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I see fake marketers

If you own or manage a Facebook page for a brand, cause or personal reason, you are bound to get spam messages from people claiming to get you more Facebook likes for cheap or free, something like the below:


What is more annoying is how they try to convince you that their services are legit. Check out the below conversation that occurred on one of my client's pages.


To begin with, I do not allow any of my clients to purchase fans or likes on any platforms. If you know anything about marketing, you would know that purchasing bulk followers does not get you anywhere, for the following reasons:
These users approach uniformed or uneducated page owners to take advantage of them.These "companies" work by hiring a bunch of underpaid people in China, India or Egypt and stuff them in an overcrowded room to create fake Facebook accounts with randomized named and their only job is to like "client" pages. (Side article:83 million Facebook accounts are fakes)Even if it is as…

Who is faking it among the Lebanese top Twitter users?

Twitter users and the media are amazed and impressed by the amount of followers that celebrities and some influencers have acquired since they started using twitter.
To avoid any sampling bias from myself, I chose to use the "20 Most Powerful People on Twitter in Lebanon" list by 2famous.tv. I then used a service by Status People that allows you to figure out the percentage of fake followers a user has in addition to the percentage of inactive and good followers. I obtained the following results:

So what do we take from the above figures? Most celebrities (singers, actors, presenters, etc...) have a big percentage of fake and inactive followers. This is mostly due to them (or their agencies) buying followers for bulk. Notice that most celebrities have 40% or less good followers. Notice how evident this is with Zaven's follower analysis: 69% are fake (which is a whopping majority) and only 11% are real followers. If we do the math, he would easily be removed from the Top …

GUEST POST: In Lebanon's Hands

Below is a guest post by my favorite politician in Lebanon, HMA Tom Fletcher, the British Ambassador to Lebanon.

In Lebanon's Hands

Lebanon tends to be high on our August watchlist. This year there was no major single crisis, but five developments raised anxiety. Israel accused Hizballah of involvement in the Bourgas terrorist attack. A pro-Assad former Minister was arrested. Kidnappings returned in a dangerous 48 hours. Some Gulf countries told their nationals to leave. The Tripoli powder keg re-ignited. Throughout, the media were quick to accentuate the negative.

Lebanon has learnt to live with a certain level of instability. Periodically, for millennia, it has gone through phases of fragility, as regional tectonic plates and delicate demographics shift. The result is often conflict and political realignment. Are we in such a phase? Not yet. But I think there is an increasing realisation among Lebanese that Assad’s ability to directly influence political life in Lebanon is reduci…

Smoking ban will cause the loss of 2600 jobs in Lebanon

Tobacco control legislation will come into effect in Lebanon on September 3rd, 2012.

As usual, the Lebanese government will implement random laws without studying the effect it will cause on society and the economy.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against the smoking ban, but it should not be like this. This law that was approved is out-dated and comes back from the early 1900s and is technically very strict that I doubt it will even be properly enforced.

What's mainly wrong with this law is that it does not allow for smokers to have specialized places to go to. It is also incomplete as it sets the stage for poor implementation, corruption and a non-negligible negative effect on the country’s tourism and hospitality sectors.

The figures and infographics below are prepared by The Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants in Lebanon and are part of a study conducted by Ernest & Young in Lebanon.

It makes you think twice before following the tobacco ban law blindly.

UPDATE: You can rea…

Dear Agencies, Stop Sending Bloggers Your Press Releases!

I’m gonna say it once and for all: Blogs are not a medium for free advertising or pushing press releases. If this is what your sell to your clients as community management or blogger relations, you have to reconsider, and this is why.

If you send a press release to a blogger every day, they have most likely spammed you by the third day. On the occasion that they haven’t, you would have probably just pissed them off.
Shall I demonstrate? (I have been taking screenshots about this topic for a while to build up for this post).
Let's start with this PR Agency in Dubai. Every quarter, they send bloggers an email as below:



complete with very annoying follow up emails:



Not only are they spamming bloggers with their advertising, they don't have the decency to find the blogger's contact information themselves but keep harassing bloggers to send it to them. It's as if someone is asking you to shoot yourself in the face.

And if you don't reply to their emails, they take it as a …

Drop the Guns, Grab a Guitar: Music 4 a Cause

I am a firm believer of the work of NGOs especially in Lebanon where politics and the government do nothing toward a more civilized society.

A recently founded NGO, "4 a Cause", organizes events of which the profits go to associations and causes in need. The events are variated, fun and offered to the youth to raise awareness about where help is needed.

