What does Social Media mean to you?

January 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm (LAU Social, Social Media, University) (, , , , , , )

The aim of this project was to pick 3 different people from different age groups, and find out whether they use social media and how they use social media. (Video at the bottom!!)


The Subjects

The first person I spoke to was 15 year-old Dana Qaddah. She is a student in IC, and she explained that she was active on both Facebook and Twitter. She mentioned that she used Facebook to socialize and keep in touch with friends. It was interesting to see that she also used Twitter for the same reasons, only with shorter updates. She referred to it as a “mini-Facebook”.

The second person I used was 21 year-old Saad Kanaan. He is a Business Marketing student at LAU. He mentioned that he uses Facebook and Twitter, and Myspace for a while, but didn’t end up liking it. He mainly uses Facebook to keep in touch with all of his friends, specifically the ones that are in different countries. He uses Twitter to follow his favorite artists and stay updated with all their news. He rarely contributes on Twitter, he mostly just gets information off of it. He does think that in the near future he will have to be more active than he already is, as he’s noticed that many companies use social media for a wider reach of audience.

The third person I used was Dr. Yasmine Dabbous. She is an assistant professor at LAU and the journalism chairperson. She mentions that she has a Facebook account, but rarely uses it due to lack of time. She isn’t active on Twitter though. One reason she mentioned was also because she didn’t have time, but she also said that she wasn’t interested in the speed that the news was getting to her. She was more interested in reading long, detailed articles rather than short updates.



Dana Qaddah

I think that, for her age, Dana is on the right track with her usage of social media. She may be unaware, or at this time uninterested, that you can get a lot of information on platforms such as Twitter, and so mainly focuses on socializing with her friends. In my opinion, this is not a bad thing. For her to be active on social media already is a good start. I think that the longer she uses it and the older she gets, she will discover that she can do a lot more with social media and will be able to use it to her advantage.

Saad Kanaan

Being a Marketing student, I think Saad should be a lot more involved in social media, specifically platforms like Twitter where it is easy to promote himself and just put what he can do out there. The fact that he separated Facebook and Twitter for two different usages shows that he knows how to make every platform work for him. He socializes on Facebook and is updated with news on Twitter. He is also aware that he will eventually have to be more active on social media due to his career, which is a good sign. Although I think he should start being more active right now, the fact that he is aware that there will come a time where he will have to use social media more means that he is on the right track.

Dr. Yasmine Dabbous

Dr. Dabbous mentioned that the reason she isn’t active on Twitter is because she prefers long and detailed articles to quick and summarized updates. I think that she is judging the platform based on the generalities she hears from other people. She doesn’t seem to completely reject the idea of social media since she does have a Facebook account. I feel that if she were to explore Twitter and what can be done through it on her own, she may see that there is a lot of meaningful content on there. There might be a 140 character limit but she will find that most people will provide links to the “long and detailed articles” that she is talking about. She spoke a lot about not having time to be active online, which is, in my opinion, probably the main reason she’s not interested in Twitter. I think that if she had the time to just sit and look around on Twitter, she might reconsider and end up using it for a variety of things.





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My Gowalla Experience

December 19, 2010 at 9:37 am (LAU Social, Social Media) (, , )

This week in LAU Social, we were introduced to Gowalla. It’s very similar to Foursquare, meaning that it allows you to check-in to whichever venue you are in, but it also lets you post pictures of that venue.


My experience with Gowalla was irritating. Unfortunately, Gowalla doesn’t have an official application for Nokia users. I did find an alternate application for my phone, which only took me to my phone’s web browser and opened Gowalla’s mobile web page. That would be fine, except for the fact that every time I access their mobile web page through my phone, it gets stuck on the “Locating” page. I try to sign out in order to sign in again and refresh the page, yet when I click the “sign out” link, nothing happens.

Therefore, I was unable to use Gowalla at all. I tried using it on a number of different occasions in case it was a network problem, but I got the same results.

Conclusion: maybe Gowalla needs to take Nokia users into consideration!

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Social Media: Connecting or Disconnecting?

