In the news

THE DAILY STAR: British ambassador bids adieu 
On Tuesday, the American University of Beirut’s online collaborative hosted a farewell dinner for her. 
Last year, she was criticized in the international media for a blog post she wrote paying tribute to Shiite marja (senior spiritual leader) Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah following his death, calling him a “true man of religion.” But many people in Lebanon and the region sympathized with the ambassador, praising her for taking the risk to blog about sensitive subjects.


THE DAILY STAR: Tweeps bid farewell to U.K. ambassador to Lebanon Guy

“It was a way to break barriers between politicians and the regular public,” said Mohammad Hijazi, head of the American University of Beirut’s Online Collaborative, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes the use of social media in Lebanon and connects people from the country’s tech community.

Hijazi first got acquainted with the ambassador in December when he invited her to speak at a blogging conference about the challenges of diplomatic blogging. Six months earlier the British ambassador, Frances Guy, had been criticized in the international media for a blog post she wrote praising Shiite spiritual leader Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah following his death, calling him a “true man of religion.”


DAILY STAR: Marketer: Social media good for business  
At an evening lecture at the Olayan School of business organized by the AUB Online Collaborative, Sabbagh, who works with Integrated Digital Systems in Beirut, gave examples of successful and unsuccessful marketing campaigns in the Middle East using social media, mainly Facebook. She found that the best campaigns came from companies that regularly engaged their customers and online community, and didn’t shy away from negative comments.



BLOGUEUSE SUR LE NET POUR UN MONDE MEIllEUR: Un rapprochement des jeunes et des hommes politiques dans le monde arabe grâce aux médias sociaux
Lors de la conférence, Frances Guy, l’ambassadrice de Grande-Bretagne à Beyrouth, a parlé des problèmes que rencontraient les diplomates lorsqu’ils s’exprimaient sur leur blog. Elle-même a connu ce genre de problèmes après avoir évoqué la disparition du chef spirituel shiite, Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, et lui avoir rendu hommage. Les éloges formulées au sujet du défunt ayant suscité de nombreuses controverses, elle a tôt fait de présenter ses excuses, dans une note suivante, à ceux qui auraient pu en être offensés.


LAU TRIBUNE: Blogging Lebanon

The American University of Beirut’s Online Collaborative (AUBOC) put together Lebanon’s first blogging convention in December. The event attracted 150 people, including guest speakers, Lebanese and Arab bloggers, students, professors, journalists and regular people who are just interested in blogging.


DAILY STAR: Social media are connecting Arab youths and politicians
In December, the Online Collaborative Club of the American University of Beirut organized Blogging Lebanon, a conference for more than 150 Lebanese and Arab bloggers, e-activists, journalists, students, professors and others interested in social media. The convention demonstrated that social media are central to the Arab world today, and essential for positive change.
(Same article posted on MIDEASTPOSTS: Social Media: The Glue That Binds and


NOW LEBANON: Jurassic internet speed quiets Lebanon’s bloggers
AUB senior Mohammad Hijazi is president of AUB’s online collaborative, which according to its website, seeks to group social media enthusiasts and experienced individuals in the digital media world to help promote proper digital citizenship. “I noticed the significant number of bloggers in Lebanon, but no organization uniting them under one roof,” said Hijazi following the conference, which he created after noticing that whereas tweeters meet during tweet ups, bloggers did not necessarily have a space to meet. 
The event featured twelve speakers, who covered a number of blog-related topics, from crafting a copyright system for regional websites to blogging in the Lebanese dialect, to using blogs as a tool for dialogue and activism. Hijazi told NOW Lebanon that freedom of expression tops the list of his worries. 
“In the region it’s much worse, but there are limitations in Lebanon,” said Hijazi, a Biology and Business Administration major.


HIBR: Blogging Lebanon Convention
Bloggers, activists, students and many others decided that on Friday December 3rd, the American University of Beirut (AUB), was the place to be. The AUB’s Online Collaborative (AUBOC), a club run by students, hosted a blogging convention to bring together the online community in Lebanon. The idea was to expose the audience, be they young or old, inexperienced or experts, to an array of speakers that were meant to educate and arm the attendees with knowledge to enhance their blogging experience.

AUB: Blogging touted essential for reaching various audiences
Diplomats, businessmen, and activists lauded the virtues of blogging in helping them reach their respective audiences, during a conference held at the American University of Beirut on December 3, 2010. 
"Blogging Lebanon" attracted a crowd of blog-a-holics from both Lebanon and Jordan during its launch at AUB's West Hall. 
Mohammad Hijazi, a fourth year double major student at AUB and the president of AUB's Online Collaborative, a student organization that seeks to group social media enthusiasts from all sources, welcomed the event's first guest speaker Talal Nizameddine, AUB dean of Student Affairs.


OUTOOK: AUB's Online Collaborative's "Blogging Lebanon" debuts successfully
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FRANCES GUY: Blogging Lebanon

Thanks to the AUB Online Collaborative for allowing me to take part in the blogging convention this afternoon. I feel a bit of a sham attending a blogging event. Yes Ok it is unusual for ambassadors to blog still (although there are obviously quite a few of us in the FCO). But when you see the slick presentations, the fun, the humour, the video shots (including the human rights ones) you realise what a staid vehicle FCO blogging platforms are... So thanks for opening my eyes to what is going on in Lebanon on the blogging scene. Thanks for showing me a little of what is possible with a bit more imagination (and more time??). And thanks for pointing out that the freedom for bloggers in Lebanon is not as good as I thought.


OUTLOOK: Social Media Takes AUB by Storm
Most notably, a recent addition to the multitude of clubs in AUB is AUB’s Online Collaborative (AUBOC). The mission of the club is “[t]o support and encourage AUB bloggers and users of social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc.) [and] [t]o promote the usage of such tools amongst other AUB students given their current popularity and importance.”

According to Mohammad Hijazi, the club’s president and founder, “The ultimate goal of the club is to make students aware of the importance of social media and to encourage as much of them as possible to start blogs to express their opinions and views about what interests them.”

Hijazi states, “I have realized the vast importance and popularity that social media is getting recently, especially that it has taken over many fields including journalism, politics, education, marketing, etcetera.” He adds, “The idea warranted a club because I wanted to unite the users of social media (especially bloggers and Tweeps) under one organization in order to promote them and make them more popular in the Lebanese and Arab blogosphere and Twitter scene.”

The club is currently planning a multitude of events including a lecture on improving student life in AUB through technology and social media, workshops about blogging and the effective use of Twitter and Linked-In, as well as other events, including tweet-ups (which are essentially meet ups involving people from Twitter), and the Blogging Lebanon Convention which will take place on December 3, 2010.