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Doha Diary QT TwitPick If you are on twitter, then chances are, you are already familiar with GreatDohaFind. Even if @GreatDohaFind does not have all the answers, it gives a shout out to all its followers and eight out of 10 times manages to find what you are looking for. We got in touch with the duo behind the handle, who started tweeting in January 2010 and prefer to remain anonymous. What’s the reason behind the anonymity? It allows us to tweet freely, fairly, without bias, and without prejudice. We shall continue to stay anonymous as we feel it adds value to our purpose. Al Meera and ROTA Initiative Helps Families in Need I n preparation for Ramadan, Qatar’s leading retail brand Al Meera and Qatar Foundation’s Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) collaborated on a programme which saw staple food items distributed to underprivileged families in Qatar. The food, provided by Al Meera free of charge, was distributed over the course of three days at the Amna bint Wahab Independent Secondary School on Al Rayyan Road. ROTA volunteers provided the manpower for the programme. “Ramadan is a month focused on reflection and helping those less fortunate than ourselves,” said Dr Mohammad Al-Qahtani, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Al Meera. “It is our hope that these families will be able to celebrate the month of Ramadan without any further burden on ourselves. We are also thankful for ROTA, for without them, this programme would not have been possible.” 92 Qatar Today september 2011 So, why GDF? In 2010, we were two newcomers to Doha. When we moved to Qatar, we noticed a lack of information for great quality places, people and things, and not a lot of people that we could turn to for advice. Yes, there are the odd tourist guides, yellow pages, websites, but nothing in real-time. So as we went around finding great places to eat, shop, hang out, consultations of doctors or dentists, baby food, etc, we realised we should share this information. We thought these are great ‘finds’ in Doha, because as the city is developing, you really have to go out of your way to ‘find’ things, particularly as a newcomer. Thus, the term 'Great Doha Find'. Surprisingly, we found others who were looking for the same information and even more surprisingly, people started asking us for advice. At times we knew exactly where to refer them to (“like where do I get a particular brand of baby food?” or “where can I get home delivery laundry?”). Other times we didn’t know the answer and so we retweeted and found other followers who could help. And this is what is so great about Twitter, and what keeps us going. We feel we can really help people. But it’s not always great finds, is it? No. We actively seek out the WORST in Doha as well and tweet it. We believe in name and shame and believe that highlighting bad customer service, poor quality products, or bad practices will bring about change. What were the questions most on your mind as a new visitor to Qatar? They were the questions that go beyond just facts. Questions that give a piece of advice from experience. Questions that cannot be answered by an advert, yellow pages or by dialling 180. Questions like “Where can I find a great dentist?”, “What do you think about a particular place for renting?” “Where can I take my kid for some fun – aside from the usual malls”. What are the craziest questions you get asked? The weirdest question was to introduce a man to a lady as a potential suitor! We also get asked by companies to promote their products and services, but sometimes we have to decline if we don’t believe in it or if their service is horrible. Some of the best known companies in Qatar have asked to sponsor @GreatDohaFind, as it represents a clever unsolicited way of promoting them. However, we have declined as our followers are smart people and will see through that. We are open to taking sponsorships in companies and initiatives we believe in and whose customer service is exceptional and who have fantastic people working for them. We have also received an offer to buy out @GreatDohaFind, but we are having too much fun with it to sell it right now! (Every month Qatar Today will feature an interesting Doha tweep in this new column. So if you have a favourite, do send a direct message to @QatarToday)

Qatar Today September 2011

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