When 3,000 content creators took over Dubai: Influencers offer top tips for social media at 1 Billion Summit

The name of the summit derives from the total following of 1 billion people (approx.) of over 100 influencers that took to the stage to deliver panel discussions



The Egyptian mother-daughter duo, Mama Wafaa and Mai Maxwell, take to the stage
The Egyptian mother-daughter duo, Mama Wafaa and Mai Maxwell, take to the stage
by

Somya Mehta

Published: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 5:03 PM

It’s the year 2022. And creators have taken over. Or so it felt like at the 1 Billion Followers Summit that took place in Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah, on December 3-4. Around 3,000 content creators — including mega and micro-influencers — gathered under one roof, over a span of two days, to discuss all things social media and cement its place within the wider media industry.

With sessions such as ‘Is TikTok good or bad?’ and ‘Is there such a thing as ‘responsible’ creators?’, the summit addressed pressing questions about how viewers and creators can work in synergy to create a digital landscape that does more good than harm.

The audience members comprised social media creators, with anywhere from a few thousands of followers to communities of millions of subscribers, along with employees from some of the key social media players such as Meta, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat.

In fact, the name of the summit derives from the total following of 1 billion people (approx.) of over 100 influencers that took to the stage to deliver panel discussions, workshops, meet-and-greet sessions for the largest event of its kind. “I have been so impressed with the UAE in general and the initiative they are taking to support content creation. They are also spreading so much awareness amongst the local population, with programmes in Arabic and now in English, with the New Media Academy,” said Uptin, a content creator of Iranian origins, with over 2 million followers online.

The summit organised by the UAE’s New Media Academy, launched in June 2020, aims to create greater awareness around new media initiatives. “I’ve been really blown away with how the UAE is so advanced, progressive and really understands the future of media to be content creation,” added Uptin.

“I’ve been really blown away with how the UAE is so advanced, progressive and really understands the future of media to be content creation”— Uptin, content creator
“I’ve been really blown away with how the UAE is so advanced, progressive and really understands the future of media to be content creation”— Uptin, content creator

Over the recent years, many content creators have also found a home in the country, moving here in search of better opportunities. One amongst them is Nuseir Yassin, popularly known as Nas Daily on social media. The Arab-Israeli content creator has stirred up the landscape of social media content over the last few years, growing a community of 60 million followers on social media.

“After my first-ever hire, Nas Daily blew up because now I have more time. Before, I could only make 30 videos in 30 days, now we can make 200 videos in 30 days. Nothing great is done alone” — Nuseir Yassin, YouTuber & founder, Nas Daily
“After my first-ever hire, Nas Daily blew up because now I have more time. Before, I could only make 30 videos in 30 days, now we can make 200 videos in 30 days. Nothing great is done alone” — Nuseir Yassin, YouTuber & founder, Nas Daily

“The UAE has become my home. I’ve been living here for the last two years, the country is very welcoming. It’s fantastic to see that the culture of content creation is being implemented in the UAE. People are encouraged to enter this field,” said Nuseir, whose team was closely involved with organising the mega summit.

The biggest content differentiator in 2022, according to Nas Daily, has been travel content and TikTok videos. “You see a lot of content being shot outside the house. Next year, you will continue to see that but you’ll also see a lot of AI-generated and VR content. Every single year, this is going to get bigger, not smaller,” added Nuseir.

The summit felt like a sort of alternative reality, where selfies and vlogging cameras were the norm, people had barcodes to scan an exhaustive list of all their social handles, as a way to introduce oneself, and small-talk revolved heavily around algorithms and what’s trending on social media.

We took this opportunity to ask some of the creators to offer some tips and tricks to navigate the expansive world of social media. “Be spontaneous, be yourself, enjoy your life. You can do so many things, don’t let anyone stop you,” said Mama Wafaa, who was a fan-favourite at the summit, full of sass on stage, shattering stereotypes for the Arab community. “Including my mother in the videos we create has allowed my content to be widespread, so make sure you include other people or people that are really important in your life,” said 29-year-old Mai, who makes comedy sketches and content with her mother.

“There is always a bigger number. Stop thinking about big numbers, start thinking about big content and the numbers and money will flow,” said Abhi, known by his Instagram handle @abhiandniyu, in which him and his partner create informational videos related to India’s culture and history.

Hire faster, said Nas Daily. “After my first-ever hire, Nas Daily blew up because now I have more time. Before, I could only make 30 videos in 30 days, now we can make 200 videos in 30 days. Thanks to this incredible team, we can build products, create events, and travel. We can do whatever we want, because of a team. Nothing great is done alone.”

Another creator who has recently moved to the UAE, in hopes of fulfilling her dreams and aspirations, is Vendla (@vendla.com14). Flight attendant by profession, Vendla left her home in Sri Lanka and moved to the UAE for better job prospects, hoping to get a job in the aviation industry post-pandemic. According to her, short-form content has the most potential in the current digital landscape. “There are Instagram reels, Facebook reels and YouTube Shorts. Short content is thriving. Platforms are also supporting more authentic content, without any crazy equipment or editing,” she mentioned.

“Short-form content is thriving. Platforms are also supporting more authentic content, without any crazy equipment or editing” — Vendla, flight attendant & content creator
“Short-form content is thriving. Platforms are also supporting more authentic content, without any crazy equipment or editing” — Vendla, flight attendant & content creator

While all these trends are here to stay, the creators also admitted that the algorithm on social platforms is bound to change on a daily basis, so one must always keep their content and perspective up-to-date to stay relevant. The summit ended with a social gathering in the UAE desert, to celebrate the end of the 2-day long conference, and of course, to create fresh, new content for our feeds.

somya@khaleejtimes.com


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