With summer and Ramadan fast approaching Dubai's inhabitants, who aren't lucky enough to be evacuated for the hottest time of the year, tend to hibernate indoors with a box set or 20!
The TV options available here are totally rubbish which is why most people download, stream and buy DVD box sets- to stop themselves having to watch the "new" season of Desperate Housewives being shown by the TV channels here- which is usually 4 years behind the real world!
Also US TV seems to have gone into a hiatus for the summer too meaning the weekly shows on the net are finished too boohoo!
Here's the pick of my faves for you to watch to while away the summer heat until we get till September and hopefully the cooler temps!
1. Game of Thrones- this new series starring Sean Bean is amazing- like Lord of the Rings X rated version! Get the 5 books that the series is based on and that should keep you busy!
2. Torchwood- Dr Who spin off starring the sexy John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness- more adult though- new series starts on July 7th- if you're quick you can watch the last 3 before the new ones start!
3. True Blood- vamps vamps and all sorts of spooky things! 3 past seasons to watch and a current one on now...like an adult Twilight but so much more better! 11 books to go along with this series too!
4. Human Planet- amazing documentary series about us as humans and how we survive and live in all different territories and conditions- amazing photography and narrated by John Hurt. Part was filmed in Dubai too which is really interesting!
5. The Middle- this is a light weight really funny show starring the mum from Everyone Loves Raymond and the janitor from Scrubs as parents trying to do their best
6. Parks & Recreation- Office- style mockumentary- very dry, witty and funny! Brilliant characters! Based in the made up town of Pawnee and follows the lives of the Parks & Rec council department- starring Rob Lowe too!
7. Friends- an oldie but a goodie- did you know there is a repeat of a Friends episode on TV somewhere in the world permanently! Have a Friends marathon- go right back to the pilot epsiode and laugh your way through the next 10 seasons!
8. Modern Family- another family based US comedy but very clever and guaranteed laughs every episode.
9. My Name Is Earl- just watched all of these- I used to catch odd episodes but never got "into" it- if you watch in sequence right form the beginning this show is absolutely hilarious!
10. Gossip Girl.... shhhhhhhh..... my guilty pleasure- think it is supposed to be for teeangae girls but I love this show- set in New York, fab clothes, hot actors and actresses, intrigue and gossip.... watch it and enjoy but be careful who you talk to about it :)
That should be enough to keep you going- hope you enjoy my picks!
Well it's been a while dear readers but there is a reason!!
Some of you may remember this post here where I was musing whether dating sites actually work or not etc. etc. etc.
Well....I have to take it all back! They DO work! I have finally met the man of my dreams! All thanks to Match.com! Eek I know!!! The experiment worked!!! Who'd have thunk it??
Anyway, apparently a lady never tells so I am not going to go into details! Plus I know you will be reading this D :)
I will say that the site was a bit dodgy as per my previous blog post and you have to watch out for the scam artists and the arabian men who want to marry you without even meeting you- really yani my princess- but if you search hard enough and prune hard enough and wish and pray to the gods of love and use your common sense of course you might find a gem too!
I guess the main thing is- don't ever give up hope- you never know what is going to happen in life- and it will happen when it's supposed to happen! Just live your life to the full in the meantime!
Well I am going back to my Cloud 9 for now and will blog again soon :)
It took me ages to get to grips with Twitter! Yes, I know I am behind the times but will explain! I opened my account over 3 years ago and to tell you the truth there wasn't much going on round here then- Facebook was reigning supreme- and still is! It's only really since January this year that mere mortals are entering into the Twitterverse in Dubai with mixed results.
I just found Twitter a bit strange to start off with! I suppose it is because it is more anonymous than Facebook- plus you are not actually making "friends" with someone- just following reading their words of wisdom/ gobbly de gook!
Anyway I persevered and persevered and have got my head round how it works etc. now... now what I am trying to figure out is the best way to use it here in Dubai for me and my clients. I am trying to establish a dialogue and a rapport- but getting a response is hard. What actually makes people reply to your tweet, retweet or follow you- it seems to be a very mystical equation!
With my clients I am making sure I am tweeting relevant, succinct, interesting tweets and not just promoting the client but also sharing industry news and insights- daily. I reply to every @mention and message politely. I follow tweeters in the same industry and any other relevant regional tweets. Seems to be working and genuine followers are growing steadily- just not much rapport going on. Maybe I am expecting too much- is Twitter a conversation or is it just random strings of 140 characters blasted into cyber space by people just because they can. Are we addicted to writing our own headlines?
