Begginer SM Tips

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Lately I am going to so many events , most are tech or social media related, but … well… a lot of the time… the digital me feels at unease and disappointed, unable to share the event with the world or growing a grudge against the organizers, so I decided to write this simple guide declaring openly to all event organizers that anything less would be a disappointment, and ,well if they do the things I mentioned, they will make the online community more involved in their events and expand their reach and visibility. Don’t they all want that?

Ah well, as my main objective is self centered I mainly focused in things that need to be going during and after the event. (Plus most of them score well on before event stuff after I corner them with my questions in emails) .

1. # – Have a HASHTAG!

This is an out most basic, but then again most event organizers forget to make it short enough, announce it publicly more than once and most importantly forget to register it at a hashtag repository like twubs or  wthashtag,  so most of the time I am livetweeting from an event my followers start asking me “what is this and that #xyz … any links…  ?”

2. Official LiveTweeting

That brings us naturally to livetweeting. I have already talked about the importance of livetweeting here but i just wanted to emphasize that event organizers need to keep on livetweeting from the official event account to update people at the event on what is happening, remind who the speakers are and what their handles are, tell them where the live feeds are (doesn’t hurt to do all that in parallel on linked in and facebook as well) … AND if you are an event sponsor, especially at an event centered around social media, especially if your produce is focused around social media, big thumbs down to you if you are not tweeting about the event and not quoting your guest speaker. Yes @zawya I am talking about you and your zero tweets at MediaMeForum and your replying only two days later to my tweets. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Answer & Engage Tweets

For starters, there is no fun for a hashtag without a livescreen. At MediaMEForm the guys did a great job of livetweeting what was happening, BUT [yes it is a big but] they completely dismissed the twitter community. The twitter Screen was live only during the panels and it was put in a place where no speaker can see what we were talking about, and even the moderator did not address any questions from the tweets, nor did their official twitter channel. Unlike ArabNET, where there were ginormous screens dedicated to tweets and speakers paying full attention to what was happening with one speaker undressing to get a wave of tweets. Still , I think the impact will be even more augmented if you have a dedicated moderator to pick at least two questions from the twittersphere for each panel/speaker and ask them at the event. Honestly speaking, the questions are more pungent, very well formulated and more daring and provoking more mindful discussions, isn’t that what you want? Aren’t your events targeted at identifying the trends of the future?

4. Live Ustream

I was on the peak of bliss drinking my Pepsi, eating popcorn in my PJs watching the pitches at Yallastartup weekend day 1 and working on the other laptop in parallel… but then, lo and behold once the pitches ended and we started getting some cool behind the curtains views of the audience, their feedback and interactions, seeing familiar faces….. THEN the stream turned off and a vigilant message told me that the stream will only resume after one day to show the final pitches and that all in between will not be documented… I felt that that was plain mean… YallaStartup weekend is a sort of non-commercial example.

So all of you event organizers will be saying :”why should we put the stuff live for free, when people pay to attend?”

And I’ll tell you. one has nothing to do with the other.

Most of us attend the events for the networking and has nothing to do with the panels and the speakers, who by the way we realize travel from one event to the other with similar presentations, who most of the time blog a lot and more in depth about the subject, or write whole books on the matter… So you putting up a live stream doesn not diminish your financial gain, which BTW you have reaped in full from teh event sponsors and paying attendees. So you may as well give the sponsor’s their money’s worth and help promote their brands and spread their messages and you event’s messages (while your at it) to even more people. People, who by the way are highly targeted individuals, who simply could not catch a flight, or whose bosses came to the event but left them at the office, or teh bosses who sent employees there and want to make sure that they sent them to an interesting event… People who would love to come to the event next year. People who would tweet about the event and talk and talk about it…

It was so amazing to watch the few panels I have missed (due to my weird trip schedule) at Media ME Forum on their UStream account and the quality of the videos/voice/ the nice music they put when nothing was happening – really professional! And ArabNet, they really understood that if they just empower the social media addicts, their event will be promoted across the roof and that’s what happened.

