A few months ago I heard about an event called social media week that was taking place in Beirut . I was thrilled and excited especially since my work has a lot to do with social media . I thought to my self this is going to be a great opportunity to learn and network with new people . I registered for all the events during that week and made sure I emptied my calendar for this big event .
I went to the first session and I made sure I had my notebook and a lot of business cards , I entered into the building and waited in the coffee area where everyone was registering and getting ready . I started to look around and thought to my self , ” I hope another veiled woman shows up ” . The sessions were almost done and still no sign of a veil in the room , ” It’s ok” I said to myself but deep down inside it was not ok .
Most the events I go to I barely find one or two women who are like me , and it does make me feel unsecure , like an outcast and someone who doesn’t fit in. I do confess that there are many times when I am strong and really don’t care . But for some reason this time I wasn’t that strong woman .
It was break time and I thought to my self that I should make the best of this and network , I stood aside while drinking my coffee, pretty confident that someone was going to approach me , but unfortunately no one did . I know that the basic networking rule states that you approach others not the other way around , but I wanted to give it try . And it worked after 30 minutes of standing all on my own , someone was coming my way . Back straight , smile ready , I was ready to network . ” Excuse me , where did you get your coffee from ? ” he asked . Back down , smile gone , I was ready to leave .
A lot of you might blame me because I left in the middle of the day and didn’t attend any other event from social media week . I know I should have been stronger and that these kind of things should not affect me. To some of you , you may not even see that there was anything wrong . But to me there was , this was the 50th or so event that I attend where I was all alone and I was lonely .
I have nothing against social media week or any other event , and I am not saying that every event or conference needs to have a minimum number of veiled woman . All I am saying is that sometimes it is hard for us to cope into a society where beauty and image play a very important role .
And even though I left social media week , I still felt beautiful and confident that I was going to shine and network in the upcoming conference, and the truth is , I did. But that’s another story ! Until then .