I killed this blog!

Not sure how you landed here but this blog is dead. I moved my blogging to http://www.themanalyst.com since 2010. Be sure to pass by there and subscribe!

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A Leader by Default

“9: Why do you listen to 1?
5: A group must have a leader.
9: But what if he’s wrong!

-5 looks down baffled with no answer-“

I was watching the animated movie “9”, which I quite enjoyed,  and those lines inspired me to write about a topic that has always interested me and at times even disturbed me. “Leadership”.

Let’s not get into the statement “A group must have a leader” because in my opinion that’s debatable, and I’m sure that any one of you out there who has the urge to constantly follow a (/any) leader, must have a million justifying reason but the fact remains that it’s a matter of personal preferences. However, I do agree that in certain situations, one person must lead in order to avoid chaos. My debate is on WHO would make a leader!

https://i0.wp.com/www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/shu0274l.jpg

I live in the Middle East, occasionally in Lebanon (my home country), where the concept of leadership is often flubbed (☚ word of the day – flubbed: messed up, screwed up, destroyed, ruined, etc.). If you watch regional/international news (which I avoid with great passion), you must have heard of Lebanon and its many political dilemmas due to the many leaders and parties, each trying to take over and prove their alleged rightfulness. Now don’t take that as a statement that “we suck and you rock!”. I know every country has its problems, but I’m in no position to judge something I haven’t experienced firsthand (PREJUDICE IS BAD!).

Now let’s head to the source of the problem as to what makes a leader worthy of being a leader (before you think to yourself “oh this is going to be one of those boring theses”, it’s not! It’s going to be fun and you’ll get a treat at the end.).

According to the very general definitions you would find for “Leader” or “Leadership”, a leader is a person or thing (e.g.: an organization) that rules, guides, and inspires others. Well I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds pretty vague and subjective.

Let’s try to search for “Leadership attributes” for more accurate results:

Google search engine results: about 863,000 for leadership attributes. (0.36 seconds)

Good luck reading them all to know what would make a leader! Or you can just keep on reading and get an idea based on my perspective.

One result that I found a bit reliable is this right here:

The 11 critical attributes of leadership are listed below:

1. Unwavering Courage (in some cases, courage is inapplicable.)
2. Self-Control (you’d have to know the leader personally to be able to judge on this one)
3. A keen sense of justice (based on what law?!)
4. Definiteness of decision (what about the quality or rightness of the decision?!)
5. Definiteness of plans
(What about commitment to execution?!)
6. The habit of doing more than paid for
(Is there an extent to what he/she is being paid to do?!)
7. A pleasing personality
(Even if it’s just an act?!)
8. Sympathy and understanding
(Again, a close knowledge is necessary as so not to fall for stories)
9. Mastery of detail
(one side-note: in Lebanon, we have ministers heading ministries totally irrelevant to their experience and background. Not much mastery of detail there! Like a car mechanic fixing a spaceship.)   
10. Willingness to assume full responsibility
(So he/she is willing, but will he/she commit when $#!+ happens!?)
11. Cooperation
(Is it really cooperation or an exclusive club of plotters?!)

Answer this in full honesty: Do you look into all of those attributes before committing yourself to a leader? (Yes? What? I can’t hear you!). It is surely hard to investigate and have certain proof of all those attributes, but don’t just simply follow a leader who looks impressive because he/she has many other followers. Don’t just blindly trust a leader and follow his actions with complete obedience without having an objective sense of reasoning. Leaders are human and thus bound to make mistakes at times even if they were supermen/superwomen (BTW Superman is dead, if you haven’t read so yet.)

Where am I going with this?

Be your own leader first. learn to have the above attributes and be the best you can be as a person. No one is better than you as a human (unless you are an evil villain), but some can outshine you with their actions. Thus, learn from their actions, imitate, modify and originate, but never just follow to be in the herd!

If you find yourself with an urge for a role model, investigate, question, and always reason. Don’t just trust what other followers are saying even if they were your best friends, or wife/husband, which brings me to my next point.

Have some guts and stand up for what is right. Don’t just stand up to what your leader thinks is right and don’t defend him/her when you know he/she is wrong. Just follow the leader’s singular actions, one at a time, rather than the leader himself/herself.

