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Twitter & Facebook

Today is an aweful day (or rather the offal day). It’s Eidul Adha. It’s 8am. I have just consumed my cup of tea and first cigarette. By 4pm, the city streets will be littered with offals, and carcass. For the next 10 days, till the mess is cleaned up, Karachi will enjoy the title of the most unlivable city in the world (recently it was voted the 5th most unlivable). The Mayor, Wasim Akhtar, will post on twitter the usual excuses, i.e., no budget, non-compliance by the PPP government. Actually, Wasim needs to come up with new excuses – credible or not.

We live in the age of Twitter and Facebook. Everyone posts his or her opinion on Twitter. If one is a public figure (politician, sports person, social activist, show biz, etc.,) you suffer from one common disease – insecurity. You have to stay in the news, you have to stay relevant, and people must notice you. Hence the relevance of the Twitter and Facebook. I never tweet, only an occasional article in this newspaper. But I observe the totally irrelevant tweets in other rags. Politicians and showbiz people are most prominent. One actress tweeted: “Yesterday was a hot day, 30 C and her photo”. We all know it was 30C. What would have been better if she had posted a picture of herself in a bathing costume, holding a fizzy drink, by a poolside and tweeted “yesterday was a hot day – here’s how to handle it”. Other showbiz stars, both from Lollywood and Hollywood, are past masters at tweeting. By now I know enough about Deepika Padukone’s depression to prescribe drugs for her. The how cane sisters are forever tweeting about social work, being a better person, climate change etc. I can’t figure out what they are? Actresses, singers, models, social artists or what? There have been so many tweets by Ali Zafar and the allegations by the other lady singer, that this episode should occupy a place of fame in the ME-TOO museum.

The politicians are the worst. Mariam Nawaz’s tweets landed her where she is now – Adiala Jail. The former finance minister, Hina Rabbani, tweets on every international development. I admire her looks, but her brain! The current leader of the opposition in the Senate is a serial tweeter on everything from the IMF to animal conservation. She lives in a US $ 10 million house and espouses, great concern for the ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’ for the poor. I like Sheikh Rashid. He does not tweet. His various predictions have come true, after 4 years. The current government of IK would be well advised not to conduct national governance by twitter.

The PTI information minister Fawad Chaudhry (whom I never met) will be well advised to develop a control and monitoring mechanism so that the government’s viewpoint is not confused or mutilated. He also needs to go on a high protein diet and perhaps visit Jerymn Street, London. I have always considered Shah Mahmood Qureshi a great orator, both in English or Urdu (except when my wife is berating me). I am surprised he speaks such good Urdu and English, considering his Multan origins.

The tweet is disrupting the world. Donald Trump and his team of below par officials have caused a trade war, immigration crises, social crises, amongst other things. The US government should be very careful about tweeting. It could end up causing World War III. But again insecurity is the thing. Trump feels so insecure, given his background that he cannot exist without war mongering.

We should all learn a lesson from the Pakistan Army. All communication is routed through the ISPR. All information is gathered, analyzed and the output for public consumption is carefully calibrated. That is how it should be.

Farooq Hassan, "Twitter & Facebook," Business Recorder. 2018-08-28.
Keywords: City streets , Public figure , Showbiz people , Immigration crises , Public consumption , Shah Mahmood Qureshi , Fawad Chaudhry , Donald Trump , Pakistan army , ISPR , PPP , PTI , US