Buzz Report: Role of Social Media during the London Riots

August 31, 2011

Three days after the London Riots began over the shooting of Mark Duggan, experts are blaming the use of social media platforms such as BlackBerry Messenger and Twitter for the widespread of the senseless violence in London and sadly they may be right.

Due to the perceived anonymity of social media a majority of the rioters have been organizing themselves through the platforms and have also been selecting targets based on information received through the same.

But now a majority of the online community has banded together to speak out against the “hooligans” responsible.

Pages on Facebook such as “Supporting the Met Police against the London rioters” and “United against the London Riots” are well organized. Moreover a few communities have been created recently and have been working continuously to end the violence by providing information, pictures and support to the authorities to combat the situation.

On Twitter topics such as “OperationCupOfTea“, “riotcleanup“ and “ManchesterRiots” have been trending since the beginning of the movement.

The London riots case represents both the best and the worst possible implementation of social media tools. Especially authorities have yet not fully understood how things in the cyber world work and underestimated the consequences for the world consequences.

The Social Impact

Social media is now an incredibly powerful tool. On one hand to keep in touch with friends or market your products cheaply, on the other it was the key driving factor behind the fall of Mubarak in Egypt.

Media sites such as BBM, Facebook and Twitter have now been turned into the weapon of choice for both the online and offline community in order to organize themselves towards a single purpose. In London the rioters used BBM to identify potential targets and evade the law, while in Egypt it was used to give voice for the people’s views against Mubarak and set locations for peace marches.

Trending topics on Twitter like “Pray for London” and “Riot cleanup” have now proved how social media has evolved from more than just a popular topic of the day.

Daily Volume

Regarding to the Daily Buzz Volume the peak was during the 6th and 10th of August, 2011. Earlier number of comments was immensely lower.

Share of Voice

79% of the comments were posted on Microblogs. Followed by, 14% of the buzz on Media Types-Other, 6% on Message Boards/Forums and 1% of Blog entries.

Sentiment Analysis

45% of the buzz captured was neutral in nature. The negative coverage (31%) was higher than the positive coverage (24%).

Demographics

A demographics breakdown is depicted in the below chart. 57% of the total coverage on social media was generated by male users.

Key Themes in Conversation

  • Parenting: 38.6 posts/day
  • Tottenham: 38 posts/hour
  • Pray for London: 3.3 posts/minute
  • Riot cleanup: 3.6 posts/hour
  • UK riots: 50 posts/minute
  • London riots: 23.4 posts/minute

Most Discussed Subjects

  • Youths looting during London riots: 6.1 posts/hour
  • People arrested for London riots: 69.1 posts/hour
  • Shops robbed during London riots:  16.5 posts/hour
  • Role of Police: 2.3 posts/minute

Arab Spring and the London Riots – The Connection

The London Riots and Arab Spring both started by the death of a single person, both having claims to be the child of the internet. Although vastly different in their purpose these two events are strikingly similar concerning their execution and the role of social media.

For example BBM and Twitter has been a major tool during the Arab spring. They served as an early warning system to the peaceful protesters during the riots. As a result the government tried to shut down the services.

The major difference is based on the reaction of the online community towards the events.

These cases represent how the voice of the people is amplified and heard by social media platforms and how governments need to focus on interacting and listening for understanding the needs of the people.

Scope Note:

This Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms.  The search was conducted on all social media platforms in Arabic and English. The focus of the research was on global social media conversations and social media trends reflect the sentiment towards the London Riots. For more details write to us at news@social-eyez.com.

Buzz Report: Zeid Hamdan

July 28, 2011

A senior journalist and an art critic, Pierre Abi Saab who writes for an Arabic newspaper Al-Akhbar wrote, “The security establishment in Lebanon, no doubt, has qualifications and benefits that we may or may not know about. But it, at least, has one weakness which comes as quite a surprise in a democratic system, and that weakness is about their policy in dealing with freedom of thought, creativity and expression.

And the case of Zeid Hamdan represents a model for this abyss policy which does harm to everyone without exception, because of old habits, customs and mentalities that date back to the days of the French mandate and even the Ottoman Empire.”

With nearly 2,116 social media mentions of Zeid Hamdan since yesterday, the buzz is expected to grow at the rate of 70-80 mentions per hour on various social media networks. The first tweet about his arrest was posted at 2:42 pm (UAE local time) on 27th July, Wednesday. SocialEyez monitored the social media buzz about Zeid Hamdan globally and found that nearly 67% of the total buzz came from Lebanon alone.

Many social media users speculate that the escalating pressure due to social media buzz that was rapidly spreading within the regional social media networks was a major contributing factor behind Zeid Hamdan’s release.

The Daily Star, which is a leading Lebanese newspaper, said that “Hamdan’s arrest was ordered following a request from Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, according to judicial sources, after Lebanon’s General Security viewed the video of the song, created in 2010, and determined that it caused offense to the president.”

The Facebook group “Free Opinion, Free Speech, Mobilize NOW to Free Zeid Hamdan” shared an opinion stating, “Zeid Hamdan has been released, and this is great news, we are all happy about that!  However what happened remains unacceptable, we cannot live, think, work, create… under the threat of being arrested anytime for no legal reason. We should defend our private freedoms. It is unacceptable to continue dealing with these situations again and again… and then return to silence… we should mobilize to defend the artistic freedom and freedoms of thought and speech…”

Twitter Buzz

577 tweets with the hashtag #freezeid were posted on Twitter in a span of 2 hours (from 3 pm – 5pm UAE local time) after Zeid Hamdan’s arrest on Wednesday 27th July 2011.

Facebook Buzz

Facebook pages created by supporters of Zeid Hamdan, saw a quick increase in the volume of buzz and also the number of likes. The page “Free Zeid Hamdan from Jail” had over 433 comments posted on the page. Total likes for the posts published on the page were 741.

Share of Voice – by Media Type

64% of the total buzz about Zeid Hamdan on social media came from Micro-blogging websites like Twitter and Google buzz. 31% of the total buzz about the subject was monitored on social networking websites like Facebook and YouTube.

