“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” — Helen Keller

Here’s my video wrap-up of Raj Kotecha‘s successful “My Friends Your Friends” networking event on March 1st at Dusty’s Dubai. “My Friends Your Friends,” is a social gathering where everyone is connected through mutual friends. Attendees are invited by the hosts (of which I was one), who will ensure you have a great time and get the most value from attending.

Hosts are responsible for bringing along friends with an eclectic mix of stories, interests and goals. The hosts will ensure you always know somebody and make memorable connections.

More than 200 interesting, intriguing, and intelligent individuals shared great conversations, started new relationships, and enjoyed an environment where luck felt at home. I was honored to be one of the 14 hosts and am already looking forward to the next event!

Here’s my video recap of the event (originally posted on my Facebook page):

Are you a connector — or looking to connect?

malcolm-gladwellIn his 2000 book “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” author Malcolm Gladwell argues that ideas, products, messages, and behaviors “spread just like viruses do.”

He then explains how “word-of-mouth epidemics” and trends are triggered through “The Law of the Few” by three pivotal personality types:

  • Connectors: people who know large numbers of people across a wide array of social cicles who enjoy making introductions between individuals in those different circles; a connector is the social equivalent of a computer network hub.
  • Mavens: a subject matter expert expert who connects us with new information; they gather knowledge and understand how to share it. Gladwell explains that mavens are the people who start “word-of-mouth epidemics”  because of their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate.
  • Salespeople: charismatic persuaders with powerful negotiation skills responsible for advertisements and marketing through which they strive to convince others of “needs” (which may or may not exist). They are masters of “The Stickiness Factor,” and know how to make ideas and products simpler and more attractive. Notably, Salesmen are often paid for their skill, while Mavens use their skills for the simple pleasure of sharing knowledge and and helping others

On Wednesday, March 1 from 6 to 9 pm at Dusty’s in Dubai you can discover if you are a Connector, Maven, or Salesperson at “My Friends Your Friends,” is a social gathering where everyone is connected through mutual friends.

mfyfExpect great conversations, new relationships and an environment where luck feels at home. Visit the event’s website to learn more and to register at https://myfriendsyourfriends.com; you can also explore the gathering’s Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/755312037978472/.
Attendees are invited by the hosts (of which I am one), who will ensure you have a great time and get the most value from attending. Hosts are responsible for bringing along friends with an eclectic mix of stories, interests and goals. The hosts will ensure you always know somebody at My Friends Your Friends and make memorable connections. They include:
  • Anika Morjaria: online personality Literally Anika; content creator, brand ambassador and model.
  • Arthy Baheerathan: founder of Arthyreally and Patches & Flash; photographer and digital content creator.
  • Harshana De Silva: founder of Alliance Events, Dubai’s best kept secret for corporate events.
  • Hunter Lee Soik: head of global community at Dubai Future Foundation; tech entrepreneur and futurist.
  • Kanchan Kulkarni: founder and fashion designer at Kara, a home grown label making noise on catwalks globally.
  • Lobito Brigante: DJ; organiser and curator of cultural events; party rocker and turntablist.
  • Matthew A Gilbert: instructor at The American University In The Emirates; tech and marketing expert.
  • Omar ‘Ot’ Tom: co-founder and co-host of The Dukkan Show; established Dubai’s number one podcast; MC and strategic planner.
  • Raj Kotecha: founder of Creative Content Agency and My Friends Your Friends; co-founder of Vaynerworld; DJ.
  • Richard Boullemier: news presenter at Arabian Radio Network; head of business development at First and Ten Productions.
  • Ritesh Tilani: founder of Joi; active member Of Dubai’s entrepreneur and investor community.
  • Saana Azzam: founder and CEO of Mena Speakers, responsible for bringing incredible speakers to Dubai.
  • Shyam Savani: brand manager in lifestyle, fashion, and travel; Trendsetter of The Year, 2015
  • Sonal Kotecha: interior designer at Pallavi Dean Interiors; Young Interior Designer of The Year, 2015.
Learn more about the hosts at https://myfriendsyourfriends.com/#hosts-section. If you don’t have an invite from a host, you are still very welcome, just register now at https://myfriendsyourfriends.com/attend.
mfyf

Indicate your interest in attending this event by registering now!

