You are on page 1of 39

EFFAT UNIVERSITY

Creating a Sustainable Online Geek Community in Jeddah


CS491
Khayra Bundakji 1/9/2013

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Table of Contents
ABSTRACT ......................................................................................................................................................i INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................................................................2

PROJECT SCOPE ...................................................................................................2 PROJECT OBJECTIVES ............................................................................................2 METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................................2


LITERATURE REVIEW .................................................................................................................................5

GEEK: A RAPIDLY EVOLVING ETYMOLOGY .................................................................5 GEEKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA .....................................................................................5
Functionality of collaboration: Using restructuring of the music industry as an example 6 Functionality of collaboration: Technology and publishing industries ......................6

JEDDAH AND SOCIAL MEDIA ....................................................................................6 GEEKS IN JEDDAH ................................................................................................7


Results of focus group in GeekFest Jeddah ...........................................................7 Casual focus group .................................................................................................7
3.4.1.1.1 Participants ....................................................................................................7 3.4.1.1.2 Findings .........................................................................................................8

Formal focus group .................................................................................................9


3.4.1.2.1 Participants ....................................................................................................9 3.4.1.2.2 Findings .........................................................................................................9

Results to surveys before and after GeekFest Jeddah ..........................................10 Invite request survey results ..................................................................................10 Feedback survey results ........................................................................................12 Results to surveys before and after GeekFest Jeddah ..........................................13 Ticket application survey results ...........................................................................13 Feedback survey results ........................................................................................13 Email subscriptions ...............................................................................................13

SUSTAINABLE ONLINE COMMUNITIES .......................................................................13


CURRENT SOLUTION REVIEW .............................................................................................................16

GLOBAL SOLUTIONS ...........................................................................................16

Table of Contents

ii

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Online platforms (Global) ......................................................................................16 Offline events (Global) ...........................................................................................16

LOCAL SOLUTIONS .............................................................................................17


Online platforms (Local) ........................................................................................17 Offline events (local) .............................................................................................18

LIMITATION OF AVAILABLE SOLUTIONS ....................................................................19


Global limitations ..................................................................................................19 Local limitations ....................................................................................................19 ANALYSIS AND IDENTIFICATION OF PROJECT REQUIREMENTS ..........................................20

RESPONSE TO CURRENT SOLUTION LIMITATIONS .........................................................20 NON-FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS ........................................................................20


Community sustainability ......................................................................................20 Professional reputation .........................................................................................20 Incentive for reputation maintenance ....................................................................20
Community-based business models ............................................................................20 Personal growth of members .......................................................................................20

Streamlining community participation ...................................................................21 Casual atmosphere ...............................................................................................21 Making members at home ..................................................................................21 Encouraging innovation .........................................................................................21 Speaking the same language .................................................................................21 Different perspectives - gender .............................................................................22

FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS ................................................................................22


Users and Roles ....................................................................................................22 Public user ............................................................................................................22 Showcase user ......................................................................................................23 Member user ........................................................................................................23
Member user subtypes ................................................................................................24

Admin user ...........................................................................................................24

CONSTRAINTS ..................................................................................................25 ONLINE PLATFORM ............................................................................................25 OFFLINE PLATFORM ...........................................................................................26


DESIGN OF THE ARCHITECTURE AND ALL RELEVANT ENTITIES ........................................27

Table of Contents

iii

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

OFFLINE PLATFORM ...........................................................................................27 ONLINE PLATFORM PROCESSES ..............................................................................27


6.2.1 Subscriptions ...............................................................................................28 6.2.2 Article sharing .............................................................................................29 6.2.3 Sign up and log in ........................................................................................29 6.2.4 Article submission .......................................................................................30

6.3 END-USER INTERFACE ..................................................................................31


6.3.1 Landing page ...............................................................................................31 6.3.2 Article view layout ........................................................................................32 6.3.3 Submission page ..........................................................................................33 WORKS CITED ............................................................................................................................................34

Table of Contents

iv

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

1.

Abstract

The aim of this project is creating a sustainable online community geographically based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The online community is a consistent source of news, opinions, and collaboration opportunities by and for its members. Instilling a community of technologists and businesspeople is crucial today because many ideas worth monetizing are Internet-based. A successful Internet startup is based on fast development, wide consumer recognition, and relaying the idea to appropriate investors. This collaboration can lead to needed niche industries and job creation in Saudi Arabia. The rapidly evolving market and the current unsustainable resources used to power the country creates an undeniable need for technological and business innovation. Saudi Arabia has many restrictions in meeting and collaborating with likeminded individuals, which leads to the majority of the able population to ll social networks. This unique use of the Internet makes it difficult for local techsavvy individuals to nd each other. Once they do locate each other, the probability of them actively collaborating is very small, therefore an offline event will be incorporated in the project to sustain the community. This event takes place a few times annually as part of the MENAs GeekFest events. These events are created and sustained by select individuals in the community. The events focus group of early technology adopters encourages sponsorship and investment.

Abstract

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

2.

Introduction

2.1.

