PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

The Global Social Network

Pakistan is Lagging in Social Media

As the membership of social networks and the users of social media applications such as Facebook, MySpace, and Orkut grow dramatically to hundreds of millions in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America, it seems that this phenomenon is still in very early infancy in Pakistan. As of now, there are about 117,000 Pakistanis on Facebook, about 100,000 on Orkut, and a few thousand on MySpace. There are smaller social networks such as Naseeb.com that have a few thousand Pakistani members as well. While Naseeb.com bills itself as a Muslim social network, it seems primarily focused on match-making. Pakistan's middle class is estimated to be about 25m people, larger than the population of several European countries and Australia. With such a large middle class population, only a small fraction is participating in the social networking phenomenon. The reasons cited for this minuscule participation include the lack of access to the PC and the Internet, lack of familiarity, and shyness standing in the way of appropriate public self-expression. While I acknowledge that these might be contributing factors, I believe the main factor is the lack of a socially and culturally appropriate content and welcoming environment that suits the Pakistani sensibility and taste. It is something hard to describe but it is something you know when you see it. A new social network called PakAlumni Worldwide has recently been launched to serve this exact need and to encourage Pakistanis to participate in larger numbers. It is still in its early days with about 700 members but growing rapidly. The membership includes a large number of Pakistanis living in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and various parts of Asia. The social connections made via PakAlumni can easily turn into business connections and bring the Pakistani diaspora together to grow closer and more prosperous and help Pakistan achieve greatness in the process while improving its civil society and image.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 30, 2012 at 11:30am

Here's ET on Facebook and Linked-in user population in Pakistan:

Users of social networking website Facebook in Pakistan have crossed the eight million mark, revealed statistics provided by Social Bakers. The number of Pakistani Facebook users stands at 8,008,720.

The steady increase in users has put Pakistan at 28th place in the ranking of countries that use Facebook.

The highest number of Facebook users (more than 160 million) is in the United States, followed by Brazil with more than 63 million and India with more than 62 million users.

According to the statistics, the total number of Facebook users in Pakistan grew by more than 1,383,900 in the last six months.

The statistics revealed that the age group with the highest number of Facebook users in Pakistan (3,990,800) lies in the age bracket of 18-24 and the second largest group in the age of 25-35.

According to the data, more men use Facebook in Pakistan than women.

Around 70% Facebook users are male, while 30% are female.

LinkedIn

The number of LinkedIn users in Pakistan has reached 1,472,143 (more than one million), as revealed by Social Bakers.

Pakistan stands at rank 10 among all countries that use LinkedIn.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/486676/pakistan-crosses-8-million-faceb...

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 2, 2013 at 5:07pm

Social media use in Pakistan is small but growing very rapidly.

Its economic value is hard to gauge now but you can see its use in the start of viral marketing campaigns.

As the number of users grows, companies will start to devote more and more resources to it to generate more revenue and profits.

Here are a few useful links:

http://samramuslim.com/pakistan-social-media-marketing-landscape/

http://tribune.com.pk/story/548285/the-socio-economic-impact-of-soc...

https://wiki.smu.edu.sg/digitalmediaasia/Digital_Media_in_Pakistan

http://www.juancole.com/2010/05/pakistans-social-media-ban-endanger...

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 19, 2016 at 4:50pm

#Pakistan's social media celebrities: Taher Shah, AwaisLovely, Qandeel Baloch, #YouTube #Facebook https://globalvoices.org/2016/04/19/how-pakistans-taher-shah-took-v... … via @sheema_kh


In 2013, Taher Shah released his quirky and outlandish debut song ‘Eye to Eye’. The low budget video went viral in Pakistan, generating endless memes. It took the Pakistani singing sensation three years to grow wings and make a comeback with his “Angel” song.

The video opens in a picturesque meadow with a rainbow. Taher frequently changes outfits and wears tiaras over his signature long black hair, adorns flowing velvet gowns, studded brooches, hair wigs, coloured contact lenses, and masquerade masks. He walks around with what seems to be his angel family. There are some incomprehensible English lyrics and some off-tune singing.

But that isn't what Taher is about. He is creating viral art. Art that is reappropriated and takes a life of its own on the internet. His video was viewed 2 million times in two days, topped Twitter trends in Pakistan and across the border in India, and has inspired endless viral memes and videos.

In this video, one of Pakistan's top singers Ali Zafar takes on Taher Shah's Angel. The video has over 100K views on YouTube, and more than 90K on Facebook.

