Guest Interview: Riyaad Minty, Head of Social Media for Al Jazeera

Simon Mainwaring / Brands / 9 years ago

Thanks to the Brookings Institute I recently had to privilege of attending the U.S./ Islamic World Forum in Qatar participating in the working group, ‘New Media in the Era of Globalization’. One of the other members of my group was Riyaad Minty, who as Head of Social Media for Al Jazeera, has been at the center of the emergence of new media as a social, political and transformative force.

We discuss the role of social media in Gaza and Iran and what he has learned from his hands on, pivotal role in so many critical news stories of last year. He explains the life cycle for the effective use of social media, the challenges of accurately measuring engagement and by whom, and what happens when social media runs up against a hostile government. It was a fascinating discussion involving education, literacy, technology, human rights and the need to promote cultural exchange rather than impose change.


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  1. Thanks for bringing some attention to the more “serious” side of social media. I never would have thought about it being a tool for really important things like awareness, understanding, tolerance and as a mechanism for “exchange between cultures”. Certainly a different and valuable perspective.

  2. Avatar Iconic88 says:

    After meeting and chatting to Riyaad Minty here in Sydney last year, he's a smart guy. What he's doing for Al Jazeera is on the edge. He appreciates not only how social media fits in the mix of his audience, he also understands how to connect with his 'narrators' (the people on the ground) to share 'their' voice to the world. This maintains trust for longterm credibility and connectivity.

    Thanks Simon for the interview.

  3. Great. Glad you got to meet him. They are doing very cool work. Small world, no?

  4. Avatar Mark Modesti says:

    Will you be interviewing any Israeli social media folk? If you're a lib, odds are good you wont. If you're unbiased you will.

  5. Hi Mark,

    I'd love to, of course. Sadly there weren't any in my group. The only reason I interviewed Riyaad was because he was in the new media working group and deeply engaged in social media. His remarks were directed at the use of social media rather than taking sides. But in principle, I agree to it's important to always show both sides. Hope you are well, Simon

  6. Avatar Iconic88 says:

    Very small world Simon. I even met a guy a couple days ago with your name here in Sydney.

    Serendipity? 😉

  7. Really? That's weird. I've never met anyone else with my name before. Bizarre.

  8. Avatar iconic88 says:

    You know its funny mate because I was doing a mental comparison of your avatar image and his face and there wasn't a match. Blew me right away too because it was the 2nd time last week I met someone who had the same exact first name and surname as someone I know.

    This Simon M. works for Vodafone…even knows about you as he did a Google and Facebook search. ** We spoke about it and how small the world is.

    Met him an Omniture event last Thursday with other blue chip company reps here.

  9. Ok. That is so random. Send him my best. I like his name!

  10. Avatar iconic88 says:

    hahaha! I wonder why his name resonates with you? …hmmm.