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Social media usage in Kuwait.. A double-edged sword

By Shahad Kamal

KUWAIT, July 29 (KUNA) -- Social Media plays an integral role in today's world, shaping public and social opinions as well as increasing interaction amongst people.
With this fact in mind, the public and private sectors acknowledged the power of Social Media and began using these tools to promote their services and campaigns.
However, the impact of Social Media within the public and private domains varied due to the important of crowd involvement and interaction with such tool. Social Media could be a great method to spread news, images, and videos regarding current events, but it also could be used to create panic and scatter rumor.
Speaking to KUNA on the impact of Social Media, head of the security media department at the Ministry of Interior Brigadier Adel Al-Hashash said that this method of communication was important due to its direct nature.
Delivering a message from the Interior Ministry nowadays does not require going through the same bureaucratic channels as before, affirmed the security official who indicated that with a quick swipe on any smartphone, a piece of information was readily available for mass consumption.
"Our department uses Social Media and the internet to reach the public directly," said Al-Hasash, adding that the department made its mission to deliver quick and accurate news and information to the general populace.
On the same note, head of the Health Ministry's website operations department Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Rshaid noted that the Ministry continuously battles against those spreading rumors through its official accounts on the internet and Social Media.
It is very vital in this day and age to deliver the correct message to the masses or else chaos and disarray would prevail, added Dr. Al-Rshaid.
The health official revealed that there were teams of dedicated individuals at the ministry who spread Public Service Announcements (PSAs), refute rumors on the spread of disease, and advise against using counterfeit drugs.
According to a survey conducted by Kuwait News Agency's (KUNA) IT department, around 72 percent of Kuwaitis are spending over 5 hours daily using Social Media applications and websites.
The survey revealed that Social Media helped in spreading news and rumors alike by 65 percent, revealing that the top Social Media application was "Whatsapp" with 90 percent of usage followed by "Snapchat", "Instagram", and "Twitter" with 40, and 38, and 25 percent of usage respectively.
The survey revealed that some 25 percent of users log on to Social Media applications around 50 times a day with the average age being between 31 and 40.
Social issues reigned champion amongst topics discussed by Social Media users with 81 percent, said the survey, adding that cultural, political, and religious matters were less prominent in daily discussions of users. (end) shd.gta