This introductory essay sets the stage for this special issue, which explores how online media has changed the Arabian Gulf region's politics, economies, and social norms.2 It provides an overview of the most important themes, arguments, and findings tackled in the four essays in this issue, as well as the intersections, overlaps, and divergences emerging from, and between, them. In doing so, it explains how the similarities and differences, as well as the most significant underlying themes, emerging from these four essays further our understanding of the online public sphere in the Gulf region as a space for contestation, creativity, and change. This introductory essay identifies three important, and overlapping, themes found in this special issue: techno-euphoria, cyberwars, and the public sphere. It concludes by proposing possible next steps and future research on the important, yet understudied, links between the online public sphere and the sociopolitical environment of the Gulf.
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