Top Languages

62% of the total buzz about Zeid Hamdan on social media was in English language, followed by 27% of the total buzz in Arabic language and 11% in French language.

Social Media Conversations (Samples)

POSITIVE

  • “Arrest of zeid hamdan is ridiculous! the song is over year old. did they just wake up and decided to get offended? Pathetic”
  • “Zeid Hamdan has been released in Lebanon I can’t believe that he was arrested for a song that popular from a year ago !!”
  • “The role of art & music isn’t to flatter the fragile egos of insecure public figures.” http://t.co/SqJXPJy #freezeid
  •  “Arresting Zeid Hamdan will make people aggressive against you President @sleimanmichel. Be brave & give ur order 2 #freezeid”
  • “Zeid Hamdan of @soapKills is now in Prison after his song “General Suleiman” This is an unaccepted act from Lebanese authorities” #FreeZeid
  • “Zeid is free. Still revolting that they detained him in the first place #freezeid We need an investigation why he was detained in 1st
  • “The “General Sleiman” song/video have been online since august 2010. Why making a big deal out of it now a year later?” #freezeid
  • “So President Suleiman has slow internet too, since it took him a whole year to finish downloading the Youtube video?” #FreeZeid #Lebanon

NEGATIVE

  • “Absolute farce that Zeid Hamdan was detained for few hours in #Lebanon yesterday for his song General Suleiman”
  •  “Zeid Hamdan probably wanted some FREE publicity. That’s why he was detained & set free in a couple of hours.its all fake” #lebanon #justsaying

NEUTRAL

  • “Popular musician briefly detained for defaming president: Zeid Hamdan, 35, singer, composer and produce…” http://lat.ms/qc7DTY
  • “Lebanese musician arrested over song: Zeid Hamdan accused of defaming president.” http://t.co/26JVkwA #lebanon #freezeid
  • “Lebanese musician Zeid Hamdan briefly detained for a video criticizing the President: shocking attack on freedom of speech in Lebanon.”
  • “Lebanese artist Zeid Hamdan is in prison now because of this song” http://t.co/kMY13w0 #FreeZeid #Lebanon

The Background

Hamdan is a veteran of Lebanon’s independent music scene. With Yasmin Hamdan he co-founded the Lebanese trip-hop band Soap Kills in 1997 and, in 2005, the Franco-Lebanese Brit-pop band The New Government.

He wrote “General Suleiman” in 2008. In the lyrics of the song, inspired by Sleiman’s election to the presidency, Hamdan urges the president to rid the country of militias, warlords and corruption.

An incongruously up-beat number that cleverly mingles a paean to the present president of the Lebanese republic with a snappy reggae beat, it went viral in cyberspace, thanks to an amusing music video directed by Gigi Roccati.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L83n4zhg8Jw]

SCOPE NOTE:

This Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms.  The search was conducted on all social media platforms in Arabic, English & French. The focus of the research was on global social media conversations and social media trends reflect the sentiment towards Zeid Hamdan’s arrest. For more details write to us at news@social-eyez.com

 Click here for a quick snapshot of the Buzz Report

Report compiled by the SocialEyez Content Development Team

Buzz Report: Amy Winehouse

July 25, 2011

“There seems to be a very high price to be paid for extreme talent.  The people with that ‘gift’ are running on a track that’s a whole lot shorter than the track that the rest of us run. Too often it’s a life that burns very bright and very short. And all too often there is the added problem of drugs involved. Artists seem to be tortured souls and seek their own ways to relieve the torment. May they all rest in peace”, wrote a social media enthusiast on a forum.

There has been a surge in the number of debates that have talked about how and why Amy Winehouse a, 27 year old British singer- songwriter known for powerful vocals and her contemporary songs such as “rehab’” was found dead in her apartment in north London.

Five-time Grammy winner Amy Winehouse was a dynamic performer and musician who seamlessly blended rock, jazz, pop, and soul and created a sound all her own. Her rich, soulful and unique voice reflected her honest song writing and earned her a devoted fan following, critical acclaim, and the genuine respect and admiration of her musical peers.

But, Winehouse has been plagued with drug and alcohol abuse problems throughout her career and had several times been unable to perform at live shows due this and had pulled out of a comeback tour last month after a disastrous performance at the first show where she was jeered off stage for being too drunk to perform.

Her fans have not only mourned on various social networking sites but also created forums and pages to remember her. With thousands of fans already registered on RIP Amy Winehouse page on Facebook; the sentiment continues to remain both neutral and positive towards the news about the death of Winehouse.

Social Media Conversations – What People Are Saying?

Neutral:

  • “Singer Amy Winehouse found dead at her apartment in London, UK Press Association reports, She was 27.”
  • “Amy Winehouse found dead in London flat”
  • “How did she die?”
  • “Nobody knows yet they suspect it’s drugs or drinking” 🙁
  • Russel Brand has written an eloquent and insightful blog post about Amy Winehouse’s death. Go here to read it: http://t.co/VeAk6DG

Positive:

  • “The late Amy Winehouse never got full credit for her songwriting ability & her hands on approach to her beautiful music. RIP Amy Winehouse”
  • “The best singer in the world…R.I.P…….”
  • “I am really sad for Amy, she never stood a chance with the media hacking on her all the time, pointing out her tats and anything negative they could dig up, she was an entertainer not a show piece, I think she did her best under pressure and she deserves a clap.”
  • “RIP Amy We miss you! FaceBook Memorial Fanpage http://t.co/umynkym
  • “I know that I’m a day late but RIP Amy Winehouse. It’s sad that her talents were overshadowed by her troubles.”
  •  “For you I was a flame Love is a losing game Five story fire as you came Love is a losing game One I wish I never played Oh what a mess we made And now the final frame Love is a losing game Self professed… profound Till the chips were down …know you’re a gambling man Love is a losing hand ….” In Memory of Amy Winehouse”
  • “Amy Winehouse’s 2007 album, “Back to Black,” is currently # 1 on both Amazon.com and iTunes.”
  • “I’m so sad to hear the horrible news of Amy Winehouse’s death. I’m so happy I knew you Amy…Rest Well. Gone Too Soon…we’ll miss you!!”
  • “Drugs took her gift, her soul, her light, long before they took her life. RIP Amy”
  • “I have to say that as tragic as this is you can’t want someone to succeed unless that individual wants to, and she was on a downward spiral, and she resisted all help. So what can you do? She’s going to go down in history as tragic icon, a bit like Janis Joplin.”

