NICOLE SABA WRITES – With expressive voices and growing influence at home and abroad, participants in Lebanon’s online community are finally getting their due.

The First Annual Social Media Awards, sponsored by RAGMAG Magazine and Online Collaborative, an NGO that began at the American University of Beirut, will conclude with an awards ceremony.

Such an event will bring together both the offline world and some of Lebanon’s top bloggers and online brands. It aims to empower the online medium and its active members and promote as yet untapped power that the Internet holds in, “driving change across all aspects of our lives.”

The awards include 32 categories, such as Best Start-Up on Social Media, Most Engaging Politician/Diplomat on Twitter and Most Engaging Youtube Video. Online votes will count for 50%, while the judges will determine the other half to pick a winner. Judges include British Ambassador to Lebanon, Tom Fletcher; the Lebanese Minister of Telecommunications; and Nicolas Sehnaoui, who wants these awards to inspire the Lebanese people to invest in, “the Lebanese digital economy.”

Awarding the online communities for their talent and creativity is only the beginning. Online personae have become leaders of opinions and influence in society and will continue to shape minds and choices.

Go To:

http://www.zawya.com/story/Social_Media_Awards_Beirut_Announces_Finalists-ZAWYA20130328051436/

https://www.facebook.com/AUBOC/info

http://www.wamda.com/2013/03/social-media-awards-beirut-announces-finalists-public-voting-begins

http://www.smabeirut.com/categories