Last night, I had the good fortune of attending an open house for Social Media Exchange here in Beirut. There, I met real life people with whom I've previously had only online contact, whether it was through Twitter or email.
It's funny how you can instantly connect with people who live an ocean away.
I think Lebanon really has something here. Through technology, young people are coming together and shaping their own view of what the future of Lebanon should be (too bad they can't do it with a decent internet connection...) In Beirut, Twitter has brought together tech types in a way that could never have happened ten years ago. Through "Tweetups," young Lebanese get together to talk about tech, complain about Lebanon's slow internet, and just socialize and enjoy each other's company. True, Tweetups happen in other parts of the world, but not with the same frequency and intensity as they happen here. Friendships are forged, new projects develop, and activities have expanded beyond the Twitterverse. This weekend in Faraya, there is a snow Tweetup at a ski resort.
Imagine if individuals can get together like this what organizations can do with such a simple tool as Twitter. Instead of working individually, organizations can learn about each other's activities and work together to tackle a common problem, whether it be computer illiteracy, poverty, or the corruption in the telecoms sector that is to blame for the poor internet infrastructure in Lebanon.
If you are a civil society organization, sign up for an account at Twitter.com! Make sure you use your organization's name, and if you have one, use your logo as your avatar. Find a third party application like Echofon or Tweetdeck to facilitate the use of Twitter, and start tweeting about your projects!
You can follow us on Twitter at @SafadiUSA.