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5 minutes with the Community Manager







As many of you may have known, Apple released their latest mobile operating system – iOS 7 (Beta 1) – to registered developers earlier June 10th, 2013. As a software and SDK developer for iOS and Android, I find Apple’s innovation of their latest mobile operating system to be very fascinating and quite astounding. P14

blog of the month: michcafe

“4G LTE will be covering 25% of our network before end of year”

If you google places like Bourj Hammoud, Hamra, or Oyyoun el Samak you’ll most definitely come across Mich Café. Voted Lebanon’s most popular lifestyle blog at this year’s Social Media Awards, Micheline Hazou’s blog has managed to pull in readers as she bounces back between life in Lebanon, the Middle East and all the small moments in between. P19

#IVYSBIGREVEAL Who is she? What do you think she’ll look like? Do you think she’s a total weirdo? Why now? Maybe it really is @GinoRaidy and @LeNajib. These were the thoughts racing through my head as I made way to the Le Gray Hotel for #IvysBigReveal.






CLOUD #4 August 2013 Publisher: Cornerstone Public Relations SAL

Why Social Media Will Not Change The Arab World? by Mohammad Hijazi


It is without doubt that when people look back at the political events of this decade so far, the highlight is probably the civil revolutions and uprisings of the Arab world, or what is commonly referred to as the ‘Arab Spring’. The Arab Spring has been associated with one of the most booming means of communication till now: Social Media. It is a common misconception, though, that the revolutions were caused by social media, since they would have started with or without the internet. However, what kept the revolutionary flame burning was the ability of citizens to easily and quickly share news, photos and videos of what is actually happening on the ground using social media. All reputable news sources were relying on amateurs to deliver the news. For the first time in the history of the Arab World, the news was made and delivered by citizens. Citizen journalism has never been so popular. And it is still going on. In Syria, where thousands are being killed each week for voicing their opinions and opposing the government, everything is being documented. Yet, the excruciating power that the Syrian regime possesses is limiting the effective coverage. The Syrian government monitors every single move its citizens do on the internet. Any wrong move can lead instant execution or decapitation. Yet, there is great potential for social media in the Arab world. Users from around the world are using social media to free Palestine, to raise awareness about the Palestinian issue and to falsify rumors that the Western media spread about it. This is possibly the greatest Arab issue that can benefit from social media. Creating and broadcasting viral videos of the massacres the Israelis are implementing every day will reach those eyes that are blind-folded by the Western Zionist media. Yet, this is not being done effectively. The Arab governments and filthy rich princes and rulers should invest in seeding such campaigns instead of wasting their citizens' money on buying themselves luxury cars and summer castles in Europe. Have you heard? The Arabs have built the first ATM machine that dispenses gold bars? But they fail to utilize free or cheap services that can potentially change their lives to the better; services that help them communicate directly to their masses, create engaging channels to discover the real needs and wants of their population and eventually have a happier well-balanced community. But they would never do that. Why, you ask? There is not ONE politician in the Arab World that cares about improving the well-being of his/her country’s citizens. Why

would they care about what social media can help improve their lives? It is just one of those missed opportunities that pass by without them making the most of. Besides, why use something that can potentially uncover their scandalous secrets? In fact, I do have a pessimistic view of social media in the Arab world, not just in politics. In an era where technology is dominant, the Arabs are, as usual, behind in realizing the importance of social media. Governments, companies and even universities block or monitor these means of communication. PhD professors at universities mock their students for studying social media. Restaurants sue their customers over bad reviews on their blogs (which they should take as an opportunity to improve, instead). Parents yell at their children when they use the internet in their spare time. Media agencies abuse and exhaust social media to make profit off of their clients’ and customers’ backs. Employees get fired for expressing legitimate opinions about topics unrelated to their jobs. Yes, the situation of social media in the Arab world is messed up, and it will continue to be. As long as books and intellectual material are getting banned from Arab countries for stupid reasons, journalists getting kidnapped for expressing their values and beliefs, and citizens getting harassed because they tried to go against a government or a company, social media is the least of our worries. But that is not even the funny part. A while back, I was attending a conference that was discussing social media. All the speakers were 50+ year old filthy rich CEOs and princes who have never even experienced social media. They were discussing how important it is to the Arab world. Here comes the funny part: they were blaming the Arab youth for all the problems that we are facing. They claimed that our youth is lazy, have no initiative, and do not aspire to become better than the West. That was the biggest load of hypocrisy I have ever heard in my life. But I believe they have been proven wrong during all the uprisings that they witnessed while clutching to their chairs and hiding behind shadows of governments. As I said, social media in the Arab world has a lot of potential and needs a great deal of improvement. But I fear, or more realistically, I know that things are not going to get better any time soon. I sure hope I’m wrong.

Chairman Bassam Karam Managing Director Hagop Manisajian Staff Writers: Joelle Hajji Lynn Bizri Paul Gadalla Marketing & PR Relations Michelle Nabhane Outreach Manager Vicky Ghanem Community Events Manager Mia Saab

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4 VLC returns to iOS.

Yahoo Buys Xobni

Following a two-year absence from the iOS App Store, media player VLC is back, and just like before, it’s a simple app compatible with select iPhones, iPod touch devices and iPads that plays pretty much any video file. The licensing problems have been settled now, and the app is currently being rolled out for both the iPhone and the iPad. It is rock-solid when it comes to dealing with any file format, including the likes of MOV files, WMVs, MPEG 4 videos and H.264 clips, along with a range of other file formats.

Yahoo acquired email and address book management app Xobni, the Internet Company’s third acquisition in as many days as it seeks to revamp its online products and boost its Web traffic. Yahoo said it will integrate Xobni’s technology into its communications products, including the mobile and PC versions of its email and instant messaging services.

Apple looking to supersize the iPad with 13-inch model?

Twitter advertisers can now employ their email lists and user cookie IDs in order to target a person who has visited their Web properties. In a blog post today, Kevin Weil, senior director of product, revenue for San Francisco-based Twitter, addressed some of the potential privacy concerns, saying it will only use "scrambled, unreadable email address (a hash) or browser-related information (a browser cookie ID). We can then match that information to accounts in order to show them a Promoted Tweet with [an offer]. This is how most other companies handle this practice, and we don’t give advertisers any additional user information."

The next device rumored to be joining Apple's lineup will be a supersized iPad. According to reports, Apple and its component suppliers in Asia are now testing larger iPad and iPhone screens. The companies are looking into a 13-inch screen for the iPad, which is almost a quarter larger than the current largest iPad display of 9.7 inches, and around 40 percent bigger than the iPad mini's 7.9-inch screen.


CLOUD #4 August 2013

Twitter Debuts Ad Targeting Based on Email Addresses and Cookies

Facebook’s Feature Phone Platform Scores 100M Users Facebook announced that Facebook for Every Phone, an app that works on feature phones, has been downloaded 100 million times. Facebook for Every Phone includes the social network’s most popular features, including News Feed, Messenger and Photos. It is optimized to use less data than other Java apps and mobile sites. In addition, Facebook has partnered with mobile operators around the world to offer free or discounted data access to Facebook for Every Phone.

LG's Next Smartphone Will Be Called 'G2' LG has announced a new naming for its premium smartphones, which will now be categorized under the "G" brand. Since the company's current smartphone is called the Optimus G, the next device from LG will be known as "G2", without the Optimus part. While LG hasn't said much about the G2's actual specifications, the company previously announced that it would sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU. The processor should deliver up to 75% better performance than its predecessor, the Snapdragon S4 Pro.

Facebook Launched a Graph Search. Graph Search, the new search engine lets you search your Facebook social graph for people, places, photos and interests, users will be able to ask specific questions. Graph Search is also integrated with Microsoft's Bing, meaning it will offer web search results if it can't find anything useful in your graph. Facebook also claims the new search engine is faster, easier to see and use and it picks relevant results better than the current one. While the mobile version of the Graph Search is still not available, Facebook claims it's working to get it ready as well.

Facebook Hashtags Have Marketing Potential, Privacy Issues. It's a tool with the potential to be bigger than Twitter's hashtags, but there needs to be a lot of consumer education before it really catches on. A Consumer Reports study last year found that 28% of Facebook users make all their posts public. By default, every tweet is public on Twitter, while Facebook's default is private. Thus, to get a hashtag to really catch on, marketers need to instruct consumers to make their status updates public.

Instagram for iOS Now Lets You Shoot in Landscape Mode Instagram updated its iOS app, letting users shoot pictures and videos in landscape mode. The app's new version 4.0.2 is already available in the App Store. The update makes it more comfortable to shoot holding the iPhone horizontally, although the format of the resulting videos and pictures will still be square. Initially, when Instagram video launched, videos shot while holding the iPhone horizontally would not get flipped automatically by the app.

Instagram for iOS Now Lets You Shoot in Landscape Mode Instagram updated its iOS app, letting users shoot pictures and videos in landscape mode. The app's new version 4.0.2 is already available in the App Store. The update makes it more comfortable to shoot holding the iPhone horizontally, although the format of the resulting videos and pictures will still be square. Initially, when Instagram video launched, videos shot while holding the iPhone horizontally would not get flipped automatically by the app.

Auto-Refresh Your Twitter Feed With These 2 Useful Tools ( Chrome: Refresh for Twitter: Designed for Google's browser, Refresh for Twitter uses the social networking site's native "new tweets" feature to save you from clicking. While the pop-up banner will briefly appear as new content is available, moments later your feed will reload. Firefox: Auto-Refresh Twitter: Mozilla Firefox users can download AutoRefresh Twitter, which seamlessly updates your Twitter stream. Once installed, the add-on will automatically load new tweets, so every time you click the Twitter tab to browse, you'll see the very latest content.

Microsoft Merges Internet Explorer and Mobile With 'Companion Web' Microsoft is launching tools for developers to give their users online experiences that work in partnership with Internet Explorer and mobile devices. The Companion Web initiative, announced by Microsoft in a blog, will allow developers to create web apps that responsively work on any size screen, from a smartphone to a television.







HTC One Mini Announced With 4.3-inch Screen, 1.4GHz Processor HTC has announced the HTC One Mini, a smaller version of the company's flagship Android device, the HTC One. The HTC One Mini features a 720p, 4.3-inch screen, a dual-core, 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 16GB of storage, and a HTC UltraPixel camera. LTE support is also on board, and the battery is an 1800mAh one, by HTC's measures offering up to 20.7 hours of talk time on GSM (13.3 hours for WCDMA).