December 13, 2010 at 5:39 pm (Uncategorized)

Over the past few years, I have become more and more active on online social networking platforms. This year, thanks to my LAU Social class, I’ve become the most active I’ve ever been on these platforms. I enjoy it, and I’m constantly checking my Twitter and Facebook accounts for updates as well as making sure to check-in on Foursquare whenever I’m out.

Yesterday, a thought occurred to me while I was using my Foursqaure and Twitter accounts while having coffee with my friends: social networking platforms are a good way of connecting people who otherwise would not be able to communicate, but at the same time it could be disconnecting people from their real-life social scene.

I used to constantly bash on people who sit with their friends and cannot lift their heads up and away from their devices, and now I have developed a new fear: the fear of becoming one of those people.

While I’m checking my accounts for updates, there is no way I will be able to focus on anyone that speaks to me at that moment. It’s been happening a lot lately, and my friends are getting annoyed! About 30 minutes of the time I spend with my friends are lost because of social media and its addictiveness.

Sometimes it seems like people are too focused on keeping in touch with people online, that they completely forget the people sitting right in front of them. It’s sad, really. I don’t want to be someone who’s only friends are the ones that I’ve made online (not that I don’t value those friendships, I just don’t want to disregard the friends I met offline).

This may sound strange, but sometimes I even feel like I’m being drawn into this social media cult. That “Revolution” video at the beginning of the second half of the bloggers convention made me stop and smile as I thought: “This looks like a room full of people joining a cult, and this video is the brainwashing tool”. I’m sure that wasn’t the case, but it’s a funny thought.

So, while social media is a huge part of today and the future, and I do think more people need to be more active online, I do not agree with it taking up a huge chunk of your life. I don’t think people should go out of their way to stay connected online. For example, I am now using the Gravity application for Nokia. Unless it beeps to tell me that someone is directly speaking to me, I won’t check it for updates.

Embrace social media, but don’t let it take over your life!

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Focus: Mark Zuckerberg

December 10, 2010 at 5:17 am (LAU Social, Movie, Social Media) (, , , )

This week, we focused our attention on the legendary Mark Zuckerberg in our LAU Social class. We kicked it off by watching the “first Facebook movie” The Social Network in class, and later moved on to watching the real Zuckerberg in various interviews.

Watching Zuckerberg, you can’t help but notice his awkwardness. He seems nervous most of the time, like he was suddenly placed in a position that he knew nothing about. I guess that’s kind of accurate, since at the beginning he didn’t expect Facebook to be such a hit. He looks like a typical Computer Science student, perfectly fitting the stereotypes. You almost forget that he’s the youngest billionaire around.

Even though the movie wasn’t 100% accurate, and Zuckerberg was the brains behind the technicalities of Facebook, I do still think he “borrowed” a few ideas from here and there. If I had mentioned something to him in passing and saw it on Facebook a month later, without any credit given to me, I would probably be pissed off. At the end of the day, you need an idea as a starting point before you can incorporate all the technical details.

A lot of people find Zuckerberg inspirational, I personally find him lucky. I know, it might sound a bit harsh, but I really do think that he was one of the lucky ones. There are thousands, maybe millions, of people out there who have great ideas, they just don’t have the opportunity or “luck” that Zuckerberg had in order to make it big.

Zuckerberg’s mind and way of thought reminds me of someone very close to me. He was a Computer Science student also, and is referred to by those who know him as a “super hacker”. When a friend of mine asked his father if he knew this person, he replied: “He is the best person in the country to go to if you’re having computer related problems, he can fix anything.”

The only problem is that this person did not quite get the opportunity that Zuckerberg got. I’ve heard countless ideas from this person, and I’ve encouraged him to go through with them, but it never seemed to be the right time or situation for him. I just hope that one day he will come out and shock the world, like Zuckerberg did. There are so many people that deserve this amount of recognition, they just need the right moment.

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The Social Network – Review

December 8, 2010 at 5:50 am (Movie, Social Media) (, , , , )


I had been wanting to watch The Social Network for quite some time now. I very briefly heard about the creation of Facebook in the past, and once I heard they had made a movie about it, I was so excited to see it.

From an informational perspective, the movie lived up to my expectations. I like how they get technical and explain everything they’re doing. It’s interesting to see the train of thought. For example, when the actor playing Mark Zuckerberg had to get the pictures of students from every house at Harvard. Each system had a different structure and security level, and he explained how he was going to get around every single one.

