Does online flirting predict offline revolution?
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Thu February 17, 2011 10:39 pm

INTERNATIONAl. It might seem a frivolous question to ask when the dust has not yet settled in Egypt and Tunisia.

It might, however, be an apt one, according to Badoo.com ( http://www.badoo.com), the world's largest social network for meeting new people, with 107 million users chatting and flirting in 180 countries, including Egypt and Tunisia.

While researching something else entirely, Badoo has discovered evidence of a striking correlation between online flirting and offline protest.

"We were compiling a league table of the most flirtatious cities in each continent," explains Lloyd Price, Badoo's Director of Marketing, "ranking cities by the number of online flirtations initiated per month by their average Badoo user."

Interestingly enough, the most flirtatious African city by some margin was Tunis, capital of the first Arab country to revolt.

The period studied coincided almost exactly with Tunisia's revolution.

Next, global attention shifted to Cairo. "So, we examined our figures for Cairo," says Price. Cairo, they showed, was Africa's third most flirtatious city.

And Africa's SECOND most flirtatious city? Algiers.

Media headlines by now declared, "Yesterday Egypt, Today Algeria".

"We don't mean to be frivolous or opportunistic," says Price. "But the correlation is compelling."

So, what explains it?

One answer might simply be age. Badoo's users in North Africa are predominantly "Generation Y", in their twenties and thirties, like those spearheading the protests.

And these protesters are wired.

"Tunis, Cairo and Algiers are all cities with a high proportion of educated, tech-savvy young people," observes Price. It is no coincidence that a hero and key spokesperson of Cairo's revolution is Wael Ghoneim, a Google executive.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, global news agency, UPI reports, "Euro-based Badoo and Bebo also pitched their cyber tents and fielded 'town criers'." And, when Facebook and Twitter were blocked, many protesters used Badoo instead. Social networks have enabled the masses to co-ordinate online, and protest offline.

Tunisia's uprising has been dubbed "The Jasmine Revolution", and Cairo's "The Megabyte Revolution". But might the best term for both be "The Network Revolution"?

Africa's Five Most Flirtatious Cities

RANK  CITY                      SCORE*

   1.    Tunis (Tunisia)          24.7
   2.    Algiers (Algeria)        22.4
   3.    Cairo (Egypt)            21.9
   4.    Wahran (Algeria)      21.8
   5     Rabat (Morocco)       21.3


* Key: Average number of online flirtations initiated per month by Badoo users there.

 

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COMMENT & ANALYSIS

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