As a member since the very early days of Twitter, I have witnessed all the phases that this community has went through from the cuddly adorable early days to the bitchy whiny era that we are in now.
In 2010, I was super proud of the hard work of the bloggers and tweeps that I thought there should be an entity that protects and promotes this community. The Online Collaborative was born from a group of enthusiasts who wanted to make it worthwhile for this growing community and till this day, it has only served the goal of promoting proper online citizenship and creating an open platform for every member of the Online Community with no exclusions.
Three years into the project, our volunteers have made a HUGE impact on this society (if you like to admit it or not) in an attempt to make the experience better and to promote its people to the world. These volunteers who have invested so much time, effort and sometimes tears to create a better place for you are being highly underappreciated and abused. It is very easy to criticize, bash and hate on something when you do not know how much hard work and good intention it has behind it.
In 2012, my team sat down and wanted to do something big for this community, something that would show the world what they are missing; and The Social Media Awards were born. They were born to give attention to every single person in the community who is doing a good job maintaining a social presence (from brands to individuals). They were not intended to promote Online Collaborative as an entity as it would defeat its mission. They were not intended to promote me as a person or as a project to gain money as I am fully self-fulfilled (promotion or money wise) from my professional work that is unrelated to the work done by The Online Collaborative.
It is easy to criticize, hate and bash when you do not know what goes on to produce something and when you do not know its motives. The Online Collaborative has seen over 100 active members during the last three years. These members have ALL worked to give you amazing events for FREE or low-cost. None of these volunteers were paid a cent. None of these volunteers complained about not getting paid. The Online Collaborative has not made a single cent in profit from any of its events despite its ability to do so. It is our way of showing that we are doing this for the Online Community alone and that we believe in it.
Because we believe in this community, CPR decided to invest huge amounts of money to create a publication dedicated to the Online Community: Cloud961. This magazine which is available for FREE to everyone and features people from different sides of the Online Community was born to complement our mission and to make you more visible to the more traditional audience.
Therefore, my team, partners and I have dedicated huge parts of our lives to raise this community up from the ground and make something out of it. Yet, most of what we have gotten in return is undeserved hatred and unjustified bashing. Before you intentionally or unintentionally comment negatively about anyone or anything related to this community, or judge anyone for their mistakes, ask yourself: what have I done that is better for this community? How have I contributed positively? What impact have I had on people who I share a timeline with? Do I know how hard they have worked to provide me something that I can enjoy for free?
Last week, we held a massive FREE-for-all party to celebrate Online Collaborative’s third anniversary and I was overwhelmed by the love and appreciation of many people for our work, many of which I have not personally met up till that point. These people have restored my faith in the concept of a unified online community and they are the reason I am writing this today.
This year, we have witnessed a dark year full of bullying, abuse and bashing from tweeps, bloggers and even brands! Personally, I have a clear conscience that I haven’t intentionally tried to hurt anyone especially the whole purpose of the organization that I represent is to promote the Online Community as a whole. That does not mean that I have not tried to defend my team (who I completely adore), my supporters or even myself. I will go so far to protect the people who have supported me and nothing will stop me.
Anyway, what I am proposing is turning over a new leaf, opening a new page:
- If you have a personal problem with me or a difference of opinion might have caused a clash, I am more than ready to discuss it and have an open mind. Just drop me off a short email [firstname.lastname@example.org] and everything will be sorted out quickly.
- If you have a made-up reason for disliking me or Online Collaborative, then you have to get over it honey because trust me, the grass is greener on the other side and it is more fun to play on greener grass. Don’t let jealousy eat you up, because there is really no need to be jealous. Online Collaborative is an open platform for the whole community and we are more than happy to have you on board with us. If you look closely, many people who are being aggressive now have been supported and welcomed by Online Collaborative at any point during the three years (from conferences and workshops to tweet-ups and even the SMAs). They just need to put their thinking caps on and remember ;)
- If you are upset because I said that your client’s falafel (or whatever) is too expensive, then you need to get a reality check and then refer to number 1.
- And finally, if you are insisting on being a self-loathing asshole who bashes everyone for entertainment, then guess what, I am not a brand and I don’t have to deal with your shit. So the use of the BLOCK button is perfectly acceptable. You are simply not worth my time.
I can safely say that I, along with my beloved team, have done my share of work for the Online Community in Lebanon and even going an extra mile to reconcile the hell that has broken loose due to unjustified shenanigans by some members who think that bullying is the way to get noticed and differentiated from the crowd.
This year, The Social Media Awards in Beirut is going to be bigger and better. There are so many hidden talents and incredible content that should be promoted and we are here to make them shine. It is your job to help us make it because is it the ultimate benefit for the community. We welcome your constructive critiques and suggestions to be able to serve you better this year.
Dear Online Community in Lebanon,
Keep Calm and CHILL THE FUCK OUT! No one is out to get you. Smile when you see people on public. Loosen up. Lay off the gossip. Be honest to one another. Make friends. Have fun. Do not spread any more hate.