360east was once a pioneering blog. It started in 2003 as a place to dump the weekly article on technology I was writing for the Jordan Time newspaper. I got serious about it as blog in 2004. From 2004 to 2012 I wrote over 1200 posts. I was one of Jordan’s early bloggers. Basically a proto-“influencer” before the term was invented. I even became the first Arab podcaster in 2005 (let history bear witness!).
360east was my space to think and write about tech, Amman, Jordan, design, politics and society. It introduced me to a lot of people, some of whom became colleagues, friends and partners. It got me to travel to interesting places. It even provided a small income at one point. Then, around 2015, I abandoned it. It got deleted. I rescued it. Barely.
Looking back, the beginning of the end of ‘phase I’ of 360east came with the Arab Spring. In 2012 my writing and thinking energies went into a political activism platform I cofounded with a group of progressive and forward thinking people. I wanted my voice to bundle up with other voices in the context of an institution. it was over for this blog.
A decade later, Arab Spring activism seems like a lifetime ago. The platform I helped build, flourished for a while, then foundered. Then there was a pandemic, and trying to keep my company going. My kids growing up. Facebook. Then Instagram. Blogging? What’s that?
Now I am contemplating a new start. Maybe.
This is a fresh installation of WordPress. I did this because I started writing some long posts on Instagram in March 2023. I was posting photos from a tour I did with my friend Hussein Alazaat in Amman’s Jabal Al-Hussein, where my high school was located and were part of my teenage years unfolded in the 1980s. The length of my posts’ captions started getting out of hand as more memories and thoughts surfaced in my mind (Instagram allows only 2200 characters on a caption).
I needed a place to post longer stories. So, after a period of crisis not knowing how to proceed (surely not on Facebook), I decided to tentatively revive this blog. Revive is too strong of a word, really. Let’s just say I decided to use 360east.com to dump some text.
My old posts were rescued using an amazing tool called Archivarix. The data was pulled from Archive.org who operate TheWayBackMachine. If it weren’t for Archive.org a lot of my writing would have been lost forever. But thanks to both Archive.org and Archivarix I was able to retrieve a snapshot of 360east during the pandemic of 2020. I hosted the rescued content on my domain, but it was a static snapshot. Still, better than nothing.
Later in March 2023, I worked with Khalil Majdalawi, a brilliant developer who used to be my colleague at Spring to parse and re-inject the rescued data into this fresh installation of WordPress. We largely succeeded in bringing back everything in a proper blog format. Photos, comments, categories. It is a small miracle.
So for now, my old content from 2003 to 2014 will remain on 360east.com. As these posts come from a really different time (I started the blog in my early 30s!) I decided to mark all the posts from that era as an ‘archive’ and branded them with the graphic that used to be the header of 360east for many years: the mosque with the industrial iron minaret.
When it comes to social media I am only active on Instagram.
Occasionally I post on LinkedIn.
I am the Co-Founder and CEO of SYNTAX, a design and branding company.
I am also a partner at Spring, a web and mobile development studio, Al-Farida, the cheese factory my late father founded and Yanboot, an organic/local/healthy grocery.
I sometimes help my wife Salua with her Levantine heritage design project Folkglory. Together we raised three boys. We are based in Amman, Jordan.