It was also interesting seeing how the ideas came to him. For example, the “relationship status” idea came from a friend of his asking if a girl they knew was dating anyone or  not.

Despite me being a loyal Facebook user, the movie left me strongly disliking Zuckerberg. Now, at the end of the day this is a movie, so I’m not sure if it’s an accurate account of what happened. If it is though, then I agree with all the people who were suing him. To me, it really does look like he stole the idea from the 3 guys who approached him for help on a website. He may not have taken their exact idea, but he took a apart of it and added to it, meaning that without them he would have never (or at least not that soon) gotten the idea to create Facebook.

Other than that, it’s an interesting movie. It’s not exciting, it’s actually a bit slow, but it is very interesting. I do recommend that people watch it, because it’s onoe of those things that you just have to see.

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Blogging Lebanon @ AUB

December 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm (Uncategorized)

I arrived to West Hall at 5:30 p.m. (I wasn’t able to make it for the first half) thinking I was just in time for the intermission. When I had gotten there, I noticed that everyone was still inside, and figured it would be pointless for me to walk in if they were about to finish. It turns out that they were running late, so I just waited outside for about half an hour :p

Eventually, the second half of the conference began, kicking off with a really cool video (short clip of the video below). There were a number of speakers at the conference, each with their own topics to be presented to the audience. Despite some near deafening technical problems, the conference went better than I had expected! The speakers in the second half were interesting, there were even scattered clusters of laughter at witty jokes being made by these speakers.

Diana Nemeh Afif entertained us with her playful way of blogging, while still providing us with inspirational words about the benefits of blogging. I really liked her style of blogging, the way she inserts an image after every point she makes. It really does keep the reader interested and wanting to continue reading. Other than the distraction of images, she has some pretty great content!


@Shankaboot were there telling the audience all about their web series! As usual, they were very engaging. they also mentioned their new Ovi application for Nokia phones called Shankaboot Mobile, which enables Nokia users to watch Shankaboot episodes on their phones, as well as comment and interact the same way they would on the website. They also mentioned a project they did, where they had people make videos addressing the issue of domestic workers. Here’s a clip from one of them.


@aymanitani took the stage (and appeared to have a huge fan base) to talk about Arab pop culture and the Internet. He showed us the increasing number of Internet users in the Middle East, it was actually very interesting to see the figures. He also showed us an illustration he liked by @mayazankoul (video below) and left us with a quote that stuck in my head!

“Dance like the photo’s not being tagged,

Love like you’ve never been unfriended,

Tweet like nobody’s following.”

@hibrme made another appearance, representative @EleenaKorban spoke about the relaunching of their website.

@sdarine and @mhijazi informed the audience about the upcoming ASMF (Arab Social Media Forum) which will be taking place in Amman, Jordan.

A representative from Fikr informed the audience about the upcoming Fikr conferences. There will be a youth session on the 7th of December at the Phoenicia Hotel, and the rest of the conference will take place on the 8th and 9th of December, also at the Phoenicia Hotel.

@SherifMango presented the audience with his new uShahidi project: Help Leb.

@FarahAbdelSater spoke about a project organized by the United Nations Youth Association of Lebanon.

(videos for the above mentioned coming soon! I can’t upload them now due to my slow internet connection 🙂 )

Pictures from Blogging Lebanon

Vodpod videos no longer available.


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Micheline (@mich1mich) visits LAU Social

November 27, 2010 at 10:49 am (LAU Social, Social Media, University) (, , , , , , )

LAU Social welcomed a fellow Tweep to class on Wednesday. She walked in with a huge smile and was accompanied by LAU student @karimbekdache. She looked familiar, and once she introduced herself as Micheline, I connected the dots and realized why she looked so familiar, it was @mich1mich from Twitter!

I was able to briefly talk to Micheline before the class started, and right away I could tell that she was very sweet.

We found out that Micheline was LAU Social’s start student last semester, despite the fact that she never physically attended class! She followed the class religiously on Twitter, and even caught @aymanitani out a few times for being late.

