WEBsessed
Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Archive for the 'Events' Category


What makes this year’s World Cup a whole new experience? 1

Well, you figured right. It is the first time being hosted in Africa. BUT that’s not all…

Back in 2006, we didn’t have Facebook (the majority of the world beyond US schools) nor Twitter or the dozen other social networks we have today.

Funny thing is that I asked several people at the office just now but no one thought of that. Don’t know what to make of it, either I am too obsessed or they are totally in a different world all together.

So looking forward for all the tweets while watching decisive games this time around!

ArabNetMe afterthoughts 1

So we talked about my feelings before; now here are my afterthoughts on the conference!

The short version:

It was great in so many ways to participate @ArabNetMe the past couple of days. The energy, the spirit and the conversations were all too amazing.

The longer version:

It felt at home away from home, with the significant number of Jordanians participating as well as the lingo, the issues the whole cult built around web entrepreneurship.

The tweeting, I just loved the tweeting…best solution to my short attention span problem!

The numerous coffee breaks were very thoughtful and worked very well I think.

However, did the sessions contribute much new information to the average webist? Not really. With the moderate reading and catching up we do from silicon valley, I can’t say the sessions contributed more than about 15% of either new insights, trends or solutions. Even my partner alma, who’s a social researcher and not a webist didn’t think she gained much new information!

Here are my two cents for ArabNetMe 2011:

With all the hype before the conference about the inclusion of women, I was very disappointed with the low number of women speakers, one. Really? All this hype and then only one woman?

Don’t be the all & everything for the web industry. Get selective, mine the feedback and see what worked best.

Sessions should be shorter, must run at least two in parallel,  topics be much more specific and make it more cozy, with people HAVING to select which sessions to attend and participate in resulting in a lower number of attendees thus more conversation between the panelists and the audience.

Have the participants vote for the topics they want to discuss before hand and submit their questions instead of having the moderators do it, or doing it for the moderators as it seemed to be the case in the conference.

The conference should be about finding solutions, sharing of ideas and coming up with action plans.

Share the list of participants on the website before hand, so people can pre-prepare meetings with those of interest.

And make the following in BOLD in every way you find possible

“NO TIES, NO HIGH HEALS, NO BUSINESS SUITES, CASUAL WEAR ONLY” ;-)

Big thanks to a well organized conference by ArabNetMe team, especially Omar and Sana, you rocked!

En route to ArabNetME 1

Yes, it’s been over two months since my last post as I’ve been very busy and swamped with lots of operational and financial stuff at work. The only thing that kept me going is working on one very innovative project SYNTAX and Spring are cooking these days, yes I can’t say more about it now :p

So, I am thinking the best thing for me to do is to end the first quarter of what so far has been a very tough year at work by attending ArabNetMe, the region’s first dedicated conference for the web industry (as Ahmad said, it came 10 years late! I guess, better late than never in this case).

From the minute I heard about this conference, I was skeptical it would be something I would look forward to attend. Why? With my low attention span and my need to engage in a conversation or discussion and not just listen to people talk for hours; simply, I am not a conference person.

Having attended so few conferences in my life so why this one?

First and foremost, I need to get WEBsessed again.

Whether by coming up with new ideas, or taking existing ideas to new directions. ArabNetMe would be a great place to meet a lot of people that talk the same language, share the same passion and where geeks like me are more than welcome! I’m thinking the energy there must re-ignite my passion for creating more web stuff.

Second, is my utmost respect to Omar Christidis and his team. I mean look at the energy this guy came with and what he was able to accomplish in few months. A very impressive list of speakers that someone like me who has a strong conference-o-phobia couldn’t resist attending.

Excited to listen and participate in the conversation, catch up with the people I know there, meet face-to-face the ones I’ve been following on Twitter and meet all those other people I never heard of :-)

A call to blog/tweet about the upcoming Gaza Freedom March 2

The International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza  an organization formed after the 22-day assault on Gaza in winter2008-2009 is holding and coordinating the Gaza Freedom March which will take place on Dec 31 to mark one year since the assault through mobilizing an international contingent for a nonviolent march alongside the people of Gaza to end the illegal blockade.

Though participation is now closed, this post is to call on everyone who supports this effort to blog about it on Dec 31st as well as to to tweet and try to make #GAZA a trending topic on Twitter on that day.G

For more information please add a comment to this blog post so I can arrange for us to meet one of the participants and activists who’s a fellow Jordanian. Together we can find the best way she can update us about the march as its happening.

Amman Twestival a success! 0

Was a great evening tonight at the Royal Scientific Society who hosted Amman Twestival, Organized by Malik Shistawi Foundation, and Sponsored by Aramex and Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship in support of Al-Aman Fund for the Future of the Orphans.

Almost 100 people attended a very heated discussion about Twitter, social media and entrepreneurship prospects for Jordan and our part of the world. I was happy to be selected amongst the panel speakers along with Zeid Nasser, Laith Al Qasem and Laith Zureikat moderated by Moh’d Khawaja.

Majd Shweikeh CEO of Orange Mobile attended and shared great insights as well as the marketing, Shop’nShip and sustainability teams from Aramex including Lina Shihadeh, Firas Hilal and Raji Hattar.

The discussion topics were many, from use of social media to promote business, new ways of reaching and servicing customers, connecting to people as well as discovering content & opinions from around the web. The longed-for Qatayef break was equally interesting, as I got to meet lots of tweeps face-to-face! Ok, I never went to any of the Jordanian bloggers meetings so this was a first-time experience :-)

Its one of those days where I have a good feeling about Jordan and us Jordanians.

