Dawn.com brings you the Social Media Mela 2012 – a gathering of some of the finest minds in social media for a two-day extravaganza nurturing dialogue, thought leadership, and critical engagement with entrepreneurs, journalists, activists, and creative professionals from Pakistan, India and beyond.
Stay tuned to this space as we bring you photos, blogs and updates from the event featuring some of the most socially influential people on the internet from the Subcontinent.
Raheel Khursheed is Communications Director, India for Change.org, the world’s fastest growing social action platform, but can be found freelancing on the side as an independent journalist.
Volunteers, organisers and contributors on stage as the Pakistan-India Social Media Mela wraps up.
Karuna John and Mohammed Hanif at the panel discussion titled ‘Twitter is the New Newsroom: The Changing Face of Journalism’.
The lively discussion on how to use and not use Twitter as a tool for journalism gained plenty of input from journalists in the audience. The panel of five journalists and mediapersons — Mehmal Sarfraz, Karuna John, Bilal Lakhani, Norbert Almeida, Mohammed Hanif and Hasan Belal, the moderator — discussed whether Twitter is a tool for journalism, or an evolving form of what may be ‘new’ journalism.
Hasan Belal is a former print and broadcast journalist and a media and communications specialist. Belal is currently working as a freelance consultant and is also a columnist for a local English language daily.
400 Funders: The art of crowd funding
Indian film director Onir took the stage to explain how his feature film ‘I am’ was financed entirely through crowd funding.
After his first film, ‘My brother Nikhil’, was financed with the help of friends and family, Onir thought “why not more people?”
He put the idea of a film on child abuse, among other themes, up as a Facebook note. Within a few weeks he received a cheque of a thousand rupees from a young student from Pune. This student wrote to Onir, saying he had been abused as a child and wanted to help get the film made. That was the first bit of money deposited into the account for the film. Soon after, there were be 400 funders and dozens of volunteers ready to help on set.
Child abuse, is just one of the separate four narratives that make up ‘I Am’. The other parts deal with artificial insemination, displacement and a same-sex relationship.
Onir said that because there were so many funders and volunteers in the making of the film, he used social media like Facebook and Twitter to update everyone on what was happening. “It was like watching a baby grow up”
“It took one and a half years to make the movie, and within that time, everyone who had invested in the film was able to see what was happening on ground.”
What made it successful was the sense of participation that was created, he said.
The panelists from ‘Stalkers and bullies: The dark side of the Internet’. From left to right: Sabbah Haji Nabiha Meher Shaikh and Jehan Ara
The panelists from ‘Fight Club: The rise of the troll’ From left to right: Abdul Majid, Bina Shah and Rub Nawaz
The panelists and moderator from ‘Connecting Ideas, People and Capital’. From left to right: Faisal Kapadia, Saba Gul, Kalsoom Lakhani and Jeremy Higgs.
Entrepreneur Ghazal Pirzada, of Ghazal Pirzada Creative Studios:
“(It’s really important) to have a supportive family that understands that the crazy in you needs to come out.”
“The hardest part for an entrepreneur is starting and then scaling … deciding when to scale and by how much.”
Ammara Gul Agha, founder of t-shirt company Gullak, on online internships:
“Online interns are as lazy and useless as real interns”
“Everyone’s being trained as a designer but not everyone has that spark — that needs to be brought out, I think.”
Beena Sarwar talks about Pakistan and India, and learning to trust each other.
Sarwar said a survey showed that the people of the Sub-continent want to meet and travel between the two countries, but there are no tourists’ visas.
Marvi Sirmed on seating arrangements:
“I can’t help but notice that the MQM is sitting to my left and PTI to my right.”Sirmed is a journalist, political commentator, governance specialist, freelance columnist, theater actor, an activist for peace and human rights and an independent blogger.