Talking to LAU Social class

The more she spoke to us, the more I realized how important it was for us to embrace any new forms of media that come our way. Micheline was open to this new media, and it did wonders for her. You could tell that although she was very active online, she was still slowly discovering new things that the online community could offer her. This was especially apparent when she saw @talariz logging into Twitter and told her that she was still hesitant to work on the new Twitter. At the end of the day, it’s human nature to feel hesitance, the point is that Micheline doesn’t let it stop her, and she embraces new media and accepts it.

She gave us a brief history on communication and how it has evolved over the years. It was crazy to hear how it all worked in 1955. Honestly, just thinking about all the work they did was tiring, I could never imagine actually doing it!

The final destination in her journey through the evolution of communication was her blog: Mich Cafe. We found out the story behind the name of the blog too! Apparently, Micheline loves to say hello on Twitter 😀 ! And would always invite people to have coffee with her, and that is how she was given the name Mich Cafe.

Over the past few days, I’ve been reading through her old posts on her blog. You feel the same positivity through her writing as you feel when she is standing in front of you. She has a great attitude, and admitted herself that anyone can sit and list all of the negative things about the world on their blogs, what makes her different is that she tells people all of the positive things about the world, and why we should love it as much as she does.

LAU Social class taking pictures of @mich1mich !

Although she described herself as being a shy person, it seems to be hidden deep within the confidence that she portrays. I love listening to people’s stories and experiences, and a lot of times, I’m touched by them. I am being very honest when I say that while I was listening to Micheline talk about her blog, and how it was great because you can write whatever you want without limits and really let yourself shine through, she inspired me. I have been neglecting my other blog for a while now, but I am eager to get back into it, especially after talking to Micheline.

Thank you for your visit. We all enjoyed it very much. There should be more people in the world with such positivity!

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My Foursquare Experience

November 21, 2010 at 11:24 am (foursqaure, Social Media) (, , , )

When I first heard about Foursquare, I thought it was the perfect way to attract potential stalkers. I thought it was unnecessary for everyone to know where everyone is all the time. You can even get their exact location on Google maps, which I thought was going a little bit too far. Basically, I was very against it.

Soon enough, as with everything I reject at the beginning, I took the time to experiment with Foursquare. My first check-in was a little bit of awkwardness mixed in with some paranoia, I actually looked around at the people around me who were on their laptops, thinking “could any of these people be following me on Twitter, and did they just see my check-in”. I got over that in about 5 minutes though.

Very quickly, Foursquare became a habit. The first thing I do when I walk into a place is check-in on my phone. My friends still have the same opinion I used to have about Foursquare, so I’m constantly the target of their jokes. I don’t care about that though. :p I actually get excited when I see that I’ve unlocked a new badge, or that I became the mayor of a location!

There are a few reasons why I’ve officially accepted Foursquare into my life. A lot of times, people would be spending the night in the same place, but not notice that they’re both there. When you check-in on Foursquare, it’s easier to find these things out, rather than have a “why didn’t you tell me you were there” moment the morning after. It also says a lot about the people you follow, and you get to know them on a more personal level. I’m sure people who keep track of my check-ins will notice that my mornings/afternoons are spent mainly in coffee shops on Hamra Street.

All in all, I like Foursquare, and I think I’m going to keep using it now that Ivé started!

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Octavia Nasr @ LAU

November 11, 2010 at 9:10 am (lau, octavia nasr, Social Media, University) (, , , , , , )

Octavia Nasr captivated us all while she very passionately talked about New Media. She gave this lecture at LAU’s Gulbenkian theater on the 9th of November, 2010.

She impressed most of her audience when she stated that she didn’t want to hear any tabloid questions about “what happened in the summer”, which is what most people were expecting to hear about. Although some were looking forward to hearing about this, the rest of us were pleasantly surprised when she steered away from the controversy, and focused on educating her audience about the importance of new media today.

She proved her passion for the medium by constantly checking for new tweets on her phone, asking people to tweet their questions to her, and even taking the first question from Twitter.

Besides being so passionate about it all, she was also very influential. I overheard a number of people leaving the theater and talking about going to sign up for Twitter.