Project scope

There are problems facing different sectors of the business community that stop them from evolving rapidly using technology: (1) Geeks in Jeddah are not able to nd like-minded professionals to collaborate with in the city, (2) investors have no access to innovative concepts by geeks, (3) technology companies have a hard time displaying products to exclusively early-adopter consumers, and (4) geek developers do not have access to a wide range of end-consumers because consumers are not on the same platforms as geeks. (5) All these problems of interaction are made more difficult by gender segregation and cultural differences, but (6) online platforms in the region have a very short life expectancy due to unsustainable communities. 2.2.

Project objectives

This project seeks to achieve the following: (1) create a virtual and sustainable space for interaction among geeks in Jeddah, (2) create a virtual and sustainable space for collaboration among geeks in Jeddah, (3) create a virtual space to coordinate similar efforts within the geek community, (4) give investors a chance to collaborate with geeks in creating innovations, (5) fund the project by giving advertisers a space to present products to geeks, whom are known to be early adopters of technologies, (6) give geeks access to end consumers in order to understand the needs of the market, (7) to achieve all these interactions in an environment ensuring relaxed social norms and transparency. 2.3.

Methodology

Throughout the research of the online platform and its supporting offline event, collection of data was ongoing. The rst step was to gauge the potential community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Since online communities based in Jeddah were found to be unsustainable for a study, it was decided to gather a focus group. Certain constraints are found when gathering a community in Jeddah, which include the following: Public gatherings require permission from the government Social gender mixing is illegal for non-family members of society Because entertainment in the city is limited to very few activities, individuals will attend events in which they do not necessarily take proactive interest

Introduction

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Creating an event on Facebook became the easiest way to invite relevant individuals, but RSVPs tend to be wildly inaccurate, with most claiming to attend but not doing so The only venues for public events are exhibition halls and hotel ballrooms, both of which are costly and negate the required casual atmosphere

The study was aimed towards individuals grouped as the technological early adopters. Throughout the Western world, these early adopters have maintained a stereotype until social media became commonplace. The stereotype describes early adopters of technology as main users of social media whom are usually involved in computing or design. The correlating personality traits include seclusion, affinity to reading, and a strong sense of curiosity. The stereotype also indicates a created culture started in the 1950s that includes different mediums of entertainment such as comic books, science ction, imaginative TV series, and role playing games. This stereotype has been described as geek. Certain constraints were found when nding geeks in Jeddah, which include the following: Subcultures embracing entertainment mediums originally associated with geeks became more popular Technologies of social media became much simpler and more intuitive to use Since public gatherings and gender mixing in Jeddah is difficult, the main hub of social life was moved to the Internet Smart phones and Internet access devices became more attainable Lack of public entertainment in the city encourages individuals to nd entertainment online Technology professionals gain knowledge and community interaction on non-Saudi websites where resources are rich Many tting the English-speaking geek stereotype tended to work and study outside of Saudi Arabia (this changed during the global recession when employment opportunities dwindled)

In order to attract such individuals spread across a massive online society, an existing event with a relevant reputation was adopted. As explained in Limitations of current solutions, reputable protable events are more sustained by a local community. After analyzing current offline events both globally and locally, GeekFest Jeddah was chosen to create a casual collaborative atmosphere offline. GeekFest Dubai was the rst event of its kind. The notion spread to become GeekFest Beirut, GeekFest Cairo, and so on around the MENA

Introduction

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

region. It gained traction amongst attendees of milestone technology events such as ArabNet, which attracts relevant freelancers and entrepreneurs. The three different GeekFest events and correlating surveys will be explored and explained in the literature review. These events were organized by the initiators of the research. In November 2012, members of the community voluntarily took the responsibility of sustaining the community and GeekFest Jeddah 1, which is to take place March 2013. A change in dynamics occurred where the majority of organizers are now male. A literature review of the psychology and sustainability of online communities was then performed. Finally, current global and local solutions were studied along with its limitations in respect to Jeddah. The analysis and identication of requirements use the current decision making process of the event and expectations of the potential online community. Both GeekFest Jeddah and used community interaction on Trello 2 to help dene the program of the event, and its tools will be briey analyzed. The literature of sustainable online communities will be mapped to local online communities. Design of the architecture and all relevant entities will draw upon the current website trends in interface and structure, ensuring users experience the same sense of casualness felt while using any of their other preferred community sites. Implementation will give the platform to users to create content and ll the website with interaction and archives. Chance of resistance in testing and integration is minimal with the majority of members being described as early technology adopters and most being bloggers themselves. By the end of the project, GeekFest Jeddah should have parallel running systems to gather ideas, plan, and sustain the community of attendees. The conclusion will include the initial feedback from 10 members of the core community. It will also include the future plans of the community and what restrictions still lay in light of current website trends, such as mobile sites.

1 Pronounced and interchangeable with GeekFest Jeddah Delta 2 A online tool used for organization collaboration that can be open to the public with different levels of members

Introduction

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

3.

