Month: December 2010

The Buzz – Emirates ID

December 30, 2010

After many announcements about the new Emirates ID cards becoming mandatory for all residents of the UAE over the past year, many people simply brushed off the requirement to a later time. The ID cards would contain personal data including the address, photo, date of birth, and fingerprints of each resident, and would be used as official identification throughout the country. When it seemed many were not taking the issues too seriously, the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) issued various warnings that people without ID cards would not be allowed to access certain government services and could face significant fines. Not too long after the issuing of the warnings, the deadline for obtaining the ID cards was pushed back due to the last minute rush causing crowding at the EIDA typing centers, and long queues. Under the new timeline, Emiratis have been given until June 30, 2011 to register, which is a six-month extension, while expatriate workers can register whenever they renew or apply for a residency visa. According to the agency, more than 1.5m residents registered for cards in 2010. With heavy coverage from local news on the Emirates ID issue, Socialeyez decided to gauge the buzz around this topic. The following is a report detailing the results of an extensive search on the social media coverage regarding the Emirates ID cards.

The volume distribution of the results over the time period within the date range

Many discussions were found online regarding the topic; however, results were almost exclusively in English. 578 results were captured in total over the period of November 15, 2010-December 29, 2010. The whole of the data was used to give insight on the buzz. The volume of results was highest on the 26th of December, which was one day after the announcement of the extension was made.

The link to the announcement, issued December 25th on the EIDA website is provided: (http://www.emiratesid.ae/en/news-updates/news/identity-card-registration-deadline-for-nationals-extended-for-six-months-and-registration-of.aspx).

The volume in the days leading up to the extension was also high, and it seems people had been discussing the topic and the fast approaching deadline. There was also a clear peak of volume on the 22nd of December, which was one day after Abu Dhabi announced that it would adopt ID cards in all transactions for individuals.

Link provided: (http://www.emiratesid.ae/en/news-updates/news/abu-dhabi-distribution-co-adopts-id-card-in-all-transactions-for-individuals.aspx)

Where were people talking?

The distribution of volume amongst various outlets of social media

The vast majority of posts were found on Micro-blogs such as Twitter (41.6%), followed by Social Networks, which also had a significant percentage of results (32.6%), and include sites such as Facebook. It is important to note that in the majority of the actual conversations took place on Message Boards/Forums, while results found on Micro-blogs and Social Networks were simple statements or links to news articles.

According to our system, online conversations generally occurred in the United States and the United Arab Emirates. However, it is essential to remember that our system tracks results and attributes a country to a result based on a mention of a location in the profile or the comment of the user, and if not found, our system then attributes the result to the host server of the website, which for many popular websites (such as Facebook, and Twitter) is the United States. This is the reason that the United States shows up as one of the countries with the highest volume of results.

How did people feel?

Sentiment distribution in regards to Emirates ID

In general, if the question posed was: “How do you feel about the Emirates ID process?”, 69% of the discussions were neutral in nature, with people reposting links of news articles and asking others questions about the deadline, procedure, etc. Aside from the neutral sentiment, negative sentiment was the next most frequent acquiring 27% of the total volume. Only 4% of the sentiment was positive.

What were people saying?

There was an array of various types of comments to be found. Many people had questions about the process, and posted comments in order to find some clarification on the issue surrounding the ID:

“How do you change your appointment? The number they gave me in my day-late SMS doesn’t work.”

“Does anyone know the quickest way to get this done ?”

“They said that it’s a must to have the emirates ID.card…or else well be fined at the airport when I come back! How true?”
“Any update on Emirates ID Card..31 Dec is the final deadline?? Pls share Guys if you have any info..heard we have to Pay fine after 31Dec..Pls confirm if any one has info about it..Thanks,”

However, many used various social media outlets to vent about their frustration regarding the long queues, the requirement to leave passports behind and other complications:

“3 hours in queue for emirates id and counting. I wanna hurt someone so bad.”
“UGGHHH… you have to leave your passport???”
“At the Emirates ID office, not seen this many angry ladies in one place before.”
“gggrrrrrrrr….fed up of this emirates id…always changing rules…..gggrrrr…….”
“huhh!!! I’ve been queing here today at 6am (immigration)for emirates id but still not yet finish grrrrr….sleepy,dizzy and hungry.”

There were also many complaints about the fees that need to be paid in order to process the Emirates ID cards, and misinformation about how much the process actually costs:

“@Mahmoud_ @omarulhaq Emirates ID is a scam. They’ve pushed the “deadline” countless times. I refuse to let them con me out of 200 dhs!”
“670 dirhams??? WOW… Going to see if I can just skid by without that”

“Yup… a rip off BUT you will end up paying unless you luv waiting for hours and hours. They will ask money for everything since we don’t pay taxes here. This is the reality for newbies like me!!! Does it mean that is sucks to me ? Pretty much HAHA. For you it is fine..you did not have to go through this. The UAE ID Card saga costs 470 Dhs and I hope it is one time deal. If you decide to renew your visa I hope they keep the same number otherwise it will suck. Sorry for using “suck” but it really does S*ck.”