And then there's a heavy metal version, which has been widely shared on Facebook.


Pakistan's first YouTube star

Taher is not the only Pakistani to be operating in this space. In 2011, Pakistan found its very first YouTube star in AwaisLovely, a young man from one of Pakistan's smaller cities Sialkot. Within a short time, Awais’ amateur dancing videos and conversations about his city and romance mixed with epic music became a viral hit among the country’s internet population.

AwaisLovely generated lots of memes and probably would've taken his fandom to some heights, if YouTube wasn't banned in the country in 2012.

Pakistan's Kardashian?

And then there is Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani entertainer who has taken social media by storm for uploading videos on Facebook about her daily routine and her take on politics at home and in India, usually while sprawled on a bed in clothes that are considered risqué by Pakistani standards. Sometimes she just uploads videos of herself in a hot tub or hilarious edited videos of herself created using third-party apps. She also reposts mixes or memes of her videos and has embraced viral culture completely. Agence France-Presse has called her Pakistan's Kim Kardashian. Her Facebook page has close to half a million fans.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 28, 2016 at 9:26pm

#Pakistan’s #Troll Problem: Girls face online harrassment by unscrupulous men in social media http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/pakistans-troll-problem … via @SimonParkin

Last June, an eighteen-year-old student at Edwardes College, in Peshawar, Pakistan, opened an e-mail to see a picture of her face digitally superimposed on the naked body of another woman. As the student read the attached message, her dismay curdled into panic. The e-mail’s sender, who identified himself by the pseudonym Gandageer Khan, claimed to have hacked into her Facebook account. He threatened to post the photo online unless the student sent him money, in the form of a prepaid phone card, and provided him with the personal details of other female students at Edwardes. When she refused, Khan uploaded the doctored image, along with several others, to a page that he had created on Facebook titled “Edwardian Girls.” Each picture now included the student’s name, her phone number, and a lewd message: “I am available for sex. Call me for a quickie.”

It later transpired that the student was among fifty young women whom the people behind the Khan account—two men, one named Muhammad Ali Shah, and the other identified only as Suhail—harassed and blackmailed for a period of four years before they were arrested, last August. “The whole of Peshawar was aware of what was happening,” Rabel Javed, another of the men’s targets, told me. “Every time a girl would take a picture, we’d be like, ‘I hope Gandageer doesn’t get a hold of this.’ Every girl thought she might be next.” Although some members of Javed’s extended family blamed her for the hack, her sisters were supportive. “They kept reminding me that none of this was my fault, it was actually this guy who was sick in the head,” she said. “I was fortunate. I come from a liberal family. Not a lot of girls are like me.” The subject of the first doctored photograph, meanwhile, claims that her father beat her for what happened, and forbade her from returning to college.

The students, including some sympathetic young men from Edwardes, rallied and began to petition Facebook to remove Khan’s page. “We all just kept reporting, but nothing seemed to work,” Javed said. Although all of Khan’s images had vulgar captions, not all contained indecent imagery. As a result, the arbiters at Facebook, whose closest office to Peshawar is located more than twelve hundred miles away, in Hyderabad, India, claimed that no community standards had been breached. “That’s when I understood there was a language barrier,” Javed said. “The abusive text was written in Pashto.” After months of trying fruitlessly to persuade Facebook to take the pictures down, Javed wrote to Nighat Dad, a thirty-six-year-old Pakistani lawyer, whose organization, the Digital Rights Foundation, provides support to women who are victims of online violence. Dad’s involvement provoked prompt action. Facebook removed the images, and a spokeswoman told me that, following this incident and others like it, the company has grown to “include native language speakers who review content in more than three dozen languages.” Then, on August 17th, the Karachi-based Express Tribune reported that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency had arrested Shah and Suhail. According to Dad, the men eventually settled out of court.

“Online harassment in Pakistan differs from the West,” Amber Shamsi, a journalist in Islamabad, told me. In March, a conservative cleric stated that it was un-Islamic to follow the Pakistani celebrity Qandeel Baloch on social media, because she posted alluring photographs. When Shamsi retweeted a colleague’s claim that the cleric’s edict was genuine and not, as some claimed, fabricated, a group of trolls downloaded her Facebook photographs and used them to create new images labelled “slut” and “prostitute” and “cunt.” This sort of behavior is prevalent on the Internet because it is “prevalent on the streets,”...

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