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Journalist tops ‘most connected tweeters’ index in Saudi Arabia

Politics, current affairs dominate Middle East Twittersphere

Last updated: Thursday, November 08, 2012 3:33 PM
Clockwise from top left: Sheikh Mohammed, Rima Maktabi, Wael Ghonim, Dima Khatib, Ahmed Al Shugairi, and Salman Al Odah



JEDDAH/ABU DHABI — Journalist Turki Aldakhil was found to be the most connected Twitter user in Saudi Arabia, according to Portland’s study of the “most connected” Twitter users in the region.

In second place is blogger and journalist Ahmed Al-Omran, closely followed by the Saudi-based Egyptian journalist Yosri Fouda.

The study — launched Wednesday in Abu Dhabi by Portland, the international strategic communications consultancy — establishes the most comprehensive map yet produced of connectivity between influencers across the region.

Portland has analyzed the influencers in each country then ranked them in terms of how many other key tweeters in the Middle East follow them.

The study revealed that Sultan Al-Qassemi, a UAE-based commentator, is the region’s most connected Twitter user. Second place overall is held by the region’s most connected woman, Dima Khatib, a Syrian-born Palestinian journalist currently based in Qatar. In third place overall is Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google executive turned political commentator.

Over a quarter of the top 50 places are held by women, the study also found. Over a quarter of the top 50 are government officials and members of royal families, while one in three of the top 50 are political activists.

The most commonly used hashtags among the most connected were #Bahrain, #Syria and #Lebanon.

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.

“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. It is clear that Twitter is seen as a valuable and increasingly mainstream platform,” said Mark Flanagan, Portland’s Partner for Digital Communications.

Using data collected between July and September 2012, Portland mapped the 500 most connected Twitter users in the Middle East and tracked their conversations, creating the first ever comprehensive map of the most connected tweeters and countries (

The analysis was complemented by a survey of the top 500 most connected Twitter users. — SG


Top 10 most connected Twitter users in Saudi Arabia 

1 Turki Aldakhil @TurkiAldakhil
2 Ahmed Al Omran @ahmed
3 Yosri Fouda @YosriFouda
4 Rima Maktabi @rimamaktabi
5 Dr. Salman Al Odah @salman_alodah
6 Jamal Khashoggi @JKhashoggi
7 Waleed Abu Alkhair @abualkhair
8 Ahmed Al Shugairi @shugairi
9 Eman Al Nafjan @Saudiwoman
10 Manal Al Sharif @Manal_AlSharif


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 ElBaradei @ElBaradei Egypt
5 HH Sheikh Mohammed @HHSkhMohd UAE
6 Nabeel Rajab  @NABEELRAJAB Bahrain
7 Rania Al Abdullah @QueenRania Jordan
8 Khalid AlKhalifa @KhalidalKhalifa Bahrain
9 Maryam Alkhawaja  @MARYAMALKHAWAJA Bahrain
10 Turki Aldakhil @TurkiAldakhil Saudi Arabia



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