Friday, April 5, 2013

Beirut's very first Social Media Awards


The beautiful nerds of Lebanon have done it again! After the greatest GeekFest Beirut's ever witnessed (Ok, fine, it was the only one I attended, but still it was pretty awesome) some of the most creative and witty young talents of our webnation have gathered to bring us yet another outstanding event: The Social Media Awards.

We, the online community, proposed nominees in specific categories which were then shortlisted and you can now review them all on the SMA website to vote for your favorites. Now beware, you can only vote once in each category so choose wisely.

Here are some rules that you should take into consideration: 

1. Voting will start on April 1, 2013 and end on April 25, 2013.

2. Your votes will represent 50% of the final results, while the judges re-voting will represent the other 50%.

3. You can log-in only through Facebook and Twitter to submit votes.

4. You can only vote once for each category.

5. You cannot change your votes once you submit them so be careful when you are voting.

6. To navigate to other categories, use the progress bar (white dots) at the bottom of the page.

7. If you vote for all 32 categories, you will have a chance to win 2 tickets to the final award ceremony at Phoenicia Hotel on April 29. Once you vote for all categories, you will be prompted to enter your email address for the draw.

8. You can only vote from a personal account. Votes from accounts that do not represent a person (on Facebook or Twitter) will not be counted.

9. Votes from duplicate accounts (Facebook and Twitter of the same person) will not be counted.

10. Votes from fake accounts and accounts newer than March 30, 2013 will not be counted.

11. The Social Media Awards is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and accounts and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sect, location, age, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability, employment, or any other form of segregation.

12. The Social Media Awards reserves the right to disqualify nominees or users in the case of cheating, dishonest behavior, copyright infringement, trademark violations, promotion of illegal activities, abusive behavior, or promoting explicit content (such as pornography, drugs, or violence).

13. If any of the finalists is found to be cheating or spamming, that finalist will be disqualified from the competition without warning and all detect cheating voters will not be counted.

Source: The Social Media Awards

So who are your judges?

Nemr Abou Nassar (Stand up comedian)

Fida Chaaban Chaaban (Editor in chief of RAGMAG magazine)

Omar Christidis Christidis (Founder and CEO of ArabNet)

Tom Fletcher ( Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic)

Mohammad Hijazi (Online Collaborative)

Ziad Kamel (Founder/CEO of The Alleyway Group)

Leila Khauli Hanna (Professor at the American University of Beirut)

Octavia Nasr (Journalist)

Shada Omar (Journalist)

Darine Sabbagh (Online Collaborative)

Nicholas Sehnaoui (Minister of Telecommunications in Lebanon)

Maya Zankoul (Author and visual artist)

Source: The Social Media Awards

Many of the nominees in my humble opinion, deserve the recognition and I am proud to see Lebanon giving Social Media the attention it deserves. So much work is being done by our online Lebanese community and most of the times, without any media coverage or visibility.

That is why this first edition of The Social Media Awards is so important. It is the beginning of, I hope, a long lasting tradition that will not only allow important members of the online community and their work to gain recognition with the wider public but it will also encourage current and new Social Media actors to come to light and know their efforts are actually appreciated.

This year, it appears some people were bashing (as haters always do) and to be honest, I too was hoping to see other candidates make the list of nominees and as much as I do not have to be in agreement with all the choices that were shortlisted (in my humble opinion, again) one thing is for certain, this is a first step. An excellent one even. And I am confident each SMA edition will be a learning experience to the online community as much as to the organizers, and will raise the bar for the Awards to come. So let us start, shall we? And by doing so, let us get involved and make sure upcoming events will continue to develop and grow.

I am still in the process of casting my votes. It turns out it requires more attention that I expected and since with (clicking)power comes great responsibility, I would like to make sure my voice truly represents me.

So far, I have focused on the categories close to my heart: NGOs.

Two of my favorites are actually competing and not only do I admire the work that these organizations have been doing, I have nothing but absolute respect for the ladies behind them. I am in awe of what they have already achieved and I can only see greater accomplishments in their future.


The first one is One Wig Stand. They need no introduction if you follow this blog: Bras For A Cause Middle East and Make The Cut: Hair Donation Campaign are two of the many initiatives this NGO has successfully managed to run both locally and on the regional scene offering women battling cancer with support, hope and most importantly empowering them to go beyond taboos and to shine as human beings, fighters and women. Inner beauty and inner strength will grow even stronger when you allow them to glow on the outside as well, and this is what these initiatives are about. Be as fabulous as your spirit, ladies!

My second vote went to The Nawaya Network, a well-deserving organization that has been tirelessly touring the globe to gain means (financial or otherwise) in order to empower our underprivileged youth by granting them access to resources they could not have dreamed of acquiring on their own thus helping them turn their talents and hopes into realities and consequently become assets to our nation. This is the kind of education we need for our children: non-politicized, unbiased, secular support for a united young Lebanon built by intelligent, successful young talents.


It is just my own personal view but I believe many other organizations I love could have been shortlisted too and benefited from the media exposure, such as SANAD, Cupcake Box, Lebanese Laïque Pride, Ibtissama, Skoun, Nasawiya, and the brilliant Take Back Parliament campaign.

But I guess at the end of the day, it is not realistic nor reasonable to shortlist everyone at this stage of the competition, and ultimately, only one will win anyway although I honestly believe all the current nominees deserving of an award. Yet this is not L'École Des Fans, and as much as I would love to hear 'tout le monde a gagné' (everyone is a winner) we all know this is not possible.

Hey, a modest mention on this even modester blog cannot hurt, right?
So there, it is done ;)

Now it is your turn to give your favorite nominees a voice or rather a click... So who will you support?

  • The Social Media Awards official website
  • Like The Social Media Awards on Facebook
  • Follow The Social Media Awards on Twitter
  • Join The Social Media Awards on LinkedIn


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Darine Sabbagh said...

Hi Rouba,

Thank you so much for your encouragement and positive outlook. Indeed this is the first year and next year the SMAs will be bigger and better!

Thank you once again for your support!

rouba said...

Thank *you* for all the great work you guys have been doing, Darine!

As a mom, I tell you (although I know you do not need anyone's validation) I am so impressed with all your efforts :) You go mommy!