Conveniently and coincidently, I just came across this quote -watching the movie Zeitgeist, that was referred to me by a friend- that directly fits my point:

“They must find it difficult… those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.

–          G. Massey, Egyptologist”

Now, this isn’t a conclusion, because I still want to hear from you as to who you consider as a leader/row model (in any industry, profession, age, dead or alive, etc.), and why or how he/she inspires you.

And don’t ask me whom I consider as a leader. That position is going to be vacant until I am proven wrong or I have better alternatives, because no matter what the case is, NEVER appoint a leader by default!

P.S.: As for the treat, I consider knowledge to be the biggest treat. If you don’t agree then you shouldn’t have been here on the first place =), but you’re still welcomed.

Show Some Business Tweetiquette!

https://i2.wp.com/www.dilbert.com/dyn/str_strip/000000000/00000000/0000000/000000/60000/9000/200/69231/69231.strip.sunday.gifI have only been on Twitter for few days and, oh boy, it has been a great experience. However, it would have been a SUPERB experience if it wasn’t for all the glitches I’ve noticed from professional business tweeters. PEOPLE, you need to have tweetiquette -Twitter Etiquette, in all fairness, I thought of this term before I googled it to see if it already exists. Oh well, I’m not the only person trying to be original out there-.
Just from observing businesses behavior on Twitter for the past few days, I have jotted down some punctilios -a new word I learnt today- that you, as a business promoter, need to follow if you want to gather and keep happy followers:

Punctilio #1 Mix business with pleasure, that’s today’s “must-do”:
We all know that you are mainly on Twitter so you can promote your business or blog or whatever it is you are so proud of (and yes we are proud of you too, mostly!) but before you want to add some professional value, you need to add some social value. Remember it’s a “social” network first, not a “business” network. Don’t make all your tweets about headlines and news from your business/blog, sure include some, but remember to also share some fun tweets, or some useful tweets that aren’t related to what you’re promoting. Tweet to show the human side of your business, not the robotic news-feeding side (That’s what RSS feeds and Ad spaces are for!).

Punctilio #2 Drop the direct auto-messages:
It was exciting for me to get direct messages to my inbox after having only been there shortly, thinking I raised some people’s interest. Then I found out that all the direct messages I’ve been getting were just automated, and impersonal like “Thanks for following, we look forward to reading your tweets (Really? Are you? What’s the last thing I tweeted about then?!). Visit this site/blog etc.”. First of all, if you feel the need to send an automated message to your followers then can you please make it a bit more personal! Like add the follower’s name saying “Hey there Manal…”, now that would make me feel special believing you took the time to read my name and know who you are addressing and would encourage me more to visit a link you give me. Sure it might be hard work to do that with every follower you get, so only choose some per day, and if you’re not willing to do the work then lay off the messages. One other thing, I think it would be more appropriate to send your links on a second direct message rather than the first. How would you feel if someone asked you to do something for him/her on the first day you meet!

Punctilio #3 Put some “soul” in your retweets:
You might want to save yourself some trouble or spice up your feed by retweeting tweets that would interest your followers, or by tweeting links of something you read, but please don’t just tweet a dry formal headline. How about you include your comment on the retweet first! Something that makes it apparent that there is a social human being out there with opinions and thoughts and love for sharing… Don’t be afraid to show some humor or wittiness (or emoticons =D) in your comments when appropriate. I have more fun reading posts/tweets/comments that show the reader’s sense of humor/cynicism/emotionality and that motivates me to retweet them myself.

Punctilio #4 Don’t repeat your tweets:
I know that it could be hard to find great content or insight to tweet every few minutes, so you might feel the urge to retweet some of your previous tweets again, but try to resist that! I’m sure it is interesting enough to repeat, but there are followers (and they are many) who are always up-to-date with the latest tweets and make sure to read them all. It would look bad when they go through the really long feed only to see that your repeated tweets are filling it up! I’m sure you’re thinking that it’s best to repeat your tweets for the new followers who are increasing by the minute, but some of those would go through your tweets history and might notice the repetition. If you feel that the content is so important that you need to increase awareness to it by repeating it, then choose a long time interval, like repeat the tweets every 24 hours, not every hour!

Those are some of the punctilios that I have for now, and I’m sure other enthusiastic followers have more as well (if you are one then please add yours in your comment). And remember, failing to abide by tweetiquette would risk you losing followers. In fact, I’m going on Twitter right after publishing this post to unfollow some of you =).