 

Negative:

  • “ Elton John will perform at Amy Winehouse’s funeral with a beautiful rendition of Candle Under The Spoon.
  • Amy Whinehouse just another example of the wages of sin is death, it’s sad the enemy had her bound & look at the end result! Sin has two ways destruction or death. I hope people learned from this.”
  • “Fans of the dead singer Amy Winehouse left an array of cigarettes and alcohol near her home in north London”
  • “Congratulations to Amy Winehouse on 24 hours of sobriety.” #toosoon
  • “Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Jimmi Hendrix, Ian Curtis, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin all died at 27. Bieber turns 27 in 2021. Just be patient.”
  • “Hey Everyone so the world’s most famous bee hive wearing whiskey drinking crack smoking and heroine shooting soul singer Amy Winehouse has unfortunately passed away. Obviously we should all take a moment of silence for the 27 y/o followed by going to the bar doing shots and shouting that this one is for Blake. Seriously though it’s what she would want.”
  • A terribly tragic day in the music world yesterday…..I lost my iPod (and you thought I was going to say Amy Winehouse died)
  • So, Amy Winehouse is dead. To be honest, we all saw it coming. But Rupert Murdoch knew about it two months ago.
  • “Apparently, Amy Winehouse is not dead. When the police tried drawing the line around her she jumped up and attempted to snort the chalk!

The Social Media Analysis Report

SocialEyez conducted a quantitative and qualitative research to analyse the conversations about Amy Winehouse in UAE.

BUZZ VOLUME

The daily buzz volume of the direct social media mentions about Amy Winehouse’s death in the UAE:

  • 23rd July 2011: 975 comments / posts
  • 24th July 2011: 745 comments / posts
  • 25th July 2011: 512 comments / posts

SENTIMENT ANALYSIS


  • NEUTRAL: 79 % of the total conversations about Amy Winehouse in the UAE were about sharing articles and news about her death.
  • POSITIVE: 13 % of the total conversations displayed sympathy and admiration towards the artist.
  • NEGATIVE:  8 % of the total buzz about Winehouse’s death in UAE included negative remarks and sarcastic comments.

SHARE OF VOICE

  • Microblogs:  80% of the total buzz volume on social media networks in the UAE was on microblogs like: Twitter, Google Buzz etc.
  • Message Board Forums: 10% of total social media buzz in the UAE was on message board forums like: maktoob.com or forums.fatakat.com.
  • Social networks: 5% of the total buzz volume on social media networks in the UAE like: Facebook.
  • Media type – Others:  5% of the total social media conversations about Amy Winehouse in the UAE were found on websites that hold news articles like: gulfnews.com or albawaba.com

TOP LANGUAGES

English: 67% of social media conversations about Amy Winehouse in UAE were in English language.

Arabic: 33% of social media conversations about Amy Winehouse in UAE were in Arabic language.

SCOPE NOTE:

This Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that recently buzzed on various social media platforms.  The search was conducted on all social media platforms in Arabic & English. The focus of the research was on UAE and the conversations and social media trends reflect the sentiment from the residents of the UAE. Write to us at news@social-eyez.com.

Click here for a quick snapshot of the Buzz Report

Buzz Report – Amy Winehouse (Arabic Version)

Report compiled by the SocialEyez Content Development Team



SocialEyez Latin America Launch

July 5, 2011

Dubai, UAE (July 5, 2011)- With its focus on the world’s emerging markets, SocialEyez has this week launched its operations in Latin America. SocialEyez is recognized as one of the fastest-growing international social media agencies.

Dubai, UAE (July 5, 2011) – With its focus on the world’s emerging markets, SocialEyezTM has this week launched its operations in Latin America. SocialEyez is recognized as one of the fastest-growing international social media agencies.

Laura Gracia of Global News Group talks about the importance of integrated media monitoring.

SocialEyez specializes in providing integrated and highly customized social media monitoring and engagement solutions to businesses around the world.

Latin America is emerging as one of the key territories on the world map of social media, with over 93 million Facebook users and more than 55 million twitter users. A recent report suggests that, as of March 2011, nearly 90% of all Internet users access social media websites.

These trends suggest that social media is contributing significantly to the evolution of communication networks in Latin America. SocialEyez, in partnership with the Global News Group, is focusing on delivering integrated media monitoring solutions to businesses in the region.

Mazen Nahawi, President of News Group International believes that integrating traditional media and social media monitoring offers vital insights into how consumers respond to a brand.

"We are excited with this launch because many of our clients are demanding just a service like this. Social media is growing fast in our region, companies have understood the importance of being 2.0 and Socialeyez is the perfect partner for this". Said Laura García, CEO of GlobaNews Group.

“The launch of Social Eyez Latin America will bring world class social media research to one of the world’s most important emerging markets,” said Mazen Nahawi, president of News Group. “Our partnership with Global News is an example of the great work that emerging market companies can do together to help build the next generation of global leaders in the media and communications industry.”

“We are excited about this launch because many of our clients are demanding just this type of service. The popularity of social media is growing fast in our region. Companies have understood the importance of being 2.0 and SocialEyez is the perfect partner for this.” Laura García, CEO of Global News Group.

The partnership between SocialEyez and Global News Group aims to deliver efficient integrated media monitoring solutions to businesses in Argentina; Bolivia; Brazil; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Mexico; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Puerto Rico; Uruguay; Venezuela and all countries in the Caribbean. The languages to be covered through the social media monitoring service are Spanish, English and Portuguese.

About Global News Group & SocialEyezTM

Global News Group is a Latin American company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which provides media monitoring and analysis services, such as digital clipping, corporate intelligence and media analysis of printed and online press, advertising, R&TV and social
networks in all the countries and languages listed above. The company has a multidisciplinary team, distributed across a network of offices throughout Latin America, providing specific knowledge for each country.