4.PHOTOS

We live in the now and like to see photos now, and share them and comment on them – ALL NOW! So do not make us wait two days for your flickr or facebook gallery upload. You can set up something extremely simple on site, like that photo booth Arabnet had (could not find link), that immediately sent all photos to their flickr account. Also make sure if you have something like that up & running, promote it well before and during the event.

You have a lot of room to be creative here and there are more wonderful ideas out there to engage people in crowdsourced photography at your event.

5. Icing on the Cake – Netvibes

So you do all of the stuff I mentioned above and integrate all of them into one awesome netvibes page that people courting your event could easily follow.  This is one of the more magical tools out there and one I really, really adore to look at when it comes to events I am not at and ones I am at (if they have one that is). For instance check the cool netvibes page SpotOnPR does annually for Gitex and while you are at it, check Spot On PR’s Netvibe’s page. Don’t you see how that will help your event to become more sharable and viral?

6. Social booklets

You lovely event organizers always give us those nice and creative booklets with all the info about the speakers, but why oh why don’t you mention the speakers’/moderators’ twitter handles, websites, blogs next to their names, so we can connect to them, address our questions to them, or just plain stalk them? and while you’re at it, dedicate a page at the beginning providing us with the event hashtag, livestream, netvibes page… et all

7. PLUGSSSSS

I always email event organizers about plugs, they always feel so happy when i tell them i am planning to bring my laptop to livetweet and welcome the thought and assure me WIFI and electricity plugs are available, but up till now, none of them have delivered on that. Do you expect our battery lives to be infinite? Do you expect us to have spare batteries for our iPhones? We want to enjoy the event all of its durations while checking on work email and tweeting or life-blogging YOUR event. Plain and simple, there should be a dedicated plug at least for every four attendees… Not that I mind making eyes to the camera guy to co-share his plug and carrying around at all times a multi-plug adapter, or stealing power for my mobile from a fellow attendees dying laptop…

8. GOOD WIFI

This probably should’ve been at the top of the list, but I consider it a basic and only as I reread the whole thing I decided to highlight it, just in case….

9.Screen & Screen Brightness

Also a little after thought: try to have several screens at the event and make sure that their brightness is optimal, so we are able to take good cellphone pics no matter how far from the stage we are without stealing your speaker’s valuable “top secrets”.

After Event Tips

  • Encourage us to send feedback
  • Send us all the lovely links for the photos, social pages, videos, slides … post event stats, news clippings about the event
  • It is also lovely to receive some post event answers to questions that were asked during teh forum but did not have enough time to be answered properly or the material/numbers was not at hand.
  • Send us an industry newsletter (yeah i do not mind up being automatically signed up for that)
  • Ask us what do we want to see at your next event
  • Continue Tweeting, Updating the Facebook/linked in page of the event and engaging all who were at the event

Next month, I am planning on attending the 1st Arab Social Media Forum, which the organizers are promising to be a wholesomely dedicated event to all social media aspects… so…. Guys, I am really hoping on seeing all that stuff there [wink, wink]!

Have I left anything out? What is it that you found missing at the last event you have attended?

*Update 1: Forgot to tell you how at Microsoft Open Door Event this year there were special giveaways prepared for tweeters. Small giveaway, but nonetheless, it was pretty sweet.

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Creative Commons License

Women in Technology (Lebanon) have invited me to speak at their Networking and Sustainability Conference  about Social Media/Marketing & Networking in October. The objective was to show the organization members simple and accessible ways to use social media to raise awareness about their NGOs or small businesses without going into complexities. The approach I used was to show these women that are mostly from an older generation that the new technology follows the same rules as the normal socializing that women are so well equipped to do. At the end I listed a few campaigns that relied on social change for fund raising or awareness raising. I had to present in Arabic, so the slides do not say much, except carrying you around a retro, black and white movie theme that was supposed to calm down those ladies, and show them that social media is nothing new and it just simplifies communication. To get the ladies relaxed and less averse to technology I started by telling them that men, who are typically perceived as tech savvy also had their fears, like washing machines, irons, vacuum cleaners… as well as focusing on the strengths women have that make them social drivers. Seconds later they were chuckling and demanding SMEX Beirut for more social media training.