Finally, some people simply resulted to using their statuses to celebrate the extension, or share with friends the fact that they have finally completed the long process:

“Great news to all in UAE deadline for Emirates ID extended up to 30 June 2011 ……,”
“Just finished applying for our Emirates ID card… It’s like joining the Amazing Race and finishing as the Ultimate Survivor Philippines…”
“yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee………….i got ma “EMIRATES ID”

The Buzz – $US 11 Million Christmas Tree

December 23, 2010

On December 16th 2010, The Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi announced the unveiling of a $US 11 Million Christmas tree, adorned with pearls, rubies, gold and other precious gems, in the form of jewelry and extravagant ornaments. The tree would be the most expensive in the world, and has since been nominated to reach the Guinness Book of World Records.  The tree, however, stirred negative backlash from people around the globe for being overly lavish and for disregarding the true spirit of Christmas.  Not too long after, the hotel issued an apology for its lack of consideration and stressed that the jewelry actually belonged to jewelers Style Gallery, and was simply borrowed.

This week, Socialeyez has decided to gauge the buzz around this topic. The following is a report detailing the results of an extensive search on the social media coverage regarding the now infamous Christmas tree.

The distribution of total volume over the days within the date range

Many discussions were found online regarding the topic in both English and Arabic, although English results were significantly higher. 5,417 results were captured in total over the seven day period of December 15-21, 2010. A sample of 10% of the total data was used to give insight on the buzz. The volume of results was highest on the 16th of December, which was the day that the announcement was made. The volume since then decreased day by day, but spiked again when the apology was issued on the 19th of December.

Where were people talking?

The distribution of the total volume into the various social media types

The vast majority of posts were found on Microblogs such as Twitter (50%), Followed by Other Media Types, which also had a significant percentage of results (15%), and mainly included comments on news stories and coverage about the tree. However, it is important to note that the majority of the actual conversations took place under the comment sections of news articles, while results found on Microblogs and Social Networks were shared links to articles or YouTube videos.

Online conversations generally occurred globally with the majority of dialogue happening in the US (79%). However, it is essential to remember that our system tracks results and attributes a country to a result based on a mention of a location in the profile or the comment of the user, and if not found, our system then attributes the result to the host server of the website, which for many popular websites (such as Facebook, and Twitter) is the United States.  This may in turn skew the results. The United Arab Emirates had the second highest amount of results.

What were people saying?

Before the apology was issued, most people had very distinctive opinions on the topic and were completely against the Christmas tree, citing that it was a waste of money and an obvious attempt at showing off by the hotel:

Sentiment of the captured comments

“Most expensive Christmas tree in the world, this is sickening.”

“This is shameful in the eyes of God. an idiot owner of a hotel made a Christmas tree valued at 11 million. how sad when in our planet are more than 11 million people are dying of starvation. exactly 1 in 6 people. what can i say? just :humanity is the worst.”

“RT @CamBrownJax: An $11 million Christmas tree in Abu Dhabi. So obscene I want to puke. http://bit.ly/gIP55k

“I’m completely disgusted- “Behold the $11M Christmas Tree”: http://t.co/IpiAzFq via @Curbed”

Many people also had negative sentiment concerning the tree in regards to the region stating that it was against Islamic beliefs and that it simply emphasized stereotypes about the region:

“Agreed.”@iDubaiGuy: I wonder if #Zayed would have approved of the record breaking Christmas tree in the heart of Abu Dhabi.”

“The most expensively decorated Christmas tree happens to be in a Muslim country. Fascinating… Abu Dhabi erects $11 Million Christmas tree. A tree which is covered in 181 pieces jewelery and precious stones. SubhanAllah, what more can be Muslims deprived of”

“I wonder how this fits in with Zakat, the 4th of the 5 pillars of Islamic faith?”

Few had positive sentiment and felt that the tree was beautiful and was a sign of tolerance of other religions in the predominantly Muslim UAE:

“i would want a $11 million dollar christmas tree 🙂 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_emirates_11m_christmas_tree

“This is why I should consider migrating to Abu Dhabi. 11 millions dollar Christmas Tree – http://bit.ly/fph3lf

“Dubai got largest Christmas tree and AbuDhabi got the most expensive. All this in favor of our brothers and sisters who celebrate Christmas.”