Global News is a member of the Federation Internationale des Bureaux D‘Extrait de Presse (FIBEP); The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC); the Institute for Public Relations (IPR); and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

SocialEyez is a comprehensive resource for monitoring and analyzing social media content, combining the latest technology with linguistic and social media expertise.

With extensive experience in research and analysis and strong multi-lingual social media management teams, SocialEyezTM offers customized solutions and partners with businesses to manage their corporate reputation through comprehensive social media engagement solutions. SocialEyez continues to evolve and align with the changing trends within the sphere of social communities across the web universe.

Buzz Report: Google Plus

July 4, 2011

On June 29th 2011 Search engine giant Google released the Beta (initial version) of its
invite only social media site Google Plus (officially Google+). Reportedly, within six hours of its release the invite feature of the site had to be withdrawn due to an “insane demand” for invites, according to Google’s Vice President of Engineering, Vic Gundotra.

Although initial reports were apprehensive due to previous Google failures such as Orkut, Wave and Buzz.  Google plus is currently being hailed as the new “Facebook Killer” by several online magazines and news papers.

The main features of this site are circles, sparks, hangouts and mobile. Circles enables you to share status and info with a certain groups of friends, Sparks enables instant sharing of content much like Google reader , Hangouts enable users to have a real-time video chat and mobile offers a variety of services over the mobile phone such as instant photo upload, group messaging services, location sharing, etc.

There has been a tremendous amount of online chatter on social networks both the in the U.A.E and abroad about the Google Plus.  SocialEyez analysed social media conversations and found that the majority of the population expressed regret that invitations to join Google Plus have stopped  and are sending out requests for people to invite them in Google Plus and a small percentile have expressed concerns over suspected privacy issues in Google Plus.

Initial responses have been positive; Loulou Khazen Baz says that Google Plus could make Twitter the next Myspace (a now defunct social networking site).

What Are People Saying  

Microblogs

Neutral comments

  • “Note to self: never explore new stuff before having coffee, at the moment not enjoying Google+ at all. Will try it again after coffee.”
  • “Google seems to be preparing for a full scale “attack” at Facebook market share with Google+.”

Positive Comments:

  • “I have to admit, with Google Plus, I’m as confused as I was with Facebook when I first tried it. A ‘good-confused’, like this might work.”
  • “Google+ will gobble up both Facebook and Twitter.”
  • “Google+ could make Twitter the next MySpace.”
  • “Checkout the Google plus demo. Man, its awesome!”
  • “I’m not one to bash on twitter, but I have to say twitter kind of lost its spark after using Google+.”

Negative Comments:

  • “Hypothetically speaking, I can see more potential in Microsoft’s Skype becoming a competing social network2facebook than Google with its plus.”
  • “I need someone to invite me into Google+.”
  • “With the initial fuss about Google+ dying down, the real potential for the social system is breaking through.”
  • “What do you guys think of Google+? Another grave we need to dig?”
  • “Be very wary of accepting an invitation to Google+, the people in there seem to enjoy intelligent discussion, not at all social or like Facebook!”

On Blogs:

Mike Loukides:  I don’t think Facebook is quaking in its boots; I do think that Twitter may have more to fear than Facebook. I’ve participated in exactly one huddle on Google Plus: a 3-way video conversation with participants in the US and Europe. It was smooth, cool, easy. No echoes, no long delays, better audio than a cell phone

Chris Brogan: Remember for a moment that Google’s biggest monetary trick is to serve highly targeted ads, what does Google+ platform do to enhance their data set? Hint Lots!!

Sarah Perez: How do we know that Google Plus has really made it? It has its own Facebook page! On this new page, called “Google Plus Help, Tips and Tricks,” liked by a whopping 36 people so far, you can discover links to blog posts and other “tips” shared by Google Plus fans.

Most Discussed Subjects

Some of the top discussions online about Google Plus are:

Facebook killer

A large percentile of the online community has been discussing the pros and cons of Google Plus vs Facebook. Though many of its users hail it as the Facebook killer, many non users are sceptical citing the examples of previous Google social networking failures such as wave and orkut, though most agree that it does have the potential to make Skype and twitter defunct.

Account Please

As Google disallowed sending invites and creating new accounts six hours after the initial release, almost everyone who doesn’t have a account wants one. Email chains have been sent asking for invites into Google Plus, several; marketers have used this opportunity to build up their database by simply posting the message “send me/Post your email here and I’ll send you an invite”. Google employees have reported that they’ve been receiving sever angry emails about the lack of invites into Google Plus.

Security Issues:

A small percentile of the online community have raised concerns about privacy issues on Google Plus, remembering Google Buzz (which had to be completely shut down over privacy issues) many are still not completely convinced that Google Plus offers the same anonymity they Facebook does. Another privacy issue that has been raised is one with the circles function, one can ensure that he/she can share videos, images or status updates with only a friends within the circle, but there so far isn’t a feature that stops the people within the circle from sharing the same with people outside the circle.

Social Snapshot

Daily Buzz Volume


Share of Voice

Top Languages

Sentiment Analysis

Please Note: The facts and figures included in this report have been generated from the
SocialEyez Social Media Monitoring & Analysis Tool.

The numbers reflect the sentiment
and opinions shared by people in the UAE, in languages spoken by the social media communities that thrive here.

Write to us at news@social-eyez.com for more details.

Compiled by SocialEyez Content Team

Click on the links below to read the Buzz Report in Arabic:

Buzz Report : Google Plus – Arabic Version

Buzz Report: UAE Fuel Crisis

June 26, 2011

Newspapers in the UAE reported that after four weeks and two deadlines, Sharjah ran out of patience with oil retailer Enoc and ordered the closure of all its petrol stations in the emirate on Friday, according to Sharjah TV.

An SMS from the Sharjah government-owned channel, said the decision followed the expiry of a 72-hour deadline set by the Sharjah Executive Council on Tuesday, asking the retailer to resume normal operations at its pumps or close shop.

