What was the Social Media Mela 2012 all about?
The Social Media Mela (aka SOCMM12) was an apparent attempt by the US Consulate PR department to win the hearts and minds of Pakistani Social Media. However, the bunch of enthusiasts grouped at the venue does not represent Pakistani Social Media per se. The so-called influencers have an out reach mainly to the English speaking part of Pakistan, and that too in a small percentage.
The other probable item on the agenda was to have a friendly chitchat with few across the border, in continuation with the Aman Ki Asha program.
US government has done a number of attempts previously to monitor Social Media by hiring local PR firms, to pay journalists for producing stories, and to write guest posts at various blogs and discussion forums.
Wonder why they got so active in “sponsoring” the social media in Pakistan? Are they planning to raise a Twitter Revolution maybe? If they believe they can incite an Arabian Spring in Pakistan like this, they live in a Fool’s Paradise.
#socmm12 is an assembly of elitist (or wannabe) lifestyle liberals who steal representation and suppress voices of people of Pakistan
— Anwar Changezi (@AnwarChangezi) July 14, 2012
#SocMM12 Lets talk about the money. Where it’s coming from. Where it’s going. Who is spending it. Who its being spent on. And for what.
— Omair Zeeshan (@OmairZeeshan) July 14, 2012
More about the organizers:
This time the Americans did no attempt to hide behind proxies. The Social Media Mela was totally stamped out as an US Consulate event.
Kevin from US consulate talked about how #socmm12 was funded and its historic importance for both India and Pakistan.
— Komal Ali (@Komalali92) July 14, 2012
Day 2 at Pakistan India social media mela, so proud! #socmm12
— US Consulate Karachi (@usconsulatekhi) July 14, 2012
— Casim Butt (@casimbutt) July 14, 2012
Social media is all about independence, why did the admins accept US Consulate’s sponsor?makes it a state sponsored event#SOCMM12
— Ali Manzer (@alimanzer) July 14, 2012
Who were the attendees?
The cream of speakers and attendees belonged to a select class. The Brown Sahibs who consider themselves to be more westernised than their counterparts in the West. Rest of the bunch consisted of the wannabes.
“I am a Bun Kebab, aspiring to be a Burger” A #socmm12 wannabe
— Kashif Aziz (@kashaziz) July 14, 2012
Many sublime thoughts on social media at #socmm12 but the speakers represent an exclusive and aloof segment of society.
— Ammara Khan (@ammarakh) July 14, 2012
On Trolls and creatures of the liberal side:
A troll, according to the liberals, is a person who respond to their provocative comments. They consider themselves free to say whatever they want, aka Freedom of Expression, but when somebody retaliates – they are quick to call them a troll. Such liberals are no better than the right wing extremists who are free to apply takfeer to all and sundry.
— beena sarwar (@beenasarwar) July 14, 2012
Mohsin wondering if Imran Khan was abused by mullahs as a child because they abuse him but he loves them :s #SocMM12
— I am Pakistan/Zahid (@iam_pakistan) July 14, 2012
How about blocking this Mohsin guy too?
As expected, #Socmm12 guys got molested by seeing use of hashtag and now calling them 'trolls' lol. Freedom of opposition dont exist eh?
— Adnan Siddiqi (@kadnan) July 14, 2012
— محمد رضوان ہارون (@rizwanharun) July 14, 2012
Adnan Ali came up with a sane definition of the trolls:
#socmm12 panelists should also mention any one commenting to invoke emotional response in a conversation is a ‘troll’.
— Adnan Ali (@adnanbwp) July 14, 2012
— 52697A77616E0D (@rizwanharun) July 14, 2012
One way to discredit and silence a person is to call them troll. With your above 10000 followers, you block them, muzzle them #Socmm12
— Karrar(@KarrarrHussain) July 14, 2012
This covers the Day 1 of Social Media Mela 2012.
All in all, the Social Media Mela was more of a Twitter kitty party of the Brown Sahibs, than anything else.
Image: Tribune Blogs