AT&T Shows Off Nokia Lumia 1020 in All Its 41-Megapixel Camera Nokia Lumia 1020 has the entire standard Windows Phone 8, while also packing a massive 41-megapixel camera. It has a 4.5-inch 1280 x 768 display, a dual-core 1.5Ghz Qualcomm S4 Snapdragon processor and 32GB of internal storage. The big change with the Lumia 1020 is that it has 2GB of RAM (versus 1GB for the other Lumia 92X phones) and a 41-megapixel PureView camera. It weighs less than the Lumia 920.

New Verizon Droids Verizon and Motorola launched a trio of new Droid smartphones: The $199 Droid Ultra, $299 Droid Maxx and $99 Droid Mini. All prices are with contracts; add $400 to the cost if you want to buy the phone at full retail.

LinkedIn Introduces Sponsored Updates for Companies LinkedIn introduced Sponsored Updates, which will let the more than 3 million companies on the social network pay to promote updates to a broader audience, rather than just to those users who already follow them. “With Sponsored Updates, marketers will be able to distribute this content directly to relevant professionals in a place their customers and prospects are already consuming professionally relevant content," David Hahn, LinkedIn's vice president of product management, said in a statement. "Marketers can target Sponsored Updates to any segment of our premium audience based on professional profile data across more than 225 million members."



CLOUD #4 August 2013




CLOUD #4 August 2013

followed by other sites. We expect this project to be finalized by end of 2013, which should help increase the level of satisfaction among our growing base of data subscribers which for instance reached more than 850,000 currently.

“4G LTE will be covering 25% of our network before end of year”

What we are implementing right now is a new frequency on 3G+ which enables us to have similar coverage between both 2G and 3G+.

Marwan Hayek Chairman and CEO, Alfa

As it took us more time to get a free elevator and reach, after so many stops, the office of the CEO, than it took us by car to reach Alfa’s headquarters in Furn el Chebbak, we had in mind that we will barely have few minutes to get ambiguous answers to barely a quarter of our questions, obviously with a lot of arrogance that is needed to bare the amount of activity we saw in a few minutes inside the building. We were wrong. Marwan Hayek, Chairman and CEO of Alfa, was eager to answer all questions How can you briefly evaluate and rank the telecom infrastructure in Lebanon comparing to the World? Technically we are well in line with all what’s happening around the world, especially with the latest launch of the 4G-LTE service and the developments that we have done since launching the 3G+ service in October 2011. Over the past two and a half years, I can say that we have managed to reposition Lebanon on the telecom scene of the region. People might see that we are coming late on many fronts and that we are not really up to it, but that is not true. If you take a look at the Alfa infrastructure today, you will find that it is really complex and that it requires a certain level of expertise (from a technical perspective) to handle and manage it. This positions us in line with the rest of the world. We are the 52 county in the world to launch the 4G LTE technology, which is quite a milestone for a country like Lebanon.  nd

If you take a look around, you will find out that the 4G LTE has only taken a shape in the Gulf area and so far, we are the first country (in the region) outside the Gulf area to invest and launch this technology. In contrast when it comes to 3G+, we came late and probably we were among the last countries to adopt this technology for so many reasons yet we were able to catch up and the massive 3G+ rollout shows that, with us deploying around 930 3G+ sites in 2 years. What could lead to confusion in people’s mind is that we are lagging behind on the commercial side of the sector. Unfortunately for customers but (sarcasm comes in) fortunately for us, competition is restricted between two operators owned by the government, so in a way it doesn’t look like what you see in other countries like Egypt or UAE or other places in the world, where private operators really have to fight

to attract and retain customers. Yet we should not forget that the telecom and mobile sector brings around two billion dollars of revenues to the government’s treasury so we understand the restrictions on flexibility there. We tried in the last year and a half to create some differentiation between the two players on the offerings level and we launched several products, plans and packages that were all approved by the Ministry of Telecommunications, the owner of the sector. We have seen a great success and demand on some offerings but unfortunately others were not as successful as we were hoping. We are still analyzing the reasons behind this. Out of the six or seven bundles we launched in the last 18 months, only 20% of our base opted for one of them. The remaining 80% are still using the traditional prepaid or postpaid plans even though the new bundles do offer special rates and better prices! Maybe it is because of lack of knowledge? We did communicate a lot the different offerings.  If you look at our advertising and communication budget for last year, it is equivalent to the last 10 years of Alfa’s budget. Given Alfa is owned by the government, are you allowed to undergo infrastructure developments on your own?   With the current setup that we have, all investment decisions are to be taken or approved by the Minister of Telecommunications, so anything we have to do as infrastructure development has to go through him for approval. Once approved, we implement.  Hence, our role is to recommend and it’s up to the ministry to decide; yet we have seen a lot of positivity and openness over the last two years for new investments from the Ministry and

Interview by: Hagop Manisajian, Bassam Karam (including the ones we received from fans on twitter and facebook), address all concerns, admitting weaknesses and praising achievements, clarifying misconceptions and drawing a clear transparent realistic image of the – let’s say – controversial status of Lebanon’s telecom sector and mobile internet service and its latest developments… This, while it is worth noting before we start, that the company is currently being managed by Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT). that has helped us in expanding our 2G infrastructure massively through this period as well as rolling out enough new 3G+ sites that allow us to cater for the growing demand of our subscriber base for data services. And for you to have a clear idea: Today, we have around 1.85 million subscribers, almost half of them are data users, which is massive. Last year alone, we deployed more than 200 new sites and this year we are also considering installing the same number or maybe a little more of cell sites . Moreover, our 3G+ rollout has been aggressive as I said and further expansion is on its way this year.  It’s important to note that all our new cell sites are by default equipped with both 2G and 3G+ technologies. Who spends the money on investments? You or the government? The government. In fact, let’s talk about the period of 8 to 10 years before 2009; over that period, the needed budget to invest in the network expansion has been missing. The network was hence not performing as it should have been and customers were experiencing difficulties.  Our role as Operator is to suggest and draw investment plans to the Ministry of Telecommunications and it’s the Ministry’s final decision to invest or not in the network. Honestly, investments depend on public treasury situation and overall strategy at MoT. Today, we are in a good position. When it comes to 3G+ alone, our customers can experience speeds up to 3 to 4 Mbps which are considered high speeds given all external factors that could affect the speed such as number of users connected to one site, weather conditions, etc… Our 2G coverage is satisfactory as well where we cover almost all the country and our technical teams are always monitoring our network performance and taking action when and where needed. Are you in favor of privatization of the sector?


I am in favor of competition. Yet, Competition can take place with the current setup and as well as with the privatization setup however it happens in different ways depending on the set up. I am saying that because currently we do see some competition in the market and as an example, you can take the various offerings that we have and our competition doesn’t and the opposite is also valid e.g. our exclusive  U-Chat Plan - Army Line, Midline, etc…  If the decision to liberate the market is taken today, then the market will see more dynamism where the two operators will be competing to acquire and retain new customers, and operators will eventually have a free hand on the pricing side and to slash prices as much as  it’s economically viable but also they will need to come up with new offers in a higher rate that we currently see. People say “let the 3G work before jumping to 4G”, so are we jumping ahead of ourselves? We are not jumping ahead of ourselves, we can do both at the same time; deploying 4G LTE and being among the first operators worldwide to deploy this technology, doesn’t mean that we are neglecting investment on the 3G+ infrastructure. We are working on both in parallel. In fact, in areas where 4G LTE is not available, 3G+ is always available to offer the needed data services to subscribers, knowing that the 3G+ service offers as well a fast and reliable connection. We are expanding our 3G+ capacity and coverage and we have been working on enhancing the deep 3G+ indoor coverage or what is technically called the “U900” because a lot of people are complaining that they only receive the 3G+ signal outdoor but once they go inside their house they lose it. We already have around 100  related sites that are being equipped to enhance the indoor coverage, and they will be

so basically it means that: whatever level of service a customer gets through 2G, he/she will also get the same level  over 3G+ as well. So hopefully in the next couple of months you, and our Alfa customers, will cite the difference.  Which countries are considered to be the most advanced in Telecommunications?   The Scandinavian  countries and South Korea/Japan  are always ahead of everyone else in the world when it comes to telecommunications. They can also be considered in a better position when compared to the USA  or Europe  which has a less smartphone usage than us. In Lebanon the penetration rate of smartphones reached 60%.  and this high penetration rate puts more pressure on our network caused by this high date usage and consumption.  And why can’t we be among them?   First, who said we are not amongst them? What I can assure to you today, is that we are not that far; I mean we, as Lebanese individuals and mobile users using the telecom infrastructure, are as sophisticated as users in Europe or the United States are. We have high expectations, we demand a good- if not the best quality of service- and we are always up to date to the newest trends especially when it comes to technology. With regards to the quality of service, we have the best supplier in the world which is the Swedish vendor: Ericsson. According to feedback we got from Ericsson, out of the 3,000 clients they have all around the world, we, as Alfa, are above the average in terms of performance, network infrastructure and quality of service.  Take the drop-call rate as an example; the worldwide average for the drop call rate is between 0.8% and 1% while we are now at 0.4% to 0.5% on the Alfa network, which is below the average. This means that out of the 100 million calls our customers make per month, only around 400,000 calls drop which is really minor considering the high number of calls, and given the fact that we are always working towards reducing this rate

further through several actions.    You have to take into consideration that between 2002 and 2008, very little was being done in Lebanon in terms of upgrading the infrastructure due to the lack of needed funds. And let’s not forget that there are things that need to be provided so we are able to offer a seamless service and With time, the market will witness a surge in the devices supporting the 4G-LTE technology as users demand will increase, and this comes in conjunction with our expectations in the rise of Alfa data subscribers to more than one million by the end of this year especially that we are the first operator in Lebanon and 6th in the MENA region to having recently launched the 4G LTE service on smart phones with voice capability. be able to provide users with speeds that can reach up to 30 or 40 Megabits per second; this includes things like electricity or fiber optics. We need fiber connections to every site. We have 1200 sites in the country and none of them is connected through fiber optics. All our sites are connected through microwave links and this technology has limitations. A major component that affects the internet quality of service i.e. the internet gateway is not within the control of Alfa as it belongs to the fixed infrastructure provider.   Where are we now in terms of 4G LTE and where are we going?   When we first launched the 4G LTE in Beirut administrative area in May 2013, we distributed 150 4G LTE dongles to people so they can test the service and we mostly received a positive feedback from them. And as we promised before, by the end of the year, the 4G LTE network will be covering Greater Beirut, and main cities e.g. Jounieh, Jbeil, Batroun, Tripoli, Saida, Tyre, Baalbek and Zahle.  We are talking here about 25% of our network being equipped with 4G LTE, which covers around 40% of the Lebanese population.  The 4G LTE enabled devices are still scarce and that’s one of the reasons why customers are not very encouraged to subscribe to the 4G LTE service yet    Recently, I had the 1st  of its kind in Lebanon live Skype test call with your fellow blogger Amer Tabsh from Future TV on his tech segment