“A lack of response from Enoc to adhere to the deadline has forced the closure of all Enoc pumps in Sharjah,” the message said.

There has been a lot of buzz on the social networks in the UAE.  SocialEyez analyzed social media conversations and found that a huge number of the UAE residents expressed dissatisfaction over the closure of Enoc and Eppco petrol stations and said that it resolves nothing but only brings more difficulties.

Shalie Alegarme, a resident of Sharjah, expressed concerns over motorists who store petrol in plastic containers.

This would pose danger considering that the containers were fragile. “I was curious to find out why it took so much time for the motorist ahead of me to pull out from the queue. I later saw that there were many passengers inside the vehicle, and each carried big plastic containers to store petrol,” said Alegarme.

What people are saying?

On Blogs

Alexander:  “In fact, The National (James Bond’s favourite Middle Eastern newspaper, dontcha know) leads with ‘Empty filling stations and the great fuel mystery’, gleefully reporting that retailers Enoc and Eppco (two brands of the same company, in fact) have cited pump upgrades to their 167 stations across the country as being the cause of their empty forecourts. The newspaper’s reporters visited a number of the stations and confirm what you already possibly suspect: there is no sign of any work going on to upgrade anything in any way whatsoever. I have personally seen closed stations opening again once a tanker has visited, so there must obviously be some degree of indecision regarding which stations to upgrade”.

Anonymous: “This is an embarrassment for the UAE who are an oil exporter, not an importer.”

Anonymous:  “ As the month-old petrol crisis continues at pumps across Sharjah and Ajman continues there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. According to media reports 25,000 tonnes of petrol may soon be delivered to Sharjah. It’s unclear when the fuel will be delivered.

News Agency Reuters says multinational oil firm Total has won a contract from UAE fuel retailer Emarat to buy an extra 100,000 tonnes of gasoline from June to September. Reports also emerged that petrol prices would increase in the Emirates by up to 33% however officials deny the claims.”

Ashish: Double Standards: Petrol & Consumer Rights –  Something is seriously wrong here and if as expatriates we are to feel comfortable or if Dubai as an Emirate hopes to rope in more international investment, there has to be a certain sense of transparency.  Such headlines and lines outside petrol stations send the wrong message to potential investors in the country and despite all the progress that the country has made, a few negative headlines like this, tarnish the reputation of Dubai and the UAE internationally.  Lines outside petrol stations is something that you expect to see in third world countries and the UAE is definitely not a third world country.

There needs to be an end to the double standards that exist.  If as consumer we are to have rights, then we have the right to demand an explanation from the petrol companies.  If the existing petrol companies can’t operate profitably, then open the market to competition and let petrol retailers enter the market and let market forces operate.  At the moment we’re seeing clearly that protectionist policies aren’t working.  Changing all of this is something that can happen in the long term but in the short-term, please open up, make a statement and stop acting as if it is business as usual.

On Micro-Blogs & Discussion Forums

  • “Can’t get over the fact that Dubai / UAE are facing fuel crisis.”
  • “The people of #UAE deserve a public apology from #Enoc for the fuel crisis which remains unexplained. #Petrol.”
  • “They were still operating their convenience store, the only income source as per ENOC and Emarat, since they are losing on every gallon sold… “
  • “The stations were closed anyway, so what is the point?  I don’t see how this action will help solve the issue.”
  • “So I’m wondering why they don’t do this little by little, to minimize the disruption.”
  • “It’s a real problem, I see long queues everywhere for fuel, and i fuel up the tank anytime I find it a bit empty…”
  • Imagine that! A country sitting on 20% of the world’s oil having fuel problems, who’d thunk it, eh ?
  • “I am all for electric cars, but that electricity has to be produced somehow, coal can do that imagine….we empower a nation of electric cars with coal/natural gas and in about 20 years we slowly move to solar/wind/etc…. as they become REAL OPTIONS”

Comments in Arabic

  • مشكله بسيطه و ان شاء الله تنحل …
  • الاغلب يعتقد انها سياسة لرفع سعر البترول ..!؟…
  • انا اتفق مع الناس ان هذي وسيلة جديدة لرفع سعر البترول في نهاية السنة الحالية مثل ما هم مخططين له من زمان !!!!!!!!!!!! يبون يدرون طرق ووسائل لخداع الجهات الرسمية والناس لافناعهم بضرورة زيادة البترول ….

Daily Volume

The daily average direct mentions of UAE fuel crisis in English on social media increased from 648 to 1141 during the first week of June 2011 to the third week of June 2011.

Arabic mentions also increased from 167 to 374.

Sentiment Analysis

48% of social media conversations have been found as neutral because a huge volume of buzz about UAE fuel crisis is being created by sharing content published on newspapers and blogs.

Share of Voice

62% of social media conversations about UAE fuel crisis are taking place on Message board forums like Facebook and Twitter.

 

SCOPE NOTE:

This Buzz Report monitors trends and themes that buzzed on various social media platforms during the last two weeks.  The search was conducted on all social media platforms in Arabic & English. The focus of the research was on UAE and the conversations and social media trends reflect the sentiment from the residents of the UAE. Write to us at news@social-eyez.com.

UAE Fuel Crisis Buzz Report – Arabic

Report Compiled by the SocialEyez Content Team

Buzz Report: Free Amina

June 13, 2011

A young Syrian-American teacher who has been blogging about the Middle East uprisings and what it’s like to be gay in Syria had been kidnapped, according to her family.

A dual citizen who was born in Virginia to an American mother and a Syrian father, Amina Abdallah was often outspoken in her criticism of the government on her blog “A Gay Girl in Damascus.”

When Washington Post interviewed Amina Abdallah in April 2011, she said that she blogged despite the danger in doing so because “when the Arab revolutions began, I realized I wanted to get my voice out there.” Abdallah also believed herself to be relatively safe because she has relatives in the government and the Muslim Brotherhood.

But when a person who introduced herself as Abdallah’s cousin took over her blog last week, she wrote that Abdallah had been taken by three armed men when she was on her way to meet with protest organizers that day.