As a contribution to this momentum, I worked most of the weekend to create a simple website that aggregates all tweeps (twitter people) and their tweets from Jordan, you can check it out at http://JOtweeps.com. To be included all you need to do is follow @JOtweeps and we will follow back.

Also you can go to #AmmanTwestival to read all tweets about the event.

Happy tweeting everyone!

to the moon and back…kind of! 0

I’ve had a chance to attended one of the humans greatest events 12 days ago @ We Choose The Moon a web experience built by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

I kept up with most of the journey witnessing the animation and listening to the audio of the mission over its all 11 stages from July 16th till the 20th. A big salute to the designers and flash animators for a brilliant job!

WeChooseTheMoon

Was so much fun, that afterwards I had this big urge to watch my favorite movie of all times Contact of course! Found a streaming of the whole movie online! Don’t you love online video? :D

Anyway, now you can watch the animation of the whole journey at your own pace at the website, go through the photo & video gallery available for each stage.

I love NASA, the best of the US of A!

I still have a dream to travel in Space by the age of 60, hopefully two things happen by then:

1. The ticket and accommodation price becomes affordable.

2. by affordable i mean, that I can save up to $50,000-75,000 to do it!

What? A LOT can happen in 25 years!

love, life and Ramallah 1

Alma moved us today with her stories and experiences during her art residency at Qattan Foundation in Ramallah Nov-Dec 2008 where she collected love stories from people there.

Artist Talk by alma Khasawnih

Artist Talk by alma Khasawnih

She talked about love.

Telling a tale of Mohammed the 40 year old divorcee who’s still in love, then another Mohammad, the tormented lover, then a third one too. Connecting and disconnecting. The deserted lover’s park, the lonely benches. Observing lovers. Romantic Indian films watched by men in the cafe.

Alma’s passion ignited hearts in the room. We  laughed, we contemplated about our own love stories, we were moved.

This event by far, was the most entertaining event I have attended in years.

"Up Close" original, crazy and brilliant 0


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Those were the words exchanged between visitors at the opening of Alma Khasawnih’s first solo exhibition “Up Close” on June 1st at LeCentre (French Cultural Center)

“Up Close” original, crazy and brilliant

The art pieces presented did need a closer look to be able to see the magnificent details, actually the artist included a handy magnifier almost with each piece to allow visitors this closer look.

The exhibition included two main types of pieces; paintings and sculptures/installations…something very different and original.

I encourage you to go and take your up close look @ the French Cultural Center in Jabal Elweibdeh, Paris Circle and you will notice more than half of the pieces are sold out!

Here are some photos taken by Rafiq Nasereddin from Makan

See the details??? Yes, crazy brilliant is my friend and business partner Alma :-)

On online and mobile learning from IMCL 2008 0

Well after taking two days to recover from the three day IMCL 2008 conference, I would like to talk about my experience there.

The conference was really small in size not the bigger one I anticipated it to be, though i was part disappointed at first then became to appreciate the intimacy of smaller conferences, the chance to meet and talk to many people as well as to attend more sessions!

Our presentation attracted several good discussions with other attendees/presenters (some good ego boost ;-) ) several people were very excited about the site and appreciative of what we are trying to do in an attempt to encourage and capture informal learning while few were suspicious of the real value community websites could bring to “deep” learning.

The general talk at the conference was concentrated into 2 main topics, the need for platforms that could connect informal learning to formal learning, the second was the non-existence real change eLearning has made to traditional learning environments. Some experts were talking about eLearning serving to be yet another content delivery channel with content being the same traditional content that was delivered in class.

Some participants shared experiences they had at the class room, like ability for students to send questions by sms to the instructor while in class, another one ability for students to send geology field trip photos by MMS to the class’s blackboard eLearning system.

In general, I believe many educational systems are confusing new technologies as a goal instead of a mean for better teaching and largely ignoring the power of informal learning. And eLearning vendors are supplying tools to enable accessibility of content instead of new ways to teach and learn. Focus is always on the teacher and what he/she needs with little attention being given to the learners and what they need.

All in all it was a great learning experience for me, to see what different people in the Learning “industry” are talking about!

Yazan Rousan, agwa noo3 1

If you have not heard of Yazan Rousan or any of his songs, then as an ammany you are definitely missing something BIG!

I don’t think I want to call his songs “songs” because his lyrics and the way he sings them is just wildly amazing, some are out of nowhere and some hit home big time. He definitely has a style of his own with his dark glasses, and cynical sense of humor!

Yazan @ Kanabayeh Dec 22, 2007

Yazan, Agwa noo3 indeed! (translates to “best kind” oh well!)

A good day for the Jordanian woman 0

Last Wednesday, my longtime friend and a community icon, Rana Hussieni received a royal medal for her contributions to the advancement of human rights in Jordan. http://www.jordantimes.com/index.php?news=3117

Though recognizing Rana in Jordan took years to happen, she is the proud holder of many international awards and a worldwide feminist icon referred to in conferences and women studies programs worldwide.

Rana makes me and lots of people I know proud. Her determination and dedication to reporting the so called “honor crimes” cannot be described but courageous and daring. Two very important characteristics every reporter should have, thus she shines amongst the Jordanian and Arab journalists for that.

Being recognized with a royal medal only signifies the level of support Rana is getting in Jordan. The highest possible. And that gives us hope that change will be forced sooner than later where those criminals are thought of as murderers and not as defending their so called honor.

For the past two years, Rana was busy writing her book “Murder in the Name of Honor” which is to be published next year. All of us are waiting anxiously to buy it and read through it!!

Congratulations Rana and good luck :-)

Rana Husseini

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