Here are a few of the quotes that I loved by Octavia Nasr during the lecture:

“You can imagine the reach you can get after being active on social media”

“This medium has a heart, it has a heartbeat”

“I choose to be in the driver’s seat. I choose that YOU be in the driver’s seat”

“Think low tech, think high tech, enjoy the technology”

“I’m against red lines, they are more reasons to limit and divide us.”

“There is not a single person I met that I was friends with online, that didn’t turn out to be a decent person.”

“Social media opens your eyes to things that you can take and apply to yourself.”

“Our life is all about change, that’s why I don’t get people who accept the status quo.”

“It works, and it works beautifully, it’s a powerful tool and it’s here to stay.”

Octavia Nasr was smart, funny, and a very refreshing change. I enjoyed listening to her speak, she pointed out a lot of important things. Despite the fact that I’ve been part of online communities for as long as I can remember, I have a new appreciation for these communities. There is a certain power that they hold, and Octavia Nasr highlighted that fact perfectly.

Even people like my own father, who is extremely up to date with technology (he’s very passionate about anything computer-related) yet is still skeptical about the whole online issue, tuned in to the live coverage of the lecture, and loved it.

Thank you Octavia! You were truly an inspiration. I think LAU needed to hear what you had to say. Students are very capable of using these online tools, they just don’t see how significant and powerful they can be in our everyday lives.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Octavia NAsr @ LAU, posted with vodpod

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Geekfest Beirut 2010

November 5, 2010 at 1:08 pm (GeekFest) (, , , , , , , , )

Geekfest Beirut took place on Thursday 4th November at Plum Bar in Monot. It was my first time attending Geekfest and I didn’t really know what to expect. Despite that, I was really excited about going with my fellow LAU Social classmates.

LAU Social Girls


LAU Social Girls



When we first walked in we had to register our information at the door, and we were given nametags with our Twitter handles on them in order for fellow “Tweeps” to recognize each other. I was a little bit nervous about how the night would go at that point, because I brought along some friends that weren’t really part of the online scene.


My Friends at Geekfest Beirut



The setting was great, it was very relaxed, and the music was amazing. I really want the playlist they used (minus the Bieber songs)! The Hibr team was there distributing their new issue.


@Eleenakorban distributing the latest issue of Hibr


Very quickly, the place started to fill up. Soon, Plum was completely packed with people.

Crowd at Geekfest Beirut

Crowd at Geekfest Beirut

Crowd at Geekfest Beirut

There were even photographers from the Daily Star “Star Scene” section covering the event.

Star Scene took our picture 😀

The speakers began and, I must say, I was really impressed. I noticed that some people tweeted that certain presentation were a bit “bland”, but to me (being new to all this) I was extremely interested in what everyone had to say, as were my friends, which was a huge relief!


My friends starting to get into Geekfest



Le Gustav left me craving cake, like seriously craving cake!

GoNabbit had a great presentation prepared; one of my friends that is completely oblivious to the online world even saved the name “GoNabbit” on her phone to further research it.

Yalla Startup weekend was introduced.

Octavia Nasr gave a really sweet speech.

The Shankaboot team talked about their web series, and introduced the upcoming launching of Shankaboot Mobile, which will enable people to watch Shankaboot via mobile applications.

There was talk about an interesting project consisting of driving from Beirut to Beijing, and live broadcasting every step of the way.

There was also talk about a Blogger’s Convention (which I’m interested in attending/participating in).

There were a number of technical difficulties that were eventually overcome. The problems with the microphones were the worse, as our ears suffered horribly.

I have a few confessions to make:

  1. I  didn’t expect to enjoy Geekfest as much as I did. I had a great time, everyone was really nice and the speakers were pretty interesting. The general mood of it all appealed to me.
  2. When you hear “Geekfest” you will always think of a group of technology-obsessed people who would be hanging on to every word said… that wasn’t exactly the case. It was hard to listen to the speakers sometimes because of how many people drifted off into their own conversations. I guess you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!


Measures taken to quiet down the crowd!



All in all, I had a great time. I’m glad I got the chance to attend and I’m also happy that I stayed for the whole thing. I’m looking forward to similar events!

Note: Sorry about the horrible quality of pictures and videos, I forgot my camera (as usual) and had to do everything via mobile phone.


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