Literature Review

The focus of reviewing the literature is to dene working sustainable methods of community development, specically those with affinities to geek culture and technology exploration. After giving a brief etymology of the term "geek", the rst step was to follow the relationship between geeks and social media, as the subculture is among the rst to adopt online communities. By understanding the effects of individuals independently creating new ways to experience the Internet, the importance of empowering collaboration between such people can lead to sustainable participation. Because geeks in Jeddah are the target, data collection is needed to conrm self-proclaimed individuals share personality and interests as their Western counterparts. Surveys were given as an application to attend GeekFest Jeddah and analyzed data has been included. Before exploring relevant solutions, attributes of sustainable online communities were dened. Solutions include platform dedicated to either global or geographically local communities. It was decided to also take offline events into account as it will ensure sustainability for the online platform. Thusly, solutions to empower geek collaboration were studied. After researching solutions, an analysis on its appropriateness to the constraints will be provided. 3.1.

Geek: a rapidly evolving etymology

The term geek appeared in American literature in a 1950s science ction novel to denote a scientically inclined individual with limited social capabilities. Before its use, the term denoted a circus entertainer. During the popularization of the Internet, the term was casually used to describe the individuals working to create tools and devices used today to access the Internet. Today, subcultures have transformed it to be popular (Fox, 2003), and the entertainment and retail industries are catering to the stereotype. The term has reached mass academic approval and conjured more than 800 relevant search results on the esteemed ACM Digital Library 3. It still denotes an individual with more systematic thinking processes leading to possible social inhibitions (Buchen, 2011), but is now endearment and includes anyone becoming an expert on a topic by will and determination (McArthur, 2009). This includes topics ranging from lm and music to ecology and politics 3.2.

Geeks and social media

Todays geek has strong ties to social media use, especially in harnessing functional uses of networking and collaboration (Utani, Mizumoto, & Okumura, 2011). This collaboration can lead to open-source development of software and media projects, causing a redenition and restructuring of both industries.
3 http://dl.acm.org/results.cfm?h=1&cd=155121985&cftoken=87495340

Literature Review

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

While social networking sites were hesitantly adopted to socialize with family and friends by the general public, geeks used website forums and media sharing sites to connect with like-minded individuals. 3.2.1. Functionality of collaboration: Using restructuring of the music industry as an example The dawn of public Internet use showed a cultural emergence. Platforms such as Napster, a music sharing site, showed the promise of projects developed on the side by individuals unknown to the then-sturdy music industry. A basic fundamental shift in concept collapsed an entire industrial structure of manufacturing and distributing music. Social media use eliminated the need for core structural agents, namely the following three: (1) artist managers and staff, (2) physical production of CDs and tapes, and (3) physical stores to distribute the CDs. This example is used to highlight the ability for any artist to directly sell their product to consumers in a decentralized and relatively unaccounted fashion. The true investment opportunity remains in providing equipment and exposure platforms such as The X Factor and The Voice. 3.2.2. Functionality of collaboration: Technology and publishing industries IT security and software development companies found the same type of industry restructure once open-source operating systems like Linux and White Hat Hackers came into light. Traditional publishers of magazines and newspapers found readership leaning towards the blogosphere4 . Blogs and open-source methods of creation had less cost and more innovative solutions than centric managed conglomerates. 3.3.

Jeddah and social media

Saudi Arabia has a very limited and constricted place for social interaction. The very basic form of online social interaction, the online forum, proves to heavily affect local individuals emotional, social, and intellectual growth (Al-Saggaf & Weckert, 2004). Using this instance of social media interaction, it can be deduced that the general public as of late use more sophisticated mediums to maintain relationships and explore interaction in order to evolve. Research indicates this is the case for expatriates facing isolation from community (Hattingh, Matthee, & Lotriet, 2012). Online communication is clearly not needed to the same degree in cultures encouraging public interaction and communal experiences. From this we can highlight the difficulty in which Jeddahs geeks face when seeking each other.

4 blogosphere n. all of the blogs on the internet as a collective whole

Literature Review

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

3.4.

Geeks in Jeddah

Several surveys were taken over the span of 2012 to better understand the needs of geeks in Jeddah. All results are from Saudi-based individuals highly interested in local geek events promising a community of collaboration. The initial event of GeekFest Jeddah at the end of 2011 was chosen to be an allfemale event because of the apparent understanding of social media from more females than males. Many of the rst Jeddah-based social media experts were women as of August 2011 5. Many Jeddah-based blogs also belonged to women at the time. This may have been due to the small percentage of public femaleonly spaces compared to the majority of male-only spaces; Men have the option of sports, online caf activities, and many other forms of spaces. 3.4.1. Results of focus group in GeekFest Jeddah In October 2011 an open invitation was announced on Facebook and Twitter for GeekFest Jeddah 6, which was to act as a hands on focus group. To adhere to laws, it had to be gender segregated. Since the organizers and interested majority were female, the focus group event was all-female. The event was to be held in November 2011, but was cancelled due to the venue having business licensing issues; also associated with gender mixing and gatherings. 3.4.1.1.Casual focus group Instead of GeekFest Jeddah , an open invitation to a small dinner was announced as a casual meet up with no speakers or sponsors. This formed the rst focus group. Loose discussions covering what each of the 10 participants knew about geeks in Jeddah took place. 3.4.1.1.1 Participants Participants were all female and shared the following traits: Between the ages of 16-30 years Had their own website/blog Were very passionate about an activity/interest and curated information on their website/blog Could easily speak about topics outside their expertise in order to learn more Were very friendly after initial ice-breakers Were diplomatic, open, and straightforward in their opinions

