Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Social Media and Pol participation lab at NYU: What "ordinary Arabs" think--provided they think in line of what the Gulf government thinks

"Look at this scientific sample selection of Arab tweets: "While it certainly does not comprise a representative sample, the demographic makeup of the Arab online sphere has become progressively more diverse in recent years, and the percentage of social media uses that report discussing politics, community issues, or religion online ranges from 60 to 81% across the region. Social media sites are remarkably popular in the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia boasting the highest Twitter penetration in the world. As a result, social media data provide detailed real-time views into shifting narratives and interest levels in response to events on the ground."  So how representative is this sample when most are in the Gulf and in that region any tweet that does not conform to the views of the governments can land one in jail?   The Washington Post billed this as the views of "ordinary Arabs".  Public opinion surveying is not a science in general, but public opinion surveys of Arab opinion by Western firms are really quackery.  Notice that according to the lab almost all Arabs have one view on Syria--the view which conforms to the views of Washington Post and New York Times and their correspondents in the Middle East.