By now, most everyone has seen a public service or non-profit organization use Twitter marketing to help get its message out. Twitter’s microblogging format, complete with millions of chatty users, is the perfect platform for educational campaigns. Short, clever tweets with memorable hashtags have been pumped out by organizations trying to stop everything from drunk driving to human trafficking. Now, two ladies from the United Arab Emirates are on a mission to use Twitter to help stop an evil force infiltrating their country: tourists in booty shorts.
While the tiny UAE is by far the most lenient of Middle Eastern countries with its policies and opinions about dress codes for women, Hanan al-Rayyes and Asma al-Muheiri say that Western tourists disrespect their country’s customs by wearing low-cut tops, mini-skirts and the ever popular short shorts. One event in particular launched the women into action.
“I saw a woman at the mall wearing very short shorts and she looked repulsive,” said Muheiri in an interview with AFP.
After complaining to mall management and seeing no results, the pair decided to take matters into their own hands. They hopped on Twitter to school visiting foreigners about how to dress in the UAE — thus the @UAEDressCode account was born. A lively discussion of what tourists should or shouldn’t wear also gave way to tweeting about other behaviors, like kissing in public, that are big no-nos in the UAE.
With nearly 600 followers, the response has been as mixed as you might expect. The UAE certainly represents two worlds: one holding on to old Muslim customs and traditions and one trying to keep up with the Western world. Some residents are championing the campaign, while others think there are bigger issues for the UAE to worry about. But however you feel about tourists in tacky outfits, it can’t be argued that this homespun campaign garnered some amazing results. Internationally covered by major media outlets, @UAEDressCode has received coverage most Twitter for business experts only dream of.
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