5 As mentioned on an episode on That Jeddah Podcast (http://www.jeddahpodcast.com/ 2011/08/episode-41-that-social-media-episode.html). More academically acclaimed references are unavailable. 6 Pronounced and interchangeable with GeekFest Jeddah Alpha

Literature Review

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Were active participants of discussions on the GeekFest online platform before the event Had at least one device at the time to access the Internet Many intended participants could not be there due to transportation issues

3.4.1.1.2 Findings The following points were brought up and agreed upon by the majority: Importance of HTML & programming for bloggers There were geeks in Jeddah, but participants did not have any way of nding them before the invitation from GeekFest Jeddah Participants that did not identify with the term "geek" were intrigued to meet self-proclaimed geeks Geeks share a dening set of traits, at which point one of the participants showed all a Venn Diagram on the difference between geeks, nerds, and dorks, found in the gure below Geeks have some form of affinity towards computing and technology

Figure: Image provided during casual focus group discussion on difference between nerd, geek, and dork

Literature Review

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Topics discussed casually among participants included: The importance of back-end web knowledge vs front-end Social networking platforms Internet memes7, which participants expressed enthusiasm for nding each other to share this common interest Social networking platforms No mention of male geeks was made Improvisation exercises to practice creative collaboration 1. Formal focus group The purpose of gauging a community was formally announced and attendees were again invited for a more serious focus group discussion in February 2012. A brainstorming session took place February 19, 2012. It concentrated on what would attract geeks in Jeddah to an event and how an atmosphere of innovation and collaboration could be created. 3.4.1.2.1 Participants Participants were all female and shared the following traits: Between the ages 16-28 years Very active members of society Were very interested in learning new things Most had their own blog/website 3.4.1.2.2 Findings The following points were agreed upon by the majority: Geeks are individuals affiliated with technology and computing The Jeddah geek community would benet by focusing on technology interests A female-only or gender-segregated event is more comfortable A casual event like GeekFest is very appreciated, as all similar events are very formal and not open to students Other points included the following: Some participants did not use social networking platforms because they did not enjoy the online Jeddah community and felt they were not relatable
7 "mm: noun an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture". In this instance, the culture being cyber space and the ideas being images and songs. The most recent instance of "meme" is the song "Gangam Style" by PSY.

Literature Review

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

The self-proclaimed geeks did not enjoy an only virtual environment Many participants could not be there because of transportation issues 1. Results to surveys before and after GeekFest Jeddah

GeekFest Jeddahs online presence was created as GeekFest Jeddah 8 was being planned. The event took place at two different venues to respect gender segregation laws. The event took place in April 2012 and launched a loose community based on Twitter, Facebook, Google+9, Instagram10 , and DeviantART11. 1.1. Invite request survey results An invite request survey was required to be lled in order to attend the event. The survey aimed to assess the needs and expectations of geeks in Jeddah. 107 surveys were lled.

8 Pronounced and interchangeable with GeekFest Jeddah Beta 9 Google+: a recently growing social network from Google http://plus.google.com/ 10 Instagram: a smart phone based photo sharing community http://instagram.com/ 11 DeviantART: an online global community of artists which had a very heavy following in Jeddah before 2007 http://deivantart.com/

Literature Review

10

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Figure: Life status from GeekFest Jeddah Beta invite request survey released March - April19, 2012

Literature Review

11

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Figure: Interests from GeekFest Jeddah Beta invite request survey released March - April19, 2012

Figure: Gender from GeekFest Jeddah Beta invite request survey released March - April19, 2012

1.2. Feedback survey results A feedback survey was given to all interested in the event, with 42 responses. It gathered an understanding of expectations and what attendees dened the event. All questions were aimed towards only the event and gender segregation, making it irrelevant to the project.

Literature Review

12

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

2.

Results to surveys before and after GeekFest Jeddah

Planning for GeekFest Jeddah 12 began in May 2012 and took place October 2012. A similar but more automated invitation system as GeekFest Jeddah Beta was used and more data was collected. After the event, two metrics were used to gauge community participation: a feedback survey and a rate of email subscribers. The type and number of email subscriptions remained passively collected until the publication of this research. 2.1. Ticket application survey results Using EventBrite, surveys were lled about interests. Findings showed a higher number of freelancers and professionals compared to last event. Number of female attendees dropped to less than 40% of total attendees. 2.2. Feedback survey results After the event, two metrics were used to gauge community participation: a feedback survey and a rate of email subscribers. The feedback surveys only included questions towards the event and gender segregation, making it irrelevant to the project. 2.3. Email subscriptions The type and number of email subscriptions remained passively collected until the publication of this research: a total of 8 months. Subscribers were asked to specify what level of involvement they wanted with GeekFest Jeddah. Results are as follows 13 core members: Wanted to know everything about GeekFest Jeddah and participate as much as possible 9 important meetings & fun meetups: Wanted to only know of important organizer meetings and any time geeks wanted to casually meetup 6 fun meet ups and events: Wanted no part in organizing the events 91 only events: Only wanted official GeekFest Jeddah events 88 did not choose. This may possibly be due to them not receiving the emails.