Have had some fun and games as well- the wonderful telecom provider here DU got a bit of a manners whallop from me! I could not sign in to their website- pretty basic need for a telecom provider yes? So, I tweeted them-here's what followed:
@dutweets what's up with the self care login page on your website- can't load the page...help would love to pay my bill!
@Manodrama Can you load other pages? Meaning, is it only this page?
@dutweets yes I can- it just does not load the login page on Firefox or IE.....please help!
@Manodrama Please try it again now, it should be working fine now.
@dutweets Wow yes it is- thanks for fixing- was it just me or a problem with the site?
@Manodrama We had an issue with the site earlier yesterday but it's resolved :)
@dutweets shouldn't you say thank you for me pointing it out hahahhahah! Thanks for fixing!
This tweetline happened over a 24 hour period- so basically- website was not working- I alerted them to the issue they were unaware of- they fixed it- where was my thank you for pointing out the major problem?? Got it out of them in the end. Maybe I am being pedantic but you can surely see that if you on Twitter as a company you have to interact and be polite too!
I do love the breaking news aspect of Twitter and without going into it, the use of Twitter in the recent uprisings in the Middle East & Africa- the power of it- is amazing. Commercially though does it work? That is yet to be seen in Dubai. Right now I am experimenting with Twitter- that is the beauty of it you can experiment. The immediacy of it is ground breaking but can the region cope?
My Top Ten Twitter Tips for Businesses
1. If you have an account keep it active- if not delete it! Nothing worse than a Twitter account that's not been updated since 2009- makes you company look really bad!
2. Make sure you have access to the account even if your marketing/ PR agency are running it- if you change agency etc. you don't want to lose control over your account.
3. If you are having your posts on Facebook appear automatically on Twitter too- that's great! But you should post just for Twitter too. They are both totally different animals and need to be treated as such. Do special Twitter only posts! Your company should have a Facebook Voice and a Twitter Voice.
4. Check your @mentions and messages daily/ every time you log in. Twitter is a conversation- one client's Twitter account I took over was doing really well- over a 1,000 followers- but they didn't know about the @mentions and messages- so had never replied to any of them- lots of lost business and makes you look ignorant as a company.
5. Don't just follow 1,000s of people as soon as you get going! Be picky- you don't want to look desperate. try and keep a nice ration between followers and following. Nothing looks worse than you having 1 follower but you are following 2355 people! Balance it out and increase who you follow over time. It should be organic!
6. Check who is following you on a daily basis and follow them back if they are relevant to your business. If they are spam bots etc. report them- do everyone a favour. Don't leave them in your followers purely to boost numbers- people can spot them a mile off.
7. Retweet relevant tweets of people/ businesses you ideally want to follow you back- they will hopefully notice that you have retweeted them- check you out and hopefully follow!
8. Time your tweets- don't blast out twenty tweets one after another- you will only annoy people! Filling up their feed. Spread them out few in the morning, few in the evening... if you use a client like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck you can have them timed and sent out when you want.
9. Experiment- see what gets the most reaction- you being funny, talking about sales and promos, retweeting news, giving expert opinion- you will get a flavour for what works best for you- keep it loose though!
10. If someone helps you out- say thanks! Du- take note :)
My Top Ten Favourite Tweeters- mixture of spoof accounts, celebs and news- perfect combo!
1. Elizabeth Windsor @Queen_UK By the Grace of God, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, wife to the DoE, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother (fictional)
2, God @TheTweetOfGod I am the Lord thy God, Cre8r of the Twitterverse. Thou shalt not follow any gods before Me, nor RT Me in vain. Honor #FollowFriday and keep it holy.
I really am watching too much Al Jazeera and if I turned it off it would probably be better! I feel awful blogging about trivial shit when there is so much going on in the world- but I am not a political animal and life must go on anyway...here's my nod to everything so I can write a guilt free blog about shoes or something!
Japan- unbeliavable devastation- sending my prayers to you.
Bahrain- please stop now- cried when saw Pearl Roundabout being demolished
Egypt- so glad you are becoming stable again
Libya- you poor people having had to live under such a tyrant- let's hope everything works out
And everywhere else wher there's been uprising- please, please keep it peaceful!
Oh and there's a nother H1N1 break out...what is this plagues, floods, quakes, famine, wars? Maybe the whole 2012 prediction thing is right?
I am just going to carry on living my life cos there is nothing else you can do!