“Her father is desperately trying to find out where she is and who has taken her. Unfortunately there are at least 18 different police formations in Syria as well as multiple different party militias and gangs. We do not know who took her so we do not know who to ask to get her back,” her cousin wrote on a social media forum.

Social Sentiment

Majority of people shared a positive sentiment towards Amina Abdallah with 62% social media users supporting her cause and asking for her release, whereas 26% voiced a negative opinion about her and 12% of the social media users decided to remain neutral but just disseminating the news via content sharing websites.

Conversations about Amina have been buzzing on a real time basis. Here’s a sampling of some of the Tweets, Facebook comments and Discussions happening on various blogs.

Razaniyat: Dear Amina, whoever you are, wherever you are, I really hope you’re safe. I love your writings and your politics. Kisses #FreeAmina #Syria

Tanya Notley : Over 10,000 people have been arrested in past 3 months in Syria. Why focus on one person only? #Amina #freeamina

Mona Eltahawy: I don’t care what her real name is or what her father’s name us. #FreeAmina and thousands of others held by #Assad regime. #Syria

“There are absolutely no grounds for Amina Abdallah’s abduction or for the abduction of dozens of other bloggers and journalists in Syria,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Like many other netizens, Abdallah blogged about her everyday life and, of late, about the events shaking her country. This should not have led to her disappearance. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the dozens of bloggers and journalists currently detained in Syria and we call on the Syrian authorities to end the abuses against them.”

In her blog, “A Gay Girl in Damascus”, Abdallah had been describing the current turmoil in Syria. Her posts had been getting more critical of the government and she had even called for its departure. In a blog entry about the disconnection of the Internet on 3 June, she wrote: “They must go, they must go soon. That is all there is to say.”

Top Discussed Subjects

  • Is it possible to get in touch with Amina’s father, perhaps he can show images of her?
  • Does Syrian-American dual citizenship Amina Arraf force US government to get involved to
  • Speaking out is more harmful to the Arab regimes than bombing yourself.  Is the peaceful approach towards protest violent?

Please Note: The facts and figures included in this report have been generated from the
SocialEyez Social Media Monitoring & Analysis Tool.

The numbers reflect the sentiment
and opinions shared by people in the MENA region in languages spoken by the social media communities that thrive here.

Write to us at news@social-eyez.com for more details.

Compiled by the SocialEyezTM Content Development Team

Click on the links below to read the Buzz Report in Arabic:

Buzz Report: Free Amina (Arabic)

Buzz Report: Arrest of Manal Al-Sharif

June 5, 2011

Arrest of Manal Al-Sharif – a female activist who posted a video of herself driving on YouTube

Reactions to the arrest highlight the divisions in Saudi society between those in favour of reform (supporters of Al Sharif’s actions and of women’s right to drive) and those who believe Al-Sharif flouted not only Saudi law but also local and Islamic customs. Al-Sharif was released on May 30 although the case against has not been formally dropped, and she may be called in for further questioning.

The 32-year old computer security expert and employee of the national oil company Saudi Aramco was arrested in the eastern city of Al Khobar on May 22 after posting the YouTube video. Women are forbidden from driving in Saudi Arabia and the issue has regularly surfaced in recent years, with calls by some for the laws to be changed and periodic attempts by female activists such as Manal Al-Sharif to force the issue by getting behind the wheel.

The question of women driving could be seen as symbolic of wider calls for social reform in the conservative kingdom. At the same time, some view it as a matter of practicality, citing the irony of women having to depend on employed drivers (i.e. being in the car with a strange man) as opposed to simply driving themselves or pointing to the need to drive in an emergency. These points of view come out strongly in the social media as do the views of those who believe Al-Sharif was wrong to do what she did and that custom and/or religion dictates women should not drive.

Share of Coverage 

The liveliest exchanges of the week took place on Twitter and Facebook with some 2,010 and 1,788 relevant tweets and posts respectively. The comments on these two platforms reflect the diversity of views within Saudi society when it comes to social issues and the split between those who are for and against reform.

A majority (64%) of tweets over the course of the week were in favour of Al-Sharif while the Facebook posts were split more evenly between supporters and critics with 49% in favour of Al-Sharif’s actions and 51% against. Interestingly, a larger proportion of critics – when measured on a daily basis – posted and tweeted during the earlier part of the week while the majority of comments from May 26 onwards were in support of Al-Sharif.

Comments on blogs were for the most part against Al-Sharif’s actions, with her critics at times criticizing the West and portraying women driving as an alien, western concept. One blogger indicated women’s driving is not the issue per se, but rather the Saudi Arabian government’s fear that the flood gate of calls for additional reforms would be opened if women were given driving licenses.

The arrest and eventual release of Manal Al-Sharif dominated the Saudi twitter landscape with 1,710 tweets on the subject captured over the course of the week. The majority of tweets, 1,047 in total, were in support of Al-Sharif. Nevertheless, the diverse views show the intensity of the debate over social reforms that have been taking place internally in Saudi Arabia for several years.

Social Media Highlights

Highlights from Blogs:

