The Middle East: Social Media Revolution in Public and Private Communication

Proceedings of The International Conference on Future of Social Sciences and Humanities

Year: 2019


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The Middle East: Social Media Revolution in Public and Private Communication

Ehsan Shahghasemi and Michael H. Prosser



Interculturally, social media’s impact has been twofold. Social media have provided unprecedented opportunities for members of different cultures to get to know each other directly and hence they have helped people to demystify their intercultural beliefs. At the same time social media have made poisonous hate speech and xenophobic comments communicated to other cultures which is followed by backfire from hated people. This causes a chain of increasing hate speech which eventually finds its way into practice.The changes in the media landscape as they are related to intercultural communication are what Shutter (2014: p. 478) calls a new field of inquiry, labelled as “intercultural new media studies,” which consists of two fields: (1) new media and intercultural communication theory and (2) culture and new media. The study of social communities is extremely multidisciplinary, requiring expertise from communication, computer science, sociology, behavioral sciences, mathematics, and statistics.Those who have a relevant position in a social media platform organization have access to the most personal information one can conceive. They know what an individual looks like, how he or she lives, whom he or she loves or hates, where he or she goes, what he or she thinks. Doing research on social media gives us better accuracy, particularly in the case of sensitive issues of intercultural communication in the Middle East. In this article, we evaluate different aspects of social media in the Middle East, though with a critical view, the concept of “Middle East” is itself problematic. Middle East is middle east to another construct which is the West.Fruitful study of social media in the Middle East necessarily includes considerations there of ethnicity and race, religion, identity and language, the economy, and history and wars in the region and elsewhere.

Keywords: Fundamentalism; Hate Speech; Historicity; Intercultural New Media Studies; Middle East; Social Media.