Dubai: New media is taking the Arab world by storm, enlisting millions of mostly-young followers, bringing fame to bloggers and sparking social trends, heard the Arab Media Forum (AMF) on Tuesday in Dubai.

The 13th edition of AMF was officially opened by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Mina A’Salam (Harbour of Peace) resort.

This year’s AMF theme is "The Future of Media Starts Today".

In his opening speech, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab told the AMF that the “future is going to surprise us every hour,” referring to the fast changes sweeping the region’s media landscape.

He said the legacy of the past is limited and forms only a small part of what is becoming “a new world” shaped by “a new kind of people.”

Earlier in the day, young Arabs who have gained thousands of social media fans and followers said they feel under pressure to “act responsibly.”

Panelist Faisal Al Basri, an Instagram sensation from Kuwait, said during the "New Media: New Phenomena" session that since many of his followers are children, he has to be conscious of “what you say and how you say it.”

However, Al Basri, who has over 324,000 Instagram followers, denied he was a “star”. One of his better know online acts is submitting his resignation for his bank job via Instagram.

The forum discussed how the youth is the biggest group drawn to social media use. In the UAE, 1 million people joined Facebook in 2013 alone, most of them youngsters.

Women, meanwhile, are the most vulnerable online targets of banned groups, who use anonymous or fake profiles to victimise them, heard a morning session on virtual warfare.

The session also discussed how some people have different – at times conflicting – personalities as their in-person interactions are governed by social norms but their online avatars “can be anything or anyone.”

Speaking about the demise of physical newspapers, Australian futurist and author Ross Dawson said what’s important is getting the news, regardless of the kind of media it comes from.

The two-day AMF ends on Wednesday with a media student workshop followed by an Arab journalism award ceremony.