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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Arabs and Internet: Ever Wondered?

Everyone goes through a chatting online phase, right? Well, I went through mine in 1999, and I remember I used to go into chatrooms and reply Saudi Arabia as to where my location was. People would tell me that they thought Saudi Arabia was a desert, with no computers or internet connections. One of the most interesting questions people asked me was, "How do you use the bathroom? Do you have bathrooms?"My friends and I used that question for endless hours of laughter.
Of course though, things have changed since then, and people all over the world are becoming more geographically aware(although recently, when my friend, who goes to school in Boston, replied "Saudi Arabia" to "Where are you from?", she was asked "Is that in Northern Boston?") Along side the international awareness, Arabs are becoming more aquainted with the World Wide Web. For example, before 1998, the internet was not available in Saudi Arabia, and in order to access it, you had to subscribe through neighboring Bahrain.
Anyway, I'm pleased to say, that according to Global Online Marketing, the number of Internet users in the Arab world will reach 25 million by the end of 2005. By the end of this year, over 8.2 million people in the Arab regionwill have Internet access.
The average user is highly educated: 60% are university graduates,19% completed further masteral and doctoral degrees. The remaining21% hadcompleted at least secondary schooling. Finally, only a harrowing 19% of internet browsers in Arab world are female.

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