Posts tagged social media
It’s about time Lebanese mainstream media leveraged their power to promote social change in Lebanon. LBC’s Cheyef 7alak is a new initiative that is actively utilizing social media to encourage (well, by first embarrassing) respect among citizens in Lebanon.
One of their categories is about traffic. We’ve all been there. Their video and photo galleries poke fun at our weird attitudes towards driving. I’m not sure if they are aware of it, but they’re also critiquing the link between masculinity and road rage, which is a terrific thing!
Their most popular campaign to date has been about the simple courtesy of standing in line (a rare phenomenon in Lebanon) and their latest is about corruption. Check out the video below and follow them on Facebook and Twitter to engage!
Something has started to really piss me off in the twittersphere lately. Lebanese tweeps are taking on tweeting for companies or groups or (pseudo-)celebrities and don’t reveal the identity of the actual person tweeting.
For example, I recently found out that the person handling the @Zaven_K account is not really Zaven (dunno why I was under the impression that it was – maybe it’s cos he has a laptop in front of him all the time), but a fellow tweep. Naturally, I felt a little uneasy knowing that I had tweeted to @Zaven_K thinking I was talking to Zaven. But what’s worse is I didn’t know I was talking to that particular tweep.
I feel it is getting a little silly – especially with a lot of tweeps becoming “social media experts” for hire. We think we are talking to management of a certain company whereas we are talking to the same people.
I think it is best practice that every non-person twitter account reveal who is tweeting behind it. For example, the @GIGAlb team does it well by adding ^initials to every tweet that is not a standard link. Or, another example is @iams who give you the handles of who is tweeting in the bio. I’m not saying it should go for every single tweet, but at least when conversing with people on twitter.
So if you’re tweeting for another handle, please reveal yourself in the bio, through ^initials, or through a list of tweeps who tweet from that account. Don’t hide behind handles – it can become deceptive.
After months of incessant publicity (all of which started through social media and then moved into press coverage), the Lebanese Laique Pride, a march for secularism, finally took place this morning with thousands of people participating! Numbers are estimated at two to three thousand, but I am very sure that at least 5,000 people started the march. At one point, they filled up the width of the road from on top of the Expo Beirut tunnel all the way down and around the Phoenicia hotel. Everyone came together for a very simple, yet daring and bold, initiative by 5 friends: Nasri Sayegh, Yalda Younes, Said Chaitou, Alexandre Paulikevitch, and Kinda Hassan. Often, the best organizing for social change starts with an idea that a small group of friends have.
Many news agencies have reported that a maximum of 2,000 participants marched in today’s event, although many of us are sure we had way more than 2,000. Here is a photo by @funkyozzi that shows only a part of the march – clearly in the thousands.
A Unified Stand Against Sectarianism
The march was not longer than a couple of kilometers – starting on the Corniche of Ain El Mraisse all the way up to Masaref Street of Downtown Beirut. Secularist organizations, student groups, women’s organizations (including the awesome Nasawiya), and a majority of unaffiliated citizens marched together with slogans, chants, drumbeats, whistles, led by a truck with blasting music and secularist slogans:
- “Ta2 Ta2 Ta2ifiyyi.. La2 La2 3ilmaniyyi..” (Sec Sec Sectarianism.. No, No, Secularism)
- “Shou tayiftak? Ma khassak!” (What’s your religion/sect? It’s none of your business!)
- “Al-3ilmaniyyi hiyyil 7al” (Secularism is the solution)
In a country so deeply divided along sectarian lines (in the personal status laws, in every aspect of the government, in people’s mindsets) which are manifested in civil wars and conflicts all the time, this march was totally awesome. Who would have thought so many people of all shapes and sizes would show up in such large numbers to support the idea of an anti-sectarian state in Lebanon? I had attended some of the organizational meetings of the event, where many people kept asking: what’s next? How is this going to help? What is it going to achieve? What is your political demand? How are we going to solve the issues posed by sectarianism, which seem like a total political deadlock? Etc. I personally think the organizers played it smart by saying that they weren’t trying to solve the entire sectarian crisis in Lebanon. They were, however, trying to bring people who believe in or work on secularism in Lebanon together on one day, for one march, to show first and foremost that there are many of us. The thousands who actually showed up stand for tens of thousands who were sitting at home. We also showed that we can put our differences in strategy and ideology aside for one day to come together and show solidarity for our cause. What happens afterward? We keep on fighting our battles, debating this system we live in, and maybe, perhaps, who knows, some of us might have been so inspired by the feeling and ambiance today that we step it up a notch in terms of working together and raising a stronger unified voice against the many ugly faces of sectarianism in Lebanon.
Also, I want to give a big shout out to citizen journalism, which is alive and kicking in Beirut! It seemed like every other person had a photo or video camera, and I recognized many bloggers and tweeps taking part and snapping pictures. Of course there was the genius banner: “Sectarian #Epic #Fail” which only a handful of people understood but adored The number of participants on the ground was also a big boost to all of us slactivists who use Facebook and social media as our major tool of organizing. They are becoming more effective tools every day.
Things I liked most: We didn’t have any sectarian infiltrators, though that probably means nobody was taking us seriously =) A woman led the march. There were lots of baby strollers and dogs! Everybody seemed really happy. I got to carry my “3omro ma yirja3 al-tawezon il ta2ifi” (To Hell with sectarian balance) for the second time. Things I didn’t like: singing the friggin national anthem when we got close to Parliament. #Boo. I can’t stand national anthems. There was no mention of Palestinians and a lot of mention of “Lebanese” “Lebanesedom” “Lebanese-ness” which also makes me feel nauseous.
But yeah, awesome march all in all =) Here’s a pic of my favorite people at the march: the feminists and the tweeps (and me, the feminist tweep).
And I had to include this photo of the secularist doggie!