Now I know we all love a good bargain but what the heck is going on in Dubai at the moment? Deal websites are like mushrooms at the moment- surely the Emirate is not big enough to sustain all of these offer sites? Am personally looking forwward to the battle of the deal web sites... place your bets ladies and gents!
This all reminds me of when the classified websites launched here- there was Dubai Donkey, Souq.com, Ebay.ae (cheeky!!!) and Dubizzle. I think we all know how that story ended- Dubizzle rules supreme now!
So who is going to win the battle of the deals? Let's have a look at the contenders...
Gonabit- very active and possible leader Cobone- very active but seems to have higher offer uptake Groupon- mmmm.... either this is a soft launch or they are not as good as everyone has been predicting- weak offers Deal Gobbler- a wanna be Cobone/ Gonabit
1 Deal Days Living Social- not launched yet
Wanamax- they gone bust aleady I think- well their website has disappeared! Ad7vantage.com- offers through 7Days- very expensive to take part as a client! 2for1uae- another Gonabit Lowcost Dubai-more of a touristy one and doesn't look as zooty as the other sites.
My money is on Cobone or Gonabit winning and if you pushed me- I would say Cobone will win out in the end- purely based on their more impressive uptake of offer numbers. They are both neck and neck on Facebook likes so it is hard to distinguish!
And how about this for a funny coincidence- I sent a mail yesterday to one of the new ones to ask them very politely to refrain from spamming the Facebook pages I manage- and also a little tip/ heads up that Facebook will ban them if they continue! Well I just got a phone call from them, as I am typing this, asking if I would manage their social media for them hahahah!! So, do I now enter into the fray of what I am dissing and put my money where my mouth is and show them how to do it? Or do I run for the hills!
The business model is excellent for the deal sites- they take 20- 50% off the cost of the offer! They say everything else is free- so the cost depends on how much you sell. I had one client who wanted to offer a 2000 dhs gift voucher for 1000 dhs..the site said they would take 50% off that cost....so basically if they sold 100 the deal site would get 50,000 dhs....that's a very expensive marketing campaign!!! Not including the loss of revenue on offering the deal! I reckon the best thing is a small cost deal that is for something quite niche and for a small size company who can't usually afford to advertise on this scale- you are getting massive low cost exposure through their website, social media and data bases- but not necessarily loads of vouchers being bought!
If you're a salon/ spa/ hair dressers it is a great way to get new clientele- assuming of course you really look after these new bargain hunting clients. It does have the potential to become a PR disaster- there are already reports of people not being able to use the vouchers as the salons are too booked up until after the voucher expiry. Can a small salon actually cope with an influx of 300 plus new people over a short period? Can they give them the great service required to make them a return customer? Will existing customers get fed up of voucher wielding clients in their favourite salon and go elsewhere??
Also where is the loyalty to the deal sites? I flit between the big 3 but have only actually bought 3 deals- one of which I am getting a refund on as the deal was totally misrepresented! The other two- one was half price concert ticket for a concert I was going to anyway and the other a half price brunch cos cheap booze- well I am there! I have not been tempted by the cheap mani pedis and hair cuts- just not comfortable with them. Maybe I am just not a deal person- or maybe I am but am very selective! One friend of mine buys nearly every day and has stacks of vouchers! Maybe it's possible to become a deal-addicted....oooh I really, really may need my under arm hair removing with lasers in the future- quick buy the voucher!! Apparently 20% of vouchers never get used anyway!
What would I buy regularly? Travel deals actually- reduced hotel rates for sure, the odd beauty deal if I knew the salon, meal discounts for somewhere I would normally go... I don't think I am their target customer- I have never bought The Entertainer Book either- I always get shock horror gasp when I say that! What's the point- would never use all/ any of the vouchers!! It's only me!
Add to all these websites- coupon books, loyalty cards, regular sales- man, we shouldn't need to pay full price for anything ever again in Dubai! How are you supposed to manage all of this!! One lady I heard of has everything in a selection of marked envelopes for ease of use- argggghhhh!! I can't cope! What are the enevlopes labelled as? Spa- massage, Spa- mani pedis, Food- cheap pizzas???? The list could go on!
One last top tip I will share with you- do not surf these sites whilst under the influence! I have one friend in London who had a Chardonnay induced Group On splurge and is now having to have liposuction, fake eyelashes, hair extensions and a chemical peel all in the next month!!!
Here's an interesting article about the start of it all in The National from Dec 2010 You have to feel sorry for the Wanamax now- after all his spouting in this and the website is now gone!