How has the rise of social media effected UAE culture?
Updated on 04 March 2018

By: Salamah Ghudayer

Let me set the scene: Water splashes just a bit outside the ghusul bowl of the Arabic coffee setting and yet another smart phone has been lost to the battle between technology and culture. It was grabbed from someone’s hand and tossed in by an elder of the family who was no doubt being ignored for way too long. Drawn to scroll through Instagram, update Facebook or message any and everyone except who is sitting just in front of them; the culprit who should know better and mind their traditional manners has just been reminded of what is truly valuable.

The rise of social media in the Emirates has given a platform for the Emirati community to do what they do best; learn and excel in any area they possibly can; such as turning a heritage of social connectivity to the extreme and opening the world up from beyond the latest boat which has arrived, to absolutely any point on earth in the palm of our hand - free of charge, within seconds. The world is accessible to communicate, share and advertise to. Housewives, many who historically were all business women in some form, no longer need to send their handicrafts to be passed door to door for selling their wares, it can be done ‘under the table’ on various online platforms or through websites and PayPal. Then, is there any government with so many departments, managers and leaders photographing their events, locations and just the general ‘goings on’ of the day both professionally and personally for unexpected transparency as in the Emirates? We can see what everyone is doing, where they are on vacation or a work trip and even what they ate! We have all read the frustrations, joys and worries of some leaders and their children, making them feel accessible to all worldwide as they type out what they wish us to know. No longer does a business sponsor necessarily expect a dissatisfied customer on their door step. They can arrange everything via messages on Instagram or WhatsApp. It’s how I even got my faulty washing machine replaced. Many will also not forget some tweets like, “Dubai Police will help you,” as the community read strangers issues that were met by the highest levels assuring solutions immediately. There are even professionals whose income is as a ‘social media influencer,’ because of the number of ‘followers’ they have. The follower list equates to the majlis. The more people you have listening to and communicating with you, the more powerful your abilities and influence.  Some have surpassed being a mere individual but have become multi-national business empire stemming out of the UAE; take Huda Beauty for example. None of this could be imagined by the generations before us. Some are quite proud at the advances their off spring are enjoying, and find the efficiency fantastic, yet not at the expense of spending time on an individual.

Yet with all of these benefits; it can be seen, most of this networking can be done from a chair at home or behind a desk; alone. “Nobody calls me anymore. They just message, but I get too many messages to read them all, so I have missed invites, homework updates for my kids; so much I miss because they are lost. My phone is always flashing. Nobody hears anyone laugh or cry; it’s just an emoji, that I wonder do we really feel for others anymore,” stated a lady from the Al Murr family.  Miscommunication has also led to an escalation of issues in marriages and work, when a single phrase sent in a text can virtually mean the author feels fantastic to highly annoyed regarding something and the tone is misunderstood. Religious scholars have urged couples to keep messaging to a minimum and communicate by voice if not even in person most of the time, as divorce rates are rising about 5% each year and according to the courts the large issues are miscommunication or neglect. Again, modern times must be balanced with some of the positive historical values.  It is great for a very social culture to have these other means of communicating and sharing our lives, but the face to face meetings, voice and touch of a best friend or that grandfather next to you is by far more priceless than what lies behind that flashing light on your phone.

With thanks to Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Call 04-3536666 or visit

Share this page!
MORE ON general info

Dubai based Emirates has announced it will be resuming scheduled flights to a further 16 destinations from 15 June, taking the number of cities with scheduled flights that Emirates now serves to 29.

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Airports across the UAE are now able to operate limited flights in and out of te country. These flights are limited to transit flights that use these airports, repatriation flights for tourists and residents as well as flights for returning citizens

Passengers flying out of Dubai International (DXB) who may require additional personal protective equipment (PPE) are able to purchase them at the airport through convenient vending machines. 

For a lot of us, whenever we encounter aches and pains, we tend to book in for a massage to ease the pain out, but what exactly is massage therapy and can it help us in any other way. 

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai, headed by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

A set of guidelines have been announced confirming the requirements for wearing a mask in public areas and when outside of the house, for different age groups.

Increased restrictions on movement have been announced in Abu Dhabi, and for one week from today, Tuesday 2 June, travel in and out of Abu Dhabi will not be allowed.

Despite movement restrictions and social distancing, six UAE based athletes smashed the Guinness World Records for the most chest to ground burpees in a 24 hour period.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention, (MoHAP) has issued some brief advice on the benefits of wearing masks and the type of masks to use.

First Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  ... Next Last 
A 'must do' when in Dubai.
The Dubai Fountain was designed by California-based WET, the creators of the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, and is 275 metres long with five circles and two central arcs. Over
Unveiled in February 2010, the Burj Khalifa stands 828 metres high - 320 metres taller than Taipei 101 which held the record since 2004. The Burj Khalifa currently holds seven records, including the highest occupied
Since its opening in December 1999, the Burj Al Arab has been one of the most photographed structures in the world. Sometimes referred to as "the world's most luxurious hotel
The UAE is surrounded by two bodies of water, both offering different diving experiences. Dubai is good for shipwrecks, which are home to Barracuda, Snappers and Jacks, with common
Take a magic carpet ride across rolling red sand dunes, with an amazing bird's eye view of the untouched desert below.
Are you missing travelling and exploring new places? Even with us being confined to our homes, you can still keep discovering new places through complimentary virtual tours arranged by digital platform Google Arts and Culture.
If you are expecting a quiet month with not much else to do other than some me-time, then think again. The calendar this month is packed full of things for everyone to do. There are things for everyone from music lovers, fitness fans, foodies, art.
Do you love food and more food? Then this is for you. Etisalat Beach Canteen, part of Dubai Food Festival, is back for daily from 8pm onwards until 14 March. The food carnival is on Jumeriah Beach
Top things to do in Dubailand, Motor City, Sport City and Green Community
Top things to do in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), Emirates Living, Jebel Ali, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
Top things to do in Al Barsha, Barsha Heights and Al Quoz
Top things to do in Downtown Dubai, DIFC, Business Bay, Al Meydan and Dubai Design District
Top things to do in Jumeirah 1,2,3, Beach Road, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim, Al Sufouh, Palm Jumeirah
Top things to do in Sheikh Zayed Road, 2nd of December Street and Al Satwa
Top things to do in Bur Dubai, Karama, Al Mankhool, Al Jaddaf and Oud Metha
Top things to do in Deira, Garhoud and Al Muteena.
Dubai stands in line with cities like Paris, Milan, London and New York, so you can never be bored of this city. There are a million of things to see, try, and taste!
And you won't be disappointed.
Your little ones will thank you.
Discover Dubai
Stay Connected - Drop us your email.