#Ontornet – A Lebanese Campaign for Faster Internet

As of late, a couple organizations campaigning for faster internet in Lebanon have been birthed. One of them, Ontornet (a play on the Arabic ‘Ontor’, colloquial Lebanese Arabic for “wait for the net”), has already started to gather quite the buzz locally and internationally.

Lebanon has one of the slowest internet connections in the world. To add insult to injury, said slowest internet in the world is also probably one of the costliest in the world. So, people are fed up, and are demanding access to better, faster and cheaper internet. According to their own words, they are:

“Random Lebanese Internet users infected with Internet service deception, both on the private and corporate level. Random Lebanese Internet users unhappy with their country missing out on enormous opportunities for economical (sic) improvement as well as vital foreign investments due to outdated Internet technology. Random Lebanese Internet users not proud of breaking yet another official world record as the country with the slowest Internet connection.”

Most people in Lebanon believe that the internet is so hampered here due to political conflicts and financial interests in the region.  The government has made no secret of its messy relationship with the two mobile phone providers in Lebanon. In addition to that, the Lebanese have not stood up and vocalized their concerns, and their needs. Ontornet is that voice of the people, aiming to raise awareness about the internet situation in the country.

Not to focus on the personal aspects of annoying and slow internet connection, anyone working in the country knows just how bad the internet here is, and how that in turn translates to frustrating and longer working hours. At the end of those working hours, one still has not finished his or her task list. Looking at the bigger picture though, faster and more efficient internet could only be a positive thing for businesses, the country and the economy.

What are your views and thoughts about the internet in Lebanon and the region? How does it affect you work?

Social Media for Social Good

It’s a good day for us in social media when we see it being used for social good. It’s an even better day for us in the Arab world, when we see it being used to help each other out. Let’s face it, there is A LOT of negativity floating around the web, lots of competition between rival companies and brands, so when you come across a story that warms your heart, you just get that ‘feel good’ sensation, and feel the need to share such a story. So here it is:

Just yesterday, a missing child in Saudi Arabia was found thanks to…take a wild guess…Twitter!

16 year old Faisal Fri vanished from his family home in Dhahran, and within minutes a hashtag was born: #FaisalDH . An image of Faisal, as well as the contact information for his family was tweeted and retweeted with this hashtag, and a mere 3 hours later he was found safe and sound. The initial tweet that started it impressively made it to the Top Tweet position due to the many times it was retweeted and mentioned.

On the same note, but in a different region, a similar thing happened to a 14 year old girl in London in a few months ago. Serena Beakhurst went missing in December, and thanks to the efforts of hundreds on Twitter and Facebook, was found a few weeks later in the exact spot she went missing . Her family sent various messages of thanks to people who supported and helped spread the word, as well as highlighting the power of Social Media.

It is indeed a heart-warming thing to see the Twitter community (or social network community) comes together from all walks of life, not knowing anything about a person, but driven by the innate drive to help others.

Multi tasking = #Fail?

“When you are walking, walk. When you are sitting, sit.” – Buddha

We all know not to drink and drive. Correction: Most of us know not to drink and drive. What would your answers be when posed with the question would you drink and write? Perhaps writing a love letter is different, but when it comes to writing an important work email or working on a project, the answer should obviously be a no. There is strong researched evidence that suggests that what most of us do in the workplace – Multitasking- can reduce your performance in the workplace to that of a drunk.

A molecular biologist compares a person driving and texting to a person in the office who is simultaneously checking emails, writing up a document, and surfing the web. He claims they are essentially doing the exact same thing. He also claims that the brain is not made to multi task, and it just doesn’t exist, as much as it is highly praised when someone claims they actually can multi task. He gives another example: You may have noticed that when you are working on something, and have music in the background, you finish work and realize the CD is finished but you can’t recall any of the songs you heard.

Another business coach says there is no such thing as multi tasking, but rather refers to it as task switching, where we are simply performing one task that has all our attention, while being mindless about another. Other research by him shows that people who are interrupted and have to keep switching their attention back and forth between things, take 50% more time to accomplish a task, and subsequently make the same amount of errors. An everyday life example of this: Sitting at a restaurant for lunch with a friend, you’re in deep conversation, and then you get interrupted by the waiter to take your orders. After he leaves, how many times have you completely forgotten what you were talking about? Not only do interruptions cause amnesia, claims this researcher, but they also cause delays due to the fact that the brain has to go through a four step neuron switch thing (too scientific to get into in this post).

So, given the above examples and research studies, what are your views on multi tasking in life and in the workplace?

How does multi tasking come into play if your work is in the digital social media sector where interruptions are a common thing?

What effects do you see when you try to do several things at the same time, rather than focusing on one thing at a time?