Stories about social media

Swineryy: The modern day Zorro, the Seth McFarlane of Pakistani comedy

Things that go viral can be corrosive. They do little, if anything at all, to help move the public discourse. But every once in a while, you see or hear something that defies these rules. Swineryy is one of those things.  I was introduced to Swineryy by a friend, as most people were, and my gut reaction was: this is bad. Maybe it was the medium it was shared on or maybe it was the premise of an animoji talking about the problems in Pakistani high society. It made me chuckle, but it didn’t do anything else for me. It ...

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David and Dan didn’t ruin Game of Thrones – the internet did

Fandom is a tricky thing. There is a very fine line between camaraderie and chaos, and fandom lies somewhere on its border. It has seen the rise of art and then the decline of it. It has turned from caring about a property to turning it into a cult, and it lives and breathes upon the cyclic torrents of the internet. Ah, the internet. The subculture of culture itself. The voice the Mad King hears, the past that Bran has seen, the future that the Maesters will write; the internet. It writes itself and corrects itself. It is the judge, ...

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“He has a girlfriend”: When I unknowingly became the ‘other woman’

We met at a friend’s party. I knew everyone there, so I was curious when a new person walked through the door. All of us talked, hung out and drank. He asked for my number so he could ‘make sure I got home safe’. He sent me a text the next day. That’s when we started talking. It was just friendly at first, and then started to get flirty. He was nice, studying medicine in the Caribbean, funny; it was all going well. We hung out a few times and it started to become something more than just friendship. I ...

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Unregulated social media, slow police response, rising Islamophobia: The faultlines of the #NewZealandShooting

In what can only be termed a barbaric and inhumane act, 49 Muslims were murdered and another 20 seriously injured in two mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. The unfortunate victims were offering jummah prayers when they were attacked by a terrorist. Introducing himself as Brenton Tarrant on his Facebook livestream, he went on to telecast the entire massacre live as he stormed into the mosque and shot at worshippers of all ages. He was able to do so for 17 minutes. We are once again at a place where Muslims living in the West are paying the price for rising ...

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The Information Mystery: Is PTI caught in social media’s spinning web?

The current Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government seems to be at crossroads once again as debate on media and press freedom takes a dark turn with each statement spurred by the Information Ministry headed by Fawad Chaudhry. Speaking at an event recently, Chaudhry warned media houses that “their current model would not last long if they didn’t change their ways”. Rather than appearing to be an advice from the concerned federal authority, it seemed to be soaked in threatening tones. “The news media wants government advertisements and sponsorship, but what would happen to its freedom if the media looks up to the ...

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Imran Khan or Ayub Khan: Is PMRA the new tool to curb freedom of press and control media?

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government in the centre recently approved the formation of a new regulatory body, known as the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA). From now, all media, including print, electronic and social, will be simultaneously regulated by this newly established body. Organisations such as the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have already disapproved of the formation of the PMRA and have cautioned against it, terming it an attack on the freedom of press and expression. The PFUJ categorically rejected the PMRA and termed it ...

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Karachi will never be able to fill the void left behind by Ali Raza Abidi

I woke up to a text message from my mother on a lazy Wednesday afternoon on Boxing Day, December 26, 2018, advising me not to react after receiving the news of what had transpired in Karachi. I did not quite understand what my mother meant, until I swiped to the next message from my uncle asking me (and presumably a number of other people in his WhatsApp group) to recite something for the ‘late’ Ali Raza Abidi. Only then did it dawn upon me what my mother was talking about. The first thing I did after that was to ...

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Has Usman Buzdar’s inefficiency murdered Imran Khan’s vision of Naya Pakistan?

Prime Minister Imran Khan stood up against the status quo and promised to make a difference. He also claimed the people of Pakistan would feel a change after the first 100 days of his government, which would focus on the system and the common people. As a matter of fact, many people who voted for Imran now regret it, since they believe it would have been better if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was still in the opposition, giving people hope. PTI’s journey from a beacon of hope to a practical defender of Pakistani democracy is so far dangerously shaky ...

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From “New Year, new me” to “New Year, same old me”: 5 resolutions you hear at the start of every year

There’s a lot of talk and literature on the five stages of grief; you may even know them by heart. It’s great if you know; grief is tough to deal with and people should be introduced to its stages and variations. However, there are other things too which recur yearly, that people should be prepared for. Last year, my best friend Seher called me on December 31st, saying: “Maryam, this is it. 2018 is the year.” I immediately recalled our conversation on December 31, 2016, when she revealed to me that 2017 would be the year. But I love that girl to bits, so ...

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The year that #Metoo was reborn, and with it the sisterhood of victims

It is the defining moment of the year gone by, not because it finally became part of a global movement but more so because it took a second wind to unsettle the dominant voices of patriarchal corridors and send a message that #Metoo was not about some misguided and delayed wave for justice, just as it was never about a woman in the wrong job at the wrong time. All it had ever been about was consent. October 2018 will be remembered as the renaissance of the #MeToo movement in India. A forgotten actress Tanushree Dutta touched down from the ...

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