By Shahd Amr, Amina El Khadem and Omar Salem
The AUC Social Media Conference (#AUCSMC) took place in The American University in Cairo on Tuesday, 31 March from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Jameel Building.
The two social media related courses at The American University in Cairo (AUC): JRMC 4490 Social Media Management (#JRMCSMM) taught by Professor Kim Fox from The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and RHET 3250 Digital Rhetoric (#AUCnow) taught by Juleen Keevy from The Department of Rhetoric and Composition co-organized the event.
The conference hosted several speakers including Sarrah Abdelrahman, an AUC alumna, who graduated with two degrees, Theatre and Journalism and Mass Communications. Abdelrahman is known on Twitter as @Sarrahsworld. Rami Boraie was also a speaker. He is a standup comedian and a social media and advertising creative. He is @ramsville on Twitter. Abdelrahman and Boraie presented their experiences concerning social media in the last hour of the conference.
Abdelrahman is the second female video blogger from the Arab world. She started her first video on YouTube focusing on the issue of sexual harassment right after the Jan.25, 2011 Revolution.
After receiving many offensive and negative comments, Abdelrahman decided to suspend activity on her YouTube channel which has been inactive for the past two years.
Following Abdelrahman, Boraie presented his talk ‘Don’t take social media personally’. He added that some of the negative comments might actually be constructive comments that could be helpful. He said, “Sometimes haters are just people who are correcting you.”
Boraie also noted that people should only focus on one media channel to be good at, “Know your channels because people who try to be really good on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, end up average in all,” he said. Boraie referred to his Instagram account as his 'safe haven' and private time.
In an interview with Abdelrahman following the conference she mentioned that she chose her first topic, sexual harassment, because it bothers her on a daily basis more than any other social problem.
In an interview with Boraie after his speech, he elaborated on his opinions about the impact of social media on people nowadays. He said that now you can know people’s feelings, beliefs, and interests just by checking what they follow and what they like.
According to Kanzy Mahmoud, a Journalism major attendee, "I never knew how social media is so powerful that you can start up your career, and that through social media you can brand yourself."
Over 100 people attended the conference throughout the day, which featured blogger Mahmoud Salem as the keynote speaker. The conference, #aucsmc, had more than 400 hits on the day of the event.