The emergence of social media marked a turning point in Gulf public engagement. Due to the strictly regulated space for expression and association across most of the Gulf states, social media is an attractive medium to freely express opinions about public matters, and to connect with kindred spirits. This is especially true for young people, who have found a respite from the more hierarchical structures of influence, heavily weighted by respect for age and position. In the formative crucible of the years of political uprising and then political turmoil, young Gulf commentators emerged as influential public voices, supported by a growing blogosphere to share opinions and intellectual content. Gulf governments have recognized the social power of these social media influencers, and have courted them. Meanwhile, foreign media outlets have found new means to connect with Gulf publics beyond the traditional political and economic elite.