wonder what is the argument of the Ministry of Information in restricting the publication over the Internet? Perhaps the fear of Al-Qaeda and the extremist taking advantage of Internet is what has motivated the Ministry to such restriction!

  9. @wendy, just a curiousity nothing more, but I would hardly compare the interest in Marilyn Monroe images anything like interest in Muhammed. There are iconic images of Marilyn, I guarantee that like any person she did not look her best at all angles. Those images were created by good photographers. There aren’t iconic images on Muhammed.

  10. Desert Maniac … I didn’t really need an explanation. I was just being a smart A** about the Marilyn Monroe thing.
    Snowman, I base my comments on personal knowledge. Girls who are cloistered, given less than substandard education and no freedom generally are not as mature as other girls their age. I have seen it many, many, many times.

  11. Very cute girl.
    But I agree, she’s basically English, with Saudi origins, but definitely an English girl.

    I used to have photo’s of Marilyn Monroe around too. Why not? She was amazing to look at, made some very amusing movies, and I thought her incredibly beautiful. And I like beauty.
    And there is something fragile and very touching about her.
    Why shouldn’t this girl like her too?

  12. @aafke

    Nothing negative just a curiousity. I am wonder what her image means to those who must be far less familiar with her life story than someone my age (ie: 61). I can imagine a young woman in the UK reading her life story and not knowing about any of the people in it. I doubt she would recognize the names of her husbands for example.

    I find it curious to watch how an image with a real history becomes an icon and that icon is viewed by people who have no knowledge of the history of that person.

  13. Jerry, I don’t know why this girl like Marilyn Monroe, but I know why I like her: I used to watch all these old musicals on German tv with my mother when I was a child and I adored Marilyn Monroe. And when I started to look her up I discovered she was a very interesting person, with a very troubled childhood. A sensitive poetic child which was passed around between uncaring people, most probably suffered sexual abuse in several of these families. She was completely undervalued and misunderstood, she was very serious in her work, intelligent, and a very caring person, She stood up for other people’s rights, she defied her big movie bosses and supported Miller when he was caught up in the communist witch hunt. She started Ella Fitzgerald’s career. And it wouldn’t surprise me if she was murdered. So sad that such a wonderful human being who could have been a light in the world was so misused, underrated, and wasted.

  14. Some icons will always be icons. Marilyn Monroe is one of them. You are so right, Aafke.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: