Dubai's social media revolution?

New site aims to engage the city's residents in a new way

Area Guides
Area Guides

Dozens of social networking sites have sprung up in the past decade, from Myspace to Bebo, Twitter to Facebook, with many more obscure, niche versions in between. This summer, 40-year-old Dubai-based Indian expat Shabbir Adamji became the latest to venture into a heavily saturated market with the launch of GoMadInc – which stands for Go Make A Difference.

Yet with so many existing competitors, how does he plan to attract users to the site? The answer lies in GoMadInc’s extra functions, which enable users to do more than simply communicate their latest actions and thoughts with others. ‘I’m passionate about the power of synergy, and the Ideas Platform is my way of helping great minds come together,’ explains Adamji. ‘It’s an open forum where members from around the world can share ideas, tips, missing pieces of information or collaborate on projects to benefit each other.’

The site aims to build ‘a global community of innovative thinkers’. Impressively, it seems these prospective innovative thinkers are flocking, with thousands signing up within days of the launch. But there’s more, including a MyStore online shopping component, where members can buy and sell from each other. The site also provides an easy way to support charity. ‘The site helps online donations to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) and its local partner, the Red Crescent,’ says Adamji. ‘Putting our resources behind the WFP by encouraging and enabling donations is one of the ways we want to help make a difference in our global community.’ Perhaps this surprisingly holistic approach will be the key to GoMadInc’s performance.

After joining the queue to sign up, it turns out that activation of a new account takes a little longer than we’d hoped (good news for GoMadInc is not such good news for Time Out’s deadline). Fortunately, we’re given access to one of the team’s accounts to allow us to tour the site under our own steam.

According to Adamji, one of the site’s selling points is that it’s easy to use. Well, like any new tool, it takes some getting used to. An account, for instance, is split into two ‘avatars’, keeping social and professional profiles distinct from one another: this allows a user to demonstrate that though they may be a serious business executive, they also know how to party.

MyStore seems yet to have taken off, but as the site is still processing thousands of applications, we’ll give them a couple of weeks before they start challenging the might of Dubizzle.

Overall, there’s a lot going on throughout the site – more than you can get used to in 15 minutes. But the site will most likely be tweaked as more people start using their accounts and feeding back to the developers. After all, when asked what advice he would give a fellow entrepreneur, Adamji’s first response is to listen to what people are saying. ‘I’d advise people to listen to advice: taking on board suggestions is what has helped our team to build, shape and improve GoMadInc. However, at the same time it’s important to stay true to your vision, and pursue your dreams. A lot of people will voice opinions that may not always be helpful.’ In short, he says it’s vital to sort the constructive criticism from the plain unhelpful.

As for the users: why not become one? Try it out – it could well become a source of inspiration, via the Ideas Platform, or simply a way of selling your sofa faster via MyStore. And at least you’ll be doing your bit to support a local businessman – maybe he’ll be Dubai’s answer to Mark Zuckerberg.

View GoGoo (that’s Go Get Organised Online)

GoGoo (that’s Go Get Organised Online)

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