CLOUD #4 August 2013 “I-Tech” via a 4G connection established through an LTE enabled dongle connected to a laptop. To give you one example, Samsung Galaxy S4 for example is not 4G-enabled in Lebanon. But Samsung are providing us with several 4G-enabled devices so we can test  the service on them and see if it works or not. As for Apple, and in order for the 4G LTE service to run on their devices, they have to certify you as a mobile operator and acknowledge Lebanon as a mobile market on their map. We had been in contact with them for that purpose and even the Ministry of Telecom did contact them, but they were very slow to reply to us. We have recently signed an NDA with them which should enable the ball to start rolling.  Until only few weeks ago, they didn’t see Lebanon as a serious market and they tell us “you don’t exist on our map”. So for now, 4G LTE is available on dongles, tablets, and on several smartphones. Will 4G SIM cards be able to make regular phone calls? Voice over 4G LTE is still  under development in the most developed markets worldwide, but in the deal that we made with Ericsson, we got voice over 4G, but it requires certain upgrades on the

infrastructure and we have to wait till 2014 to get it working. Meanwhile, what we have launched in August is something called “CS Fall Back” which stands for “Circuit-switched (CS) fallback” ”. It basically downgrades you from 4G to 3G+ when you receive a voice  call. We tested it and it is working and now we are waiting for new Samsung devices to arrive to test it on them. Oh and by the way, the Circuitswitched (CS) fallback feature is offered exclusively by Alfa. Any new offers or packages from Alfa soon?  What we have in the pipeline is a new package bundled with handsets. It is almost ready as we are now finalizing discussions with the suppliers to have a variety of handsets in our stores so subscribers can choose the one they want with the connection they are subscribed to. There are certain conditions that will be taken  into consideration to make the subscriber eligible for the device like the history of the customer, his/her average bill … It can go up to giving the device to the customer for free.  A lot has been said about the telecom data and privacy issue, where do we stand? What I can say is that we are as private as Lebanon is (joking) and as open as our borders are. It’s not in our hands unfortunately as mobile operators though despite all measures that have been taken.  Our subscribers



COVER FEATURE database and its related info is secured with very limited access to it internally. Let’s not forget that  our country is a target by itself given the central location we enjoy in the region. Specialized Agencies  can even hack into our communications  remotely and without being connected to us to physically (internet, international, satellite, ect). We are not a special case however.  It’s the same everywhere in the World especially after the recent Snowden and NSA case. But if you think about it, most of the time  it’s for our own safety and security  when it’s regulated especially in countries like ours. It helped and will help to catch people who were planning to carry out terrorist attacks.   What we have is the data saying that a certain number called another number and the duration of the conversation and the date and time it happened. But we do not have the conversation itself. Lebanon has lot of application developers; do you have or are you planning to have any programs that help those people?  We have established an Application Store project in collaboration with the Ministry of Telecom, and so did our competition.     Maybe developers would prefer to feature their apps on the Apple Store or Play Store but you have to know that the advantage of our store is that it is dedicated purely to Lebanese developers. And Alfa customers can download those

applications whether they are free or for a fee. The same applications will be found on international stores; yet, the added value of our store is that it gives to the user the ability to pay through Alfa postpaid bill or Alfa prepaid credit account where the fees will be directly deducted from the customer’s account. Until now, not many people or users know about our “the Alfa mobile app store” and since its launch, only few people submitted their apps there. Therefore, we will do a few campaigns to promote and encourage developers to join us. We even had a few meetings with CEOs of Arab telecom companies to discuss the initiative to start a panArab store; but again, a market of 300 million users against a market of 5-6 billion customers worldwide meant that the project never took off. How do you evaluate your relationship with the online community?   To be honest, we were not that active with the online community. We recently started getting more active, with the Application Store project and now we are planning several events where we will invite bloggers and the online community to see with them how we can join hands.  Finally what can you tell us about the “Alfa 4-life” CSR Program? I always say that “Alfa 4-life” is


CLOUD #4 August 2013

our life. It is one of the few things we do on a daily basis with a smile, because we have a cause to defend and to promote in society. Unfortunately we have a lack of resources in Lebanon especially for children in communication needs, so we found a way on how to fill some of the gap. We are supporting many NGOs like SOS, Sesobel, Acsauvel, Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf and the Lebanese Autism Society (LAS) and it’s not just about donating a sum of money and taking a picture and then disappearing the next day. It’s a full program that runs all year long with specialized people for each of the NGOs. With SOS Villages for example, we have someone who teaches the children music and now they organize a concert at the end of each year, where we all go and sing with them. With the Lebanese Autism Society, and 2 years ago, we discovered an extremely talented young guy called Ali Tlais, we believed in his talent and have put at his disposal all the necessary elements for developing his artistic abilities including: drawing and painting lessons, needed material for practicing the paintings art and public exhibitions for public recognition. He is now a renowned painter doing yearly exhibitions and his paintings have been exhibited in Europe. He is also helping sustain his association: the LAS. In the end, I ask other companies to join forces with us in order to help and give back much more to society.

space as they begin working on their newest startup instead of using cafes or makeshift home offices at an affordable price.

Questions from our social media fans: Q – How much is your monthly mobile bill? A – I don’t know (joking). The company pays it. Q – Do you have a Touch number?

Coworking +961 by Paul Gadalla

A – Yes I do. I use it just to realize how better the Alfa service is (again joking). Q – What handsets are you currently using? A – iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Q10 Q – How many lines do you use? A – About 5. Q – If you were appointed the Minister of Telecom, what are the things you will do or change? A – If I was a policy maker, I will consider the lack of competition. But to be fair, since Nicolas Sehnaoui became Minister, lots of things changed. When we used to advise or recommend something previously, it used to take months for us to get an answer. But now we have a problem keeping up with the minister’s pace in doing things. For example, when we met and decided to launch 4G LTE, he wanted us to launch it the next week but obviously we couldn’t do that. I really wish he remains telecom minister in the new government. We have great mutual understanding and he is very close to the youth and the digital community, he is even ahead of us in some areas, he has a great relationship with the bloggers and digital community and knows their needs.


You mean there’s a place in Beirut where I can sit and work in peace? I can network with other entrepreneurs too? I can have a permanent desk as well? There’s even a garden you say? I can book meetings there too? I know what you are thinking, places like this do not exist and if they do you’d probably have to sell an organ to afford working there. Yes, I was amazed it was not a scam either. It’s actually Beirut’s newest coworking space, Coworking +961. What is coworking, you ask? It actually might be the solution to the many problems that entrepreneurs in Lebanon are facing, a lack of genuine connections and proper affordable office space that is conducive to creativity. Coworking is working in a shared office space. Different entrepreneurs rent desks for certain amounts of time so they have a proper office

Following in the line of Seeqnce, AltCity, and Berytech, Coworking +961 comes the latest space for entrepreneurs in Lebanon. Started by the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region and Bader Young Entrepreneurship Program and housed in a renovated Ottoman Villa in Beirut’s posh Sursock neighborhood, Coworking 961’s aim is to be “a place for the community from the community," as Jad Hilal who manages the space says “We want it to be a sustainable project.” Entrepreneurs are given several options. They can sit and work in the open lounge for $15 per day or $220 per month, or they can rent a desk for $250 per month. Coworkers are given unlimited access to the Internet, a private meeting room, a kitchen, and even access to an audio-visual studio. Even the garage has been renovated into an office and can be rented so entrepreneurs can earn the Apple badge of honor of having launched out of a garage. With four startups and the AUB Entrepreneurship Club using the space, Coworking 961 is already proving to be a place where the aspiring entrepreneur can finally have that space where he could be the next Steve Jobs.

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this page for me? Stop it. Can you recommend me some interesting page with views from Lebanon?”

- SKYPE Engagement

I overheard this story from the owners of Le Gustav. One day they were delivering an engagement cake. It was an elaborate cake so they were quite surprised to deliver the cake to an apartment. Once inside they saw two families occupying two opposite couches each having a laptop pointed at it. Both families were dressed to their T’s. Upon inquiring about the happy couple, they were informed that they are abroad and the whole ceremony is happening there, meanwhile the families decided to stream the celebrations via skype to have a shared experience. How’s that for technology bringing people closer together?


CLOUD #4 August 2013 album, liking it and commenting with something to the effect of: “ Ya 3imeme Allah Ykhallikon la ba3ed shu hilween!” A few months after that she traveled for pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Somehow she was able to get internet on her phone and was reporting live with not just photos but also videos consistently through her trip. I keep getting surprised how easily people across all ages are sharing things online now, when only a few years earlier they used to look in a judgmental manner if someone said “Let’s take a photo to post on Facebook”.

Social Media and tech gizmos have seeped into every aspect of our lives. In this column Darine curates the curious and funny anecdotes on how these new media have transformed day to day interactions. Share your own stories with her on twitter on @sdarine #SMLaughs or email

- But I do not like SAYFCO

Ever since my mother understood what I actually do for a living and that my work is linked to Facebook, she now thinks that all ads on the platform are served by yours truly. She thinks that all of them are my clients and that through the ads I try to tell her to like things I am working on. One day my mom tells me: “ Darine, everyday I log in to facebook I keep seeing 'Darine likes SAYFCO' I go to the page, but I can’t even understand what is there to like there, there are buildings and apartments and things I don’t LIKE! Why do you keep recommending


1- What is the funniest thing you’ve seen while you were on social media watch? Reading the same post or seeing the same photo on different business pages, who may sometimes even be competitors.  2- How did working in social media affect your personal social media presence? At first, my personal social media presence got me a job in social media. Now  that I am managing different accounts,   I’ve been a lot   less active  on my  own social media channels. 3- Share one tip you would give to other brands on social media. I would tell them: “Don’t buy   Facebook   Fans  or Twitter   followers!”  Bought fans never buy your product. The numbers of fans don’t really matter - having 25000 fans doesn’t mean your brand is powerful or loved if no one is engaging with you. All of these non-targeted fans will be irrelevant for your business, they may be from India or Pakistan or may not even be real people. 