It was an honor to present along with SMEX Beirut , The Amazing Maya Zankoul, The Ostensibly talented Tony Yammine, and the Charismatic Ayman Itani.
It was also extremely touching when after a presentation a girl from the audience gave me a phone accessory which she made herself. She said that she is currently working on her blog, well you can check some of the stuff she is into here .
You can check photos from the panel here.
About WIT Lebanon Networking and Sustainability Conference (NSC).

The NSC in Lebanon brought together over 130 people including representatives from WIT sponsors MEPI and Microsoft, WIT staff, local dignitaries, in-country stakeholders, WIT participants, Professional Development Leaders, and representatives from WIT Partner Organizations. The event was hosted under the patronage of Minister of the Interior Ziad Baroud.
The primary objectives of the Networking and Sustainability Conferences were to create a more cohesive network of local Partners Organizations and in-country teams and strengthen WIT’s Professional Development Networks.

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Well with all my business I forgot to tell you about my 1st guest post over at GigaLB.com, which is a hip Lebanese Tech Online Mag run by the Maniachis for technology insiders, lovers and addicts, and early adopter consumers. When I sent Chadi the post, 2 days late I did not imagine that he would accept posting it with the headline that I put. But anyways he did, so now, if any of you want to berate me for the lack of posting you can read between the lines to check the reasons why. Anyways, here is my blog post with the takeaways Lebanese marketers and Social Media enthusiasts need to munch on following the event.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

And keep on the lookout for other posts of mine over at GigaLb who are good hosts.

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Flipside beirut on Foursquare - using locatiob based marketing

Was tweaking through foursquare for businesses section when this stopped me in my feet. I felt so ecstatic with the idea I wanted to share with you what Flipside Beirut are doing, by pioneering location based marketing.

I will try to contact them to find out more, in the meantime let me know if you’ve tried the place before.

And Check:

- Their foursquare page

- Their twitter page

- Their Website

- Their Facebook page

It is obvious that the promotion is quite new, but let us keep watching to see where it gets.

So, do you know of any other businesses in Lebanon that have effective foursquare promotions? Or any ones in the Middle East per se.

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Despite the stupendously negative reaction of the online community to the demeaning Mon Bijou Mon Droit Ads, I have spotted these once again on Big Banners all around town.

This time around it seems that Moukarzel have a brand champion in the form of some starlet, livid on capitalizing on the huge wedding wave in Lebanon.

This is what happens when brands do not study the return and feedback on previous campaigns and bastion themselves within the walls of their own ignorance – Sad but True.

Moukarzel’s Competitor’s take notes and rejoice while they are stuck in Marketing 1.0.

Mon Bijou Mon Droit strike 2

Some Links from Bloggers regarding the first wave of this Campaign:

- Cafe Thawra

- @Naloves on twitter and on her blog

- Beirut NTSC

- Maya’s Amalgam

(if you have written an opinion about this campaign, please let me know so I can link back to it)

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Lesson #1: Your audience is ever more demanding!

TRUE STORY:

While watching the first football game of the World Cup:

- my father in Law: Damn this transmission has degraded, before they used to show the name of the player who has the ball and info about him, zoom into the player’s faces more when they replay, replay the goals better…

- my brother in law: Dad, this is on Playstation 2, not in ‘the real’  Fifa

Yes, we are getting more spoiled with new multimedia technologies, traditional media have to provide more information rich data, better interactivity options and more sharing opportunities. In short we want to be better informed and more involved and we expect you to do something about it!

Lesson #2: The Stakeholders Expect You to React FAST!

