MenaICT Amman: Things to Look Forward To

Did you know that Jordanian exports in the IT Sector have multiplied six times in the last ten years? Perfect time to hold a MENA ICT conference to show the region what we’ve done here. =D

Here’s a round up of the latest news to come up on the MENA ICT Amman

First of all, about the keynote speakers. I’m really excited Dr. Werner Vogels is coming. He’s one of the biggest researchers on the subject of cloud computing and distributed systems (in case you don’t know what cloud computing is, read Lara’s brilliant breakdown of it on Sleepless in Amman.) Dr. Vogels is also the CTO of Amazon, and he was the architect behind their move towards cloud computing, namely the Amazon Web Services. He maintains a blog since 2001 by the name All Things Distributed.  One interesting piece of trivia I found out about him while researching him was that his Phd advisors were Proffesors Henri Bal and Andy Tanenbaum. For those of you who haven’t studied Computer Science, they’re both really famous researchers and authored books that every computer scientist has read and studied.

Other Keynote Speakers are, Stanislas de Bentzmann, co-founder and CEO of Devoteam, HE Marwan Juma, Minister of ICT, and one of the biggest supporters of the IT community in Jordan, and John Chambers (via video), CEO of Cisco. Mr. Chambers was on Time’s 100 most influential people list for his philantrophy and work towards education causes worldwide.

On a different note, in the past week two new sessions were announced. One of them, is called The Chattering Classes; Turning Social Media into Money. I am a bit sceptical about any session on social media, but the MENA ICT team have done a good job bringing a panel that will surely have interesting things to say on the subject. Notable speakers include Mr. Alex McNabb, Group Director, Spot On Public Relations; Mr. Mo Al Adham, Founder of Twitvid;  Ms. Maria Mahdaly, Online Activist, KSA; and Ms. Nadine Toukan, a Jordanian Activist.

The other session is called On the Boil, and it is split into two parts, one focusing on the future trends in the ICT business, and the other focusing on mobile applications and development. This session will feature, among others, speakers from Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Symbian. 

That’s all the MENA ICT Amman news Tarakiyee has for you today. Stay tuned for more here on my blog, or on my twitter account. In case you’re interested in attending, and haven’t already applied, go to the website, and don’t miss the chance to win a pass by participating in the video competition!

Twitter Experiment: Does Controversy Lead to Unfollows?

Short answer, not likely.

Long answer, not too long a while ago, I noticed a fellow Tweep of mine saying that four people unfollowed him since his last controversial statement, particularly regarding religion, and I was intrigued. I often see people post controversial statements, but I never unfollow, unless they prove to be batshit crazy, like a certain person I shall not name, but would be really obvious to anyone in the Jordanian Tweetosphere.

I wanted to experiment with my followers, and for that I must apologise to them. If I may explain, I always thought I had developed a followership out of good socialisation and willing interaction with folks, I don’t usually view them as numbers. When I do, I remember that they’re a number of people. I automatically block any bots or inactive business accounts, because I don’t want an inflated number of followers for no reason. (Shout Out: There’s an app for that, called Tweepi. I don’t do paid ads, but I like giving credit to free apps that I use on a regular basis.)

In all, I tried to stir some controversy in small doses for the past week. I went in the beginning with some brutal honesty directed at certain Tweeps, and then went a bit general, started linking to controversial articles, and eventually said a very rude, and slightly hateful tweet directed at a large portion of my followers. I have to apologise for that too. Here is a graph of my followers for the past week.

As you can see, I couldn’t even dent my meteoric rise to stardom. =P Ehrm, joking aside, things that might have influenced this graph is that I had live blogged a couple of events, which normally nets me followers, but there was no changes to the trends I normally see through such events. But then again, I attribute these results to my great followers. I like to believe that people follow me for more than just a shallow impression they have of me that can be whisked away by one controversial statement or another.

Therefore, my conclusion is, if you build a stable, loyal base of followers, which might take time, but you mostly needn’t worry about losing it if you voice a controversial opinion here or there. People mostly won’t bother unfollowing you unless you cause controversy on a regular basis, or go overboard and stir so much controversy in a subject that’s particularly sensitive among them. That will lose you a lot of followers, and might gain you a few, and you’ll end up with one end of a highly polarized readership.  In essence, stay loyal to your tweeps, stay true to yourself, but keep in mind who your followers are and you’ll end up with many great friends. =D