Women in UAE trust Twitter as Facebook falls short
Women in the UAE tweet seven times more than the average Twitter user, a new survey has found.
They are also three times more likely than Americans to use Twitter daily, while more than 60 per cent of those quizzed admit they “constantly” check their Twitter account throughout the day.
While most of the 167 Emirati women in the survey admitted they are fans of Twitter, they are abandoning facebook in huge numbers, claiming its privacy settings are untrustworthy and its layout is getting increasingly “awkward”.
The survey, performed in part by researcher Hessah Hareb, at Dubai’s Zayed University, found that “female Emiratis are digitally confident and competent” and love the fast-paced world of Twitter.
While globally, Twitter users were generally found to post once a day, Emirati women are posting an average of seven times daily, mostly on their personal thoughts and philosophy, with little interest in posting about news and current affairs.
But Hareb and Catherine Strong, a senior lecturer in journalism at Massey University in New Zealand, found that facebook is a big loser among female UAE nationals.
Only a third of those questioned said they used it regularly.
“This would indicate a trend away from the globally popular facebook and towards Twitter,” the researchers note.
“Female Emiratis are early adopters of technology, and they are at the forefront of what may become a global trend towards Twitter,” the report adds, noting that 94 per cent of Emirati women who use social media prefer Twitter to facebook.
They complained that facebook is getting “awkward to navigate because of ever-increasing applications and changes”, the report noted.
The researchers also found that the women didn’t trust facebook’s privacy settings, whereas on Twitter, they left their accounts open for anyone to see their tweets.
However, the women were generally careful to avoid posting “realistic photos” or adding extra profile information that might jeopardise their privacy.
The researchers first surveyed 167 young female Emiratis who used social networking, then analysed 5,752 tweet messages generated by 87 users, 65 female and 22 male, to study the usage patterns and topics of
They found that most messages - 83 per cent - were “daily chatter about what users were doing and feeling at that time, or philosophical thoughts”.
“Self discovery” was a big motivator for tweeting - young women find out more about themselves from what they post and their friends’ reaction to it. The authors also found an interesting mix of languages in Emirati tweets, with most women writing in Arabic, English and “Arabish” (writing Arab messages in English language script). Women were much more likely to use Arabish than men.
In fact none of the men surveyed used Arabish, suggesting women were more comfortable in mixing Arab language with English script. So what do young Emirati women think of the study?
Laila bin Hendi, a UAE national who runs her own beauty salon, said she uses Twitter and facebook business accounts to promote the salon, but occasionally mixes in private messages.
“Twitter is easier to use,” she said.
“There is no uploading and downloading like there is on facebook. I use facebook more because it’s just better for my business but, of course, I see why Twitter is so popular.”
WHAT THE SURVEY FOUND:
How important are privacy settings to you on social media websites?
Very important - 55.2 per cent
Somewhat important - 33.9 per cent
HOOKED ON TWITTER?
How often per day do you check Twitter (of the 91 per cent who check it every day)
Constantly - 60.8 per cent
Several times a day - 25 per cent
Once a day - 6.1 per cent
How often do you check facebook?
Regularly, every day 33.5 per cent
Rarely check it anymore 38.5 per cent
Never use facebook 28 per cent