2.

Sustainable online communities

As of 2004, place-based communities were taken as a research standard (Blanchard & Markus, 2004).Enterprise online communities based on interests,
12 Pronounced and interchangeable with GeekFest Jeddah Gamma

Literature Review

13

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

technology, and team goals were found to have more frequent visits than those focused on recreation and idea generation (Muller, Ehrlich, Matthews, Perer, Ronen, & Guy, 2012). The engineering of having more frequent shorter visits rather than intensive few visits helps in monetization of the website and creating a more casual atmosphere, which are two objectives of the platform. Using principles of strengthening exercises in place-based communities, we can ensure sustainability of the online community. Some exercises include rituals and gift-giving (Krieger & Mller, 2003). Both of these exercises can be fullled by having a regularly occurring community-powered offline event. Using the events as milestones and having the community bond in preparation for them creates pre-event rituals. Encouraging a helpful and bonded atmosphere creates collaboration in the place of gift-giving. The cycle of members interacting online and offline will facilitate event attachment (Farnham, Brown, & Schwartz, Leveraging social software for social networking and community development at events., 2009), which creates a sense of community, theoretically forming an attachment to the online platform. The website can function much like Pathable (Farnham et al, 2009), the application to connect at conferences. During the events, the online platform will be available to discuss happenings and get the most out of occurrences given that more than one experience will be available. The events and meetups can function as a third place (Farnham, et al., 2009), which is a physical space of regular interaction aside from work and home. The research shows that accompanying technology to a third place strengthens the sense of community in the space and connects individuals sharing place attachment. Aside from consistent interactions, sustainable online communities rely on collaboration. Collaboration requires trust and cooperation. Of three common forms of communication (text chat, text-to-speech, and voice), voice has been proven to create the strongest form of trust and cooperation (Jensen, Farnham, Drucker, & Kollock, 2000). A life-cycle perspective on online community success (Iriberri & Leroy, 2009) provides success metrics collected from empirical studies of online communities over the past decade: Quantitative metrics include size (number of members), participation (number of visits, hits, logins), contributions (number of messages posted per period), and relationship development (extent of contact between members). [] The common qualitative metrics of success are member satisfaction and quality of members relationships.

Literature Review

14

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Figure 2 'Online communities' life-cycle' as found (Iriberri & Leroy, 2009 p.11:14)

According to the online communities life-cycle, the geek community is at the level of growth.

Literature Review

15

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

4.

Current Solution Review


Global Solutions

4.1.

This section focuses on solutions open to the global public. 4.1.1. Online platforms (Global) Publication site io9.com specializes in producing content on science, sciencection, and all things related in the future including psychology and technology. With it comes a supporting online forum for readers to interact on communitysourced topics. There is a way to follow and friend fellow members. Members can sign up using one of the major social media networks such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. It is not aimed to be a place of collaboration. Zerply13 is a professional network site allowing members to showcase their design and technology work as well as their curriculum vitae. It brings together all their accounts on different social media and portfolio sites. Members can follow, chat with, and endorse each other, creating a type of community based on professional needs of collaboration and hire. There is also a conversation module where members can start conversations that will be seen globally, and others can reply, like, and share it. This gives a lot of room for reputation building and idea exchange, but has mostly been used to share opinions on general topics. Members can sign up using a new name, Facebook, or Twitter. 4.1.2. Offline events (Global) Geek Girl Meetup14 is an event for women "interested in web, code and business development" to connect at an event coined as "un-conference". The "unconference" takes the template of a conference with lectures, workshops, and networking, but is made to be casual and engaging. The term especially suits technology professionals requiring an environment to connect with peers and come to solutions 15. Each event is organized by a local group of interested individuals using experience and advice from the other chapters. It is clear that the niche attendees benet from learning from each other's experiences and exploring opportunities. Investors can also gain from having a community of similar interests and backgrounds in one place. GeekWire events16 are based on the news syndication site GeekWire.com. It is intended to be by and for technology/digital professionals in Seattle,
13 http://zerply.com/ 14 http://geekgirlmeetup.com/ 15 http://www.unconference.net/unconferencing-how-to-prepare-to-attend-an-unconference/ 16 http://www.geekwire.com/events/

Solution Review

16

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Washington and works to sustain the community collected on the website. It also posts job opportunities on the website and exposes its members within a community page17 on the site. Meetup.com is an online platform allowing local groups around the world to form an online database. When any member of the group wants a meet-andgreet style event, they can suggest one for a core administration to create. Once an event is decided upon, all members are notied. Many technology professionals choose this platform to create collaboration opportunities for themselves. Produced events result in understanding local trends and job opportunities. Geeks On A Plane18 take the notion of local meetups and add international visitors interested in cross-border collaboration and investment. The online platform is aimed towards the travelling businesses and potential local event planners. It is an invite-only event requiring application beforehand. It is sponsored by many companies making it clear the importance of collaboration and computing professionals. 4.2.

