Abstract Purpose: Social networking sites have become embedded in everyday life. Additionally, they have become a research focus indicated by the burgeoning literature. However, little is known about social networking site users in emerging markets. This paper focuses on this gap and begins to address the question: What is the reach of social networking sites in an east-meets-west emerging market? Design: The information presented, herein, is the exploratory phase of an empirical study guided by three objectives that consider user demographics and the constructs of purpose and privacy: (1) to what extent do demographic factors influence the use of social networking sites, (2) to what extent does purpose play a role in use of social networking sites and (3) to what extent is privacy a concern when using social networking sites? Research Implications: Two expert interviews and an extensive literature review support the eleven suggested propositions for the empirical stage to follow. Findings from the interviews acknowledge that little is known about users in the UAE emerging market, thus, creating a need for information relevant to marketers who use the medium to reach consumers and for additional academic research. Originality/Value: The UAE setting provides knowledge about the influence of demographics such as age and nationality as well as including the cultural impact on purpose and privacy. The findings ultimately contribute to understanding users within the wider population of an emerging market which has been a slow-to-close gap in the literature.