The first event is going to be a concert: Music 4 a Cause in which the profits will go to Baitna, a non-profit charitable organization, that aims to provide homes for impoverished mentally handicapped people, particularly orphans and those uncared for to welcome them in a family atmosphere.

So save the date, this August 30th, Bands and DJs are on board with us to entertain you 4 a very noble cause!

Standby is opening 4:
- Joy Fayad
- Lazzy Lung
- Meen the Band.

They're followed by:
- Mini B (NRJ)
- Underrated.

Doors open at 6.00pm.
Presale tickets: 20$. But you'll also be able to get a ticket at the door for 25$.
Con…

GeekFest Beirut 5.0 – Music & Fashion

Prepare your red carpet outfits and dancing shoes, it's going to be a blast! 

Geekfest 5.0 will bring out all that is geeky in fashion and blend it into the urban tunes of modern Lebanese Bands and Performers. Though geeks would not admit they are into fashion, we do know that there is a certain subcultural attire associated with them and we are about to expose it to the world! 
REGISTER NOW
The Program 

7:30 PM | Registration
Early registration secures spots for special sponsor goodies and Geekfest branded swag. Come early before the good stuff runs out

8:00 PM | Let’s Talk the Talk
Maya Metni | Le Geek, C’est Chic! How to dress like a Geek? A practical guide | Maya is a visual communication consultant. She gathers her musings & inspirations in her blog www.mayametni.com & @mayametni Toni Yammine | Crowdsourcing Music Videos – Meen the Band | Toni is a Lebanese musician/director. He likes chocolate so much, and knows how to count very well in both Lebanese and English. He also…

The Education Revolution: Social Media and Education in Lebanon

Two weeks ago, I was attending the Arabnet Digital Summit and I insisted to attend the sessions about Education to understand more about the view of professionals and educators towards the use of technology in education. Needless to say, I was disappointed with what most of them had to say.
The speakers still had a traditional approach to education, a Web 1.0 approach as I like to call it. They only cared about using technology to push material to their students rather than stimulate and encourage them to learn. They were promoting 20-year-old technologies such as Blackboard and Moodle (which are basically sites that host the lectures and are traditionally structured to minimize interaction). Some were bragging that they  have implemented these programs in their schools and universities as if it was the most advanced technology and will bring great benefit to their students. Others were promoting them because they sell these programs for millions of dollars to Arab educational instit…

Happy 3rd Birthday to Mind Soup!

This week, Mind Soup turns three, though it seems that I have been blogging for a much longer time. It has been a great year for the blog; featured several times in print and on Al Jazeera as well as cited in several studies and MBA thesis projects so I'm proud :')

I'd love to thank all my readers especially my friends who have always shown great support in my blog and kept it going even when I had absolutely no time to update it. At the beginning of this year, I was thinking that this would be the last year for the blog but with all this encouragement and exposure, I just couldn't retire it.

Yesterday, Mind Soup's facebook page received its 1000th like, and that is possibly the best birthday present :)

So here's to many years to come and may you always come back and find fresh posts!

Illegal Shelf Prices in Lebanese Supermarkets

I was in TSC Signature (Beirut Souks) this week. If you don't know already, I'm a tea addict and I like to go to that branch because they have different types of tea not available anywhere else.

In the tea section, there was a whole column for premium Lipton tea (not the regular yellow box ones). All of the Lipton premium teas were at priced 6490LL so I decided to buy the Vanilla Caramel Truffle one (among other things). I made sure that the price is correct and that the shelf label is correct and that it matched the item that I bought.

I paid at the cashier and just before leaving I checked the receipt and saw that I was charged more for that item (7990LL to be exact, that's $1.00 more). I went back to check with the manager and told him that the pricing is not right.

He went to the stand to check the label. After acting puzzled and confused, he tells me that this label is for a different product. Does he really think I'm that stupid? I gave him a mean look and told …

AUB Carpooling: a campaign worth supporting

AUB Carpooling is a very impressive campaign by the Greenpeace club at AUB. (Facebook event)
The AUB Carpooling activity allows students, faculty and staff the ability to conserve energy while making new friends.
Stuck in traffic jams and not finding a parking space?Paying a lot for fuel and parking?Bored of driving alone to and from AUB?Tired of coming and leaving by taxi? Carpooling is what you need! Not only is this a good idea and helps reduce pollution, it also reduces traffic, saves money and possibly creates friendships. I really hope that AUB helps in investing and promoting this project (but they probably won't until media start talking about it as usual.)