Local Solutions

4.2.1. Online platforms (Local) 3aish Jobs19 is an example of how online local initiatives are difficult in being maintained by a community. Looking to be an initial service in nding jobs or freelancers, the site is a platform for displaying credentials and posting job opportunities. Members sign up as either an employer or a freelancer and must create a new account. All participants are encouraged to comment and create dialogue on job postings. The site shows the difficulty of a local online platform has despite being supported by known entities such as Design Magazine of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This difficulty is highlighted by the need for such a service. In lieu of using the website, hiring local creative talent depends solely on word of mouth and Facebook pages, both of which allow many deserving individuals to elude popularity. Bayt.com is a platform for individuals to post job experience and companies to post job opportunities. It also contains technology to make appropriate matches. It includes a news syndication service, advertising space, and in-depth research of business in the Middle East. All features which have made it the rst choice in nding and understanding regional jobs and careers.

17 http://www.geekwire.com/community/ 18 http://geeksonaplane.com/ 19 http://get3aish.com/

Solution Review

17

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

An important difference between Bayt.com and 3aish Jobs' member participation is the type of sites they are. Bayt.com is a complete protable company and 3aish.com is a site made for and by creative professionals. The participation of members with monetarily sustainable sites seems to be more than sites created for the community. 4.2.2. Offline events (local) ArabNet20 is mostly a conference "for Arab digital professionals and entrepreneurs to connect and learn", but calls itself a "hub" and includes other events as road shows. It is the closest to the intention of the project, but is sustained by writers and administration hired by the company. It also has a number of strategic partners and sponsors and advertising space. They have become a trusted entity among technology and Internet businesses in the reason. Social Media Week is a global event powered by Nokia "exploring the social, cultural and economic impact of social media." Their mission is "to help people and organizations connect through collaboration, learning and the sharing of ideas and information"21 . The event was to make its rst debut in Jeddah in September 2012, but just a week before the event released the following announcement: "The Jeddah community has reacted wonderfully to Social Media Week Jeddah, and we had several distinguished local, regional and international guest speakers and esteemed thought leaders in the eld scheduled to showcase and share ndings, data and business solutions to support us in our daily business lives. However, today, we were delivered some unfortunate news. Due to instructions from local authorities, we must postpone Social Media Week Jeddah. While the situation is out of our hands, we are complying and will return to Jeddah in November." The announcement came after authorities became wary of social media uproars. This is a very common occurrence with debuting Jeddah-based events. This is unusual in light of the event being backed by companies as Nokia, Aljazirah Ford, Effat University, The Loft, Red Sea Mall, Unilever, Abu Dawood and Al Arabiya TV. Unfortunately, with protests in the region starting on social media, the technology associated has been met with apprehension instead of utilizing opportunity.

20 http://arabnet.me/ 21 http://socialmediaweek.org/conferences/about/

Solution Review

18

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

4.3.

Limitation of available solutions

4.3.1. Global limitations In the global cases, the online platforms ignore aspects of the region such as bi-linguistic opportunities (Al-Salman, 1996) and cultural references. As shown in the data, geeks of Jeddah are mostly full-time employees and students, both of whom do not have the ability to attend events outside the country at any time. Even if they did, most global initiatives are intended to create a sustainable community local to the event, taking away the benet for many travelling. 4.3.2. Local limitations In all the local cases, the online community formed is on a need basis. Members only search for and contribute when they are in need of work or hire, and leave the community soon after. This takes away from having a consistent source of information. In light of the local events, the level of formality is higher than that which is needed in the region as it is mostly B2B and employment mapping services. They are also target technology professionals, taking away from the creative solutions to be found by artists and entrepreneurs. They are also mostly benecial in introductions and networking, not collaboration. It should be noted that the local offline events make no attempt to facilitate an online community, while the global events take every opportunity to sustain strong virtual ties during times of no event.

Solution Review

19

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

5.

Analysis and identication of project requirements


Response to current solution limitations

5.1.

Using the previous sections ndings of current solution limitations, the following points of focus were derived: 5.2.

Non-Functional Requirements

5.2.1. Community sustainability 5.2.1.1.Professional reputation The clearest trend for both offline and online sustainable local platforms is the trust and maintenance by the public of protable and reputable companies. The decision was made to make a reputable online platform by producing relevant needed news and providing advertising space. 5.2.1.2.Incentive for reputation maintenance As will be further explored later in the chapter, online interaction from users of local websites depends on the reputation and promise of protability. Websites and communities on social media platforms associated with global and regionally acclaimed companies are more sustainable than volunteer-based websites centered on ideals or vague activism. Thusly, information must be gathered to present sponsors and advertisers with incentive to make the website reputable and protable. 5.2.1.2.1.Community-based business models Community-based business models can take value created by the community and make it protable (Krieger & Mller, 2003). Attaining the trust of a community increases customer retention rate. Having a self-sufficient focus community available to propose ideas and spread campaigns virally saves a lot of time and money. 5.2.1.2.2.Personal growth of members Research has shown that effective networkers are promoted more quickly within organizations, more easily nd new jobs across organizations and earn more money (Farnham et al, 2009). The article further describes professional networking behaviors such as maintaining contacts, socializing, engaging in professional activities such as attending conferences participating in community groups, and increasing visibility to others. Highlighting all these attributes that can be learned will provide incentive to companies based on growth to take part in the event. Universities and training facilities can gain from encouraging their

