Thoughts on AmmanTT

I’m writing this post out of a need to vent, more than anything else. I’ll be blunt, partly because I’m pissed off, and partly because I don’t know how to be anything else. But I hope the reader bears with me to the end, because there is an important point, and a call for action. I’ll assume everybody who reads this post has a passing familiarity with AmmanTT, or Amman Tech Tuesday. If not, here is a nice blog post about it and there’s always the official website.

Now, to the rant. For the most part, I am a great supporter of AmmanTT the idea, namely, a grass roots effort to mobilise the more tech-oriented Ammanis to act on their knowledge, share it, and hopefully do enough to create an interesting event every first Tuesday of the month, where we get to learn more, meet each other, and eventually foster a stronger community. That’s the rosy synopsis of what I aimed to help AmmanTT achieve, and hoped others shared the same aim. I can’t stress enough the importance of creating a strong community. It’s something we can’t risk not doing, both from a professional point of view, and a personal one.

Now, nobody ever imagined this would go without a hitch, and as it is still going, we hit yet again another hitch. AmmanTT counts on the community, and the choices it will make, as individuals, and ultimately, as a whole. Should it fail, there will be no single person to blame. I’m stressing this fact because AmmanTT was from the beginning, meant to be an endeavour from the community as a whole.

However, we’re all busy, most of us aren’t willing to risk spending time in a new initiative, especially if we don’t clearly see the benefit from it. Due to this short-sightedness many people have, we owe a great thanks to the organizers behind AmmanTT. Their belief helped AmmanTT achieve two great events so far, and hopefully, many more to come. As a friend, and an AmmanTT organizer told me, without the core team, there would be no AmmanTT. That’s a grimmer future. I am in no way attacking the team, and neither of it’s members. This is, to use an Arabic word, a light “mu3atabeh”, and purely my own views on the situation, and a call for action at the end.

There’s an event happening in Amman at the end of the month, and it’s not AmmanTT, it’s a US delegation on Entrepreneurship. Does that mean it doesn’t pertain to the AmmanTT community? Most of us, if not already entrepreneurs, have entrepreneurial aspirations. Some of us have reservations about this event, many of us want to boycott it. I’m not going to discuss that here, my personal opinions on the issue don’t have to do with AmmanTT, I only mentioned it because it might interest the AmmanTT community. Many people don’t get that point.

Here is what I am going to discuss. I personally don’t mind the AmmanTT hashtag being used to bring the community’s attention to events it might interest them, no matter how they may be unpopular with part of the community. We can’t expect to agree on anything, but one of the tenants of a strong community is tolerance.

My other qualm is with all the internal politics and off-line discussions. We tout ourselves as “social media experts” and use twitter and facebook for almost everything, but we can’t start a proper open and on-line discussion on what AmmanTT “endorses” or what AmmanTT’s policies are? Where is the transparency in the process? I want to take a break here and say, we are pretty transparent,  the AmmanTT prep meetings are open, and soon they’ll be covered by Aramram, and displayed online. But I personally believe there is more room for improvement, and more action should be taken to involve the community.

But I’m not going to be negative about my problems. This is a call for the community to stand, and act. I’m inviting the community to discuss this issue, and any problems they have with AmmanTT, here on this blog, or on their own blogs, twitter feeds, the official Facebook group,  or hopefully on the AmmanTT website,  should it  have such a medium in the future.

Discussion Points

Do you believe in the core values of AmmanTT and see it’s benefit to the community?

Do you think that anybody is entitled to make policy decisions on behalf of the AmmanTT community?

Where is the AmmanTT system failing at promoting an on-line discussion?

How can the AmmanTT be made more transparent?