A day into world cup and everyone is complaining about these darn Vuvuzela’s. Three days into the world Cup and Germany filters out Vuvuzela noises to spare the fans. A couple days more Britain Joins and people start petitioning for banning the Vuvuzela( with over 300,000 fans on facebook and counting) . Add a couple of days and an app that adds vuvuzela noises to sites that filter them is created following the de-vuvuzelaing applets!

Needless to say, your clients will expect the same response rates from you!

Lesson #3: Do not forget about unexploited niches

For instant, women  have to suffer while their prince charming enjoys row after row of football matches day in day out for a whooole month.   So while everyone is gold mining the idea of the big flat screens to display the World Cup, why don’t you capitalize on the opposite – making your place a haven for football haters?

This Le Mall ad may be an attempt at just what I’m talking about, but I hate the fact that it belittles women. As a woman  I would not identify with it and will consider it an attempt to trick me into going to Le Mall and being stuck watching football, rather than showing me a clear exit path  – The “learn about football so people do not make fun of you” message VERSUS  the ” while he is watching football break loose and shop” message I would like to hear.

So you see, there is a real propitious niche there, that your competitors are not exploring. And let us not forget about children, where do people with children leave kids to go watch the games? You say grandparents, I say create a replacement product…There are a millions of ideas and campaigns buried in unrealized consumer demand in your market too-  Be creative, we’re expecting no less!

My personal favorites in this regard is the above Macy Gray video clip and this great post by Maya Zankoul.

Lesson #4: Shamelessly exploit trends?

I am not even gonna go into the myriad of brilliant and so and so ads, campaigns and offers linked to the world cup. Yes it is a good tactic. Yes, it will help you not stay behind, but if you truely wanna innovate, go back to point 3.

Lesson #5: We are watching You, and we have everything ON RECORD!

One of the first big time fxxx-ups in this world cup was the British Goalkeeper giving a slip to the ball, right after catching it. Man, it was a media circus at my in-law’s house. With the whole family lividly replaying his walk of shame and lively commenting how his career is over. And all of this replicated across millions of households in reaction to a slip of a man who by default can not catch all the balls shot at him. So Imagine what your Stakeholders will do if YOU slip up!

Have you learned any new marketing lessons from the world cup, let me know!?

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Even if youy are not in search of a job vacancy, make sure you attend this workshop to learn how to harness this powerful networking tool. See you there: )

smex linked in workshop

Jobseeking and Professional Networking with LinkedIn

Based on the idea that it’s who you know as much as what you know that matters when advancing your career, LinkedIn is a fast-growing ‘Facebook for professionals’ that helps you connect with colleagues and expand your professional circles.

In this half-day workshop, recruiting expert Marie Jo Roepke will introduce you to the world of social media for networked professionals on LinkedIn, help you create a well-regarded profile, and show you how to leverage the application to reach your professional goals. The workshop is perfect for anyone who’s familiar with Facebook but would like to get more out of social networks. Even if you already have a profile, chances are you’re not using it to its fullest potential.

The workshop will be held at SMEX’s new offices in Badaro from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, March 20. The language of the workshop is English.

RSVP to attend: http://bit.ly/smex-getajob.

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via ivysays.comToday, IVY was giving dating advice on twitter and asking people for feedback on her make a move rose giveaway and planning a tweetup dinner.

Yesterday, at the table, we sat arguing for around 20 minutes whether IVY is real or not.

The whole week before, people were passionately interacting with IVY on twitter…

Two weeks ago, Ivy registered to attend a tweetup and blogged about it.

And the truth of the matter is that we shouldn’t care if IVY is real or not. We should be happy that companies have finally understood the language of digital natives and is creating campaigns that resonate and interact with us, as well as the other poor mere mortals. After EXOTICA’s  unexciting Different Christmas campaign, that even failed to point us to the blog on their billboards, Leo Burnett, Exotica’s ad agency,  reviewed all of its mistakes and came up with something with a phenomenal snowball effect. Yes, as I said before my friends, social media marketing is sparking to life in the middle east and you are either with us, or eaten by the competition.

Things to learn from Exotica’s IvySays Project.