Solution Review

20

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

trainees to participate in the online community. The visible support of such institutions will lead to sustainability. 5.2.2. Streamlining community participation One of the more attractive features of an online community is the existing activity. While GeekFest already has many platforms with activity, it is imperative to feature popular activity on the website in order to continue discussions. That is to say, if there is a hot topic on the Google+ page by members, it should be noted on the website with links to all replies, encouraging the conversation to continue in the community. 5.2.3. Casual atmosphere In order to bring the most participation from the community, a constant feeling of casual etiquette must be maintained on the website. A casual atmosphere will encourage honest opinions that will lead to community trust. 5.2.3.1.Making members at home Such an environment can also be created by giving members the social media tools to which they are most accustomed. Members should be able to share anything on the site with any of their preferred social networks. By interacting with the project's online presence in various ways, members will constantly be encouraged to participate and share content with their own friends. 5.2.4. Encouraging innovation 5.2.4.1.Speaking the same language Despite Jeddahs rst language being Arabic, early technology adopters have been found to prefer speaking in English. This may be due to most technology terminology and available resources being in English. Along with this is the organizers inability to speak in Arabic. All these factors have led to the requirement of the online community to be in English with encouragement to use tools such as Google Translate to communicate.

Solution Review

21

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

5.2.4.2.Different perspectives - gender It is also clear that women make up a very small part of mixed-gender websites, only coming to equal or majority number in female-targeted social networks. Research has found women to integrate their IT education far less into leisure time than men (Stanton, Guzman, & Fagnot, 2006). The decision to deeply integrate the site in members' preferred social media networks will help sustainable use. Encouraging social network integration can also help in changing the demographic of users by including more female-centric networks into the structure (i.e. Pinterest22). 5.3.

Functional Requirements

5.3.1. Users and Roles The following are the 4 user types to access the website with detailed lists on access and interaction ability. 5.3.1.1.Public user The most basic form of interaction is by the public user, which should be able to do the following: Have access to all articles posted on the site. Have access to an RSS23 feed. Subscribe to an email newsletter that allows choice in what news they receive. Sign up as a member user using one of the following existing social media networks: Google+ Facebook Twitter Share articles on the following platforms: Facebook Twitter

22 Called the fastest-growing social network of all history, Pinterest is known to have women as the majority of its members. It allows users to share links on self-curated pages. http:// pinterest.com/ 23 Real Simple Syndication

Solution Review

22

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Read comments on articles Navigate the website's following sections: About Categories Contact Us Latest Community News

5.3.1.2.Showcase user There is a subtype of public user named showcase user, which should be able to do the following: Do everything a public user can do Submit advertisements for the ad space on the site Submit a maximum of one article a month directly to admin for approval and post

5.3.1.3.Member user A public user can sign up to become a member user, which should be able to do the following: Do everything a public user can do Comment on articles Submit articles for approval and eventual publishing Have their custom username if they choose Report abuse or spam in comments See all other members Become an admin user by an admin user's permission

Solution Review

23

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

5.3.1.3.1.Member user subtypes There are subtypes of member users, named and described as follows: (1) an affiliate user is an individual representing a company affiliated with the community admin. They must be able to submit articles featuring job opportunities and deals. (2) An investor user is an individual representing a company or themselves that seeks business ideas and brings member users together for project development. They must be able to submit articles featuring calls for proposals and job opportunities. 5.3.1.4.Admin user A member user can be upgraded to an admin user, which should be able to do the following: Do everything a public user Do everything a member user can do Approve submitted articles Write and post articles Upgrade member users to admin user role Edit member users' proles Delete member users View reported comments Edit modules of the website Modify the HTML code of the site

Solution Review

24

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Figure: Basic Use Case of website

5.4.

Constraints

Members privacy will be ensured by using industry standards of login processes. Aiding this will be the use of sign in with external social networking accounts.

5.5.

Online platform
Use cases

Solution Review

25

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

5.6.

Offline platform
The main concern of the offline events is the constraint of requiring human committee of organizers. The present system of members volunteering to take part has officially taken a step forward in organizing GeekFest Jeddah . All organizers of GeekFest Jeddah have been replaced by volunteers, and more than half the organizers of GeekFest Jeddah have been replaced. A nomination system can be implemented in the form of posts, comments, and polls if a shortage of volunteers occurs.

Solution Review

26

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

6.

Design of the architecture and all relevant entities

Flexibility of admin capabilities is kept intact in decisions. WordPress.org was chosen as the nal platform to build the website. Due to cost constraints, WordPress.com was used until such time to switch. The platform is easy to access and use, allowing for different admin to maintain site without need for comments in any code. 6.1.

Offline platform

The offline platform is an event at a specied location in Jeddah that invites collaborators and sharers of geeky interests. This event acts as a conference and includes tools for users to learn and share knowledge that can lead to entrepreneurial endeavors. The offline event is organized by the community of Jeddah-based geeks for themselves twice three times a year. Offline public agents are dened as investors and direct consumers of the collaborated products from the events. The offline event will use the online community to: Inform members of upcoming events Offer showcase users visual oor plans of upcoming event with prices Gain volunteers and ideas Provide polls and surveys for organizer nominations 6.2.

