Kudos to ICQ Qatar for holding the first ever Qatar blogging conference at the Sharq Village and Spa!
My favourite speakers were Jeremiah Owyang, Web Strategist blogger, Ahmad Hamzawi, Head of Google Engineering for the MENA* area, as well as Qatar Visitor writer Shabina.
Of particular interest to business bloggers were several opportunities that Jermiah and Ahmad identified for Qatar.
One was in web services and analytics - after Ahmad pointed out that Technorati did not cover Arabic speaking sites Jeremiah argued that this was an area of opportunity, although not everyone in the audience agreed. Another area that was not mentioned, but seems a pretty obvious one, is keyword analytics - wordtracker is a popular paid service in the UK and the US, but does not cover the Middle East.
You can check out Jeremiah's presentation and comments from the bloggers involved here: Meet the Arabic Blogosphere.
Areas for Improvement
One small criticism was the lack of access to the internet. Neither I nor my partner in crime were able to access the wireless - perhaps in the future ICT could provide a password for the Sharq Village and Spa network?
Also, an area I felt needed to be covered is just what Qatar bloggers can talk about, and where are the no go areas. Giving us some guidelines in what we can write about would both give us more confidence in our posting and prevent us from getting into trouble!
Web Strategy Presentation
Here is the presentation, hosted on one of the tools Jeremiah mentioned in the workshop.
As always the food at the Sharq was excellent - especially the rare lamb. And while unfortunately my pictures of the event itself didn't come out well, I did snap an okay one of the delicious lamb, hamour and prawns:
*Middle East and North Africa
arabic blogosphere qatar