© Media Watch 8 (2) 177-191, 2017
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
Social Impact of Digital Media: Growth Pattern of Facebook in the Arab World
ABDUL-KARIM ZIANI1, MOKHTAR ELARESHI2 & MAHA ALRASHID3
1,3University of Bahrain, Bahrain
2University of Tripoli, Libya
An online survey is reported that was carried out with more than 385 social media users aged 18 and over and extracted from nine Arab countries; Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan and Yemen. This research focuses on the use of Facebook by a selected group called Open Media Library (OML) which have interests in social media use. The aim of this research is to understand how and why users utilise Facebook and what their attitudes and perceptions are towards the purposes of Facebook. It examines how OML users utilise information and knowledge posted on Facebook, their preferred topics and motivations and the gratifications they obtained. As stated in the literature, this research confirms that Facebook can be used/defined as communication, collaboration and resource-sharing, as well as for intercultural communication and intercultural relationships. Curiosity and escapism, communication and experience, friendship and entertainment and identification of news and events are the main motivations for using Facebook. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the future of social media and its impacts on intercultural communication, media use and intercultural relationships.
Keywords: Facebook, social media, Intercultural communication, relationships, culture, uses and gratifications, motivations, Arab youth
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Dr. Abdul-Karim Ziani is an assistant professor in the Department of Media, Tourism and Arts at Bahrain University, Bahrain. He is the author of Conflict of Wills: Gaddafi’s Image in the Washington Post Newspaper in the Era of President Reagan (Talta Publishing House, 2007), and American Press: Developing, Philosophy and Treatment (Talta Publishing House, 2005). Among his special areas of interest are international political communication, new media, politics, journalism and news coverage.
Dr. Mokhtar Elareshi is a senior lecturer in the Department of Media and Communication, University of Tripoli, Libya. He was former head of the Department of Media at Azzaytuna University, Libya during 2003-2006. Dr. Elareshi is the author of the book News Consumption in Libya (Cambridge Scholar, 2013), co-author of The Future of News Media in the Arab World (LAP, 2014) and co-editor of Social Media in the Arab World (I.B Tauris, 2016). His research interests include news consumption, young adults’ habits, new media and satellite television.
Dr. Maha Alrashid is an assistant professor in the Department of Media, Tourism and Arts, University of Bahrain. She is also the Director of Scientific Publication Centre. Her areas of research interest are media, strategic communication, digital Public Relations and communication management.