You may have been directed here for information about the floods in Jeddah of 2011. I have stopped actively researching how to help the flood victims, but you can find all the information I did find here.

Apr 2, 2011

Facebook Users Connecting with Strangers in Jeddah

This is a work in progress, and it's mine, so please take care to not use any of the text without my permission.

SUGGESTIONS? Don't be shy! Email me.

I'm currently looking for literature to form a theory. It's due in four days, and I'm lost. I can't find the combination of the need for social capital and the initiative to connect with strangers. It's so common and useful, though. You'd think it'd be easier.


Social networking sites have gained popularity at an exponential rate, with some sites being more widespread than others. Facebook is one of the more indispensable networks for some and has become as ubiquitous on the Internet as Google. The culture of the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, gave the site an extended reason to be utilized. With norms such as segregation and impassivity towards publicity, Facebook became a locale of community with emphasis on casual socializing. Its privacy has been a matter of dispute globally due to rigid terms of use that require users to use their real identity. This has reflected in the emerged convention of requesting only real offline acquaintances as friends*, which was an uncommon practice on such websites until today.

     The matter of privacy also caused disagreement in Saudi Arabia since exclusivity is a steadfast concept, leading many to keep their identity concealed and treat the service with past general social network policies. This meant many users registered under false names and befriended those they never met or had any mutual connection with. Recently, many users of this nature changed their ways to coincide with the terms of use, but there are still a large number applying mentioned old habits. In Jeddah, the digitally connected population have intricate interconnections derived from strong bonds in and between families and institutions, leading to the declination of requests from unknown individuals. This paper aims to gain an understanding of those in Jeddah requesting the friendship of local strangers, why they do so, and how the approached individuals feel towards the gesture.

Information on the subject from an interpretive view is scarce, one-dimensional, or judgemental, such as how social circles can be infiltrated (Potharaju et. al. 2010)(Shaer 2009), the reactions of confrontation in the process (Johnson 2008), and possible abuse of the services (Baughman 2010). This research can be utilized in understanding the evolution of Jeddah's online culture from being isolated in cyberspace to overflowing into real life. It can also act as a premise to exploring until now obscure procedures in starting romantic relationships in Jeddah or understanding why the society isolates itself from its objective identity.

The paper begins by giving the reader an idea of what people abroad think of the subject from a first-hand perspective through observations made on forums and secondary references. The terms requesters and the approached will be used to describe the two involved roles. The researcher's first-hand experience will also be presented at times, resulting in first-person reference. The analysis of the results will be described as reasons for shaping some of the surveys. How the surveys were seen by the participants will also be mentioned to bring light to the possible "skimming and visual scanning" that comes with the requester's strategy in finding potential friends. It concludes by presenting the average and negative case opinions from both roles.

Using grounded theory and snowball sampling, the methodology will rely on primary research in the form of surveys given at intervals: two for the approached and three for the approachers. The approachers' first dose will be open-ended to understand what they hope to gain from the relationships they start. The second will gather quantitative data of what the average criteria of choosing someone is, which includes how much information they would require to make the choice. The last will be formed towards the end of the data collection consisting of some anonymous opinions the approached have towards the requests and their feelings towards the topic based on having been asked questions and given different perspectives. The approached will have two intervals of questions, one gathering their opinions on the matter and the other gathering responses to the reason why some people approach strangers. Content analysis will take place throughout the investigation in order to create later surveys.


* The term used on Facebook to denote users included in one's social network.



Declining a friend request from someone you don't know - The Debate Team - Page 2 - BabyCenter. (n.d.). BabyCenter - Community. Retrieved March 14, 2011, from

Johnson, D. (2008). Modal Expressions in Refusals of Friends' Interpersonal Requests: Politeness and Effectiveness. Communication Studies, 59(2), 148-163. doi:10.1080/10510970802062477

Potharaju, R., Carbunar, B., & Nita-Rotaru, C. (2010). iFriendU: leveraging 3-cliques to enhance infiltration attacks in online social networks. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer and communications security (CCS '10). ACM, New York, NY, USA. pp 723-725. doi:10.1145/1866307.1866410

Shaer, M. (2009, January 8). FIENDISH FRIEND REQUESTS. Christian Science Monitor. pp. 13-16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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