The Joys And Woes Of The Desert

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

Column Name: The Words Within
Bahar is a recruiter by profession, an aspiring writer by night, and a mom of toddler twins. She has an unending thirst for learning, as she completed her BComm in Canada, an MA in Dubai, and continues to develop herself with reading and research.
With her column, she shares her journey as she grows and learns more about this crazy beautiful world we live in.
Bahar Al Awadhi (@bahargpedram)

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Encouraging readers to explore the nature of the UAE, but also with caution to those who are negligent and cause harm to the environment.

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

While the UAE may be famed for its glitz and glamor, and iconic structures such as the Burj Khalifa and Etihad Towers, one must not forget some of the real beauties of this country, which can only be found as you wander further and further away from the city life.

The UAE has a beautiful natural landscape in the form of deserts, sand dunes, mountains, and valleys (wadis), that not everyone might have had the chance to explore. But for Emiratis and those who have grown up here, these places spark up memories of childhood adventures. Without these grand malls and five star hotels that we have today, families would drive to the open road and find shade and solitude in these natural habitats, spreading out their picnic mats and baskets, as children ran around playing with sticks and stones, climbing mountains, and the elderly relished their surroundings, and cooked their meals on an open fire.

Even today, if you venture out to the mountains, you will find many families enjoying the outdoors. This is mainly a winter tradition where the cooler months of the year allows you to spend time outdoors and breathe in the fresh air.

The more adventurous can be found hiking and climbing the vast mountains, discovering and getting acquainted with the wildlife, fossils, and ruins. Camping is also popular with those who are brave enough to sleep in the desert away from the comfort and luxuries of their homes.

However, as more and more people venture out to discover these areas, many are negligent and tend to leave their garbage behind. It is sad to see that people do not pick up after themselves and these natural surroundings are now being littered with garbage. Littering also poses several dangers to the desert wildlife such as camels, goats, and gazelles who could risk their lives if they eat plastic or other materials that their bodies cannot digest. These are issues that are ongoing and continue to endanger the environment. Nevertheless, the Waste Management Department at Dubai Municipality has taken action by introducing drones to check whether campers in the deserts of Dubai are leaving waste behind. Those that are caught will be imposed with fines ranging from AED 500 to AED 5,000. This has been introduced as an effort to reduce the 8,200 tons of waste that are generated annually[i]. While this is one way to curb such issues; we, as individuals, also need to learn to respect the environment as we would do with our own homes.

In order for us to be able to continue to enjoy these outdoor activities, it is crucial that we do our utmost to preserve the environment and the first step would be to pick up our own garbage. Failure to do so will endanger our deserts and wildlife, and lead to a grim future.

While we get to explore and enjoy the true nature of the UAE, we also need to ensure that we allow others to do so as well. We have limited cool months in the year, and there is much to be seen, so get together with your friends and family, get a 4X4 with good GPS, and head out towards the mountains. There is a world of nature to explore, but just remember to do it responsibly!


[i] Sajila Saseendran, Gulf News (12 November 2016). “Drones to catch litterbugs in Dubai desert camps”. http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/environment/drones-to-catch-litterbugs-in-dubai-desert-camps-1.1928245

That Advertisement Is For Them, The Third Persons

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in English literature. Avid reader of classic literature, her preferred type of fiction, along with psychology and marketing. Skilled at drawing, created a comic book, not yet published. Dedicated her Instagram feed to bookish recommendations. Fond of language learning, taught herself Japanese. In her column Thoughts of a Reader she reviews books, writes short stories, and talks Marketing.
Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

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What is the Third Person Effect and how does it relate to advertising?

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Third Person Effect is a theory developed by Sociologist W. Phillips Davison in 1983. The Third Person Effect occurs when an individual is exposed to a certain mass media message. The Third Person Effect is when a person assumes there is a higher influence of the mass media message on others (the third person) than themselves. These individuals overestimate their abilities, as they believe that others are the ones meant to be affected. According to what L. W. Jeffres proposed, the Third Person Effect does not apply to what is heard on the news or discussed on the radio. Rather, it applies to provocative messages in media content, such as advertisements and public service announcements. Individuals believe that the influence is not meant for “me” or “you” but them, the third person. This theory was tested in experiments by asking people to evaluate how influenced they are compared to others when exposed to a mass communication. (Davison, W. P., 1983)

How the theory relates to advertising

Employing the provocative factor of this theory can increase the effectiveness of the advertisement, thus leading to higher profits. Target audiences who consider themselves to be immune, look at the advertisement thinking “I can’t believe they are falling for this”. After they acknowledge the fact that they are not the target, but others are, they buy what the advertisement is selling. They do that though under the pretense of some other reason with an air of superiority even in some cases.

