Opinion | Columnists

Modern media can help consolidate knowledge

Many companies in both the government and private sector are yet to effectively utilise new technologies and social networking

  • By Mohammad Hassan Al Harbi, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 00:00 August 29, 2012
  • Gulf News

The future with social media
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • In September 2012, two events focusing on Gulf social networking will take place at two separate summits.

The congestion of local activities and events is considered a positive and healthy sign in social agendas. However, when we examine the quality of thoughts and the activities’ topics in the field of modern technologies and different communication means, we discover a repetition in titles which is not beneficial to individuals and establishments in any of the technical and communication fields. This usually leads to a lot of frustration on the part of individuals, official entities, and the organising party such as establishments, institutes, and different centres.

In September 2012, two events focusing on Gulf social networking will take place at two separate summits. One will be hosted and organised by the UAE Gulf Streamline Company.

The other will be hosted by the GCC Social Networking Forum at Abu Dhabi University. And on the other hand we also have the UAE Datamatix Company, known to organise events on the topic of the e-Gulf Government. The last course held was numbered 19, which meant that the topic was discussed over 19 years!

The GCC’s General Secretariat has been known for its e-Gov idea since 2009 in Muscat, Oman. At the time it approved the holding of a conference on the same theme by the very same name every two years. It will next be held in the UAE in 2013 after having taken place in Kuwait in 2011.

In addition, courses and seminars held by establishments for their employees, in cooperation with training centres in the country on topics such as e-Governments, social networking, new media, government communication and modern technologies, etc, point to the fact that these are varied titles for a single subject.

One may also presume that those conferences, forums, seminars, workshops and other activities held in the UAE and other GCC countries have been held in their hundreds over the past couple of years alone.

This chaos is the result of the absence of coordination. One trainee by the name of Jalal asked how he could use social networking to promote the product of the establishment where he works. Jalal is a 40-year-old-plus employee who was active and responsive during the course he participated in. This course was also the 50th he attended in the area of modern technologies.

Other courses he attended were conducted in other GCC countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. Despite the multiple courses he had attended, Jalal still asks “How?”, a question n repeated so many times that it became annoying.

This brings us to one simple fact: that this individual had been exposed to over flowing theories, and that none of the trainers had bothered to sit next to the trainee and teach him how to use these successful theories and to open an account to develop his skills.

Here we are confronted with two problems: the first is the chaos of conferences, forums and courses because of the absence of coordination and perhaps the seriousness required. The second is that these events depend on theories that are expressed theoretically without being applied practically to develop participants’ skills.

Thus, a number of questions have to be asked, such as:

What are the results expected from conducting conferences, summits, workshops and other similar functions in the topic of modern technologies and social networking sites?

How many departments were able to make use of using new media forms?

How many establishments or ministries transformed the topics of these conferences and similar functions into work programmes to prove that they had made use of the topics discussed?

How many universities succeeded in making sure their students made use of the findings of these seminars’ scientific activities?

Moreover, and away from the scientific content of these forums, how many establishment employees made use of these seminars in administrating the contents of networks and served the purpose of their establishments according to sound performance indicators?

In short, are we in need of these media?

Lastly, many establishments and companies in both the government and private sectors have opened accounts for their employees without putting these sites to any real use. Those social network sites were either abandoned or were used from time to time for uninteresting and stale topics.

Why aren’t the organising establishments able to coordinate properly amongst themselves when they intend to organise a summit, conference, course, seminar, forum or workshop?

If so, then they will succeed in warding off all the chaos and dispersion entailed?

Sadly, one feels that discussions of modern media, social networking and other similar topics are being used by many establishments to show off their abilities rather than a true keenness for laying down the framework for a certain behaviour or to consolidate knowledge.

Mohammad Hassan Al Harbi is a writer and journalist.

Gulf News