حكومات مجلس التعاون الخليجي تسعى الى وضع معايير لاستخدام الشبكات الاجتماعية على الرغم من وفرتها واعدادها
GCC e-governments will seek to set up standards for using social networks despite their profusion and numbers
By Mohammad Hassan Al Harbi, Special to Gulf NewsPublished: June 10, 2012
As soon as the internet entered the Arab world during the 1980s, Gulf countries — including the UAE — became its pioneers. Maintaining this state of pioneership has continued in the Gulf up to this very day
However, talking about the internet, which came to the region 11 years after the first e-mail was sent out internationally in 1971, has become dated. Thus going into its details will be a waste of time
Today, most information technology-savvy people in the GCC and across the globe talk abou
social networking which, in the opinion of some people, is a natural result of bloggers and their internet blogs. Others consider these blogs have hastened the emergence of social networks
Even in social networking, Gulf countries were in the lead. The GCC states and Egypt have occupied the first place in the number of social network and Twitter users. The UAE has the biggest percentage of participants in the Arab world in 2011 according to a report issued by Dubai College for Government Administration
The first Arab blogger was also a UAE national — Abdullah Al Muhairi — from Abu Dhabi. His blog was launched in 2004, which is another indicator of the orientation towards the tools of globalisation
Before Facebook 2004, Twitter 2005, and YouTube, many people escaped to the virtual world, especially the youth, to write about different political, social or economic issues. Later on the virtual world became their own special domain where they found themselves and achieved what they were unable to do in the real world
They also spend most of their time in this cyber world and talk about it with their friends in cafes and forums
With time, they were able to convince their parents to join them in this enchanted world
However, this virtual world remained restricted to the youth for a while for a number of reasons, such as modern cultural concepts and applying new programmes in this context. The older generation were not as keen to enter this world because of the difficulties they encountered in follow up and performance improvement
There are many questions that may be asked about Facebook and other social networks. Facebook is the third most inhabited “entity” in the world today with more than 900 million members; Twitter on the other hand has registered 8,900 tweets every second, which also indicates its huge popularity
How do GCC e-governments regard the tsunami of social networks on the net, especially after the start of the Arab Spring last year and its continuation in a number of Arab countries? They will say that they are seeking to set up standards for using these social networks — despite their profusion and numbers. These standards will resemble a guide for use in the public sector.
However, the private sector remains an open space that is not limited by values or standards.
Other than government and private sector offices, there are sectors and segments in society where these standards and guides do not apply
These sectors are not obliged to commit to these rules, as they do not have merchandise to market and they are not searching for clients. They also do not abide by any style of writing because they express different ideas and are related to the human and social situation
The social classes that have become addicted to social networks are unconcerned with any monitoring procedure — that is if this sort of monitoring is possible and accepted in our day and age
A call for a charity campaign, voting for a historical location around the world, calls for avoiding the use of harmful medicines, or taking alternative routes at peak hours, are all expected in these social networks and are also encouraged
However, there are those who seek to tarnish the positive aspects of these sites by writing on issues that affect security and stability, which is completely out of line and rejected by all.
The feverish activity in different social network sites has contributed to spreading information about major events such as 2004 Asian tsunami, the London blasts and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and others
There will soon come a day when the world will regard traditional media as a thing of the past, if this media does not develop credibility and transparency. But that is another story