#smlAUGHS by Darine Sabagh @sdarine

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- Unfriending Melodrama

4- What is your favorite social media network at the moment and why?

Training people of different ages on social media has its perks. Each age group has specific views and experiences in relation to those channels. One of the most interesting experiences for me was giving a session about Facebook to the AUB’s University for Seniors classes given by AUB’s Online Collaborative team. Aside from the fact that these elderly ladies and gentlemen are as rowdy as any class of children and hard to discipline, I have collected the most interesting anecdotes from just interacting with them for an hour and a half. An old lady approached me asking me how to unfriend a certain person on Facebook. Curious me asked her why does she want to unfriend this gentleman, to which she replied: “Because he’s dead.” Imagine how lost for words I was.

I am an Instagram addict. I post new pictures on a daily basis.  Instagram has  become the most popular – and most famous – app for sharing and viewing  photos. It allows and even encourages people to take and share photos that would otherwise not have been taken. it is quite fun to see the world from the different people’s eyes! I see it as a major addition to social networking life. 5- What do you think makes a community manager successful? Research, passion and creativity . 6- Content creation is probably the hardest thing in social media. How do you approach this? What are your tricks? How do you deal with content creator’s block and not being repetitive? Depending on the industry , I read on daily basis. I read different  international blogs and news sites.  I use   feedly   to access them all from one place I always  find interesting articles on these various topics. I monitor the web for fresh content using Google Alerts.  I also always check what is trending on different social media channels and share it on my pages.

- Live from the Ka3ba

My near 60 year old aunt traveled to Canada to visit her daughter and came back with a brand new iPhone, Facebook and Twitter accounts. What ensued was the traditional going through every photo in every relative’s

7- If you could work with any brand in Lebanon what would it be? I’ve worked with different Lebanese companies and brands including restaurants, NGOs, fashion brands and an art center. I would like to work with automobile company. 8- Tell us about the things that you are most proud of: by Darine Sabagh @sdarine

5 minutes with the Community Manager 'Joe Alam'

Things you did not know about 4G by Darine Sabagh @sdarine Before you get all excited about not having to wait for your Instagram stream to load and watching HD Youtube videos there are some things you need to know. - NO Coverage: Despite what the coverage maps of the mobile operators may say, coverage is poor or null at the edges of Beirut. So make sure to test before you actually buy a data subscription. In case you have already bought a 4G data plan and don't have coverage, some dongles support switching down to 3G if 4G is unavailable, so make sure you are getting that one. - Don't hurry to buy a 4G compatible Phone or Tablet For now 4G on your phone will only give you fast internet via dongles and routers. There is a bit of controversy on whether it supports tablets in Lebanon or not, but it's definitely not worthwhile to buy that LTE supported Smartphone. Though Alfa's billboards say that 4G is now available on tablets (something which their call center confirms), Touch on the other hand

have informed me via their social media channels that 4G is not available for mobile phones and tablets at the moment. In brief, up till now you can't make calls or send SMS with a 4G line. - Device Compatibility: Beware of getting devices from abroad. Equipment made for different continents are not always compatible, because of different frequency bands. - NO Roaming: While 3G Roaming is supported by Lebanese mobile operators on some mobile data plans, roaming is not yet supported for 4G. TO KEEP IN MIND FOR THE FUTURE - Four LTE Compatible Mobile Phones LG Optimus, Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5, Nokia Lumis 920 - Four LTE Compatible Tablets iPad 4, iPad Mini, Galaxy Note 10.1 LTE, Google Nexus 7 "Official device distributors in Lebanon have not yet released any 4G compatible models into the market. Which means that for instance, if you purchase a Samsung S4 now it will only run a 3G connection, even when 4G becomes available in Lebanon. " Don't hurry to buy a 4G compatible Phone or Tablet.

Community Managers are the super heroes in the shade who shadow brand pages and twitter accounts, embodying those brands and speaking to us with their voices. They are the ones who create amazing content that makes us like and share and ultimately welcome the brand to our daily offline lives. If you have been curious to know who those superheroes are, you are in luck! Every month we will be interviewing a Community Manager, to not only showcase their talents and wits, but also let you know the real people behind the brands. This time around we are interviewing Joe. Online you may know him as

the guy behind the Joe's Box blog. But not many people know that Joe is the voice behind several great brands that makes us drool over food-shots all day long, or make us rush out to buy a great pair of shoes or an item of clothing. He describes himself as a person “Living and Loving LEBANON!” and his personal accounts reflect a deeply rooted love for food, photography, travel and all things related to social media. You can follow Joe on Twitter and Instagram as @joesbox, as for the brands that Joe manages, he prefers to keep them a secret, but you would surely make a good guess if you follow him back. Let’s see how he sees the social media scene in Lebanon.

Well, one of the brands that I am managing  was nominated for a Social Media Award. What I am proud of this year is creating a series of small and nice unusual competitions and challenges for a restaurant that people liked and  which drove a lot of offline foot traffic to the restaurant and got it featured on different Lebanese blogs. What makes me even prouder is the success of a project with a very small budget . 9- What do you say when your bosses/clients ask you “Is social media getting us clients? Prove it! Social media can give your company many benefits – it can increase awareness, introduce you to new people and help with real time customer service. People don’t go to Facebook and Twitter to buy stuff. They go there to chat with friends, discover interesting content, check photos etc... They don’t go there to buy. People buy from companies and brands that they recognize and trust companies that they have some kind of relationship with them. I personally don’t use social media to direct sales  but to get attention, promote good relevant content, run contests, and of course create a brand identity .Once people recognize that you don’t just spam them but share stuff they like, they will follow and like your activities and after that will  definitely buy your product. It is easy to prove it : - Engagement, - Number of comments and share of different posts, - Number of check-ins  using Facebook or Foursquare, - And most importantly testimonials  which include user reviews , blog posts, Instagram photos, and even video. All of these are a fantastic form of user social proof. 10- The way people use social media is always changing. What are the latest trends that you have spotted?    Google Plus is  taking off, with more people perceiving it as a social network. Each month, data indicates significant increases in the number of new users, including businesses, who are starting to use Google Plus. Small businesses should really be taking notice of the many benefits awaiting them on this platform.



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Are QR codes dead?

5 interesting people to follow on Twitter By Mohammad Hijazi



by Mohammad Hijazi @Nouchaline If you are into fashion, then you will enjoy following Aline on Twitter. She is a fashion blogger at nouchaline. and is obsessed with nail art and shoes. She is also a marketing & media graduate from AUB and is an active member of the Online Collaborative.


For those of you who are interested in the Lebanese hospitality sector, you should follow Ziad Kamel. He is the CEO and co-founder of The Alleyway group which includes the premium French Bistro Couqley. He is also the treasurer of The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants in Lebanon and usually tweets about the state of the hospitality industry in Lebanon.


If you’re interested in Lebanese, Middle Eastern and International politics, then you should check out Marina Chamma on Twit ter. She blogs on about history, politics, society and culture. Marina has her Eye on the East, following the news with a touch of sarcasm and a sprinkle of poetry, to encourage debate and shed light on issues that matter to Lebanon and the region, in the midst of change … so that nothing is left unsaid.


Cynthia Bu Jawdeh is passionate about food and love working with food in all its aspects. For her, food is of a great social importance, giving all of us a national identity and a shared history. She blogs on Strawberry Blu, a social Q&A online space that answers questions on Food: Health, Wellness, Nutrition, Dieting, & Cooking. If you are into food (who isn’t?), then you must follow her

When was the last time when you saw a QR code in an advertisement and were excited to scan it, or on the back of your soda can and put it down to see what the code redirects too? Or even worse, when was the last time you stopped your car to snap a QR on a billboard? Chances are that the answer is long time ago, and you’re not alone. There are many reasons as to why QR codes are not getting hype anymore. The most common reason is that, believe it or not, a lot of people are still not aware what QR codes are or how to use them. Many don’t even notice their presence. QR stands for Quick Response. These codes are two dimensional barcodes and are supposed to be a simple way to link the user to other content such as website links, phone numbers, contact information or other text. The user scans the code using an application on their smartphone to encode its content. But even after you explain the concept to many people, they still do not use it very regularly out of inconvenience or laziness. Android and Apple smartphones do not come with a QR scanner application pre-loaded (87.6% of phones sold in 2012) and that’s where the confusion starts. Other users do not see the value of taking a minute of their time to pull out their phones to scan a code which will lead them to information that they might not be interested in. Even more disappointing is that many companies do not even know how to implement QR codes correctly. Many times, they are too small for the scanner to detect or placed in awkward or inappropriate locations that are hard to scan (such as billboards, t-shirts, bathroom walls, etc…). Other times, they link to websites that are flash-based or not mobile-friendly, thus ruining the whole experience for the user. QR placement is also very important; many companies fail to see that. They include these codes in places where there is no wifi or 3G signal such as airplanes or underground parking lots. Possibly, the only effective use of QR codes that I have seen is for sharing a BBM pin on Blackberry smartphones where the phone is equipped with a QR scanner and users can easily scan each other’s phone to get their pin. With so many alternatives such as SMS short codes, augmented reality apps, mobile applications, Bluetooth and NFC technologies, QR codes will end up in the digital graveyard right next to Google Reader and Google Buzz. Photo source:

by Darine Sabagh @sdarine

Even before their launch, Virgin Radio Lebanon has fully integrated social media and implemented a 360 approach to promoting Virgin Radio, its voices and its sponsors online through unique and interactive content and competitions which gave it a strong and passionate following and loyal satisfied advertisers. We are lucky enough to have our hands on some of Virgin Radio Lebanon’s social media stats. For one, the Virgin Radio Lebanon  facebook page is averaging at over 250,000 views per week and over 12,000 actual interactions per day. The station has also been the pioneer to embrace Whatsapp allowing its listners to message its for free. Based on statistics released by Virgin Lebanon’s team, they are averaging 4,000 WhatsApp messages per day and over 7,000 daily interactions through the Virgin Radio Mobile app.

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Nayla Salibi If you want to keep up to date with technology and social media, Nayla Salibi is a great resource for updates in this field. She works as a journalist for Radio Monte Carlo in Paris and has her own daily morning show called “e-mail” that discusses what’s new in this field.




by Darine Sabagh @sdarine



In June, Maxime Chaaya departed from Australia's Perth aiming to row over 6,600 KM across the Indian Ocean together with his team of two, plus boat, and iPhone to set a new world record and prove that anything is possible. Though Maxime's boat may not have had enough room for a nice bed, and is not even equipped with a bathroom,Maxime has made sure that he's connected to the world at all times through satellite internet. Besides being able to track his progress in terms of location and miles covered live on the website, everyone cheering was also able to enjoy a feel of what it's like to be on the boat through Maxime's daily tweet updates and photos. This not only makes this journey inspiring, but sets it apart in terms of social media presence. Finally, on August 5th, Maxime has made all of us Lebanese proud by setting two World Records, instead of the one previously anticipated.


