2011 is expected by many in the industry to be the year to see the highest levels of digital and online advertising, especially in the MENA region. 2010 already saw record highs in the amounts of mobile, social, video and dynamic advertising. The rapid growth of technologies has played a major part in the growth of social media platforms in the region.
Simultaneously, Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media networks have seen a rise in their numbers of new users worldwide. In the MENA region, the Facebook sparked and Twitter promoted revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and currently Libya probably played a big role in the increased numbers of new users.
In addition, and in part due to the above, there has been an increase in the events and conferences in the region, catering to anything and everything Digital. Two of the biggest events are being held this month in Beirut, Lebanon: Twestival 2011 (or Twitter Festival) and Arabnet Shift 2011.
On March 24th 2011, Twestival will go ‘local’ in various cities across the globe. Events are held in any location to raise funds and awareness for a local cause that deserves it. An idea that one can work on an international scale and do good, without having to leave the city one lives in. Their website describes it best: “Twestival is the largest global grassroots social media fundraising initiative to date”. This year, Beirut Twestival will be fundraising for Breast Cancer, allowing women free mammograms, as well as psychological help for women with Breast Cancer.
Arabnet Shift, the biggest digital gathering in the Middle East, will be held over 4 days in Beirut, from March 22nd to the 25th. Each day has a theme, and is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs in the region to get exposure for their ideas and start ups. Each year, ArabNet brings together ‘big names’, and leaders in the digital sector. This year, there will be more than 80 speakers and 1000 attendees, meeting and discussing the latest in the digital sector in the region. At the end of the summit, 2 competitions are held with the aim of supporting and promoting start ups and ideas.
If anything, both events are excellent networking opportunities for anyone involved in this sector. Moreover, both Twestival and Arabnet use the power of social media to organize, promote and advertise these events to the region and the world.