Reasons why I got addicted to Twitter

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I never imagined I would use Twitter someday! The whole idea behind it was silly to me, and I was always like what’s the big deal about broadcasting to the world what did I have on lunch?! Facebook alone was enough, and it was becoming annoying with all the apps that my friends add and start spamming me with!

Early in May, I was thinking about a way to increase the traffic on this blog, so I thought of re-activating my account on Twitter and combine with Twitter Feed to automatically generate a tweet containing a link to any post I publish. So I was thinking of it as a marketing tool!

Few days later I was surprised to find much more active Lebanese users than I expected, and they were all tweeting about interesting stuff, though it was mostly about the parliamentary elections at that time, but still I found it interesting and entertaining. So I started engaging myself in the game and suddenly got addicted to it. For many reasons!

  1. It is NOT silly. Twitter is really different than Facebook’s status update, it’s on Facebook where you share silly stuff and the more you update your status the more you entertain your friends! Do the same on Twitter and your followers count will drop, no one wants his/her front page on twitter to be full of trash messages.
  2. It’s informative! Thanks to the URL shortening services, people can tweet about interesting links. They might not always contain valuable information, but I prefer to receive them instead of Facebook’s poker chips and silly quizzes
  3. You get to meet some seriously nice people there. In terms of privacy, Twitter is totally opposite to Facebook. In Facebook you are, most of the times, concerned about protecting your personal information and keeping strangers from having access to your profile. Where as on Twitter, strange people follow you and vice versa, and you will eventually make friends with those you reply to their messages frequently.
  4. Twitter users are the “elite” users of Facebook ;)
  5. The great tweetups you attend every now and then. Twitleb is doing a great job gathering the Lebanese users, thanks to her we met at KUV Capital‘s office today!

So what are you waiting for? Go get a Twitter account and don’t forget to follow me!!

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Michael Jackson tribute – Beirut mass Moonwalk

I know I’m a bit late for publishing this post but I had a hectic weekend! Anyway, a mass moonwalk was held in Gemmayze street, on Friday 26th of June, as a tribute to Michael Jackson. The whole thing started on Twitter and I honestly expected it to be more like a small gathering, however thanks to Blogging Beirut‘s author and other active users on Twitter it turned into an impromptu concert celebrating Michael Jackson’s life and songs in the heart of Gemmayze facing Saint-Nicolas stairs.

I was there with my camera and got these photos to share with you.

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Moonwalkers orignally wanted to do their dance in the middle of the street near Torino, and started by lighting candles…

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But policemen had a problem with it since moonwalkers were blocking the traffic!

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After solving things out, moonwalkers headed to Saint Nicolas stairs.

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A boy who sells chiclets also participated!

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Tweetup at Gemmayze

I recently joined Twitter and was surprised to encounter a lot of nice Lebanese people there, and to be honest it’s much cooler than Facebook, especially that the latter became really boring with people spamming you with games request and/or spend their times uploading photos documenting their lives minute by minute.

Anyway, so I attended my first tweetup (i.r. twitter meetup) on Wednesday in Gemmayze, which was originally the idea of SamerKaram and Lnlne, and was really glad to meet some really nice people there.

Among those who attended the tweetup was an english journalist working for the Daily Star, Josie Ensor, check out the article she wrote about the tweetup.

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Growing social phenomenon unites Beirut strangers at Gemmayzeh sushi bar
By Josie Ensor

BEIRUT: Have you ever been to a dinner party where you don’t know a single person? The scenario sounds terrifying, and frankly not too likely, but it is becoming a regular occurrence in Beirut. I went to my first Lebanese ‘tweetup’ last night at a sushi bar in Gemmayzeh and found myself in just this situation.

A ‘tweetup’ is essentially a real world meet up of people who know each other through the online micro-blogging, social networking site Twitter. It can be said to be a bit like speed dating without the romantic overtones and it is happening more and more around the country as the site grows in popularity.

Around the table when I arrived at Soto on Gemmayzeh’s main street were a seemingly disparate crowd of people: Company CEOs, AUB undergraduates, Western journalists, web designers, Fed Ex employees and photographers, who were all engrossed in a conversation about the growing importance of Twitter in the Arab world. They have been brought together at this restaurant at the particular time by their interest in Lebanon and their desire to share it with others who will listen on Twitter.

I recognize some of them from their profile pictures, for some I need an introduction. I know what many of them were doing last night, where they work and what most of them think about Iran’s post-election protests but I couldn’t identify them in the street quite as easily.

Yesterday’s meet up all started two days ago when Lynn, an AUB architecture student who tweets under the name ‘Lnlne’ asked if anyone wanted sushi on her Twitter profile. Samer Karam, a web developer who tweets under his name, then picked it up and re-tweeted the message on his own profile and from there an impromptu tweetup was arranged.

“No one knows more than three people here – it is a unique situation that only Twitter can make happen. I think it is only going to get bigger and bigger in Beirut,” according to Karam.

The site has a social aspect but its primary role is to share interesting information and to enable global debates and conversations. Lynn says Twitter has come to replace other popular sites she used to rely on: “I find I spend so little time on Facebook now – what’s the point – you want to connect with people you don’t know who can share information with you. Facebook is redundant.”

Facebook doesn’t encourage its users to reach out to the world in the same way Twitter does. Facebook is about letting your friends see your profile while blocking people you do not know, while Twitter is the precise opposite. People you do not know most often offer the most.

The Lebanese Twitter community were particularly active during the June 7 elections, with tweets coming in from around Lebanon about people’s own experience of the day: “I hear a lot of gunshooting from Basta,” read one post from tweetup guest ‘Plus961’s’ account, “I voted a white paper in this election, and I am excited to see it in the stats today!” read another.

