London, Asharq Al-Awsat—A recent study has revealed that 53 percent of Twitter users in Saudi Arabia are “addicted” to tweeting. The study, conducted by a researcher at King Saud University, Al-Bandari Al-Sahli, also found that an almost-equal 47 percent believed they could quit the social networking website.
Based on the answers of 1,190 male and female respondents aged between 16 and 35, the findings indicate that 29 percent of Saudi Twitter users go on the site mainly as an outlet to express their opinions. Others use it to communicate with friends and interact with people around the world.
Moreover, 20 percent of participants said they used the site to follow religious and creative celebrities. Those who used it for professional purposes—such as promoting a business or searching for a job—are comparatively small in number, around 1 or 2 percent of all users in the Kingdom.
When asked about the amount of time spent on Twitter each day, the study suggested that 45 percent of participants spent approximately one to three hours per day on the site, while 25 percent used it for less than one hour, and 18 percent for four to six hours. Only 2 to 4 percent of the Twitter users participating in the survey confessed to spending 7 to 12 hours a day tweeting and re-tweeting.
The study revealed that 24 percent of tweets from Saudi Arabia tackled general topics and issues of daily life.
Tweets about social issues ranked second with 20 percent, to be followed by religious issues with 14 percent, while humor and education accounted for 10 percent each. Politics accrued around 8 percent of Saudi tweets, while sports and business made up 5 and 3 percent, respectively.
The Saudi study is particularly timely, given that 41 percent of Saudi Internet users were identified as regular Twitter users in a study by Business Insider (BI) Intelligence completed in November 2013.
Speaking to Arab News in November, Ammar Mardawi, the executive director of Kindi Co and an information security expert, attributed the growth of Twitter in Saudi Arabia to three main factors: the wide distribution of smartphones, the appeal of e-networking in a country with a hot climate, and its widespread use by professionals and celebrities.
“These factors and others have contributed to the creation of more than a million new accounts on Twitter during the past year alone. Perhaps we will witness a similar increase next year, which would keep Saudi Arabia among the top countries in terms of Internet penetration,” said Mardawi.
Saudi Arabia ranks seventh in the world—and first among Arab states—in terms of total number of tweets per month. Around 4.1 percent of total tweets worldwide are made in Saudi Arabia, according to a study by Statista in November 2013. The recent Saudi Arabian study also suggests that the many Saudis on Twitter have no intention of leaving the social networking website any time soon.