You can read more details about this in The Daily Star, excerpt below:
Erik Zakhia, a third year mechanical engineering student and president of the Greenpeace AUB Club, which is independent from the national branch of the global environmental NGO, came up with the idea when he saw that the faculty of engineers at the Un…

I will always love you

Whitney Houston, one of the best female vocalists and great artists of modern music, passed away last night (February 11, 2012) at the age of 48. Cause of death is still unknown.

The world has lost a legend and indeed it was too early for this loss. We will always love you Whitney. May your soul rest in peace :'(







He will legally rape you!

The “Coalition for the Protection of Women,” is a group of Lebanese citizens who refuse the perpetuation of the violence against women under the protection of existing antiquated laws. They stand by the women of their country, who have been raped, beaten and those who have decided that oppression and discrimination under the guise of law is no longer acceptable.

As such, they are calling on the parliamentary subcommittee chaired by MP Samir El-Gisr to halt its subversive activity related to amending a draft law to protect women from conjugal violence originally proposed by the Kafa Association in 2007. The committee has come under significant political pressure from special interest groups who seek to amend the law to ensure that it is ineffective and inapplicable. These amendments have rid the original text of its specificity by expanding it to the rights of children, elderly, men thus maintaining the imbalance of the Lebanese legal code vis-à-vis women.

In light of this grave dang…

Why the world hates America

Below is an excerpt from a post entitled “We came, We saw, We destroyed, We forgot”  by William Blum. 

An updated summary of the charming record of US foreign policy. Since the end of the Second World War, the United States of America has …
Attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of which were democratically-elected.Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders. In total: Since 1945, the United States has carried out one or more of the above actions, on one or more occasions, in 69 countries (more than one-third of the countries of the world!

If you’re American and wonder why the rest of the world hates your guts, why Jihadists are out there after you, or why your government is despised, you better read more about this issue.

Best Three Burgers in Beirut?

Since Gino is looking for Beirut's Favorite Burger, I thought I would share with you three burgers that I believe are the best I've had in Beirut (aside from my mom's homemade burger of course!). Let me know what you think and do suggest some good burgers for me to try!

Roadster Diner's Cheese-at-Heart burger
Roadster Diner have recently launched their new menu (read more about it by Pearl's Powder). A new addition is the "Rd Cheese-at-Heart" burger which is made of a special patty stuffed with Swiss and Cheddar cheese (yes! the meat patty is stuffed with cheese!). It also contains lettuce, crispy chips sprinkles (which gives the burger and absolutely lovely crunchy flavor) and the amazing Rd classic sauce (which is the reason why I used to order the Classic Burger before).

It's definitely recommended that you try this burger in-store so that you can indulge in the melted cheese and crispy chips. The price is not expensive as well! (I've had this bu…

Arabnet Digital Summit 2012

ArabNet Digital Summit 2012, the biggest event for web and mobile in the region, is less than 2 months away. Last year’s summit brought over 1000 attendees, 100 speakers, featured 18 panels and 17 talks, in addition to 20 entrepreneurs pitching their ideas and startups.

This year’s event is even bigger! Cutting-edge panel discussions, specialized workshops, exciting competitions, focused networking sessions, social activities and more, spread over 5 action packed days including:

Two Developer Days with technical discussions and workshops for programmersAn Industry Day about how web and mobile are transforming traditional industries like healthcare, travel, education and bankingTwo Forum Days, the largest gathering of digital business leaders in the region featuring over 100 globally renowned speakers covering the latest trends and technologies in web and mobileA Community Day raising public awareness about the the power of digital
The Digital Summit will also include ArabNet’s annual c…

Review of the Nokia N9

A while back, the generous people from Impact BBDO and Nokia sent me a Nokia N9 phone. It was exciting because it was my first non-Symbian phone and I was looking forward to trying something new.

It is perhaps one of the most beautifully designed phones that I've ever seen. Nokia have outdone themselves with product development this time. The finishing is perfect, especially the way the screen is embedded as part of the device making it unified and beautiful. The curving on the edges also make it sleek and stylish.

In addition to that, the minimalistic design adds to its beauty and makes it very simple to use. The device has only three buttons (two for volume control and a lock-screen button). It fits very comfortably in a person's palm and doesn't feel as big as it is mainly due to the curves on the sides.

I will not be covering the all the phone specifications in detail, but if you are interested in the full specifications, check out this link.

Below, I will explain the p…