Brunei's First Social Media Meet Up

The social media scene in Brunei has again made its presence felt. Bloggers and twitterers in the sultanate gathered to attend a historic event in social media to unite and bring forth the faces and people behind the screen of their PCs or Laptops or whatever device they use.

Last October 21 marked an important date in the local social media calendar when the big guns of the Brunei blogosphere got together and organised Brunei's first Social Media Conference: “That's where it's @”. The event was held at the Radisson Hotel in Bandar Seri Begawan and some 80 social media enthusiasts attended this half-day event. A #socmedbn hash tag was created by the organizers to allow tweeps to share updates and quotes from this historic event.

Photo from CandidSyndrome Brunei ·

Before the panel discussions took place, Mr Lim Ming Soon of Telbru started the event with a very enlightening presentation of facts and figures and how TelBru, a major local Telco company, is embracing social media and trying its best to support and respond to the ever growing number of internet users in Brunei.

The conference was divided into three sessions. The first session “Dude, Where's my traffic?” was moderated by @emmagoodegg and on the panel were Rano Iskandar @ranoadidas of – No.1 Social Commercial Blogger in Brunei, Delwin Keasberry @BruneiTweet of – Brunei's No.1 Twitter star  and Dinoza Maruf @Dinoza of Breeze Magazine, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

Each panelist had expertise in different platform and spoke about their highs and low and how to get more traffic. Rano spoke about the number of hits and which news attracted a lot of hits. He also shared how he came about doing what he is doing now. BruneiTweet or also known as Delwin spoke about how his twitter persona as someone who has been away frrom Brunei wanted to bring together amazing stories about other Bruneians through his blog, but his main forte is his twitter presence. Dinoza hails from Sabah, Malaysia and his expertise is how he managed to get Breeze Magazine‘s existing 300 fans to more than 14,000 fans on Facebook. This came after their decision to shutdown their website and focus on their Facebook page. One of his pointers for generating follower was organizing competitions and giving way amazing and attractive prizes.

The second session was a much anticipated one because two prominent figures took center stage. The topic was “140 character or less: Why joined the twitter conversation?”. Moderating was blog hero, Tuan Haji Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos of @Bruneiresources and and his panel included Dato Timothy Ong, Chairman of Asia Inc Forum, who recently embraced social media via twitter, @Timothy_OngTM.

Dato Timothy spoke so passionately about his decision to participate in discussion with the young people of Brunei. He wanted to engage them and listen to them because these are the people who will one day lead this country and he was able to do this via twitter. You may view the whole panel discussion that has been uploaded on Youtube. 140 characters or less: Why join the twitter conversation?

The final session after a short break was a session entitled: “From Idea to Enterprise: What does it take?”. Moderating the panel was Tom Bonius, Social Media Coordinator, Rapidea Solutions, Sabah, Malaysia and his panel were Keeran Janin (@keeranJ), Founder of MeSixty and Simon Soo, Director of Mint. Both the panelists shared their experiences in the ICT profession  and how to deal with the ups and downs managing your own business.

One of the highlights of the conference was the use of Pigeonhole, a site where people can log in via Facebook or Twitter or Linked and direct questions to the panelist. It was a good platform but in the words of Dato Timothy, nothing beats human contact.

From @emmagoodegg, an assessment of the event

Aside from the social media angles, I personally felt that one more important aspect of events like these is to get off your backside and get involved in your community. As residents, we must take responsibility for our society and encourage the spirit of togetherness. And that is to me the beauty of social media, the general good that can be done by cultivating social networks, large and small, through IT.

The final word however, is that in spite of all of this IT, it is important to actually make human contact, to sit in a room, in a group and hear one another speak face to face. To paraphrase one prominent speaker, it is what makes us human; we are after all not robots.

@marg was impressed with the conference

Another thing that thoroughly impressed me was how unlike normal conferences, where people just sat, listen, took notes and asked questions, this conference was where most sat, eyes on their smart devices (laptops, phones etc), tweeted what struck them throughout the sessions and asked questions ONLINE!

Oddly enough, on this day when everyone had their fingers glued onto their keyboards/keypads/touchscreens, they weren’t being anti-social! In fact, it was pretty interactive as the questions posted and the number of votes were projected for all to see

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