Happy Socializing!

Superman is Dead, Vampires are Alive!

It seems that our notion of heroes have changed in the past few years, mainly heading to the dark side. Has anyone noticed that Superman is absent from the heroism scene? No hit movies (yes he returned but no body cared!), series (I am not counting Smallville because he is yet to call himself Superman and fly around with a red cape), or cartoons even! Yes, superman became very uncool. Who wants an alien pretending to be a normal human being as a hero! We want dark human beings who aren’t normal with super powers. Vampires are what’s “in” now: Twilight, New Moon, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc. It’s all about a hero who is a vegetarian nice living-dead vampire; sure because it would be too sick to love a vampire who kills humans. Even Spiderman had to go dark in his last feature to appeal to the masses.

Now the question is: how do we use that trend for our advantage? Simple. We hire vampires as our marketing people. We feature vampires using our products. We create products customized for vampires and vampire lovers. We open social communities for vampires with restaurants that offer “Tru Blood” and open buffet from willing volunteers. We maximize the marketing and creating of night life services…

Oh wait… VAMPIRES DON’T EXIST! Alas, that would’ve been a successful marketing niche.

I wonder what the next trend would be… zombies of intelligence, advocating for zombie rights?!

Something to Blog about

So I’ve started this new blog of mine hoping I’d be able to speak my mind out about various things, and mostly change my habit of being a silent observer to becoming an active participator. I’ve always had this “problem”, if it really is a problem, as my mother told me when I was a child I didn’t start speaking as early as normal because I was so busy observing the world around me and probably trying to form a perception of it. I was contemplative even before I was talkative =P.
However, since I’ve started this blog I haven’t come to decide on a topic to discuss, not because of the lack of topics but because of my other habit of over-thinking where I need to plan and think of something thoroughly down to the last details before I can do it. Then I just remembered something I read in an article a few days ago about being a better copywriter. The author basically said that writers have to stop that inner voice in their heads that tells them what to write or what not to write, how to write it, and most importantly that they’re not good enough to do something. He also added that to get the writing flowing, they should just write about anything until they get inspired. What I liked most in the article was the very beginning:
“We all have the potential to create whatever reality we could possibly imagine. Impossible is a word that limits our actions and behavior.”
Strangely enough that was what I have always believed in. I truly believed and advocated that our world is only made by our own perceptions. Something is only as sweet as you think it as or sour as you believe it is. Everything is possible because when you can’t control everything around you (and most certainly you can’t), you can at least control your thoughts and views. When you truly master this ability, the world becomes a different place “in your eyes”.
However, recently this has been something I doubted, and therefore lost the ability to do. For a little while perhaps I had that inner voice controlling me and my actions, but now I want to gain power and claim back my spirit (LOL I know I made it all too dramatic). I need to turn off my inner editor that’s been editing away my life and start playing a bigger part in it, it’s my life after all! And how am I going to be doing that? By blogging about nothing as something to blog about.

Sometimes the most precious thoughts are precious not in their value but in the fact that they were shared, and heard. Could that be the reason why when we are angry, we scream at someone that we hate him/her, even though we don’t, using that as a cue to let him/her sense what angry thoughts infest our minds? I would leave that to another post on some other day.

A browser for “Social Networking Addicts”!

