You know that feeling you have when you know you’re surrounded by people who EVERYONE knows while you might as well have the words “Who the Who?” tattooed on your forehead?
That feeling of happy anticipation tinged with a bit of shy apprehension because you want to get to know everyone and be the cool cat that just schmoozes into one fabulous conversation and out of the next, but you know that’s just not you.
This was kind of the feeling I had as I stepped into the Sky Lounge on the 55th floor of Al-Hamra Tower (oh yes, my friends), about 10 minutes before everything was supposed to start. Thankfully, I immediately spotted a few familiar faces and was greeted by some lovely bloggers so I settled in quite nicely. And as more and more people started filing in, I recognized even more wonderful faces from Project X and immediately the whole atmosphere started to get more chill and laid-back.
Now, really, I’m not much of schmoozer or a social butterfly. I mean, I love to meet people but my awkward shyness sometimes tramples my attempts at actually making any introductory moves. Even worse, I’ve been told I can come off as unfriendly because of the fact that I’m so painfully shy. (Side note: I’m really not. I just have a problem with sparking new conversations.)
But, thankfully, everyone at the event was super duper nice and I ended up meeting and chatting with a whole lot of great people both within the blogging world and the social media biz as a whole. In fact, I got to meet and greet such a crazy number of fantastic ladies and gents that I have now mastered the art of the Middle Eastern female greeting.
As a rule, I usually do the whole one peck per cheek pattern and that’s usually enough, but I found myself pulled in so many awkward directions that, by the end of the night, I had a system down.
It goes peck, switch cheek, peck, and peck again. Done.
I found this pattern pretty full-proof and didn’t allow for a whole lot of awkward push and pull. Any lady who’s ever found herself mingling in a group of other ladies in an Arab country, knows what an uncomfortable moment this can be, but trust me this pattern totally works in any Arab socialization situation. You’re welcome.
But, hey, you want “coverage,” yes? Then coverage you shall have!
The night was kicked off by the ever energetic, charismatic, fully seasoned Man of The World, Omar Al-Othman of Omarker (and everything else) fame. He acted as the emcee for the event and did quite a good job at it as he kept the momentum of the night flowing with his very impromptu and approachable style.
Now, throughout the night, various speakers were brought up to talk to us about a certain experience or issue going on right now within Kuwait’s social media machine. The speakers varied from entrepreneurs, artists, comedians, and social media gurus. Most of the speakers had some very interesting ideas and entertaining anecdotes to share but, to me, the stand out speakers were Fatima Al-Othman and Mohammad Al-Muhaini.
As some of you may remember, I went completely bonkers when I found out about Fatima Al-Othman’s stolen F2O designs, so it was definitely great to see her stand up there and express the way in which members of the social media machine, like myself and other bloggers, have helped her build a real case against these people and have also helped her in her noble fight to stop such acts of property theft from happening in Kuwait again.
I also especially liked Mohammad Al-Muhaini’s speech because, as a member of Zain’s social media team, he gave a wonderfully detailed description on the amount of work and effort that it took to pull this great event off and made some really hilarious comments on the nature of Kuwait’s social media experience and the nature of working within this field. Seeing how decadent and organized the event itself actually was, I definitely had a real appreciation for the amount of time and creativity that this team put into making it so fabulous.
After all the ‘Tales from Social Media Land’ were done, the night was rounded off with a stand up comedy set by the local Kuwaiti v-logging trio, “Shino Ya3nee?” (or “So What?”). They got a lot of laughs from the crowd and provided a good set-up for a relaxed, feel-good close to the event. Personally, most of their humor wasn’t exactly my kind of humor because I’m more a fan of simple, anecdotal punchlines as opposed to loud, slapstick, slightly over embellished humor. But, still, I did laugh a few times here and there at their awesome integration of beat-box skills and their crazy physical gestures.
In a pinch, the night was quite memorable. Mostly because I got to meet and greet so many significant figures within Kuwait’s social media bubble. And while I didn’t get to speak to everyone I was hoping to because I stuck to the same corner of the room for the majority of the time (hey, Elizabeth Taylor made this a freaking art form!), it was still quite wonderful getting to know all the people that I did.
I’ve got to thank Zain’s Social Media team for being gracious enough to invite this tiny little blog to this huge, truly fantastic event. I got to meet so many people that are worth knowing and that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. I got to hear some great stories from some really inspirational figures. I got to eat, laugh, and relax in a classy, beautiful setting at the highest point in Kuwait City.
And I got to master the art of the Middle Eastern greeting.
All my love! (And, yes, I’m aware that I don’t have a whole lot of pictures. I’m sure if you step on over to any of the other awesome blogs that did attend you’ll get your share of eye candy)