“Beautiful XMas Tree! 🙂 RT @Jerusalem_Post In Abu Dhabi, Christmas comes decked with gold: The $11 million symbol of… http://bit.ly/hsG7xM

Many simply posted links to news articles, youtube videos and photos of the tree, and remained neutral in regards to personal opinion:

“The world expensivest #Christmas Tree ever! What? $11M, is it made of gold?…Apparently, yes. http://yhoo.it/gM0IZz

“@SultanAlQassemi: See pic: Abu Dhabi unveils $11 million Christmas tree http://bit.ly/eCPXwU

However, after the hotel apologized for the extravagant tree and explained its position, some rushed to the defense of the hotel:

“I am getting tired of everyone appologizing for something they did (good or bad) just because some one whines about it. The hotel put up a cool Christmas tree. Now they are backing away from it because they may loose a nickle from someone who just wants to be controlling of other people’s actions. Same goes for sports stars and polititians who have sex or ogle hot women. Just say wow she’s hot and I enjoyed every minute of it.”

Yet, some still criticized the hotel, by pointing out that it is obvious that a decision to put up such a tree would be regrettable:

“An Abu Dhabi hotel spent 11 million dollars on a Christmas Tree. They now regret their overload. Ya Think??????”

Raghad Tayeh & Yannick Dischinger
Social Media Analysts @ SocialEyez

The Buzz – Qatar 2022

December 14, 2010

On December 2nd 2010, Qatar was announced as the official host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup; beating out the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The decision by the members of the FIFA executive committee made headlines around the world and sparked debate in many online communities in recent days. The small Gulf nation made history by being the first Arab nation to ever be selected as a World Cup host, as well as the smallest nation to win the privilege.  Not too late after the announcement, theories about bribes being given by Qatar to FIFA officials began to arise, and comments by influential figures such as Barack Obama created a significant buzz.

The following is a report detailing the results of an extensive search on the social media coverage surrounding the topic.

Many discussions were found online regarding the topic in both English and Arabic, although English results were significantly higher. 96,140 results were caputured in total over the six day period of December 1- 6, 2010. A sample of 10 % of the total data was used to give insight regarding the buzz. The volume of results was highest on the 2nd of December, which was the day that the announcement was made. The volume since then has decreased day by day.

The distribution of total volume over the days within the date range

Where were people talking?

The distribution of the total volume into the various social media types

The vast majority of posts were found on Microblogs such as Twitter (53.1%), followed by Social Networks such as Facebook (17.4%), and Message Boards/ Forums (17.3%). However, it is important to note that most conversations took place on Message Boards and Forums, while results found on Microblogs and Social Networks were shared links to articles or YouTube videos (like the presentation of the stadiums or the different bid videos) or short comments on FIFA’s decision without much discussion.

Online conversations generally occurred globally with the majority of dialogue happening in the US. However, it is essential to remember that our system tracks results attributes a country to a result based on a mention of a location in the profile or the comment of the user, and if not found, our system then attributes the result to the host server of the website, which for many popular websites (such as Facebook, and Twitter) is the United States.  This may in turn skew the results.

The UK came in second, and Egypt had the third highest number of results (4,216). The UAE was another Arab nation which generated a high number of results, coming in 6th place, and even the small state of Qatar itself generated enough buzz to be listed on 9th place.

The map overlay gives an idea of the wide array of places where comments and discussions were found

What were people saying?

Many people had very distinctive opinions on the topic. Several users made status updates to congratulate Qatar, while many just posted links to news stories about the announcement.  On the other hand, there was also a lot of speculation regarding FIFA’s choice, and many people had questions about restrictions that would be taking place regarding alcohol, homosexuality, and the entrance of Jews into the country. Many users were also afraid of terror threats, while many were worried about the weather. Those from countries which lost out to Qatar posted comments about why they should have been chosen:

“FIFA’s universal goal is growing the world game….yeah right, its more like deepening the pockets of its organisation. Football used to be about the passion and culture of the game and not the advertising, media and the growth of the football brand as a business . I hope that 2022 Qatar is an EPIC FAILURE, then they would realise they made a huge mistake not choosing Australia !!”

“Whoa whoa whoa. ok how did qatar get picked over the united states for hosting fifa 2022 i dont think they even have a soccer tema and their country is smaller then the state of connecticut where are they gonna fit the venues. Really angry about this”

“RT @franklanguage: RT @rationalists: The Qatar World Cup is going to be the best ever, unless you’re a woman, homosexual, drinker, or allergic to sand”

Sentiment of the captured comments

In general, if the question posed was: “Was the choice to have Qatar host the 2022 World Cup a correct one?”, 43% of the discussions were neutral in nature, with people reposting links of news articles and simply stating facts extracted from leading news websites. Aside from the neutral sentiment, negative sentiment was the next most frequent acquiring 36% of the total volume. Many users criticized FIFA and Qatar as a nation:

“My mom who knows nothing about sports and hates them says it was dumb giving the World Cup to Qatar. She says they will blow everybody up.”

