UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: ADU ‘Likes’ Its Status As Leader in Social Media Usage

AMBER VERNETTI WRITES – Abu Dhabi University’s status was updated to “feeling social” last week after Facebook data revealed that the institution accounts for 80% of all social media involvement among other universities in the surrounding area. In respect to this extensive usage, the 2013 Arab Social Media Report recognized Arabic as social media’s most prominent language and the Gulf region as one of the world’s most popular social media locales.

ADU has embraced the sweeping cyber revolution and implemented social media as a means of connecting students with faculty and future employers, constructing a two-way street upon which questions, concerns, and ideas can travel. Mr. Mahmoud Khalil, of ADU’s Department of Marketing and Communication, states that social media allows students to be more “interactive, proactive, and responsive” about happenings on campus, in the greater community, and globally.

Social media’s “digital platforms” allows for consideration of and timely responses to students’ questions, concerns, and pressing needs. Various versions of social media fulfill distinct purposes, such as LinkedIn for connecting with future employers and Youtube clips for entertainment and educational purposes. Khalil likens social media to a “parallel universe” in which students, faculty, employers, and members of the greater community come together in an online setting as opposed to an offline, “real life” context.

The UAE has a youthful population, in which 60% are less than 30 years old. ADU taps into the group’s vibrant energy, validating students’ influence on the world’s future endeavors. The university embraces social media as a means of sharing ideas and encouraging students to realize their potential and transform the world.

With Twitter as another medium of communication, as many as 5.8 million daily tweets voice students’ unique perceptions and ideas, establishing an all-inclusive stage to expand the conversation. And this conversation is just getting started.

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