silicon valley

I Left My Heart in Silicon Valley

I was lucky to attend a social media strategy workshop for American Muslim professionals on Monday. The Amplify Online project, sponsored by the New American Foundation, held a training at Google’s Mountain View campus that brought about 25 of my amazing colleagues together to talk strategy and perception.

Fatemeh at Google

The morning had a fantastic presentation from Anser Hussain and Javed Ali of Illume Magazine, with excellent tips on social strategy and content generation. Then Alex Cole from Hattaway Communications provided a sobering look at perceptions our fellow Americans have of American Muslims. Hattaway has a great PDF available on their site that includes much of the information.

The afternoon was chock-full of great presentations from social media channels, including an informative presentation from Alex Hillis on Google+. Since I’m starting to get into G+, hearing tips on how to make your Google Hangout live-stream to your YouTube channel were incredibly helpful. Many thanks to Alex, Erica Anderson from Twitter, and the fabulous Facebook ladies Krista Kobeski and Melissa Oppenheim for their time and insights.

And thank you to Ben Blink from Google and the Mountain View campus for hosting us! The Google campus was as amazing as you’d think. Even though everyone raves about their bikes, snacks, and ping-pong tables, what really impressed me was their sense of hygiene: all toilets came equipped with heated seats and programmable bidets! Meeting and connecting with inspiring American Muslims and learning about digital strategies were definitely my cake, but those toilets were the icing.

To top off a wonderful day, I spent the evening with some old and new friends at San Francisco’s Woodhouse Fish Co., and finally got the chance to meet Ethar El-Katatney in person. Ethar was MMW’s first Egyptian writer a few years after I founded the site, and it was such a pleasure to finally meet her!

Ethar El-Katatney and Fatemeh Fakhraie

Many thanks to everyone who helped make my Bay trip as wonderful as it was short. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to connect with all the fantastic people I know in the area, so I’ll definitely be back soon!