“Qatar………really? Have fun having the world cup in the middle of a desert and in 50 degrees, disgraceful…..”

“RT @WAtoday: World Cup pay-off? Reports Argentina received $80.5 million from Qatar http://bit.ly/fCZvPf #WC2022”

The least in volume was definitely the positive sentiment with only 21%. From this, we can conclude that many people are skeptical of Qatar as the 2022 World Cup host.

Sentiment of the captured comments by language

However, it was remarkable that most of the Arabic comments were positive, people were just happy for the first Arab nation to host the World cup. The few negative Arabic results we found had concerns about the temporary legalization of alcohol and acceptance of homosexuals. So, almost all the negative comments were given by English speaking users.

“I know a US world cup would be awesome, but these stadiums in Qatar look insane? Is this place even real!”

“RT @PeninsulaQatar: #Qatar hosting World Cup in 2022 is victory for all Arabs, says Sheikha Mozah http://bit.ly/go1UPH #worldcup2022”

All in all, Qatar has much to prove to the world. Many people feel that Qatar was an unjustified choice, and that in respect to the location and size of the country, it will be difficult for them to put together a good World Cup.  None the less, neighboring Arab nations show a lot of support and wish the best for Qatar. Only time will tell if the decision to allow Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA games was a good one.

>> Click here to download the Buzz Report Dashboard (pdf) <<

Raghad Tayeh & Yannick Dischinger
Social Media Analysts @ SocialEyez

The Buzz – Wikileaks on Saudi Arabia

December 1, 2010

The newest Wikileaks revelations which disclose messages from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia urging the United States to launch an attack against Iran has become a popular topic, almost overnight.  Secret US diplomatic cables acquired by Wikileaks reveal that leaders of Arab nations have been urging the US to take whatever steps are deemed necessary in order to put an end to Iran’s nuclear program. One specific controversial statement which was released, quotes King Abdullah saying that it is necessary to “cut off the head of the snake”, in reference to Iran.

The following is a report detailing the results of an extensive search on the social media coverage surrounding the topic.

Many discussions were found online regarding the topic in both English and Arabic, although English results were significantly more. 14,089 results were collected but a sample of approximately 10 % of the total data was used to give insight regarding the buzz. The search conducted was inclusive of posts within the date range of 27 November until 30 November 2010. The volume of results was the highest on the 29th of November, a day after most major news associations, had published the details on Wikileaks. The volume since then has decreased significantly.

The distribution of total volume over the days within the date range.

Where were people saying?

The vast majority of posts were found on microblogs such as Twitter (53%), followed by Media Types- Other (18%), which include comments made on news articles.

The distribution of the total volume into the various social media types.

Discussions generally occurred globally with the majority of dialogue happening in the US. The following map overlay gives an idea of the wide array of places where comments and discussions were found.

The various countries where results were located.

What were people saying?

Many people had very distinctive opinions on the subject; however a common and recurring idea that was found in many posts was a conspiracy theory of sorts, regarding the true origin of the Wikileaks.

“It has become obvious that the goal of Wikileaks is to spread hatred and animosity between Arabs and Iran. There is no report mentioned that has any effect on the US. Wikileaks is just an American creation to play with people’s minds.”

“I smell the American CIA behind these documents. What proves this is that nature of the news and the documents that are being spread, although it might not be lies, but it is for sure that the American CIA is framing someone to reach their own goals. Here we find the request of King Abdullah to attack Iran because America wants to ruin the relations between King Abdullah and Iran. King Abdullah has always been attentive to the stability of the region and he knows the consequences of the US attacking Iran. And in the documents that were previously spread related to Iraq, they also wanted to ruin the reputation of President Maliki in order to stop his re-election.”

The distribution of the total volume into the various social media types.

In general, if the question posed was: “Was the Saudi king right in making requests for the annexation of Iran?”, 60% of the discussions were neutral in nature, people were reposting links of news articles and simply stating facts extracted from leading news websites. Aside from the neutral sentiment, negative sentiment was the next most frequent acquiring 30% of the total volume. Many people criticized the Saudi government for not taking action for things themselves and instead asking the US to do what they want.

“If Iran is such a threat to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Countries how come Saudi Arabia doesn’t take it upon itself to destroy Iranian Nuke facilities instead of asking America to do it for them?”

The least in volume was definitely the positive sentiment with only 10%. From this, we can conclude that not many people agree with King Abdullah’s comments or his stance regarding the Iran issue.

All in all, the discussions are continuing and people have their own theories and opinions. The online community worldwide is interested in the Wikileaks scandal and has used the methods of social media to share and debate their opinions.

Dennis Friess & Raghad Tayeh
Social Media Analysts @ SocialEyez