Virgin Radio Lebanon is just two months young, and it has already caused a phenomenal  stir in the industry and the social media scene. 



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Knowledge Sharing Through Web 2.0 Tools? All You Need To Know. (Part 1) Maria Frangieh DBA in Knowledge Management and Web 2.0 in HR This article is the first of a series of three articles introducing the concept of knowledge sharing through Web 2.0 tools in organizations. The first article will overview and define key terms. The second article will discuss the relationship between the Human Resources department and Web 2.0 technologies, in addition to listing and describing the different Web 2.0 technologies. As for the last article the barriers to knowledge sharing through Web 2.0, the solutions and best practices will be elaborated. In 2006 Andrew McAfee stated in his article in the MIT Sloan Management Review “current technologies are not doing a good job of capturing knowledge. New platforms focus not on capturing knowledge itself, but rather on the practices and output of knowledge workers”. These technologies of the new enterprise (also known as Enterprise 2.0) are known as Web 2.0 tools and technologies. Knowledge management and organizational learning process are key concepts but they will not be discussed here. This article is dedicated to explaining knowledge sharing processes using Web 2.0 tools in an organization.

Apple’s iOS 7 Review by Ghassan Chokr

As many of you may have known, Apple released their latest mobile operating system – iOS 7 (Beta 1) – to registered developers earlier June 10th, 2013. As a software and SDK developer for iOS and Android, I find Apple’s innovation of their latest mobile operating system to be very fascinating and quite astounding. What to be expecting: User Interface Design (UI): The changes Apple has made to iOS 7’s theme are absolutely beautiful – an interface in a “whole different perspective”. The UI uplift brings a brand new set of icons, animations, notification center, dynamic wallpapers, and more. You’ll alsoa lot of glasslike transparency feel to it, especially to the keyboard. Moreover, the Parallax effect is what makes this version of

iOS ‘pop out’. The idea behind it is having the icons seem to be floating off the glass when tilting the phone slightly from side to side. Multi-tasking still runs the same way, but this time you get to see a screenshot of the apps running in a cover flow style instead of just icons. Siri has become smarter and actually cares how names are pronounced. The Camera app includes a couple new features and improvements such as real-time filters, slow motion video editing, and a newly designed camera roll to view your photos. There are many more uplifts Apple has made to the rest of their default apps such as the Clock, Calendar, Compass, Messages, Email and other.

I am sure many of today’s iPhone and/or iPad users are starting to give up on Apple and jumping onto Google’s Android OS – I don’t blame them. However, you might want to give this one a chance because Apple is about to change things around this coming September. I’ve done some thorough research in iOS 7’s coding, and seems like Apple is planning to include biometric fingerprint scanning in their next iPhone release in September – sorry Android users, but your rival is about to zoom past. On a side note, some users who have iOS 7 on their phone just for ‘personal use’ will most likely mention only the downside such as battery drain, slowness, app crashes, and so on - however, you must understand that the current version of this OS (Beta 4) is still in beta and mostly for developing – not personal use – at least until Apple’s Keynote in September. Definitely looking forward to its final release.

Knowledge sharing has always represented a preoccupation of organization’s management. But today with the spread of online social media and information sharing, organizations are now more interested in the topic, and this preoccupation is ranking higher in priority, especially when internal information is at stake, or when employees are considered as loosing time when accessing Web 2.0 tools and technologies, such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Wikipedia, Instagram, to name a few. Organizational Learning Process Huber (1991) identified an organizational learning process that consists of four steps: 1.

Knowledge Acquisition: process where skills, insights and relationships are developed or created.


Information Distribution (Knowledge Sharing): process where information that has be acquired is disseminated


Information Interpretation: process of interpreting and understanding the information by the organization’s units


Organizational Memory: process where the organization units store the information gathered throughout the first three steps.

In this article, we are only interested in the second step of the organizational learning process, which is knowledge sharing.

The Struggles of a Social Media Manager

The Good and the Bad of Knowledge Sharing

By Paul Gadalla @paulinbeirut Can I get a like? Just one more follower, please? Pretty please? These are the secret thoughts of a social media manager. Many would have it that we, who handle a company’s social media, merely get to play around on Facebook all day and secretly just look at cat memes. Contrary to popular belief being a social media manager is not just making a simple post or tweet. Followers, likes, ads, campaigns, interactions, negative feedback, disputes, complaints, new trends and the list of tasks goes on. Social media is now the frontline of marketing for all major brands and companies. A social media manager is one part marketer, one part spokesman, and one part customer service. In my experience, being a social media manager for a news startup was not necessarily a walk in the park, especially since we sell news produced by independent journalists to major news outlets, meaning we do not sell a product

open to the public. A social media manager has to find out who their target audience are and then figure out the proper tools to reach them. Should I use Youtube? Maybe Pinterest? Would that interest journalists? Ultimately after much trial and research I put the most effort in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as journalists use these the most to network and kept a Tumblr to display visuals. Many people treat social media now like a get-rich scheme and the ultimate marketing solution, which is a huge misconception. Often social media managers face the problem of the huge expectations that their posts will immediately gain the company notoriety and millions of likes and follows. As it was my case what social media managers should do-is hold something similar to a workshop on social media to inform their teams of proven methods that work and that can be used for their company so people understand that a Facebook post might not

solve their dilemna. At the end of the day, its good content that gets your company sales. Cleanup control: More and more complaints are now thrown up online. Social media being the frontline for marketing means a social media manager has to be always connected. Yes , I’ve actually pulled out my iPhone during a dinner to fix a broken link on twitter, and replied to Facebook comments while on the beach. A social media manager is the first to reply at all times and must do damage control as quickly as possible since brand pages are on display to everyone. So next time you see your friend who handles social media, make sure to give him a pat on the back.

When sharing knowledge employees are entrapped in an internal battle between the good and the bad of knowledge sharing. Why would employees share knowledge and why would employees restrain or sometimes think twice before sharing knowledge. The most common answer would be; for multiple reasons! A closer look at both sides of the plate will allow employees to weigh their decisions efficiently. Employees restrain from sharing knowledge for different reasons; they might not know how to effectively share knowledge, they might be afraid of not being appreciated, they might be afraid of not being rewarded for doing so, employees are often very busy and overlook knowledge sharing as a primary task. Professional employees might not be encouraged to share information fearing the information shared is erroneous or admitting that they are not knowledgeable about the topic in question. On a more personal level, individuals might feel threatened when sharing knowledge; their own value will be at stake, their prestige and recognition as well. Another aspect that plays an important role in the knowledge sharing decision of the employees is confidentiality, when it is not clearly stated employees will be reluctant about sharing any information fearing the negative consequences of such an action. And the list doesn’t end, it could get from as general as the organizational goals to the personal goals of employees.

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On the other hand, knowledge sharing has positive consequences on the organization, its environment and the work flow. When good ideas and practices are shared, efficiency is enhanced. When knowledge is acquired, distributed and reused organizational costs decrease, time is saved, innovation and discovery are generated. On a personal level, individuals will feel better off and improve their own skills. When problems are shared employees are emotionally relieved and tensions decrease. Professionals will increase their chances of bonding and connecting with each other especially when solving problems. A feeling of satisfaction will result since sharing knowledge will represent a charity act contributing to the society. Simply! Better solutions are implemented, especially when sophisticated ideas are shared. Web 2.0 Framework and HR Sharing knowledge inside the organization and between employees is a complex task. Which is the right information to share? Between which groups should it be shared? Who can have access to this information? Where should it be shared, using which platforms? Where should it be stored? How can it be protected? The below graph illustrates the simplest form of a Web 2.0 framework. When a company’s employees participate and contribute in the knowledge sharing process (inputs) and using the convenient platform and mechanisms (Web 2.0 tools), many outcomes will emerge, these outcomes cannot be planned but they will have a positive impact on the performance of the employees and the organization. For more information about the topic feel free to contact me on the following platforms: | MariaFrangieh

Maria Frangieh





• Dear OBI Sushi. You think you are smart but we all could see that you only followed us on Twitter after we checked in at M Gourmet and then you followed all their followers. Try to be less obvious next time!

• Dear Najwa Karam. Sheddile 7alik. Either learn how to type in Arabic or learn how to speak English. Hashtags like #JesmakHaykalRou7ak will not make everyone go to the gym but will make them think you’re jealous from Elissa’s green tea tweets.

• Dear MTV. We know it’s very hard to create content for social media, but re-using your old photos to promote fake news will not make you look more professional or give you an edge!

• So you think you’re so special, you took a photo with Lana Del Ray? I hate to break it to you (actually I love it), but everyone else on Twitter did too.

• Dear Virgin Radio. Let me say what everyone has on their minds. Whoever is handling your social media, FIRE HIM/HER and get a real community manager instead. People go on Virgin Radio’s page to know more about Virgin Radio. If they wanted 9gag, they would go to 9gag, and if they wanted to learn mathematics, they would go to school! • Dear Gino Raidy. Not everyone is out to get you and your thirst for spreading alcohol across the country. Double check your sources next time! Also, Coldplay better be coming to Lebanon or there will be a mob at your house ;) • Dear Beiruting. Stop killing off Sabah. That’s so 1995. • Dear LBC. How about you send your reporters to get real news stories instead of spending their whole day on Twitter? We don’t need news stories about what the tweeps’ reactions about a crocodile in Lebanon. • Dear couples who are getting married this season. We all love Facebook, but if you send me your wedding invitation via Facebook events, you will be receiving a Farmville pig as your wedding gift! • Dear job seekers. If your Linkedin name is spelled like this and you have sunglasses in your profile photo, I will make sure that you will not get a job anytime soon.

• Dear Darine Sabbagh (and all new mothers). We know that you have a baby now. Please stop showing everyone how disgusting it is.