1- Give and you shall receive

The IVY we have come to know and love is a giver. She started by giving us dating advise, which though we may not all apply, but we all loved and we felt compelled single people everywhere felt compelled to try out Ivy’s moves and then… Ivy slipped a rose into our hands and made it all the more easier. Think about your clients, think about what they need. And even if you are B2B business, think: Do your they need education, help, comfort, care, empowerment? All of us do, don’t we? Now how can you use all that your expertise to help them, regardless of your product?

2-Engage and you shall be engaged

Before IVY got to her first post, she got a twitter account and after that, she did not just re-tweet her own posts, she replied to people, she talked to them, shared her opinions on outside issues, gave them advice and encouragement. There was no pushing her message or asking for anything for herself. That is why, when IVY asked questions she got enormous feedback, even from those who were in doubt about her true identity. And that is value you will not be able to leverage unless you create a genuine online persona [not to be confused with a retweet bot].

3-Go where they go, do what they do!

Ivy blogged about various creeks and corners in Beirut, be in Kayan, Greedy Goose or Le Grey, and that is what made her connect and resonate with her audience. Ivy did not blog about flowers she blogged about fashion, make-up, glamor, plastic surgery, national pride, chocolate- SUGAR, SPICE and EVERYTHING NICE – and we all like nice things.  Then again, she went to twitter to reach digital natives and, mind you,  she even guest blogged and re-blogged it on her own site. Did IVY ask girls to go to EXOTICA to get the flowers? No, they went out to  the most up and coming place – Gemmayze, Achrafieh and Hamra. The only thing that could’ve been done differently would be  giving out roses all around Lebanon, and not just Beirut.

4-Empower and you shall be empowered

Even if they did not comment, retweet or send emails, thought they actively do, with every dating tip IVY empowered ladies to take actions. Girls, being the gossip machines they are, would discuss it – which means GOING VIRAL offline. And then again with every rose given out to a guy Exotica created a positive sentiment, that is teh first step to along lasting relationship, not with the guy, but with the brand. And come 2011 I expect more girls to send out flowers to beau’s, and now, not because they[roses] are free, but because it makes them feel good. And this is the golden key to any successful brand. And did I mention the publicity, Ivy’s campaign is getting from mainstream media?

5-Going against the current and bringing the currents together

There are two stakeholders in any relationship – MAN & WOMAN. Exotica’s outdoors visuals empowered men, by teasing them with images of women they could have had in 2o09 if only they were brave enough. While Ivy, took a less traditional approach, and she looked to empower women. Mind you, women are not traditionally the ones we think first of when we think about selling flowers, right? But then again, I have seen countless times flowers being delivered to men at our offices from girlfriends, wives or wanna-bes. And then again, think of it, if a girl gives a guy one rose before valentine, and the guy likes the girl, on Valentine he will get her no less than a bouquet and what will his 1st choice be? Certainly EXOTICA. So you see, by bringing people together and spreading love Exotica may actually have record sales on February 14.

Finally,  I want to congratulate Exotica on the Brilliant Initiative and hope that IVY , whoever she is, continues blogging even after February 14, otherwise the digital natives all around, both those who think IVY is Real and Fake, will feel beguiled and disappointed.

Googling I found this song called IVY SAYS, I wonder if it had anything to do with the origin of the campaign.

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This week Smex Beirut was kind enough to invite all of us to their new offices to announce their plans for 2010 and socialize. I know the guys have cut out for them because:

Prince Charming: ” So what do these guys do?”
Me: ” Basically they teach NGO’s how to use social media for change and to reahc their target audience”
PC: ” Did not know you need to have training for that, isn’t it natural?”
Me: “well yeah , but most NGO’s don’t even know why they should have a website, leave alone, what they should post on it…and think of all the help and exposure they could get if they work on it using Funraising’s model…”

So below is their monthly newsletter, with their plans for the months to come. Obviously, SMEX is branching otu to reach greater audience and enable all citizens, which is even better. Social Media novices, get involved with SMEX

February 4, 2010 • Volume 1 •?Issue 3
SMEX Re-Launches with a New Website and Open Office Party

SMEX Re-Launches with a New Website and Open Office Party

On February 2, SMEX opened its offices to Lebanon’s growing social media for social change community to celebrate its relaunch as a full-time organization. Visitors were treated to a tour of the colorful offices, which include a social space for intimate events and screenings and a training room.