  • The blog farman.me expressed support for the idea of women driving but criticized Al-Sharif actions on the grounds that there are more important social that need to be tackled. The blog states: “I can say, confidently, that women can drive and it is not against Islam. But I still think that Manal Al-Sharif should have paid attention to other more important issues like the divorced women issue in Saudi Arabia and the issue of women who suffer from poverty. I am not against her cause; I am against how she presented it.”
  • The Saudijeans.org blog saw a discussion between two posters who drew comparisons between Saudi Arabia and the US. The poster Saudicotterdefended Al-Sharif’s arrest, stating: “Just glad that Saudi aren’t going the path of the US and detaining people without charge and spying on everyone and profiling foreigners and jailing people for minor incidents on basis of unknown laws. With the fat cats corruptly eating public money and never getting caught or punished. Oh and I wasn’t changing the subject, I keep referring to the US because those who want their unreasonable ‘change’ keep bringing up how rosy the US is, they can go there and stay for five years and become US citizens…then cry for the rest of their lives trying to get their Saudi nationality back.”In response, Abbas posted: “@Saudicotter: I think one of the most serious issues in this country is how satisfied the people are with the situation, and I assure you it’s a false satisfaction Regarding your comments about free education and no taxes; these things are indeed very good, but don’t be fooled for a moment; this the Saudi people’s right, and if we weren’t being continuously mugged we’d be even better off. You’re asking people to be sheep and believe that ‘this is the best it can get’, but it’s not. Please educate yourself.”
  • A post on saudiwoman.wordpress.com by a user named Khaled sarcastically called on women to demand their rights so that Saudi Arabia could turn into another Dubai: Yeah, we need to make Saudi Arabia like Dubai, We need sluts, prostitutes, hookers, clubs and bars…. A good glass of vodka with Russian girls in Riyadh would be the right way… Imagine Saudi topless women sitting in deserts like in France or UK…Saudi women rise up for your freedom. there is nothing wrong with walking topless, when the parliaments of UK, Canada and many European countries have approved it, you should fight for your rights……Fight for your nightclubs, fight for rum, vodka, discotheques etc. etc… Fight for womanizers like Jamal Khashoggi and make him Interior Minister…March towards FREEDOM.”
  • Posting on americanbedu.com, Ali Alyami said the government’s fear of having to concede further reforms is the real issue behind Al-Sharif’s arrest: “Driving Is Not the Issue… The theocratic and autocratic ruling Saudi men are scared that their captive population, male and female, might break away from the grinding fears through which the regime has been able to crush people’s aspirations, to treat them as less than human beings and to control every aspect of people’s lives for decades… Ms. Al-Shareef will be severely physically abused and humiliated… This is done not only to silence her but also to send a message to anyone who dares question the Saudi regime’s absolute rule. Like her predecessors, she will come out of prison apologizing for crimes she never committed and praising the system for its wisdom and just governing practices.”

Highlights from Twitter:

  • @Osamah15: “Driving is prohibited for women according to the Islamic law; doing what might cause harm is a sin.”
  • A number of tweets likened Al-Sharif to Egypt’s Wael Ghunaim, the administrator of the Face book page that is credited with sparking the revolution in Egypt. @snyarnet tweeted: “The waves created by Manal Al-Sharif in Saudi Arabia are much greater than the impact of Wael Ghunaim on the Egyptians.” (retweeted by @BUSHRA4LIFE)
  • @abualkhair, a human rights defender from Saudi Arabia, supports Manal’s cause: “those against women’s rights know very well they will lose a lot this time………..and women pay the price for their courage.”
  • @WaleedSulais called for women in Saudi Arabia to rally in support of Al-Sharif’s cause: “Saudi women activists must have a large role in the case of Manal, agitating at all levels; this is an opportunity to unite against the enemies of freedom.”
  • @Mohamad_alsubhi worried about the breakdown of law and order if individuals started to take matters into their own hands: “It’s a problem if an individual imposes his views by force. Where is the prestige of the state and its decisions?! A dangerous situation to be frank.”

 Highlights from Facebook:

  • Ahmed Al-Atawi who stated on Facebook that men in Saudi Arabia are not against women, who make up for half of society, but believes women should respect the laws, regulations and the traditions of the Islam and the Saudi society otherwise they will be punished.
  • Abdulla Al-Ghamdi believes that Manal Al-Sharif is carrying out foreign agenda to spark an uprising in Saudi Arabia.
  • Smooy Alhindal wonders how it can be sinful for a woman to drive yet not be against the tenets of Islam that a woman rely on a chauffeur who is neither her brother, father or husband to move around by car.
  • Khalid Al-Ghabis wrote “Manal Al-Sharif did not abide by Saudi laws. Putting her in prison for a few days is not enough; she should stand before a judge.”
  • Mohammad Al-Afif linked Al-Sharif’s arrest to the relationship between the government and the religious establishment: “Manal’s detention was extended to make extremists in Saudi Arabia happy. The government is returning the favor to those extremists after they issued their Fatwas [religious edicts] which prevented a revolution in Saudi Arabia.”
  • Adnan Almutib on Facebook: “We are against everything that might corrupt Muslim women; we are against westernization our society and we will defend Saudi Arabia against corruption.”


SCOPE NOTE:

The Buzz Report monitors major political trends and themes that buzzed on various social media platforms during the last one week.  The search was conducted on all social media platforms.

The focus of the research was on Middle East and the conversations and social media trends reflect the sentiment from the Arab world.

Report Compiled by the SocialEyez Content Team

Click on the links below to read the Buzz Report in the following languages:

Buzz Report Manal Al Sharif – Arabic

Buzz Report Manal Al Sharif – French

Buzz Report Manal Al Sharif – Persian

The Buzz: Nakbah

May 25, 2011

With several thousands of people protesting on the Nakbah Day in the Middle East and beyond, the event ignited the hearts and minds of the youth with one question that buzzed across the isles of social media communities – when will the world recognize Palestine and what could be the solution.

According to a SocialEyez research, a majority of buzz emanated from micro-blogging websites like Twitter and other real-time discussion boards where Arabs expressed their anger and vengeance against the creation of Israel as they marked the  ‘day of catastrophe’.

“Out of nearly 350 tweets captured on the day of Nakbah, 80% of posts/comments did not support the idea of a march towards the Egyptian borders with the Palestinian territory of Gaza. They said that addressing national problems and issues is more important than organizing the march.

In response to a post by Asmaa Mahfouz, a renowned political activist who supported the idea of the march as a pressure tactic vis-a-vis Israel, a fan named Ibn Masry said: “I guess it’s not the right time for such steps. Egypt is still at the stage of recovery [from the revolution’s effects].”

There were series of clashes that took a toll of 15 people on Israel’s borders Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Gaza.

Share of Voice

Most of the conversations took place on micro-blogs like Twitter, Google buzz and other open discussion forums.

Blogs and Social networks also featured a major share of conversations followed by other media platforms.



Sentiment Analysis: Social media users discuss about ‘Nakbah’

67% percent of conversations on the social networks were negative while 21% positive and 12% were neutral.