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• Guide to starting a blog in Lebanon: 1. Have nothing else better to do. 2. Create an anonymous identity. 3. Discover 4. Bash everyone and everything. 5. Call yourself the only objective person/thing/group who can tell the truth like it is. 6. Create parody accounts to support your claims. 7. Wear a panda suit. 8. Get a potential lawsuit or worse, threat to be expelled from your university. 9. Write an emotional farewell post and claim that you are not afraid of the Social Media Mafia™. 10. Try not to cry. Cry a lot. 11. Use my bowtie to wipe your tears. • Why do I have a craving for grilled batatas? • How to make money off social media: 1. Make cake. 2. Create a twitter account. 3. Charge $100 per gram of cake. • Dear Pril. I don’t think your community manager knows the difference between a woman and a maid. Please give him the necessary sexism training before he/she makes ridiculous posts like this. P.S. Giving a massage? Really?

App Review: by Lynn El Bizri


If I had to name my favorite apps, would be in the Top 5. Not only have I been using the app to organize everything I do for over half a year, but it has also become a constant in my daily routine. User interface and experience are two very important aspects for me when it comes to apps, and excels in both. Simple, fun and free, it’s also beautifully designed. is based largely (not entirely) on gestures; to plan your agenda, you can drag and drop tasks, to mark off a task as complete you swipe it, and shaking the smartphone clears all completed tasks. Not only can you view your tasks by date – today, tomorrow, upcoming and someday, but you can also view them via customizable folders such as personal and work. As for task entry, it works through keyboard input or by voice dictation, and there’s also a handy auto-complete feature. A quick tap on the task entry itself gives you several options such as: priority, folder, reminder, notes and share. There’s even an Chrome extension, so you can turn emails into actionable tasks. One of my favorite features is the Any.Do Moment, a feature of the app that allows you to sort your daily to-do list and turn it into a sort of daily planner to easily re-prioritize your tasks. Any.Do Moment is activated every day at a specific time that you set and simply presents you with your list of to-dos for the day, one by one. This feature helps you make decisions about whether to check off a specific task for the day or push it off to another day. For each task, you can decide whether you want to do it today or later. If you choose today, you are shown options for morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night. If you push the item off to ‘later’, you can then specify whether you want to be reminded tomorrow, in two days, in a week or ‘someday’. If you couldn’t get enough of, the makers of the app recently launched a calendar app ‘Cal’, which brings the simple and stylish design sense of to an app designed specifically to quickly find locations, manage events and invite others to them.

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Meet the Blogger by Paul Gadalla @paulinbeirut If you google places like Bourj Hammoud, Hamra, or Oyyoun el Samak you’ll most definitely come across Mich Café. Voted Lebanon’s most popular lifestyle blog at this year’s Social Media Awards, Micheline Hazou’s blog has managed to pull in readers as she bounces back between life in Lebanon, the Middle East and all the small moments in between. Her posts have taken readers from the falafel shops of Hamra to the lives of Armenian Genocide survivors to roadtrips up to Akkar. Having worked in news, she knows how to craft a story and elaborate on many cultural experiences and traditions in the region that we often forget and take for granted.

Confessions of a Failed Blogger by Lynn El Bizri


So what’s behind the title, why the café? Once upon a time, social media was very simple. On Twitter for example, we greeted each other every morning, chatted a lot and invited each other for virtual coffees… at Mich Café. And a hashtag was created for the virtual coffee shop. At first I was reluctant to start a blog. I didn’t know what I would write. I kept putting it off, telling myself I would start it when I found a good name. Then my friend Pascal Assaf said what better name than Mich Café for the blog and pushed me to start it. Other friends joined in. Naeema Zarif designed the header and Abir Ghattas added the Arabic calligraphy. Also, I have always wanted -- and would still like -- to own a café. Maybe one day there will be a real Mich Café.

A lot of your posts bring to life the spices and aromas of the Middle East. Are you proud to be from the region? Of course. I am proud of being Arab. Do you think your experience in news has helped shape your blog? It has certainly taught me to write responsibly. To always check my facts. To link sources and always give credit where it is due.

Sometimes your posts are very personal, even touching on personal subjects like the loss of loved ones. Do you feel bloggers should open up more? It depends on the blog and the blogger. Blogs are personal. They reflect the views of the blogger, unlike newspapers and magazines that reflect the view of the publisher. Personally, I can only write about something I am interested in and feel strongly about.

Your posts can be very compelling, and often pull the reader into your journeys. Do you think having lived in multiple countries contributed to this? Possibly. The most important thing for me is to write from the heart. I am very passionate about Mich Café. I think of what I could write about all the time, wherever I am and whatever I see.

You’re also quite popular on Twitter, do you think your Twitter presence helped promote the blog? I don’t know about being popular, but definitely Twitter and Facebook help promote a blog. Without Social Media it is more difficult to reach a wide audience.

My first blog was born in Wordpress around 5 years ago during the summer of 2008. I was moving away from home to my university’s dorms and wanted to document my experience during this new chapter in my life. I also wanted a platform where I could express my thoughts and feelings on different matters. My first blog lived for around a year before Architecture took its toll on me and I began to slack on my blogging duties. The fact that one of my professors stumbled across my blog after googling his name and decided to share it with the class didn’t help much either. Blog #1 died soon after.

When approached me around a year ago and requested if I would be one of the bloggers on their website, I was over the moon. I had one more chance to give this blogging thing a shot and the best part was I didn’t have to face most of the obstacles I did the first two times around. The website was already up and running, I loved the look of it and their views were skyrocketing. All I had to do was write..easy! Or so I thought until a month or two later when I self-diagnosed myself with blogger’s block. Suddenly, coming up with topics and putting together posts became more of a torturous chore than a passion-filled experience and words that once flowed like rivers suddenly fell like drops out of a dripping tap. It was then that I realized and decided that blogging just wasn’t for me.

The idea behind my second blog came to mind a few years later alongside a new and renowned passion for photography. Adamant to show off the photos I was taking on a regular basis, I was determined to bring this blog to life. Being the extremely picky person that I am, I spent a couple of painstaking days choosing the platform (I ended up deciding on Tumblr), the theme, the header and the widgets as well as writing up the first post (which itself took a few hours for me to complete). Yet with those done, the blog was officially born and I was a proud parent…well at least for a couple of weeks. The lack of viewers and comments eventually demotivated me, and my time for shooting dwindled. I bid farewell to Blog #2 on March 24th, 2011.

Needless to say, I do know somewhat where and how I went wrong, and so I offer the following as personal advice: know exactly what you are going to write about or at least define your interests. Also, if you can, prepare the topics of your blog posts in advance and have a brief mental outline for them ready so you don’t waste too much time when you sit down to write. Lastly, blogging isn’t for everyone, so just give it a shot (or a few), and if it doesn’t work out, there’s no shame in joining our ranks ;)



Inspiring People from The Lebanese Online Community Fida Chaaban By Mohammad Hijazi


In an attempt to promote inspiring stories about people from the Lebanese Online Community, we, at Cloud961, have decided to dedicate a monthly column to interview an inspiring figure that has left a mark in the Lebanese online sphere. For your suggestions for this column, feel free to email me on Fida Chaaban is the Editor in Chief of RAGMAG Magazine. She is an avid tweep who joined Twitter after moving to Lebanon from Canada just over three years ago. Q: What is your relationship like with the Lebanese Online Community? A: The relationship I have with the online community has actually made me a happier person in Lebanon. I’ve met a lot of my close friends here through Twitter. Initially, my interaction was more of a learning experience, and now it’s basically the place where I go to keep updated on what my friends (tweeps) are up to. In addition to the personal side of it, I interact daily with the magazine’s readers via Twitter. Their comments on everything related to RAGMAG are welcome at all times, and Twitter makes it easy for them to discuss with me directly how they feel about our content. I think there are a few bad apples in every bunch, and our online community is no different than any other in this regard. I try as much as possible to keep the gloves on, so to speak. Q: What is the best thing that happened to you through social media and what is the worst/creepiest indecent that you encountered? A: The best thing that happened (and continues to happen) is when our readers tweet at me to share a picture of themselves with the magazine or when they tell me that they identify with one of our articles The creepiest incident? A random tweep tagged me, Shakira and Marcel Ghanem in a tweet with a picture of himself reclining in a sort of Arab tent scene. At first I thought there was a gun next to him in the picture, but it wasn’t clear enough to tell for certain. I think the last time I looked, I felt that it was something like a TV remote control, not a gun. And about him tagging me with Shakira and Marcel Ghanem, well I’m not sure what the link is there. Other than that, I don’t mind negative comments – everyone’s got an opinion and far be it from me to infringe on that. Different communication methods suit different people.     Q: Do you think that the Lebanese online scene has become more aggressive and hateful lately? A: I do think that actually. Aggressive can have either a positive or negative connotation and in this case, I feel that it has both. We are definitely advancing, aggressively campaigning the strength of the online community which is positive. That being said, I also see the negative and somewhat alarming hate tweets, posts and persistent bashing – a few of my friends have been victims of what I consider cyber-bullying. Social media gives everyone a voice, and sometimes that voice is very, very ugly. Like any medium, you’ve got the good, the bad, and the ugly. In this case, unfortunately, I’ve noticed an escalation since the first announcement of this year’s Social Media Awards, maybe back in February.   Q: How has the online community contributed to the success of your career or RAGMAG?  A: The online community has shown us a great deal of support! The online community has pushed us further than any other group or entity in this country – not to say that we don’t appreciate all of the help we’ve been given by “offline” people – but the number one strength of RAGMAG is the active online people of Lebanon. We are part and parcel of the community and we have seen them stand by us through everything. I think the tweeps are the reason RAGMAG continues to succeed, simply because they are the people who advocate for us.  

Q: Do you think it is easier or harder to discuss taboo topics on social media and in your experience, what is the reaction of the online community to such topics? A: I personally don’t find it hard to discuss “taboo” topics at all. There are no taboo topics for myself personally or for RAGMAG in the professional sense. Everything can be treated with candour and elegance, and we try to face every subject with dignity and respect. One of our readers once tweeted that “RAGMAG is #TrueTalk” and I like having that reputation for myself and for the magazine. I guess things like sexuality, religion and the like are considered taboo? Not for us and not on our social media platforms – that said, it means that we take a purely liberal standpoint. We don’t have issues stating our stance on any number of subjects publicly, this is part of the magazine’s strategy of creating open dialogue and removing stigma off topics that are uncomfortable or “taboo” in the Middle East. I think for the online community, although I can’t speak on their behalf, the reaction to our openness has been largely positive. I have yet to have anyone tell us not to discuss anything “taboo”.   Q: What do you think about the state of the blogging community in Lebanon right now, especially after many bloggers have retired from blogging, some for personal reasons and others for lack of support from the community?  A: I think the blogs are not as stimulating as they were two years back. Further back than that I can’t really comment since I wasn’t fully in the loop during my first year in Lebanon. I also think that like any other medium, blogging can be very well done and it can be very poorly done. As I don’t blog personally, I’m really not the best judge of what a “good” blog might be, however I can say that there are only a handful of blogs in the Middle East that I enjoy reading. The others I read just to remain in the loop of what is on the mind of the online community. Q: What are some challenges that you face by being on social media as a professional?  A: I think the biggest challenge is resisting the urge to correct my typos! No, really there isn’t much of a challenge per se? At least I don’t see one. I think if you use social media, you should enjoy it. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen, so to speak.   Q: After living most of your life in Canada, why would you come to Lebanon to run a magazine?  A: I thought Gina Gabriel’s vision for RAGMAG was worth exploring. It was a perfect storm of factors that preceded my move to Lebanon.  I was born and raised in Canada, so I definitely had an adjustment period initially, but RAGMAG has made every second worthwhile!