Online platform processes

The online platform is used to keep users in touch and for them to contribute knowledge and denition to the entrepreneurial industries of technology and design. The platform will also be used to organize the offline events. Users will be encouraged to sign-up using their own preferred social network such as, but not limited to, Facebook or Twitter. The following are main functions and its platforms. WordPress.org has a large collection of plug-ins available to create secure processes using appropriate APIs.

Design

27

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

6.2.1 Subscriptions WordPress has a rich plug-in directory and integrates well with MailChimp, an email campaign manager. Using a MailChimp plug-in, public users will have an option to subscribe to email newsletters. These newsletters will be automatically made and manually sent through MailChimp. The following is the sequence diagram to subscribe.

Design

28

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

6.2.2 Article sharing Posts will act like articles that can be shared by public users. Sharing buttons will be provided on the article allowing sharing with accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Digg, and Reddit.

6.2.3 Sign up and log in In it is Janrain Engage that will be used for logins. Janrain has a WordPress plugin allowing users to securely sign in using network accounts from Twitter, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.

Design

29

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

6.2.4 Article submission

Design

30

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

6.3 End-User interface


6.3.1 Landing page The layout of the landing page

Design

31

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

6.3.2 Article view layout Interface after article is selected

Design

32

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

6.3.3 Submission page Layout of submission page. The form is a WordPress plug-in; the submitted article will be emailed to the official GeekFest email for review.

Design

33

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

7.

Works Cited

"Create UML diagrams online in seconds, no special tools needed.." yUML. Version beta v0.18 . N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2013. <http://yuml.me/diagram/ usecase/draw>. "Draw and Edit Sequence Diagrams in seconds." WebSequenceDiagrams.com Draw and Edit Sequence Diagrams in seconds. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Jan. 2013. <http://www.websequencediagrams.com>. Al-Saggaf, Y., & Weckert, J. (2004, June). The Effects of Participation in Online Communities on Individuals in Saudi Arabia. ACM SIGCAS Computers and Society , 34 (1), p. 1. Al-Salman, A. S. (1996, October). An Arabic programming environment. ACM SIGICE Bulletin , 22 (2), pp. 19-25. Blanchard, A. L., & Markus, M. L. (2004, February). The experienced "sense" of a virtual community: characteristics and processes. SIGMIS Database , 35 (1), pp. 64-79. Buchen, L. (2011). When geeks meet. Nature , 479 (7371), pp. 25-27. Farnham, S. D., Brown, P. T., & Schwartz, J. L. (2009). Leveraging social software for social networking and community development at events. C&T '09 Proceedings of the fourth international conference on Communities and technologies (pp. 235-244). New York, NY, USA: ACM. Farnham, S. D., McCarthy, J. F., Patel, Y., Ahuja, S., Norman, D., Hazlewood, W. R., et al. (2009). Measuring the Impact of Third Place Attachment on the Adoption of a Place-Based Community Technology. CHI 2009 (pp. 2153-2156). Boston, MA, USA: ACM Press. Hattingh, M., Matthee, M., & Lotriet, H. (2012). Internet use and expatriate adjustment: understanding the degree of isolation experienced in kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SAICSIT '12 Proceedings of the South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists Conference (pp. 167-77). New York, NY, USA: ACM. Jensen, C., Farnham, S. D., Drucker, S. M., & Kollock, P. (2000). The effect of communication modality on cooperation in online environments. CHI '00 Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 470-477). New York, NY, USA: ACM.

Works Cited

34

Creating a Sustainable Online Community in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Khayra Bundakji

Krieger, B. L., & Mller, P. S. (2003, Spring). Making internet communities work: reections on an unusual business model. ACM SIGMIS Database , 34 (2), pp. 50-59. Merriam-Webster Online. (n.d.). Dictionary and Thesaurus. Retrieved 12 18, 2012, from Merriam-Webster Online: http:///www.merriam-webster.com/ Muller, M., Ehrlich, K., Matthews, T., Perer, A., Ronen, I., & Guy, I. (2012). Diversity among enterprise online communities: collaborating, teaming, and innovating through social media. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '12, pp. 2815-2824. New York: ACM. Ozenc, F. K., & Farnham, S. D. (2011). Life "modes" in social media. CHI '11 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 561-570). New York, NY, USA: ACM. Stanton, J., Guzman, I., & Fagnot, I. (2006). Internships and occupational commitment of college students in IT-related majors. SIGMIS CPR '06 Proceedings of the 2006 ACM SIGMIS CPR conference on computer personnel research: Forty four years of computer personnel research: achievements, challenges & the future (pp. 295-303). New York, NY, USA: ACM. Utani, A., Mizumoto, T., & Okumura, T. (2011). How geeks responded to a catastrophic disaster of a high-tech country: rapid development of counterdisaster systems for the great east Japan earthquake of March 2011. SWID '11 Proceedings of the Special Workshop on Internet and Disasters. New York, NY USA: ACM.

Works Cited

35