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UAE second most socially-networked country

Survey shows Netherlands and UAE have highest membership rates for social sites

A recent worldwide survey by market intelligence firm, showed that the UAE has the second highest rate of membership of social networking sites in the world.

The survery by Synovate also revealed that more than half of those questioned didn’t know what ‘social networking’ meant.

Thirteen thousand people between the ages of 18 and 65 took part in the survey in seventeen countries worldwide, including the UAE.

Across the markets surveyed, 42% of people said they knew what online social networking was, which left 58% in the dark, either stating 'no' or 'don't know'.

“It turns out social networking is not taking over the world. Well, not yet anyway," said Steve Garton, global head of media research for Synovate.

The highest rate of membership of social networking sites reported were in the Netherlands at 49%, the United Arab Emirates at 46% and Canada at 44%, with the US on 40%, compared to a global rate of 26%.

UAE social networkers also ranked among the most prolific, in terms of the amount of users who sign up for multiple social networks, and 37% of respondents in the UAE also said they have more friends online than in the real world.

Commenting on the figures for the UAE, Synovate's managing director for the UAE, George Christodoulides, said that the popularity of social networking in the country made sense. “It is a place that's very connected to the world; a hub for cultures, business and people.

"These sites also offer a way for people to meet - online - in a society where traditionally men and women don't always mix freely," Christodoulides added.

Showing the vast array of social networking niches, the open-ended question about site membership attracted responses naming around 150 sites, in different languages and with a variety of models for membership and interaction.

On a global level, users did have some reservations about social networking, with 51% saying they were aware of the dangers of social networking such as identity theft, and 36% of respondents saying they were losing interest in social networking.

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