March 16th 2009
I was at www.Qaym.com ‘s launch press release yesterday at (nokhbah café), as Jihad, the founder, tried to close the gap between the press media, and new media. Maybe I have been away from Saudi for a while, but it was exciting for me to witness this. I saw some bloggers and some geeks that I should be seeing more than I do. I also saw some familiar faces from the press. The Riyadh news paper and al-igtisadia (the economical) news paper was there too. Jihad launched his site, and then took questions. After those questions, Jihad asked from all the attendees to be in a very constructive discussion; how can new media and press media coexist and help develop one another.
The launch of Qaym was exciting in itself. It’s a web 2.0 adoption of restaurant voting and rating system that depends on the users as the main source of content. I am a stickler for user interfaces and usability, but Qaym impressed me. The graphics were simple enough, the rating system was smart, and most importantly, the registration was easy. Qaym was able to find the #1 pass time in the Saudi community and really try to improve on the quality of it.
The theme of the site is blue and white, with a hint of a green. That simple design made the rendering of the page quick and smooth as well as eye pleasing.
The rating system was perfect. Vote Like, or don’t like is the perfect schema to approach this. Jihad mentioned first started with a star rating, which I think has a lot of flaws. A star rate mechanism would create a confusing choice to the user. What could be the difference between a 5 and a 4 star rating? All of those similar issues were avoided using a vote up, or a vote down system.
I consider registration to be the worst part of any online service, but Qaym’s was not that bad. 3 fields to fill is as simple as it gets to sign up. The content of the site is viewable by anyone without registration. It’s only necessary when a user would like to participate in the rating. I highly recommend trying out the service.
After the demo and the launch announcement, Jihad asked the question. How can new media reach the press media, and vice versa. A young TV correspondent showed his frustration that pitching ideas to media outlets could lead to intellectual theft. Al-dogaibly from Riyadh newspaper said “Don’t rush to be in the classical media”. “Get you projects and new media outlets to a mature level first”, he added. A member of a tech TV show on al-majd news paper wanted the new media providers and geeks with projects to come to them. “We have a lot of material to choose from always, we need you to help us choose by providing us with something news worthy”. A member of Saudi Geeks asked the classical media members to identify what material is needed for an appearance or a story covering a new media event or a project. The discussion was concluded when evening prayer started, and most people had to leave, including me.
I will be looking forward for more discussions on how classical media and new media can enrich one another and how can the quality of both be improved. Bravo Jihad.