15 OCT, 2017
DUBAI: The residents of the UAE turn to social media, to question the implications of the change in telecom services, Etisalat and Du, network names to “UAE KSA TOGETHER.” Which commemorates Saudi Arabia’s 87th National Day anniversary on Wednesday the 20th of September.
UAE residents had instantly noticed the change and automatically expressed their curiosity on social media. Multiple users questioning the reasons behind the change in the network names throughout the weekend of the occasion.
“I thought I was the only one whose carrier service name changed by mistake! I started texting all my friends,” said Raveena Kriplani, a senior at the American University in Dubai.
With a cyber sphere approach, the UAE lifted the spirit of the bond between the sister gulf nation, with an arabic trending hashtag, translated as “Together_Forever.” The hashtag itself becomes a custom emoji of Saudi King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, as shown on Lovin Dubai. Providing residents with opportunity to express their solidarity on twitter.
To mark this occasion UAE rulers also sent “congratulator cables” via twitter, including The UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as stated on the Gulf News.
The ties cut between Saudi Arabia and UAE with Qatar, have created an unwanted tension between the Qatari nationals, who previously lived in Dubai. As well as other nationalities who reside both in Dubai and Qatar.
Questions arose as whether this may have been an approach to abide by the Saudi and UAE-drive campaign which aims to isolate Qatar.
As stated on This Week In Aisa, the relations were cut “due to their support for ‘terrorist’ groups.” As of late 2017, the campaign has been “building on an increasingly vicious cyber and media war against Qatar.”
A Digital Production student residing in Dubai, with family living in Qatar describes this forceful public engagement across a variety of platforms as “questionable.” Yasmin Yasser expresses that their approach through social media allows young adults to become more engaged in the community. But, more or less “doesn’t impact the way we feel about the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the UAE.”
Throughout the conversation Yasmin also states that the change in network names could be seen as an expression of the ties between the two neighbors. Providing the public with information indirectly saying that the UAE “is proud to be standing with Saudi Arabia.”
John Wihbey, an assistant professor of journalism and new media at Northeastern University, provides a meta-analysis of social media and civic engagement on Journalists Resource.
Stating that social media is used as “the starting point or independent variable” but cannot justify whether their is a “deeper cause” or whether it has any political implications. It is “a form of participation and engagement…helping to shape public narratives and the understanding of public affairs.”
According to a report, by the Mohammad Bin Rashid School of Government, under Arab Social Report 2017, surveyed the young Arab region. Stating that young adolescents are constantly expressing their “sentiments or views on government policies or services” online.
Approximately 76% of the survey respondents would express their views through “clicking on corresponding buttons when available, such as ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’.” But, approximately 85.8% would use platforms such as Facebook rather than Twitter.
“Seeing all the posts and tweets online made me feel proud to be a Saudi national.” states Rahaf Jambi, a Journalist at AUD.“I joined various festive events around the UAE, and it made me feel like I was celebrating at home.”
The UAE joined the spirit with, “fireworks, airfare discounts, concerts, decked up streets and malls” throughout a two-day celebration as expressed on Gulf News. Also, to share the celebration, concerts with Rakan Khaled and Balquees took place in Dubai on Friday and Saturday.