How we have distorted Twitter



Twitter was created by Obvious Corporation in 2006. The Arabic-enabled edition of the social media platform appeared in 2012, and Twitter has been a popular platform for Saudis ever since. Although Facebook is the number one favorite social media website in other countries, it is not as popular as Twitter in the Kingdom. Saudis prefer Twitter to Facebook and use it more frequently than people in the US and Japan. In fact, 90 percent of Saudis who access the Internet check Twitter first while 26 percent spend more than two hours on Twitter every day. Saudis post more than 50 million tweets daily.

There are several reasons why Twitter is so popular among Saudis; perhaps the most important of which is the absence of popular platforms through which people are able to express themselves. We prefer Twitter to Facebook because we do not want to disclose our pictures and personal information.

While it is true that Instagram and Snapchat are rapidly gaining popularity among Saudis, they are still not as popular as Twitter, which Saudis take very seriously. Twitter continues to be the most popular opinion platform. There are laws and regulations that hold people responsible for opinions that they share on Twitter and there are government agencies and private parties that use Twitter to follow up on the posts and opinions of community members.

Having monitoring bodies that watch over Twitter has distorted its beauty and has transformed it from a popular platform into one that monitors and evaluates public opinion. Twitter experts and celebrities use the online service to gain an advantage and even use software and technology to increase the number of their followers.

Despite those celebrities constituting only 5 percent of Twitter users, they control the remaining 95 percent. They are good at using psychological tactics, buying followers, and retweeting the same tweet thousands of times using technology. They know that people will follow the first person that expresses his opinion publicly. This is what happens during street protests, as demonstrators repeat the first words that they hear. The same thing happens on Twitter; the first opinion or the second one can lead the public to think in the same way and say the same thing. That is why Twitter experts and celebrities have other Twitter accounts to support their main accounts and original tweets.

We have distorted the image of Twitter as many users buy followers while some monitor the opinions of people and others try to get as many followers as they can. The figures are misleading and are controlled by only a few people.

While Twitter is full of intellectuals and smart people who provide beneficial knowledge, many of them do not know the rules of the game. On the other hand, there are people who are not intellectual but who are able to control public opinion because they understand the way that the game is played.