Fearing pre-election violence, ‘Zaher’ tweeted “a guy was just shot near my house.maktab intikhabi 4 Jean. Called police & it’s like one hour and nobody showed up.”

For most Lebanese tweeters the most important thing is engaging with a community, being heard by as many people as possible, which can be difficult if the posts are in Arabic. Most of the urbane, bilingual tweeters around this Gemmayzeh table write in English but for many others it is not as easy.

One Lebanese entrepreneur and tweeter Habib Haddad, who tweets under the name ‘habibh,’ created a website called Yamli.com which can be used to automatically change tweets written in Arabic to English to enable Arabic speakers to connect with the wider world. He made the World Economic Forum’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 list for “empowering the Arabic language and users on the web.”

Samer Karam, whose website bloggingbeirut.com has its own gravitas on Lebanon’s digital scene, says of the technology: “You can’t underestimate programs like this – it bridges the Western world with the Arab world, and it is all in the spirit of Twitter when writing can be made more accessible.”

Twitter is still quite a novel thing in Lebanon; many only became aware of it after the Mumbai bombings last year. Twitter really came into its own after the terror attacks, as moments after the first shots were fired, Twitter users in India were providing instant eyewitness accounts of the unfolding drama. A few months later Twitter broke news again when the first pictures of the Hudson river plane crash in New York appeared on the site after someone on a nearby ferry took photos and uploaded them onto Twitter using his phone.

Twitter is now helping people in Iran give a voice to protesters during a time when they have been silenced and censored in most other ways. And for as long as there is an internet connection the world can see what is happening through Twitter.

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Rest In Peace Michael Jackson

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This is surreal, the king of pop is gone. Rest in peace…

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Re-electing Nabih Berri

One month ago, every single party was calling for change, however the election did not bring anything new to Lebanon. The majority defended its position, while the opposition  maintained it’s parliamentary block almost as it is.

Best of all, Nabih Berri was re-elected today as the speaker of the Lebanese parliament! (Did you hear the gunfire in Beirut??)

If the majority was really serious about its program, it should have proceeded with electing Okab Sakr or one of the pro March 14 Shi’a to replace Berri and go further with forming a government that is all made up of pro March 14 ministers. Let them rule with an iron fist and show the Lebanese people how good they can do!

But seems like everyone is happy with maintaining his position, and the joke was on the people. What change were they all (be it March 8 or 14) promising with people like Berri in authority? (w 3a shiklo shakshiklo!)

Anyway, I leave you now with some pictures of people celebrating Nabih Berri’s “victory” today, they speak for themselves.

Mideast Lebanon Politics

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APTOPIX Mideast Lebanon Politics

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Recall, he was competing with no one! Why were they crazily celebrating?

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Brand new theme!

Once again, I got a new theme, I know it’s not good to change themes very frequently but this one is “cleaner” and its comment section is much cooler!

What do you think?

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F*** gas price

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The crude oil price has been falling below $70 in the last few days, but for some reason some genius here in Lebanon decided to increase it by 600 L.L today, and he has been doing so for the last month!!

Seriously man, whoever you are, prices reached more than 30,000L.L / 20 liters last year when crude oil price was skyrocketing with over $130 / barrel!! How come it is selling for half the price now, and you still insist on charging us 31,000 L.L for 20 liters of gas? From which university did you graduate?

If WE the Lebanese people believe that WE kicked Syria’s ass out of our borders by sitting in the Martyr’s square (denying that USA, KSA, and Egypt had something to do with it), then we of course can do some another sit-in to call for decreasing the gas price.

But NO! We don’t hit the streets unless some political monkey leader orders us to do it!

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Fete de la musique 2009 Photos

As I posted earlier, La Fete De La Musique was set on Sunday June 21st. I didn’t attend the event in its previous versions, so this was my first time, and I’m definitely going again next year!

I went to Gemmayze, Downtown, Samir Kassir, and finally ended it Hamra. The whole experience was really great, no matter what your music choice is, you could have enjoyed it at one of the set places. I was mostly excited to see Machrou’ Leila playing in Downtown but for some reason I missed it!

Anyway, I’ll leave you with some of the photos I took during the evening, they’re all clickable.

Gemmayze

I got to Gemmayze at around 8:30PM, they were playing nice old Arabic music.

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Downtown

Moving to The Martyr’s square, in the photos below you can see a band named “Ashekman” (echappement), made up of a twin of brothers, it was all about rap and hip hop there.

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Samir Kassir

I really don’t know what kind of music was playing at Samir Kassir statue, but it was really nice! It was too crowded there for me to get a nice photo, all I got is this!

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Hamra

Hamra street was for alternative rock lovers, I watched two bands and the music was once again, nice!

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See you next year! ;)

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I need your help!

Dear readers,

I am currently working on my final project for one of my MBA courses (Contemporary Management), and the subject is “Talent Management”.

To fulfill the project requirements, I am requested to get at least 100 person to fill a questionnaire I prepared about talent management on this link.

Filling out the survey will take less than 5 minutes, and I would really appreciate your help! :)

P.S: You shuld be working in the Lebanese market.

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Weapon of mass distraction

Someday I will probably crash my car because of Ellina Lingerie, they keep on posting highly distracting billboards for me!

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I used to see the above billboard everytime I went to the mountains passing by Arayya, on one of the hard right turns. Last weekend I noticed they replaced it with the one below advising me to keep my eyes on the road. But what can I do if I can’t keep my eyes off you Ellina??!!!

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Seriously, it’s a weapon of mass distraction! :P

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