Jordan’s Royalty: Taking Advocacy Viral
Similar to other global markets, social media in the Middle East has seen a rise in popularity for personal and business purposes. The Arab region has seen a remarkably swift upward trend in its social media usage in the recent past. In March 2009, Facebook launched an Arabic version in an attempt to expand its presence in the Arab region. Across the Middle East region, young people make up a relatively high percentage of the population (in some over 50% are less than 21 years old). A few impressive statistics:
- 8.3% of active Facebook users come from the Middle East & North Africa, representing a 7.9% penetration. The number of users under 25 years of age represent 60% of active Facebook users in the region. Fastest growth in user adoption in the region is in the 55+ age group.
- Among the Arab countries, the top 7 countries in active Facebook user numbers are: Egypt (1,820,000), Saudi Arabia (920,000), Morocco (860,000), UAE (840,000), Tunisia (690,000), Lebanon (680,000), Jordan (490,000).
Recognizing this, Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah has taken her causes to social media like firestorm. Queen Rania, wife of Jordan’s King Abdullah, maintains her strong belief that “Education = Opportunity.” The Queen’s belief in social media is that it is “a platform to collaborate and a mouthpiece to mobilize” and truly believes in its vast potential. The Queen routinely speaks in forums and encourages the online influencers to become advocates for education.
“The opportunity to work. The opportunity to escape poverty. The opportunity to live healthily. The opportunity to live confidently. The opportunity to hope. I believe you deserve and education. Whoever you are. It’s your right.” -Queen Rania Al Abdullah
The Queen has several main causes in which she enlists the help of social media:
- Education. Her Majesty’s main mission as Jordan’s Queen is to promote the education of youth. Through this initiative, she empowers Jordanians to educate themselves, and in turn, their children. The Queen has launched several initiatives to promote education, including 1 Goal: Education For All – a campaign centered around education and the FIFA World Cup; Madrasati (My School), an initiative about repairing and restoring schools to make them safer, brighter, better equipped, and more inspiring learning environments; International Academy – Amman, a co-educational day school; Royal Health Awareness Society, a society to empower Jordanians to adopt healthy lifestyles and behaviors; Jordan Educational Initiative; The Children’s Museum Jordan; and The Queen Rania Award.
- Jordan’s Tourism Industry. Not surprisingly, Her Majesty has taken on the task of promoting her country to potential tourists, and encouraging them to visit Jordan. Describing Jordan as a country “safe, warm and welcoming, with a people who embrace modernity and revere their traditions, and a culture that is rich, diverse, and peace-loving.” The Queen has successfully branded Jordan as “My Jordan,” dispelling the myths of Jordan being part of the violence-ridden Middle East, coining the term “a guest is a guest of God.” She went as far as launching a brilliant crowdsourcing strategy coined “Tourist Swap.” The tourist swap is a social media strategy in which 2 tourists from Jordan swap locations with 2 others from some other location around the world for a week. A great strategy to encourage tourism to Jordan!
The Queen takes her tourism cause a step further with her attempts to dispel the myths of the Middle Eastern culture in her children’s book “Sandwich Swap.” The book promotes the values of understanding and compassion through the story of Lily And Salma, two friends from two different backgrounds, who, after swapping peanut butter and hummus sandwiches, find out that they have more things in common than different.
All of these causes and initiatives the Queen takes very seriously. Thus, her efforts in promoting them via social media are nothing short of spectacular. Her Majesty is very active on Facebook and Twitter; keeps her initiatives active with photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube, has her own iTune podcast channel and of course, the Queen Rania Website. In addition to social media, she’s very active in promoting her causes (and her Twitter handle!) via female-friendly audiences of Oprah, The View, and Good Morning America. I applaud her dedication to and belief in social media!
From → Jordan