  • Over 21 per cent of social media conversations echoed the Israeli accusations that Damascus and its ally Iran orchestrated the unrest.
  • Nearly 67 per cent of social media conversations criticised the American media and majority of US public do not seem to take account the plight of the Palestinians during the Nakbah when the Israeli fighters expelled 750,000 Palestinians from their homes.
  • 12 per cent of social media verbatim reflected a neutral tone towards the debates that took place on the web.

Top Discussed Subjects: What people discussed on social media?

1.       Recognize ‘Palestine’

2.       Is the Arab Spring really an “American” Revolution?

3.       Palestine vs. Israel: how many more innocents need to be killed?

4.       Where is the battle leading us?

5.       What is the solution?

Top Languages: In which language did people discuss most?

What people say? … Sample Verbatim

Is the Arab Spring really an “American” Revolution?

“US-backed revolution in Egypt ? The pure non-violent Egyptian people’s revolution has become a US product.   America has supported the revolution after they were sure that he could not control the country and it was for the interest of Israel security that Egypt would become stable.

US will never really support the revolution nor the country because the country was very stable before revolution.

But from their perspective and of course they will miss Israel’s strongest ally – Hosni Mubarak.

I live in Egypt and I lived every single minute of the revolution and I have a brain that helps me analyze and predict what exactly that is happening and a 5 years old child can also tell you that the USA will never really care for the Middle East no matter whosoever comes up with news stories like – Obama: we support democracy, peace and development in the Middle East.”

What could be the solution?

“The solution of Palestine is quite simpler than our imagination. The only solution for the Palestine is one state with equal rights.

Israel has Arab majority especially when dislocated people of Palestine are relocated to their native towns of Israel. Israel will become Arab dominated secular state.”

Recognize ‘Palestine’

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has very recently  warned Israel that it has one more year to recognize an independent Palestinian state. If Israel fails to do so, Hamas will “add new cards to the resistance,” Mashaal told a group of young Egyptians who took part in the recent overthrow of the Dictator Hosni Mubarak. Many social media users have ushered their support for this.

…And Prayers

A huge number of social media users expressed resentment for the events that have been saying that the Palestinians have lost so many lives to claim their own land. May Allah bless them and also show them the right direction.

Click on the links below to read the Buzz Report in the following languages:

The Buzz-Nakbah – French

The Buzz-Nakbah – Persian

The Buzz -Nakbah – Arabic

The Buzz: Syrian Revolution

May 15, 2011

The Syrian revolution has been escalating dramatically throughout the last week. The situation is becoming more complex and many believe that the events will have critical implications to the overall security conditions of the entire Arab region.

The Syrian revolution has a lot of similarities with the Egyptian revolution in many aspects, as many political and socio-economic characteristics are similarly common in the two countries.

The Syrian regime is making use of all its resources now to crush the revolution.  On the ground, policemen and street thugs in plain clothes are attacking protesters; killing, looting and destroying anything in their way then claiming they are from the protesters.

This is a tactic to mobilize the common people against the protesters. In media, local TV and radio stations are trying to convince the people that the protesters are hired by foreign states and are working for foreign agendas to destroy the country.

Similar to Egyptians, Syrians do not differentiate between the regime and the president.

Egyptians did not accept it when Mubarak changed the government and were asserted that their request was not to change the government, but to change the whole regime, especially the president who is seen by the public opinion the head of the regime.

This was very similar to the Egyptian revolution, when protesters first called for changing the regime, not the president, and later on when hundreds of people were killed at the hands of the police and security forces, protesters increased the ceiling of their demands to include removing the president.

Popular movement in Syria is very similar to that of Egypt during its revolution, when no one could claim he was leading the protests. However, there are a number of prominent cyber activists who help coordinate among other street activists on the ground.

The popular protests in Syria are led by several activist groups that include liberals and Islamists who work hand in hand to achieve a common goal: toppling the regime.

The Muslim Brotherhood members and other Islamists are strongly participating in the protests lowering down profile to avoid being targeted or accused of leading the protest.

Some of the Key Influencers

Young political activist: Nakhle

Nakhle is a prominent young political activist who is playing a major role on social media networks in coordinating among different activists regarding the when and where protests should start. He always provides protesters and other activists with internet proxies to avoid the government’s jamming of social media networks and some opposition websites.

He was detained several times in 2010 for his online political activism, and he could finally flee to Lebanon where he says he is now helping the protests keep unabated against the Syrian regime.

Opposition activist in exile:  Ammar Abdulhamid

Abdulhamid is a political opposition activist living in exile in Washington and is one of the major Syrian activists who are working on social media networks to coordinate among protesters and help the Syrian revolution keeps momentum.

Syria has many sects of Sunnis, Alawites, Christians and Shiites and many fear that these sects would fight against each other, as the regime is always claiming. However, protesters are always chanting national unity slogans saying they are all one hand.

SocialEyez found that 60% of online conversations say that the Syrian regime is fabricating news stories to create US phobia among the people in order to strengthening its grip over the country accusing any dissents of being traitor and US secret agents.

Sample Verbatim

“Assad is the first sectarian person in Syria. The diversity of sects in Syria is not a problem, but it is Assad who wants to convince people that his regime is preventing sectarianism”

“Why do we consider the US is behind all big events in our world? The US is a devil only in our minds. This is what the Syrian regime wants to do to reinforce its grip over the country. Our problem is only with the Syrian regime. The US has nothing to do with our protests.”

“From the Egyptian people to the great Syrian people: Keep strong and persistent, as all indications prove that this [Syrian] repressive regime will collapse. The brutality the regime is using against its people today proves that it is breaking up on the hard rock of the people’s will.”

Top Countries: A majority of conversations happened in the US followed by the EU countries and then Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and the other GCC countries.

Sentiment Analysis: The sentiment is largely negative as people continue to criticize the ruling government. 

Share of Voice: People in the Arab world mostly discuss the social political issues on the micro-blog forums like Twitter, Google buzz, etc.

Compiled by the SocialEyez Content Team

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