NYU Abu Dhabi kicked off its Social Impact Leaders Series by bringing together Khalid Al Ameri and Taim Al Falasi for an informal chat about the impact of social media in the region. Through flashbacks and funny quips, they both shared how they managed to achieve phenomenal growth on social media. Two social stars with distinctly different pathways but their message was the same – do what you love and use social media to support it.

You can’t dream to be a YouTuber. At least, that’s what Al Falasi would tell a room full of bright-eyed boys and girls. She believes that social media is secondary to your goals – a support mechanism of sorts – that should be used to bolster your passion. She spoke candidly about finding her way amidst failed attempts at being a business owner. Those things didn’t fit. They weren’t in line with her passions which she now knows are travel and food. After her success on YouTube , Al Falasi started a food based digital marketing company. “Social media lifted me up to [whatever] I wanted to achieve. In two, three, four years I don’t want to be a YouTuber”, she said. Al Falasi is looking forward to starting two restaurants in the near future.

Khalid Al Ameri is no stranger to failure either. The accomplished columnist and motivational speaker talked about how he wanted to become a CEO. His heart was set on being at the helm of one of the world’s finest companies but his talent and one of his professors urged him to focus on writing. Today, he’s a captivating storyteller who inspires by sharing one small glimpse into his life at a time. Al Ameri understands that social impact requires personal transparency. “People don’t want to know what you’re selling, they want to know why [you’re selling it].”

Media is undergoing a digital transformation in the region. Independent media production and the consumption of it are predicted to overtake traditional media in the coming years. Consequently, now is the time to jump in. But, don’t set up those social accounts until you’ve found something substantial to talk about. “In the YouTube world, the story is king. 99% of your thinking should be what is the story I’m going to tell”, said Al Ameri. Find your passion and talk about it in a way that engages people.

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