Social media is essential during seasonal events. It is the window to get user-generated content during these religious, national, or societal events. Marketers invest a lot of time preparing for their brands’ campaigns during these seasons. If you take a quick look at your Twitter newsfeed you’ll go through tons of promotions and advertisements.
However, millions of Muslims gather in one spot annually. While the world celebrates the Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid Al Adha), others gather in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The event requires the Saudi authorities to invest a lot in securing the pilgrims and facilitate their journey. This year, different entities created social media accounts to guide and report on the pilgrimage. Crowd Analyzer monitored the following accounts from the 29th of August till the 4th of September to find some remarkable insights.
- Al Mansak
- Ministry of Health
- Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice
- Minister of Hajj (Benten)
- Ministry of Interior (Security Forces)
- Makkah Region
- Makkah Authority
The essential part of pilgrimage is Arafat Day; the day right before the feast. It is known that online users start sharing religious content and prayers online to value the importance of this day. However, Al Mansak was the most active account to share content during Arafat Day, with 200 tweets receiving more than 20K interactions. The account's account consists mostly of retweets, with a few original tweets. Original tweets were mostly prayers related to the day or announcements and alerts to pilgrims.
The most interactive tweet was King Salman’s greeting to all Muslims, expressing that it is an honor to serve the visitors of God each year. The king’s tweet was retweeted over 221K times and received more than 111K likes. The greeting was retweeted by Hajj_1438
نحمد الله أن مكّن لهذه البلاد خدمة ضيوف الرحمن، ونحمده أن بلغنا عيد الأضحى المبارك، سائلاً الله أن يتقبل من الحجاج حجهم، وكل عام وأنتم بخير.
— سلمان بن عبدالعزيز (@KingSalman) September 1, 2017
A group of old photos of the holy sites in the past took the lead in retweeted photos. Hajj_2017 posted several photos of the holy site Mina alongside a recent picture. By looking at the picture, one can easily tell that the government of Saudi Arabia worked hard on developing these sites for the pilgrims' comfort.
— Hajj 2017 (@Hajj_En) September 1, 2017
Short Film Stole the Buzz
Footage of different Saudi policemen helping out pilgrims on different occasions went viral. Although it wasn't reporting an incident and was merely a collection of different short videos, the video was retweeted more than 21K times.
مَنْ لا يهزّهُ هذا المنظر؛ لن يهزّ قلبَهُ شيء..! pic.twitter.com/4FOLsM7b7p
— ماجد مقبل (@MajedAbdr) August 30, 2017
On September 3rd, another video was published on Youtube. The high-quality video received very good feedback on both Youtube and Twitter. The hashtag of the short video #مشاعر_المشاعر Mashaer Al Mashaer (Sentiment of the process) was only mentioned 6 times in these accounts yet received over 4.6K interactions. The number of mentions might be relatively low among the monitored pages, yet the video scored as the 2nd top retweeted link on the day it got posted. Within two days, the video reached more than 277K viewers.
Influencers tend to interact with religious seasons a lot. The top influencer in terms of interactions was King Salman’s Twitter account, as his greeting received more than 347K interactions. The top tweet received more than 221K interactions. Meanwhile, Al Arabiya Breaking News is the page that's followed by the largest number of users, with more than 16.6 m. followers. On the other hand, Al Mansak, which is a specialized account to guide pilgrims, was the most active accounts. Al Mansak tweeted more than 1.1K tweets during the pilgrimage season.
What's Generating Negative Content?
As per the sentiment score, it's pretty impressive that only 6% of the content is negative in such a huge event. When we checked the raw data, we found that these complaints aren't all related to pilgrimage directly, in the sense that people might have tagged an entity to file a complaint, irrelevant to the occasion. For instance, the ministry of health, which is very involved in the Hajj season, received many complaints about poor medical services in the Eastern Province and elsewhere. The 6% negative content is not necessarily related to the season. Yet, it still enables an entity to measure their performance.
We monitored the relevant content to come up with the following chart highlighting the major issues users complained about. Travel agencies were the main issue that generated complaints. People reported them by tagging official accounts we monitored. A video of violations during slaughtering sheep came in the second place. People went furious over the video; calling it inhumane and asking the authorities to punish the subjects in the video.
Although the pilgrimage is the most essential event of the holiday season, sometimes authorities put too much into completing the season without any negative outcome. However, these authorities divert their focus to the season, which may generate some dereliction in other functions and areas they're responsible for. Monitoring social media platforms closely will definitely draw the attention to these downfalls. Such analytics of negative content can perhaps pinpoint the effect of focusing on huge events on the overall performance of involved authorities.
32% of negative content was related to the Ministry of Hajj. 24% of the content was formed of complaints to the ministry of health. Surprisingly, only 0.4% of negative content was generated by Kashf_haj; which is an opposing page to monitor the performance of authorities during the pilgrimage.