Saudi Social MediaDamien Moye
Memorial Day Weekend is a chance for us to reflect on how free we Americans are, and those who sacrificed their lives so we can be free. Some nations don’t have that. In Saudi Arabia, Christianity is illegal. In Saudi Arabia, women are forbidden to drive cars. In Saudi Arabia, political parties and unions are banned. But Saudi social media becomes a beacon of light.
Debates are happening, though they are on Twitter. Men and women are dating, though their relationships are confined to WhatsApp and Snapchat. Women are being discriminated in the workplace. But that doesn’t stop them from selling jewelry and food through Instagram. Since they’re legally banned from driving, they’re using Uber. In Saudi Arabia, businesses close five times a day for prayer. Do you need to make that coffee, fast food, or grocery run? Check your smartphone device to see which store is nearest and what the hours are. Unlike some Middle Eastern nations, Saudi Arabian cities aren’t destroyed by war. Their economy is fairly stable, so many can afford computer and smartphone devices. They have a big youthful population; the interest is there. They have access to speedy Internet connections. And the Saudi government doesn’t block social media sites. Basically, the combination of online freedom, a good economy, and strict social restrictions is a breeding ground for social media explosion.
And this should tell the authorities there people are going to do what they have to in the name of freedom. So men and women can’t court at a restaurant or mall? They can online. Two parties can’t debate the issues on Saudi TV? Political opportunity will be found online. Do you think this opportunity will eventually trickle down to the physical world?
We at Geek Choice would like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day. We remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and democracy. We realize freedom is never free.