The best sources of analysis and social media insights for content creators, journalists and marketers on the web today

Keeping up with the latest product innovations, usage trends and research can be exhausting. Fortunately, there’s a bunch of super-smart people who are busy monitoring and analyzing these developments so you don’t have to.

These newsletters do much of the heavy lifting for you, and are essential reading for anyone wanting to understand this rapidly changing space.

Here are six of the best newsletters covering social media in 2021.

1. Geekout Newsletter (By Matt Navarra)

Matt Navarra is a social media consultant and industry commentator who has worked for organizations such as the United Nations, BBC News, Pinterest, ITN, 10 Downing Street, and the NHS.


Report launch presentation showcasing the highlights of a new study on social media trends in the Middle East

This video was recorded to support the launch of the report “How the Middle East used Social Media in 2020” which was published earlier this year. It was written by Damian Radcliffe and Hadil Abuhmaid and produced in partnership with the New Media Academy.

Using over 200 sources, we bring you a resource-rich report of different learnings from 2020 and how they have affected the Social Media landscape. Tl;DR — we did all the work so you don’t have to…

The full report is free to download from the New Media Academy website, and available in:

Links to every chapter from the New Media Academy's 2020 review, written by Damian Radcliffe and Hadil Abuhamaid, here on Medium

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been publishing each chapter from “How The Middle East used Social Media in 2020,” as standalone chapters here on Medium. The report offers an in-depth look at social media trends in MENA.

It was written by Damian Radcliffe (me!) and Hadil Abuhmaid in partnership with the UAE-based New Media Academy.

Below you can find links to each individual chapter, a few examples of some press summaries, several published articles that I wrote to support the release of the study, as well as a 15-minute video in which I walk through the report highlights, and…

12 Lessons for Content Creators, Brands and Digital Marketers, Platforms, Governments and NGOs


This is the final extract from “How The Middle East used Social Media in 2020,” an in-depth report looking at social media trends in MENA, written by Damian Radcliffe and Hadil Abuhmaid in partnership with the New Media Academy.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted each chapter from the report as a standalone article here on Medium.

To start, check out the Executive Summary and the headlines from 2020, as well as this piece which provides some essential Market Context, and insights into the region’s most popular social network: Facebook, the most popular messaging app: WhatsApp and the region’s…

Public health campaigns on WhatsApp and the challenges — and opportunities — of working with social media influencers; some of the digital responses we saw in MENA to the coronavirus crisis

Image of UNICEF’s #MaskUp campaign — to encourage mask-wearing, the NGO asked members of the public to “Share your photo or a short video while wearing a mask to UNICEF’s MENA social media platforms.”

The spread of the novel coronavirus dominated the news the past year. But it also unleashed an “infodemic” as incorrect, misleading, or unverified information also circulated widely.

Social media played a big role in the spread of misinformation about coronavirus. In MENA, as elsewhere, social networks proved to be fertile ground for misinformation and disinformation about the virus.

Use of WhatsApp

WhatsApp imposed a limit on shared messages to halt the spread of coronavirus misinformation. As a result, the app has seen 70% drop in the number of viral forwarded messages.[1]

New laws, blocks by platforms and the efforts to counter COVID-related misinformation all dominated cyberspace last year

Image via Inside Arabia

False and misleading information continued to spread online in the Middle East last year, just as it did around the rest of the world. From fake accounts that were agenda driven, to misinformation about COVID-19, the world of social media was bombarded with misinformation.

Responses to this challenge varied. In some cases, social media platforms traced and deactivated online accounts. Elsewhere governments continued to take steps to the source of those news, by introducing new “fake news” laws and prosecuting those accused of being purveyors of false information.

Blocks by Platforms

Twitter suspended 16 accounts after an investigation by The Daily Beast found

Social media users actively discussed diplomatic relationships with Israel, the Beruit Explosion and Black Lives Matter

Image via Computer Coach Australia

1. The Abraham Accords

The hashtag #Palestine_Charter in Arabic circulated on social media criticising the recent diplomatic ties with Israel undertaken by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The online charter, which was signed more than 200,000 times, called for the liberation of occupied Palestine and denounced normalization with Israel.[1]

Normalization Is Betrayal’ and ‘Gulf people against normalization’ in Arabic were other trending hashtags rejecting the Arabs’ states normalization relations with Israel.[2]

Elsewhere, he Israel-Morocco normalization deal was also condemned by some Moroccans online using the hashtag #‘MoroccansAgainstNormalization,[3] reflecting the decades-long animosity and lack of diplomatic ties between the different Arab States and Israel.

The biggest stories and developments from the past year

Image via AMEInfo

“Can we really talk about 2020 without mentioning TikTok?” asked the research company GlobalWebIndex during summer 2020.

The company pointed out how time spent on social media had risen during the start of the pandemic. “Nearly every social media platform has seen a boost in monthly engagement,” they observed.

One reason for TikTok’s growth — which in MEA is behind other regions during this period — lies in the fact that “the social platform has certainly given people an outlet for creativity during lockdown, offering a platform for light-hearted content at a time it was needed most.”[1]

Continued growth and creativity abound, coupled with challenges around freedom of expression and platform manipulation

Madiha Fatima at Facebook Middle East HQ. Image via Instagram

Instagram is now ten years old, celebrating its birthday on 6th October. In the past decade the service has grown from a fledginly start-up to one of the biggest social networks in the world,[1] with over 1 billion users a month.[2]

The service is continuing to evolve, offering new functions like the “Reels” format and an increasing focus on online shopping.[3]


The Middle East is home to some of the biggest markets for Instagram in the world. …

The ephemeral social network continues to grow in the MENA region. Here are the latest stats and developments.

Image Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images and Gulf Business


Globally, Snapchat now reaches 249 million users a day (up 18% on this time last year)[1] with the MENA region — and in particular Saudi Arabia — a key market for the company.

“It goes without saying that Saudi Arabia is one of the most interesting markets that all eyes are on for the past five years; it’s one of our biggest economies,” Abdullah Alhammadi, Snap’s regional business lead for the Middle East and North Africa, told Arab News in December.[2]

Growing reach

Snapchat now reaches 67 million unique users in the region each month, up 38% year-on-year (as of October 2020)…

Damian Radcliffe

Chambers Professor in Journalism @uoregon | Fellow @TowCenter @CardiffJomec @theRSAorg | Write @wnip @ZDNet | Host Demystifying Media podcast

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