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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very quickly, the place started to fill up. Soon, Plum was completely packed with people.
There were even photographers from the Daily Star “Star Scene” section covering the event.
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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!
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.