Google+ 1st Generation UserOn the same day the Space Shuttle launched into its last orbit, I was invited to launch into my first orbit as a first generation member of Google+ by my friend, Detroit-based photographer Hillary Fox. You can view my profile and, if you are currently a Google+ member, add me to one of your “circles.”

If you would like an invitation to join, please contact me with your e-mail and, once there are more spots available, I will send you one. When I first signed up yesterday morning there were invitations to be had, but 12 hours later, when I endeavored to invite a friend, the option was no longer there.

It appears the system is once again closed to new users to prevent overwhelming the servers. Of course, the secondary benefit mirrors the most basic tenet of economics: scarcity drives demand.

Clearly, there is significant interest in this latest social media initiative from Google. With some of their more recent efforts — Wave and Buzz — seeming to have disappeared before the end of their first act, it will be interesting to see what happens with Google+.

I have taken Google+ for a few short test drives so far, but nothing too in depth. At the moment Google+ strikes me as very similar in almost every functional way to Facebook, though with the trademark Google simplicity of design and interface. I like the threaded discussions (as in Facebook) but for some reason it seems more free and open like Twitter.

Some of the more unique features of Google+ include the following:

  • +1 Button: Clicking the “+1″ button on Google+ is similar to clicking “like” on a Facebook status update. In order to remove your +1, click the button again and it will be undone. Notably, Google has integrated the +1 button into all of it’s search results – and even into ads it serves – so if you find something you like, just click the +1 Button and it will be saved to your Google+ profile.
  • Circles: Groups of people with whom you are connected and defined in any way that makes sense to you; also allows you to easily select with which Circles you share certain content.
  • Hangout: Group video chatting allowing up to 10 users simultaneously.
  • Huddle: Group messaging function that lets users share information with certain “Circles.”
  • Sparks: News feeds about topics in which you are interested.

One notable advantage over Facebook is that you can edit a post long after you’ve made it— something you can only do in Facebook immediately after you post content on your wall. It would not appear that is a “Facebook killer” but it is far too early to pass judgment either way.

One nice aspect to Google+ is that it integrates with all of Google’s other online tools — the recurring theme of efficiency, immediacy and interactivity offered by Google+ with other Google products. Google+ definitely has potential to make a difference, yet the adoption seems to be slow.

For some reason, despite its prowess elsewhere online, Google has struggled with creating a widely used social media platform. I wish them well in this endeavor. Generally speaking I am an admirer — and user — of many of Google’s services (it’s hard not to be given their extensive involvement in everything Internet).

In March 2011 I began using an Android-powered phone; to say I am overwhelmingly impressed would be an understatement. Previously I used a BlackBerry and while it was good, it was not great. Android’s functionality and features quite simply blow me away.

Two months later, In May 2011, I began using Gmail more regularly. (My new laptop failed and I needed a temporary solution to remain in touch with the outside world while I limped along with my old laptop). Once I began using Gmail to send and receive e-mail from my POP account, I suddenly realized the efficiency and effectiveness of the service.

Notably, I really appreciate the immediate integration of my calendar and contacts between my phone and my Gmail account online. This was always an arduous task with my BlackBerry and one of my chief frustrations (in addition to my Curve 8330 being vastly under-powered and unable to run more than two applications at once).

I have also discovered the ease with which I can save documents online and forego the need for a USB drive (for most cases).  There are numerous other features offered by Google but those are just a few that I actively use.

One thing I do like about Google+ is that it integrates with all of these existing tools that I already use. Again, the idea of efficiency, immediacy and interactivity offered by Google+ with other Google products. Overall, I am unsure what will come of Google+ and what to expect from it. I am also unsure in what way, if at all, it will change my social media practices and priorities.

As it is, I am using social media more selectively and strategically, though I still find incredible value in my Twitter  accounts (I use @MatthewAGilbert and @doctorious the most regularly) and Facebook; both allow me to learn and share knowledge while making professional and personal connections that have enriched my life.

I also continue to teach several courses that directly or indirectly deal with social media and it’s impact on industries and individuals. Social media continues to evolve into an undeniable cultural and commercial force and my being able to teach it is a great way to continue learning about it.

Looking forward, I am intrigued and excited to find out what will become of Google+. For more information about it, you might want to explore this CrunchBase profile for Google+ — I found it useful.

The video below also offers a general overview of the service:

Whenever or if ever you join Google+, I look forward to connecting with you there and/or engaging with you about it here!