For instance, there is the product Vimto Cordial, a drink made of a combination of berries that has become over the years part of the experience of the holy month of Ramadan. The advertisement was in line with the already established public opinion of the said product, enforcing its popularity during that month. The tagline of the 2007 campaign was “They’re finishing it all”, doesn’t this sound like a direct reference to the third persons? A message to those who think in the Third Person mentality to take action, and giving them the justification to do so. Their thoughts watching the ad would be akin to “Everyone else is influenced to buy, but not me, I am buying it because otherwise, the third persons will indeed finish it all. I can’t let that happen, especially that it’s been part of my family’s Ramadan tradition for so long.”

The strongest and weakest parts of this theory

The strongest part of the Third Person Effect theory is that it can be empowered by the effect of another theory or even a number of theories. Combined, the desired effect of an advertisement will be more persuasive. According to L. W. Jeffres, Knowledge Gap and Cultivation theory are some of the theories that can serve as complementary factors to the Third Person Effect. The role of education is certainly undeniable in increasing the chances of Third Person Effect to occur. Those who are highly educated tend to be more likely to consider themselves not as easily influenced by the advertisement as the less educated third persons. In addition, the extent to which TV media influence the perception of viewers can contribute to the Third Person Effect. Heavy TV watching can cultivate your perception of any given subject. For instance, your idea of a beautiful woman will be based on what you’ve been watching on TV. All these theories and more can be of incredible influence to the Third Person Effect.

The weakest part of the Third Person Effect stems from the strongest part. Since other theories can be involved in the process, it would be hard to detangle them and determine which of them has really led to the desired effect. The credit can be easily misplaced from the Third Person Effect to a supporting theory.

Now that we know what we know about the Third Person Effect theory, will it make us react differently to such influence? Or will it simply make us aware of it as it happens?


References

Davison, W. P., (1983). The Third-Person Effect in Communication. Public Opinion Quarterly Vol. 47:1-15. By the Trustees of Columbia University. Published by Elsevier Science Publishing Co., Inc.

Jeffres, L. W., Neuendorf, K., Bracken, C., & Atkin, D. (2008). Integrating Theoretical Traditions in Media Effects: Using Third-Person Effects to Link Agenda-Setting and Cultivation. Mass Communication & Society

What Is Failure?

Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD)

Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD)

Column: 12 Lessons
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD)

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We try so hard to make something out of our lives, and for many, the fear of failure is the biggest drive. So what is failure, and how can we deal with it? A question that many have tried to answer.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (twitter: @DanaAlAttar, instagram: @madewithlove.dxb)

I’m sure you have all seen numerous videos or talks in which emerging entrepreneurs talk about themes such as success and failure. The topic of failure is one that has occupied the minds of many but only overcome by few. One thing I’ve noticed is that people have different interpretations of failure. In my own words: “Failure is not when you struggle to complete a task or when it takes you a few trials to master it. Failure is the moment you decide that there is no use of trying.” I do understand that not all wars are meant to be fought, but giving up only due to lack of stamina is not a convincing excuse. I see every failure as a new opportunity, as described in the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”.

History is filled with such epic tales of heroism and persistence. Take the battle of the Trojan war, which tells the story of the Greeks, who tried to seize the city of Troy for 10 years, until one day, the Greeks built a huge wooden horse and gifted it to the city of Troy. The city celebrated their victory until they fell asleep, and the warriors, who were hiding in the wooden horse, came out at night and took over the city. This is one of the best lessons history has to offer. If you fail once, try, and try again. It took the Greeks 10 years to seize a city, but they eventually did!

It comes down to the simple argument of whether or not it’s too late to achieve a goal. No great man has ever become great by giving up. Always strive to move forward, to succeed, and to win. Do not live confined in the expectations of those around you, whose opinion, in truth, could carry minimal weight.

Why is giving up an indicator of failure? Well, let’s look at it this way. Your goals and opportunities are like a cup of water. Where the cup symbolizes your goals and the water symbolizes opportunities. You may hold the cup for as long as you want, it will not disappear. But as for the water, it might evaporate by time and eventually vanish.

Regardless, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t matter if the water evaporated because you are still holding the cup. As long as you are holding on to your values, goals, and aspirations there will always be a source of opportunities. The cup may be empty for a day, a month, a year, but it will not stay empty. Opportunities come and go. The moment you throw your cup is the moment you deny any opportunity from entering your life. In the words of Winston Churchill “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Like everyone else, I have been through times where I found it difficult to achieve certain goals, and where giving up seemed like the most appropriate option. But there is one thing that helped me achieve things I wasn’t sure I was able to achieve, and that is knowing myself. Once I knew who I am, what I wanted, and what I am capable of, everything fell into place. I don’t mean knowing the superficial you, I mean digging deep into your core and understanding the inner you.

We live in a world that keeps us so busy that we lose track of ourselves. We tend to fall into certain social cycles that determine who we are. Having moments of solitude on a hike alone, a long drive, a trip abroad, and many other ways push you to understand more about yourself. Once you master controlling and knowing your own psyche, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to overcome many failures.

“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K. Rowling