Having accounts in multiple social networking sites seems to be the hype nowadays. If you are like any other average internet user, you must have by now at least 5 different accounts on different sites that you often forget to manage or update. From my personal experience, I can assure you that that is the case since I have 8 different accounts so far and they are ever growing.
So naturally, managing your accounts becomes more of a sore chore than a great tool for interacting with family, friends, and the rest of the world. Now, I’m not going to discuss the hazards of such addiction – since I suffer from it too – but hopefully I will help a bit by recommending a solution to make it easier for you.
As I’ve come to conclude, a “fun” social networking addiction needs the support of a great browser –OK, addictions shouldn’t be fun but you got to admit there is a certain thrill to having yourself all over the net interacting with people you could’ve never known existed any way else!–.
I was a traditional user of the Internet Explorer browser, maybe out of habit because it’s what I’ve known and used ever since my internet debut in 2000 –I’m young and live in the Middle East, the internet wasn’t very accessible here before that–. I grew accustomed to personalizing it with different toolbars and buttons to ease access to different sites, but consequently it made me believe that facing problems with a browser was inevitable. I grew tired of it a while ago and kept complaining about it and had friends recommend the Google Chrome browser saying it’s problems-free. And it was problems-free, but just as well it was customization-free! After getting used to having all those buttons that made my life easier, I was forced to use a “naked” browser. I got to admit that I was very discouraged to go through it and discover its full potential like I do with every software program I use. I also simultaneously used the Opera browser because I maintain multiple accounts on the same sites –like my 2 Facebook accounts and 2 hotmail accounts– so I often use two browsers in one session to stay logged in all of them at the same time and maximize efficiency. However, not a lot of efficiency maximized there because the Opera browser was just as uncreative as the Google Chrome. Some friends, or more like Mac fanatics, recommended Safari browser, but that would be as bad as the others when used in a Windows setting. So finally, I embarked on my own search for a browser that would suit my needs as a social networking addict and there I found it!
“Flock – The Social Web Browser”: Flock is a free web browser. Built on Mozilla’s Firefox, Flock enables you to instantly upload photos, share photos and videos by drag-n-drop, blog… and a lot more!
One look at the Flock start page and you know you will like it! Social networks services like Facebook; media browsing and sharing services like Youtube; and webmail services like Gmail are directly accessible from the start page and enable you to log in to your accounts and stay logged in and updated with all changes through Flock’s sidebar rather than having to keep those tabs open all the time.
Oh one great feature I loved is Flock’s total integration with Facebook, for all you Facebook addicts out there, with a taskbar of your Facebook notifications and chat floating on all Flock windows. No wonder 2 million Facebook users made the switch to Flock browser!
On another note, you can’t ignore the aesthetically pleasing and practical interface of the browser that allows easy access for all you can think of in a modern futuristic look without cluttering.
Honestly, I have only been using it for a week now but it didn’t take me more than a day to completely fall in love with it and share it with my friends. Here’s what some of them said:
“I like it! The easy access to my emails and profiles, the organized RSS feeds, the smooth sync between different photography uploading services like Flickr and Picasa which I both use, and the Facebook online bar available all the time (not that I use it often, but I find it a nice idea) have all made it the ideal browser for me. Plus, it’s light on my Mac in terms of size compared to other browsers so it’s perfect as my supporting browser, next to the Safari Browser.”
– Hayat Mushcab, MSc student.
“It’s a customizable web browser that works faster and better than most browsers, and I find it organized in the sense that I know where to look for a certain thing when I needed it. Simply, it changed the way I surf the web and it nicely supports my Safari browser on my Mac.”
Senior Account Executive at Asda’a

Here are some screenshots (click on them for a full view):

Flock’s starting page with featured social networks

Flock’s My World page displaying your favorite sites, media, and feeds.

Flock’s sidebar and media streams bar (open when needed to reduce clutter and keep window size appropriate)

Now here’s where you can learn about Flock and all its other nifty features as well as download it:
Join the flock today and “Be a Flockstar”!
Try it then comment to let me know what you think.

Nature is Like a Really Cool Desktop Background

How often do we look at our desktop background really? Even though I know that most of us pick a really cool picture of something we like, or a photograph of a good memory, we still are never really using our laptops to look at the desktop. That’s how nature started to feel like! We love to have a good view and good weather but we are rarely just out there enjoying it (unless you are one of the lucky few whose jobs are to do fun work outside, like that n#1 greatest job in the world where the guy has to live and have fun on a tropical touristic island and then blog about it to promote it!). Just like we glance at our desktop background from time to time when we have just turned on our laptop or turning it off, we quickly glance at nature on our way to our car or back to the house. And sometime we are even too busy to look around us. If you are wondering what has inspired me to write about this, well I’m not in any better shape, I rarely enjoy nature as well. I’m always inside with my laptop doing whatever is socially required these days or working. However, 10 minutes ago I had the craving for a hot pancake juiced with syrup. Then I thought, why not add some good weather to that and make it a happy night! And so now I’m sitting outside, with my legs crossed on the table in front of me like I’m the queen of my world but what am I doing? I’m all occupied with my phone sharing this with you. I guess it’s going to take us a few steps before we can really adapt back to nature and all its pleasures…