Social media took a huge space everywhere in the world. Social showcase which has to be perfect, nobody asks for your phone number anymore. They ask for your Instagram or Facebook account. Do you have Snapchat? What’s your name on Instagram? Before living in Kuwait, social media were kind of a photo album. I used to post to remember. But here, in the sandpit, things are really different. Short reflexion about the use of social media in a country in the Gulf.
My relationship with social media.
For me, social media were a way to stay in touch. People I have in my friends list on Facebook are people I’ve met when I was traveling. Or during my job experiences. So, even if we don’t talk anymore, I still know what they do and how are their lives going.
Obviously, as everybody, there is a stalker inside me. It means that sometimes, I just spend time on Facebook, trying to find people I didn’t talk to for years. Not because I am interested by what they did or who they are… But only because I am curious. It’s kind of an insane curiosity but…
I don’t follow influencers on Instagram because it makes me feel a bit sad sometimes. For me, it’s hard to always be good in your life when you see daily people with a perfect life. And it’s like they don’t do anything to have this perfect life. I know, they work a lot and they just want to show all of this effortless… But I still fell in the trap sometimes.
Social media in France.
In France, I feel like even if the social media are public, they are meant to be kind of private. Public accounts are made for people who have something to sell. A product, a sense of humor or their lifestyle. Fashion ideas or just the time they spent by looking for promotions.
If you don’t have anything to sell, so your Instagram account is useless. It’s between you and your family. Between you and your friends. Between you and the friends you will make on social media. And I can see it ! My french friends only share their food, their cats, their travel. In fact, they only share daily life. As simple as it can be sometimes.
Often, in France, they say that social media took a huge place in private life. But actually, I don’t think so. Most of the time, it’s friendly and easy-going. For example, on Snapchat, we just share our daily life with people we know, even if we barely know them. It’s the same on Instagram. I feel like social media are kind of private even if they are … public.
It will be hard for me to explain. And it might be hard for you to understand. But, in France, normal people – not influencers and having nothing to sell – don’t look for anything on Instagram. Maybe, they want to show a perfect life to make one ex mad but that’s it.
Extreme loneliness in Kuwait.
Last night, I had dinner with someone. Not a stranger, not really a friend, not only someone I know. I don’t know how to define him.
I know him because we talked a lot. And he knows me well because I told him a lot of things. But… On the other side, I have no idea about who he is because he is not a part of my daily life. And I am not in his daily life.
So, well, for now, he is someone I had dinner with. With who I spent a lot of time. With who I shared a lot of things. But maybe I will never see him again.
He contacted me on Instagram. And during our dinner, he told me that I wasn’t the first girl he met on Instagram. I laughed and I asked him, in a sarcastic way, oh really? I am not the first one?
We laughed and I asked him, but by the way, how do you meet people if it’s not on Instagram?
We can talk, debate, argue about it forever. I will never change my mind about it : there is huge loneliness here, in Kuwait. Not only in the expat circle.
Loneliness for expat is physical. We don’t have roots here. No common culture.
Loneliness for Kuwaitis is cultural. Here in Kuwait, everything works in a group, community, tribe. Not individually, not that much. So, it seems they have nowhere to be themselves.
So, social media are the perfect place for them to be … who they want to be.
Social media : kind of a freedom.
I am a girl, so I will only talk about my experience as a girl. I won’t talk about Facebook because nobody uses it anymore here.
I am in my car, a boy follows me and stops the traffic to talk to me. The first thing he will ask is my Snapchat. Not my number, but if I have Snapchat.
I had Snapchat before, but I don’t use it anymore. I used to give my number to everybody who asked for it ! And, believe me, I saw a lot of things. The private life, the real private life is shared on Snapchat.
In a certain way, I can say that I went inside a lot of diwanyas (a place to sit and talk for men) I’ve never put one foot in it and I will never be able to do it. I will never be allowed to go in a diwanya. But Snapchat… it’s like being a small mouse in every forbidden places.
Stories are something… But direct messages ! Wow ! In France, guys send dick pics a lot. Here in Kuwait, I’ve never received one.
But here in Kuwait… instantaneous moments in diwanya. Tents in the desert. A wedding. A boys afternoon on a boat. Boys fishing in hidden places.
All these places I will never go. All this event I will never be part of. I saw it on Snapchat.
Instagram is public. It’s the public place. The perfect showcase. Kuwaitis who have nothing to sell won’t take care of their instagram account. They won’t post a lot of pictures. They wait for holidays.
During vacations, it’s pictures of the perfect places they go to. With their perfect friends. We party in Thaïland and we hike the Mount Everest with friends. The rest of the time, nothing happens. They wait for holidays.
At the beginning, I thought it was because Instagram wasn’t used by a lot of Kuwaitis. That’s why I created a snapchat account.
What a mistake !
Kuwaitis love Instagram… Especially stories and direct messages. In stories, they show that they have a simple life. Every morning at the gym, dinner with friends and shisha sometimes.
But in reality… Everything happens in private. They post stories, they send direct messages. But I think Kuwaitis are the ones who use social media in the smartest way. There is zero proof.
Kuwait : a reputation well controled
In Kuwait, we never speak only for ourselves. I am Liz, blogger, but I am also my school. That’s why I will never talk about politics. I will never mention religion. And I will never give my opinion about controversial subjects.
It’s the same for Kuwaitis. They speak on their name, but they also speak on their family names. It means that if Ahmed says or does something, it will affect all Ahmed’s family. (Ahmed is in Kuwait what Paul is in France. What’s the basic English name ?)
So I went into diwanyas on Snapchat but I’ve never met my ex’s friends. I am not in his life anymore but to be honest… I’ve never been a part of it. And it’s the same for all my Kuwaitis friends.
We spend time together, we talk about our darkest secrets but… no one knows it.
I really believe that I learned how to use social medias here in Kuwait. I’ve learned how to share instantaneous moments of life without ever share my private life.
And you ? How do you use social medias ?