Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Super Geek EXCLUSIVE interview with Sareen Akarjalian and Ralph Aoun

Yesterday, minister Nicolas Sehnaoui announced the newest addition to the Lebanese online community – it was Super Geek! Some sort of a super hero who will come about and help us online fellows be able to shake the system and make a change around us. The hero in question was the visual brainchild of Sareen Akarjalian best known for “Ink On the Side” (as I said yesterday, her ink is never on the side, it is always the main dish)… So Sareen and myself took time off from pranking the Lebanese blogosphere for a serious – no laughs, it’s rude! – discussion. In addition, apart from the final product, I also made Sareen cough up the original sketches she worked on – this is called an EXCLUSIVE boys and girls, and this is what good blogging is all about (Remember - I earned my bragging rights).
So here’s what Sareen has to say:

How difficult was it to work with an official body, ministries are not exactly know to be flexible?
 S.A.: I swear I'm not exaggerating or sucking up, but it was seriously not difficult at all! Telecom minister Nicolas Sehnaoui was extremely lenient with the ideas I was coming forward with and he gave me a lot of creative freedom. Basically he said "You're a genius Sareen, you know everything in the world. And you can-" Ok ok, fine, I'm kidding, he didn't actually say that but he really did give me a lot of freedom.
Regarding the aesthetics of Super Geek, how did you come up with it and what were the inspirations so not to fall into something totally déjà vu?
S.A.: The idea behind it was simple. What does a geek look like? And apparently, being one myself (God remember when being a geek was a bad thing? Who's cool now my high school friends?!)  I kind of knew the basic look I was going for. I wanted him to wear glasses and have messy hair whilst looking confident and happy. You can see in the picture I sent you a few kinds of geeks I came up with on the spot and Nicolas chose the first one.
The word Geek doesn't always have positive connotations, so how did you manage to pull a hunk as a final product?
S.A.: Hah! Didn't you hear the news Tarek? Being a geek is apparently "hip" these days and "totally out of this world" (is that phrase still cool?). 
Was it based on me by any chance?
S.A.: Uhm..wait, what did that - *grabs pre-printed answers* Ah here we go, ahem "it was inspired by the amazing Tarek. He was just so geeky and awesome that I, Sareen, couldn't help but be inspired by his indubitable greatness. His sarcasm, wit, humor, and charm was what made Super Geek happen. I say this on my own will and definitely not Tarek, who is awesome by the way." ......wow..really Tarek? You'd better pay me for that. (We, however, have strong suspicions another person was the model of the design, except he is a minister and we can’t really reveal such sensitive info!)
Luckily, Beirut/NTSC also managed to talk to Ralph Aoun who is acting as social media advisor to minister Sehnaoui. So we asked Ralph the following question:
Practically speaking how will these adventures pan out? What will Super Geek be doing and how will the rest of the community help make this a reality?
R.A.: While Super Geek is a strong Super Hero that Leads, he is also one that Follows. He follows the targets and aspirations of the young Lebanese Digital Community. This Digital Community that Minister Sehnaoui calls "The Lebanese Digital Lobby" is proving to have immense power to change Lebanon, day in and day out, through blogs, tweets, facebook posts and viral campaigns. The idea of this Lobby started with the #protectprivacy campaign, when everyone made themselves heard clearly and showed the power of Social Media to raise the voice. Such a group power is needed to carry on the Digital Sector reforms and to lobby for it. However, the potential is so huge that we may all join forces to surpass the Digital frontiers into even the Social ones. As this idea is still in its birth phase, the Mission of this Digital Lobby, as well as the Mission of Super Geek, are yet to be brainstormed and clearly defined by this Community itself.

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