Emirati commentator and writer, Sultan Al Qassemi @SultanAlQassemi, has topped a list of the Middle East’s most influential Twitter users, communications consultancy firm Portland has revealed in its latest study.
Qatar-based journalist Dima Khatib @Dima_Khatib, came second followed by Egypt’s Wael Ghonim @Ghonim, who gained fame during the Arab Spring, and political figure Mohamed El Baradei @ElBaradei.
Other UAE figures to make the list include Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum @HHShkMohd, who came fifth, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed @ABZayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs who ranked 31st.
The analysis considered the number of followers, but also weighed whether their content was followed and “re-tweeted” by other people with many followers.
“While journalists and commentators are very active in the Middle East Twittersphere, it is interesting to see more politicians and government officials on Twitter, gaining influence and engaging with citizens and the media.
See photos: Top tweeters in the Middle East
It is clear that Twitter is seen as a valuable and increasingly mainstream platform,” Mark Flanagan, Portland’s Partner for Digital Communications, said.
A survey of the most connected users also found that 78 per cent mainly discussed politics, while 67 per cent shared national news and about one third tweeted about their personal life.
Here are some key findings of the study:
- Over a quarter of the top 50 places are held by women
- Over one quarter of the top 50 are government officials and members of Royal families.
- One in three of the top 50 are political activists
- #Bahrain, #Syria and #Lebanon were the most commonly-used hashtags among the most connected
- Politics and current affairs were the main topics, with four in five of the top users tweeting about politics more than any other issue
- Egypt’s Twitter users have the most connections across the region, followed closely by those in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
- Among survey respondents, over half mainly follow people in the Middle East, while just one in five mostly follow Twitter users outside the region
Top 10 most connected Twitter users in the Middle East
| 1 || Sultan Al Qassemi || @SultanAlQassemi || UAE |
| 2 || Dima Khatib || @Dima_Khatib || Qatar |
| 3 || Wael Ghonim || @Ghonim || Egypt |
| 4 || Mohamed El Baradei || @ElBaradei || Egypt |
| 5 || HH Sheikh Mohammed || @HHShkMohd || UAE |
| 6 || Nabeel Rajab || @NABEEL RAJAB || Bahrain |
| 7 || Rania Al Abdullah || @Queen Rania || Jordan |
| 8 || Khalid AlKhalifa || @KhalidaKhalifa || Bahrain |
| 9 || Maryam Alkhawaja || @MARYAMALKHAWAJA || Bahrain |
| 10 || Turki Al-Dakhil || @TurkiAldakhil || Saudi Arabia |