I Heart Twitter


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Last week Dr Awab Alvi and Faisal Kapadia, a couple of bloggers who comprise the core of the Pakistani blogosphere, interviewed me. They invited me on to their online current affairs show, The Laidback Show, the first podcast show to come out of this country. As I watched the grainy streaming video, it occurred to me once again how quickly new media is progressing in Pakistan. It’s true the production quality was weak – the video skipped and as it was shot on one camera, there was only one shot – but I promise you, that’s how I began my career years ago with one camera, one light and one boom mike in a very sweaty and dingy little production house that is now a major television network. Sure, new media is confined to an urban, middle-class, educated bunch, but that’s the bunch who will possibly make our next policymakers or at the very least, opinion-makers.

I must confess that I am new to the world of social media networking. I have my three hundred-or-so friends on Facebook, but I discovered Twitter more recently. And it has taken my world by storm. With its intermittent cooing (I know it’s meant to be a growl, but isn’t it much gentler than that?), Tweetdeck makes the digital sweeps of news alerts on television news channels sound jarring to say the least. And I work for a television news channel!

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I registered for a Twitter account a few months ago. The trouble was that every time I signed in and refreshed an update in much the same fashion as I did on Facebook, I had the uncomfortable feeling of being in an empty room with my own voice echoing back at me. There was no comfort of the quick affirmation that follows a status update on Facebook. A friend has heard you and responded within seconds at times. But then, unexpectedly one day, there was another voice, and soon there were many more.

Ironically, it was CNN International that intrigued me enough to spend some time on Twitter. Their reliance on it for their coverage of the #IranElection (it’s the only way I can think of it now) was nothing short of a phenomenon. I got over my initial ‘I have to say I don’t get this,’ and entered the ‘I have to say this Twitter thing is kind of cool’ phase. As is the case with the first flush of romance, I wanted to share my newfound obsession with the world. An interview segment was promptly arranged under the pretext of the role of the new media in the Iranian protests with a young Pakistani blogger, Ammar Yasir of Teabreak.pk, and I asked guilelessly on national television: So what’s the fuss all about?

The answer for me is the diversity of opinion and grassroots interaction that makes it a remarkable forum. I was no longer confined to the perspective of analysts, former ambassadors, and International Relations experts, most of whom begin each answer by saying: Actually, there are two points… (Not wanting to cause offense to all my dear guests who troubled themselves to wake up at an unearthly hour to appear on the sets of a morning news programme, I will add that there are somehow always two points, and solid ones at that.)

A fresh take – a dream come true.

And I haven’t looked back since then. I must confess it started as an experiment of my own initiative. I would tweet my rundown the night before and the response was amazing. I realised that people or ‘tweeple’ wanted to talk. They wanted a voice. And they had plenty to say. Not just that, they had informed opinions with solid political views – some may have differed with mine, but that added to all the fun. Within the first week, I knew that this little bird had worked its way into the essence of my morning news programme, Breakfast at Dawn.

That happened months ago. Just as quickly as I adapted to it and made it a part of the morning news on DawnNews, as fast as the live interaction on the program for which I proudly introduce myself as the only Pakistani presenter to tweet live on air, just like that, the new media is now. It is alive. It is unstoppable. And it will take you over.

This post was first published on 3rd November 2009 by dawn.com

10 Responses to “I Heart Twitter”

  1. We are so glad you joined twitter 😀 and gave us the opportunity to put up our questions!

  2. 2 Waqas

    Like the layout =), its good to see mainstream media people active on new media

  3. Welcome to the blaaging fold – 😉

  4. Welcome to the Blogosphere. I love the interface of your blog as well as the content. 🙂

  5. 5 shaheryar mirza

    very nice…clean and crisp…makes me want to revive my blog..good luck and will be checking here often..congrats

  6. 6 Aali Ahmed

    I think it is a gr8 step for the active media to get acquainted to the new tweetnology! =)

  7. Dear Naveen
    Lovely to see your own blog! Very refreshing content…look forward to read more.

  8. Good stuff, like the design. Welcome to the blogsphere.

    move over Awab the queen is here :p

  9. I also vehemently object to the fact that Chup is in all caps… it give it more emphasis… why!!! i ask why!! :p *ducks as kalsoom tries to kill* all recommendations shall be equal unless the recommending party is indulging in gross favoritism of which i will always object to.

    Not that CHUP doesn’t kick any blogs ass but still…i would always like to nitpick.

  10. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement! I couldn’t have done any of it without your endless support!

    @faisalkapadia Your protest has been duly noted. It’s not my fault Kalsoom uses all upper cap! However, for the sake of egalitarianism the suggested amendment will be made forthwith. 🙂 And stop trying to create tension with Awab!! 😛

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