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Q: How is the Lebanese social media scene different from the Western one? A: Professionals in the West are way more heavily invested in their social media personas. I feel that Twitter for example is only now catching on here with professionals, and it’s a great tool for career advancement when used properly.   Q: Do you agree that print media has become a dying business? As an Editor in Chief of a magazine, how do you make sure that you reach your target audience? A: Well, I personally love the texture and feel of printed material. I’m an avid magazine reader so you’re barking up the wrong tree. Some of my favorite magazines are The Economist, Intelligent Life, Vanity Fair, Executive, Esquire and Rolling Stone. As for reaching our target audience, we don’t advertise so all of our readers have been organic. We do place back issues of the magazine in places where our readership are likely to find us like beach resorts, gyms, and the like.   Q: Do you believe that freedom of speech should not have limits online? And when do you think it stops being freedom of speech? A: There is a fine line between stating an opinion and sheer harassment. I don’t believe in censorship, but people are allowed to say what they want, when they want. I think any point you want to make, you can make elegantly. No need for fuss and muss – incidentally, it often weakens your position and encourages people to view you as less credible. Less is more. As for limits, again I don’t believe in censorship so I don’t have an idea of what kind of “limits” others would choose to impose. I disagree with this “limit” idea since who gets to be the person who draws the line? It’s all very subjective.  

CLOUD #4 August 2013


How will Bank Audi’s Emall impact e-commerce In Lebanon? by Darine Sabagh @sdarine News have been in the air for two years now that Bank Audi is planning to launch an online mall, with a grand event end of June, Audi has finally launched their Emall. Emall is not merely an e-commerce storefront for lebanese brick and mortar shops, it also has a daily deals arm, a US Shop outlet for shopping outside of Lebanon, an even section and other different sections targeted to promoting Bank Audi products. With this positioning, Bank Audi aims to overtake the virgin e-commerce market in Lebanon and also expose Lebanese merchants to buyers from abroad. But let us take a closer look at what has happened to Emall since its launch. Is it really what will finally spark online businesses to thrive in Lebanon or will it drive more nails into its coffin? Let us compare the idealistic and the pessimistic scenarios from some aspects of the platform that come to mind whilst browsing the site.

What does Emall offer buyers? The optimistic view. Buyers from abroad can buy Lebanese products, this has been the positioning of Audi at the press conference launch showing traditional Lebanese products such as sweets and hand-made crafts traveling across the globe from Lebanon. On the other hand local buyers would be

able to buy from the convenience of their homes and the items would be delivered to them within a couple of days by Aramex. An added benefit is the low 3% online transaction fee charged for credit card payments, which is slightly less than what you have to pay on other sites. The pessimistic view. Going through the merchants on the platform, there are not enough big merchants in the domain of Lebanese signature food and handcrafts and the merchants that are there are too few or have too few items listed in their storefronts. Is that enough to get the buzz from Lebanese expats? There are so many risks that buyers can face on the platform. For starters you cannot consolidate your shopping cart which means buying from different merchants results in multiple shopping carts and multiple delivery charges. Another point is that deleting, modifying and returning orders and any other problems need to be taken up with the merchants online. So in essence upon making your order your money goes to the merchant while you are left to await and hope that the goods actually arrive and that they are as good as stated. Knowing the Lebanese embedded hesi-

tation to shop online, the above will only cause more friction points leaving them feeling exposed and just browsing collections and then going to the actual stores if they are in Lebanon. Looking deeper, as based on Emall’s subscription models, stores are only allowed to upload a maximum of 60 items. Emall would hardly replace the experience of going to the physical shop. Another point to wonder about is whether the cost of delivery would actually make it worthwhile for you to buy the item online in the first place.

What does Emall offer merchants? The optimistic view. The low cost to entry, including a waived set up and maintenance fees for the first three months should get merchants jumping on the platform like bees on honey as building your own ecommerce site costs are in the tens of thousands. - An added bonus is being amongst several other merchants which should increase the number of visitors and potential buyers on the site. - What should act more to attract merchants is being a part of an entity built by one of the biggest banks in the

country logically means that this platform would be well advertised and will have great mentions in the media which eventually should give more visibility to merchants. - Additionally, merchants do not need to worry about delivery logistics as Aramex will take care of everything. The pessimistic view. This Emall model offers several limitations to merchants as well. - Depending on the store level merchants choose, they can only upload a maximum of 30-60 unique products; which is a drop in the ocean to any store. - Although delivery logistics are taken care of, merchants will need to figure out how they handle order management, order logistics, complaints, returns, CRM and many other aspects of shopping online. - Knowing traditional brick and mortar merchants and the risks involved in e-commerce projects rollouts, it can be foreseen that many merchants may not update their storefronts in a timely manner, especially if the flow of orders is not there, and this can be a great potential risk to their credibility and the credibility of the whole platform.




CLOUD #4 August 2013

CLOUD #4 August 2013

SOCIAL MEDIA & DEAD PEOPLE Crowdfunding Comes to Lebanon By Paul Gadalla @paulinbeirut You want to do what? You want to invent what? Who would pay for all that? Just get a real job! These are things we often hear when we propose something innovative or creative that automatically does not yield concrete financial results here in Lebanon. Crowdfunding though might just be the way out of this current mind. Crowdfunding is a recent phenomenon across the globe where people can open source funding for their projects, and there is now over a 100 crowdfunding platforms in the US alone. In our part of the world though, there is a mere one crowd funding platform until now. On a humid July night, Zoomaal, Lebanon’s first, and the Arab world’s second crowd funding platform went live. Residing at the moment in Coworking 961’s space in Beirut’s Sursock neighborhood, Zoomaal is already taking on different projects. In a country where asking for investment for a project often means selling your soul to some mob boss disguised in a suit whose only interest is maximizing profits, Zoomaal gives the Lebanese creative scene a new sense of liberation. Zoomaal, meaning one who has money in formal Arabic, is Lebanon’s first crowdfunding platform to help fund “All things creative in Lebanon and the Arab world and its tailored for that” says CEO Abdallah Absi. Known as the man who has had more startups in his life then many other entrepreneurs in Lebanon, Absi who is merely 21, realized through his numerous startup experiences that Lebanon needed crowdfunding., “A lot of projects can’t find funding anywhere and end up being terminated. We want to make sure we nurture creativity and innovation through this platform.” Zoomaal’s first crowdfunding project is popular Lebanese indie band Mashrou3 Leila’s 3rd album. Refusing deals from major record labels in the name of keeping their own independence, Mashrou3 Leila decided to leave their financial fate in the hands of their fans. “No one in the business world is a fan of purity. They always want to tweak something, to change your image. Crowdfunding was a great way for us to maintain our freedom” says guitarist Firas. When asked why Mashrou3 Leila decided to use Zoomal for their first crowdfunding campaign he said “Zoomaal only focuses on Arab creativity. They seduced us quickly. The clarity and simplicity of what they wanted to do is what lured us in.” But will crowdfunding catch on in Lebanon? With major investors being scared to invest in anyone or anything deemed “risky” and e-transaction laws non-existent, there is the fear that crowd funding might not catch on but Zoomaal’s founder already begs to differ, “We are impressed with the traction we already have. We thought that most funders will come from the West, but we have been proven wrong. We already have

more than 544 funders who are mostly in the Arab World.” With Mashrou3 Leila already having raised $67,123 it already seems we might have finally found our way out of the evils of wasta and soul-selling to actually being able to fund new and innovative projects in our corner of the world or as Mashrou3 Leila puts it “It gives us hope to be artists instead of being stuck between working or selling our soul.”

Crowdfunding Regulation The Capital Market Authority regulates all things related to capital markets in Lebanon. Upon writing this article the Capital Market Authority passed a recent decision on how to regulate crowdfunding in Lebanon. Although Zoomaal is US incorporated, similar crowdfunding sites in the future might not be. How will new Lebanese platforms e.g.: Mawelna, an Equity crowdfunding MENA based platform, react facing the new regulation? How exactly will crowd funding in Lebanon now be regulated regulated?

Here’s what you need to know: • There is no stipulation between equity crowd funding and regular crowd funding making the law vague. • The minimum capital requirement for any crowdfunding platform is LBP 1 Billion or USD 663,500. •Any crowdfunding contribution or investment must be a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $10,000. • The time frame of any crowdfunding project must not exceed 180 days. • Lebanese Crowdfunding platforms are prohibited to be placed on a shared cloud computing. • Crowdfunding platforms must present to the Capital Market Authority a list of Antivirus, Antispam, Firewalls used in addition to a proof of a genuine and solid platform platform. • The platforms must present to the Capital market Authority a quarterly based report on their operations, technical updates… Special thanks to Tarek Matar @tarmatar from Mawelna for his contribution to this article.

