x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Emiratweet marks first anniversary

The site, which started as a Twitter account to bring Emiratis and expatriates together, celebrates its first birthday and has plans to expand into Arabic.

Hanan Huwair, one of the co-founders of Emiratweet, speaks at the first anniversery of the site as the other co-founders Heba al Samt, left, and Ayesha Al Janahi, right, listen.
Hanan Huwair, one of the co-founders of Emiratweet, speaks at the first anniversery of the site as the other co-founders Heba al Samt, left, and Ayesha Al Janahi, right, listen.

DUBAI // How do you link Emiratis and expatriates online in 140 characters or less?

The answer is Emiratweet, a social media platform that over the weekend celebrated one year of bringing people of different languages and cultures together in the UAE.

The site, which started out as a Twitter account, evolved into www.emiratweet.com. It functions as a blog that concentrates on local and international topics alike.

The website has more than 4,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook, and has had a positive impact on the community by creating a new form of interaction, its founders said.

"By launching Emiratweet, we were able to open up the gate and connect with the Emirati community and create an authentic, reliable source and reference to UAE life and history," said Heba al Samt, the 26-year-old who came up with the idea for Emiratweet. "The good thing is that we had a good impact on Emiratis themselves and on expats who didn't know anything about the UAE culture, society and people."

Ms al Samt said she exceeded her own expectations by doing more than just creating an online hub where people can share ideas. The site, which launched on November 18 last year, also brings people together through regular events and workshops, she said. The next big project is to create a version of the site in Arabic.

At least one expatriate agreed with Ms Al Samt's assessment of the site.

Mohammad Mudassir, 19, a Canadian of Pakistani descent who is a student at the American University of Sharjah and enjoys Emiratweet's prayer reminders, said it was harder to communicate with Emiratis before he started to follow Emiratweet.

"Before social networking and Twitter, you had your own cliques, and I feel [Emiratweet] really broadened those cliques," he said during the website's anniversary celebration on Saturday at Dubai Internet City amphitheatre.

"I feel that Twitter and social networking sites like them are ice breakers."

Hanan Huwair, 24, another Emiratweet co-founder, said she was proud of their accomplishment.

"Completing this year shows that we can do it and did it and will continue doing it," she said.

Ayesha al Janahi, 27 and the third co-founder of Emiratweet, said "Arabising" the Emiratweet site would be key to showing both sides of the language coin.

"We really want to Arabise our website because this is the core of Emiratweet, as we have many things in Arabic and we want to progress with the events," she said.

The site's relevance in the Emirates was highlighted by the guest speaker Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi, the nephew of the ruler of Ajman, who said the website founders have accomplished much through their perseverance, and have helped to break down mental barriers to communication.

"I am very delighted by this achievement that our daughters and sons have completed within a year, and they have done a wonderful job," he said.

 

newsdesk@thenational.ae