GCC Social Media Summit surpasses expectations as leaders vow to turn vision into action
- United Arab Emirates: Thursday, October 18 - 2012 at 12:33
- PRESS RELEASE
The GCC Government Social Media Summit ended on a high note, as leaders from the public and private sectors collectively pledged to turn the summit's vision into tangible action.
Ironically the summit itself became a trending topic on Twitter, further proving its philosophy that social media can capture the world's eyes, ears and minds in real time.
The high-profile speakers included H.E. Salem Al Shair, Deputy Director General for Information and e-Government sector: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority - who delivered the Opening Keynote Address - and the Conference Chairman, Fadi Salem: Director of the Dubai School of Government. The versatile range of topics dwelled on social media's benefits, challenges, untapped opportunities, key drivers, security and future trends unfolding on the horizon.
Summing up the summit, Biju Saith from the event organizers Streamline observed: "We have gauged this event's success not only in terms of the attendants' quantity, but the speakers' quality as well. This was truly a "Who's Who" assembly of the most influential entities that will shape the region's social media in the 21st century."
Among the numerous high points of the two-day event were the interactive sessions in which speakers engaged the audience to create a two-way interplay of ideas - much like social media itself.
Dr Saeed Al Dhaheri, Information Systems Advisor to the UAE's Minister of Foreign Affairs, summed it up best when he stated: "Social media is a catalyst that makes governments more transparent, more accountable and more responsive. In the same vein, governments can greatly benefit by using social media as a platform to tell their side of the story."
One of the event's most quotable statements came courtesy of Rishi Saha, Regional Director of Hill + Knowlton Strategies, who warned: "If you are not ready for criticism, then you are not ready for social media." He stressed that constructive criticism should be encouraged, since the real time nature of social media can instantly pinpoint any required improvements in society at lightning speed.
Emphasis was on giving practical guidance as opposed to a purely theoretical approach. In this respect, some practical tips were imparted by Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media, who advised: "Whether you are a government or company, the key is to respond to the queries on your page. Responding breaks down barriers, and will win over even those users who were not initially your followers or fans."
In a highly balanced and unbiased disclosure, representatives from the UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kingdom of Bahrain exchanged insights on their country's strengths while also acknowledging the areas that need improvement.
Underpinning its pursuit of cutting edge technology, the summit also touched on such innovations as Virtual Reality and other hi-tech ways of helping social media embrace the rich diversity of multimedia. Optimism is high that the attendants will now implement these ideas across the GCC and make this ambitious vision a concrete reality.
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