Social media after death: has the human race achieved immortality? 

by Mohammad Hijazi


The main purpose of medicine and the thousands of years of trying to perfect it is to extend a human’s life and eventually achieve immortality (through robotics for example). What the internet, social networks in particular, unexpectedly achieved is another type of immortality: digital immortality. Yet, people don’t usually think about what happens to their social profiles online once they are deceased, until they are forced to when someone close to them dies. According to a study done for the purpose of this article, 65% of the respondents have at least one deceased person as a connection on their social media platforms. Only 12%, however, are aware of Facebook’s and Twitter’s procedures for deceased people. Facebook’s official policy for deceased people who have profiles on their site is to turn it into a memorial where “people can save and share their memories of those who've passed.” This setting hides the profile from people who are not connected to the deceased person, removes old status updates and contact information, disables the ability to log into the account and no longer suggests this person as a recommended connection to other people. To request this setting, family or friends of the deceased have to fill in a special form for this purpose and have to submit a proof of death, such as an obituary, death certificate or news article. Twitter on the other hand would close a profile of a deceased person and provide an archive of their public tweets if requested by family members. Linkedin offers a similar procedure where a “Verification of Death Form” must be submitted online through DocuSign and proof of death is needed. However, anyone can submit this form, not necessarily friends or family. Linkedin, in this case, would delete the deceased person’s profile from its site. All social networks also agree that they do not grant access to private information to anyone, including family, in case the account creator dies, unless ordered by court. This is a crucial regulation that ensures the privacy of the deceased person and prevents conflict, even though 19% of our survey respondents said that

family or friends should have access to their accounts after death while 69% said that they would give their passwords to trusted friends/family members to access or delete their accounts after death. Interestingly, there are services that are dedicated for managing a person’s online presence after death. Legacy Locker is one of them. Users can create a free account to store three assets such as login information to their accounts or an online will and designate one person who can access this information after they pass away. Other startups help users post to their social media platforms after they die. DeadSocial allows users to schedule posts long into the future for the purpose of being able to say final goodbyes after a person has passed away. It covers Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin platforms. Similarly, If I Die can send private Facebook messages or emails that contain more personal content such as confessions of love, apologies, secrets or bank information only after three trusted people have confirmed a person’s death. Another startup that may be a bit more extreme is _LivesOn. Rather than just scheduling future posts and messages, this service studies a person’s twitter account while alive to understand the behavior of the person (tweets, favorites, retweets, and writing style). After that person passes away, this program mimics the person’s tweets and creates new content using artificial intelligence. In other words, it would carry on tweeting using the person’s voice and serves as a content-recommendation engine as per the person’s personality. The topic of death might still be a taboo, but social networks are forced to implement regulations for the millions of deceased users on their platforms. Some startups have turned this into potential businesses while others are trying to make this transition as smooth as possible. Social networks have now gotten the human race closer to immortality, but the question remains: where do you draw the line between what’s acceptable and what’s creepy?




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SOCIAL MEDIA & DEAD PEOPLE How many deceased people do you have as connections on your social networks?

Legacy Locker is a company that deals with your online profiles once you die. You can create a free account and store up to three assets (e.g., login information), designate one person to retrieve those assets should you pass away and write a Legacy Letter. Legacy Letters are messages the company will deliver to designated recipients after verifying that you've died. Would you use such a service?

How do you/would you react to having someone who has died as a connection on a social network?

YES 53%

No reaction. Remove the account (unfriend/unfollow).

21% 2

25% 1




NO 47%

Go to the person's profile and read all the comments that people have left. Report the account to the social network so that they can take appropriate action.

12% 3

35% 0

Leave a comment for the deceased person. Freak out and have a meltdown.

Deceased people Percentage


2% 2% 4 7 1% 2% 5 10+


0% 6

0% 0% 8 9


After a person has died, should his immediate family or close friends have access to the account? (Including messages, chat logs, etc...)

Would you give the passwords of your social media accounts to a person you trust to access/delete your accounts after you pass away?

6% 8%

YES 61%


7% 2%

YES 19%

What do you think should happen to a person's social media account once he/she dies? Nothing, it stays as it is. The social network should be informed to close the account. The deceased's friends or family should close his account. The account should be archived and existing friends/followers can still view the updates and photos. The account should be memorialized, all content is hidden but people can still interact with the account.

NO 81% NO 39%

When you die, what should happen to your social networks? I don't care. I would be dead and it doesn't really matter to me. I want my account to be deleted. I want my account to still be there so that my loved ones and friends can still see my old updates and leave me comments.

Would you leave a message on the birthday of a deceased person?

Are you aware of Facebook's and Twitter's procedures for profiles of deceased people?




17% 34% 12%


YES 27% 19%

14% 4%



NO 73%

YES 12%

NO 88%



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CLOUD #4 August 2013

#Iftar By Paul Gadalla @paulinbeirut Tech, startups, new inventions, collaboration, debate, and food! That basically sums up AltCity Media’s weekly Wednesday Iftar. AltCity, one of Beirut’s budding coworking spaces, decided to kick off Ramadan the right way by bringing the entrepreneur community together to break their fasts each Wednesday night. To celebrate the opening of their new dining space, Mezzanine Café, AltCity brought in different speakers each week to discuss a range of topics and ideas effecting Lebanon. Attendees could choose to pay LL 25,000 (a bargain by Beirut prices) to have Iftar or merely mingle and debate with fellow entrepreneurs and geeks. As AltCity Media owner, Munir Nabti, put it “It’s a way for the community to get together, talk, and break bread.” Starting off with a talk on spirituality, each week brought in new themes and presenters. Speakers would present followed by an intermission for those fasting to be able to eat. After the breaking of the fast the platform would be open

to discussion with other spaces at AltCity being open for workshops. Talks also focused on gaming in Lebanon that might soon witness NetSquared’s first video game tailored for Lebanon, Rise of the Phoenix, with the aim of teaching Lebanese youth conflict resolution. Ending the series of Iftars, and my favorite night, was a round table discussion on the Lebanese entrepreneurship ecosystem in times of instability, lead by representatives from various government bodies and Seeqnce CEO, Samer Karam. Karam spoke about his own personal experiences of accelerating startups in Lebanon and even opened a controversial debate on how Lebanon could possibly use new potential brought in by Syrian entrepreneurs seeking refuge here. With the café filled with people dining and debating, it definitely lived up to its slogan of “Eat. Meet. Startup.”

HOROSCOPES ARIES (March 21 – April 19)

LIBRA (September 23- October 22)

This time of the year brings new influences, so if you’ve been feeling stuck or that life has become a bit too routine, you will like the changes that are in store for you. You’re likely to experience strokes of luck regarding any plans for your home, so hit baytbaytak. com and you just might find that apartment you’ve been searching for months for!

Business will occupy most of your time this month, and you will not have the luxury to drop all your responsibilities to focus on any one thing or person. However, it may be nearly impossible to postpone an obligation, specifically a family one. The ability to multitask will be the key to your success, and apps like Evernote and should help you stay on top of things.

TAURUS (April 20 – May 20)

SCORPIO (October 23- November 21)

New arrangements in your life seem to be getting your personal affairs on a more secure track and you will feel this urge to have that long-postponed heart-to-heart with a dear friend or a loved one. Good communication is where it’s at, so ditch Facebook chat and Whatsapp, choose somewhere nice, and tell them it like it is.

You don’t want to abuse your relationships with people, so you rarely call on them for assistance. Don’t feel guilty about asking for help though. Most likely, a few favors are due to you, so make use of that expansive and extensive online network you have to help you move forward with your situation.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22 – December 21)

Jumping to conclusions may be fun and easy, but it just makes things unnecessarily complicated in the long run. Don’t believe everything you see or read on Facebook, and hold off on any hasty judgments you make before all the evidence is in. You might just save yourself a lot of time and trouble that way.


Unexpressed hurt may be transformed into anger, which in turn could grow into resentment. You won’t want to agitate the feelings of someone close to you, but you need to express exactly what’s bothering you. Rather than trying to vent through a status update or subtweet, confront that person face to face, you’ll feel much better afterwards.

#IVYSBIGREVEAL By Paul Gadalla @paulinbeirut Who is she? What do you think she’ll look like? Do you think she’s a total weirdo? Why now? Maybe it really is @GinoRaidy and @LeNajib. These were the thoughts racing through my head as I made way to the Le Gray Hotel for #IvysBigReveal.

anonymous women is. Finally as the music went off and the RAGMAG and VeroModa teams took to the stage to make the big announcement, people looked around and braced themselves on who Ivy really could be.

Anonymous bloggers are not new to the Lebanese blogosphere. @IvySays for years has kept us wondering who is this female blogger really is. Ivys Blog has touched on a variety subjects, from dating advice, to what to wear and what to eat. Her tongue in cheek style of blogging has kept people asking who she is in reality. Finally this past month Ivy took the big leap into revealing the woman behind the blog. With the support of the RAGMAG team and VeroModa, Ivy went all out for her big reveal. Held at Beirut’s prestigious Le Gray Hotel’s rooftop lounge, Cherry on the Rooftop, tweeps and bloggers were treated to a night of drinks and dancing, all the while waiting for the big moment on whom this

And Ivy turned out to be none other than…Dana Khairallah. Yes, that’s Ivy’s real name. Telling the audience she had finally decided to reveal herself for the purpose that her anonymous identity had started to become a hurdle to more opportunities and meeting people, Dana was the total opposite of my expectations. Taking pictures with fans and answering questions, I was pleasantly surprised to find her to be a tall, elegant, and soft-spoken lady and not merely a disgruntled woman sitting behind a computer screen as some had been assuming. With Ivy, I mean Dana, now out in the open I’m sure we can expect to see her at many more events.

Photo: BeirutNightLife

Tanya El Bizri

CLOUD #4 August 2013


Mix your reality with a bit of fantasy this month, Leo. Take a break from the online world and kick back for a while and rest. Alternatively, take a mini vacation or spend a weekend outdoors. Try to spend some time meditating and clearing your head of any worries. Calming, relaxing activities will be the best thing you can do this month.

VIRGO (August 23 – September 22)

You might need to put some effort into furthering your career or just improving your life this month by attending networking events or learning new skills. Visit, and check out what conferences, workshops, or fun activities are happening this month. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

In situations involving work or money, be diplomatic when asking questions. This is a good time for you to connect with people to move forward in business, but subtly find out relevant information. LinkedIn is an ideal place to start especially since you should tread lightly when delving in other’s business.

CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19)

Business or love from afar is likely to consumer your attention this month. Affairs in another country are a highlight making a vacation or business trip a possibility. The stars make this a positive time to travel, both on a personal and professional level, so invest in some handy travel apps like Travel App Box and be on your way!

AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 18)

There will be a strong emphasis on your work life and health this month. It would be advisable to try a new approach and pay more attention to taking care of yourself. It will be important to eat properly, get plenty of rest and find an exercise program you can live with. Downloading some fitness apps such as Endomonodo and Fitbit would be a good way to start.

PISCES (February 19 – March 20)

Your love life will be satisfying and you’ll strengthen the ties with someone you care about. However, whether a new love interest or an existing partner, make sure to not limit yourself to online interaction. Face to face communication is key in any relationship, so get away from your screen and go somewhere nice and far away from civilization for some special time together.


Cloud961- September 2013  
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