Communication – it’s the lifeblood of human connection and the foundation upon which societies are built. Over the past 20 years, the Middle East has been at the epicentre of a transformative journey in this realm, and I’ve had the front-row seat to witness and contribute to this metamorphosis.
As the millennium turned its pages, the digital era dawned globally. Western countries were quick to step into the new epoch, but in the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, the story unravelled at a different pace. Rich traditions met modern methods, creating a unique and deeply enriching tapestry of old and new.
Initially, there was an evident lag in the adaptation of these novel communication means. A significant reason was that most market players in our region’s communication industry hailed from international domains. The wave of change wasn’t instantaneous, reflecting cultural and industrial inertia. However, as the clock ticked on, the scene began to shift dramatically.
The rise of local players in the industry became the catalyst. Nimble, light, and with an innate understanding of regional nuances, they propelled the transformation at breakneck speeds. While they imbibed knowledge from their international counterparts, their agility and deep-rooted understanding of local customs made them indispensable. Their ascension wasn’t just about bringing change; it was about defining it.
In KSA, this transformation was monumental. The transition from an age of controlled narratives to an era of open dialogue was significant. Platforms like Twitter became arenas of free expression, with Saudis emerging as some of its most fervent users. As Steve Jobs aptly put it, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” In the landscape of communication, Saudi Arabia emerged as a leader, with local entities innovating and steering conversations.
Echoing this sentiment, Daniel Levantine once remarked, “The true power of communication lies not in the tool, but in the truth it conveys.” It’s essential to understand that our evolution was about harmonizing the medium with the message. As I always say: “In the dance of words and screens, it’s the soul of the story that leaves an indelible mark.” True to this, our regional tale was not just of change but of authentic resonance.
To encapsulate, the odyssey of communication in the Middle East over the past two decades stands as a testament to the region’s adaptability and resilience. The symphony of technology and tradition continues to play, with neither overshadowing the other. Privileged to be a part of this narrative, I assert with conviction: our chronicle is still being penned, and future chapters promise even greater marvels.