The open office coincided with a launch of SMEX’s new website and official registration of Social Media Exchange as a Lebanese NGO. We also took advantage of the opportunity to ask visitors what they want from SMEX in 2010. One suggestion: A workshop for parents and children on the responsible use of the Internet. What would you like to see? Let us know at ideas@smex.org or by calling 01-380-553.

Thanks to all those who made it, and for those who couldn’t, we invite you to pass by anytime.

Workshop: Social Media for Jobseekers

In February, Social Media Exchange, in collaboration with recruitment specialist Mary Roepke, will host Career Development with Social Media. Delivered in two half-day workshops, this training will introduce you to the world of social media for networked professionals and show you how the Web and social networking can help you reach your goals.

The workshops will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, and Thursday, Feb. 25. The cost for each half-day course is 60,000LL per participant, or both courses for 100,000LL. The course will be given in English.

For more information, visit our website or you can RSVP now.

NOTE: We will also be hosting two half-day workshops for human resources professionals on how to use social media to recruit better candidates and diversify their talent pools. Please get in touch at training@smex.org or 01-380-553 for more information.
Workshop: Basic Internet Privacy and Security

Have you had enough of computer viruses and malware? Are you worried about identity theft or what might happen if your Facebook details get into the wrong hands? Well, If you aren’t, you should be. SMEX is launching a pilot internet privacy and security workshop for select participants on February 15, 16, and 22.

The first two sessions will cover the basics you need to know to keep yourself and your data secure. The third session will take place a few days later and focus on troubleshooting and answering specific questions. All sessions will be given in Arabic. For more information about how to sign up for this free training, please email training@smex.org or call 01-380-553.

Screening: 10 Tactics for Turning Information into Action

English with Arabic subtitles.
On Sunday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m., SMEX will screen a 55-minute video on how to turn information into activism. Case studies from Lebanon and around the world are presented by activists working on a wide range of issues. The documentary, which was shot during the InfoActivism Camp, India 2009, is brought to you by the Tactical Technology Collective and was translated into Arabic by Rebecca Saab Saade at SMEX. Watch a preview. Activists and NGO representatives who attend the screening can purchase the DVD and companion toolkit for 15,000LL. Proceeds will go toward shipping taxes and refreshments. Please RSVP to let us know you’re coming.
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That’s all for this edition of the SMEX newsletter. You can also keep up with our upcoming workshops and events on our calendar. We hope to see you soon!

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It has been a long time since I have published a tangible post and a lot has been happening in the media scene in Lebanon. And a lot of exciting things have been taking place in the Lebanese Social Media Scene…

I have got the best news for you: the educational sector is finally catching on on the gap between the dogmas and the realities. This Spring Ayman Itani will be giving a course in LAU on Media, Culture and Technology. The course will provide an in-depth overview of everything out there for complete beginners and focus on teaching  not only the how & why of  using these tools, but also the New Media Mindset empowering them with real case studies and practical work shops. Ayman also has a couple of surprises up his sleeves for the lucky students taking his course and will be updating us on their progress all through the way, so stay tuned!

Media Culture & Technology course at LAU spring 2010

Another fabulous thing is that traditional media has now also acknowledged the new media channels and with the help of Social Media enthusiasts like Amer Tabsh it is starting to get the coverage it deserves. Below are Video Clips from a Live show on Lebanese Future TV interviewing Maya Zankoul, Samer Karam and Ayman Itani regarding their twitter addictions. Hopefully this will encourage new active Lebanese twitter users as well as companies to experiment with twitter and other media.

In other news, you can check my Bloggers FaceOff on Chanty’s blog.

So what’s new in your lives my dears?

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