Light Within

making sense of social media mix

Power Station of the Past

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Situated on the bank of river Ravi on Okara Faisalabad Road Gogera was once an important and dignified town in the plans of Central Punjab. It is reduced to a shabby and sleepy suburb of Okara today. Town still boasts its importance when it was important British power centre and district headquarters from 1852 to 1865 and the part played by the resilient people of the area during War of Independence in 1857. The stories of the war that was fought around Gogera echo in the pages of history books.

The only historic building -- a British court -- that reminds of the colonial period has been converted into a school. The verandas of the old building with round arches have been clogged to create additional rooms and red thin bricks are covered with coats of whitewash. It was much better if the building could have been conserved in its original shape. That does not seem possible now.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, March 04, 2017, , links to this post

Hit the emotional cord

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Posts that come from heart and speak personal truth and experience are the best. "Hit an emotional cord, not just intellectual ones," as a friend says. Next best are those when experts share their knowledge on specific subjects.That said, one of the best ways that I have found out to expand my bloggy fraternity is to set a goal to comment on say 5-10 blogs a day that are outside my usual reads. I also continue to see the work others are doing about topics of my interests. Social media  is a good source to see what other bloggers are writing about on a specific topic I am exploring.

We all like to be linked to and so the more I have trackbacks to other people’s work they are expected to come by and read mine and eventually may link too! I try in addition to putting a link or two into my posts. It seems to have worked really well for me.

How do you reach out and how are you expanding your blog community? Another thing, though gender is not the issue while reaching out but I some time see bloggers commenting men to me, men to women, women to women, women to men. Is there any substance to this hypothesis?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, February 28, 2017, , links to this post

Historic Trilogy

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The first thought that came into my mind after visiting Okara can be described by four words: milk, butter, mammals and farms. Peers also told me the same. Besides Harappan ruins, I did not know the area. But one thing I did know, though, was that I should be happy to say goodbye to the place. Two years later, I felt drawn to the area and its people and it was very hard for me to part. There is so much to be seen, so much to be done. Above all, it has spirited, sincere and full-of-love people living in Gogera, Dipalpur and Pakpattan historic trilogy. The distances in the hinterland are short but the landscape is so enormous that it had to be studied in parts like a large mural seen by a child.


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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, February 01, 2017, , links to this post

What Are Criminals Made Of?

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Violent crimes have been at historic up nationwide; they are rising sharply in all cities. The rise seems to have been set off by something more bewildering.

Imagine Lahore only ten years ago: It was a different city; socially cohesive, closely knit. Young children could go visiting neighbors or to nearby shopping centers to get groceries and other things but not now. People then knew each other personally and had strong social bounds; hence courtesies for each other.

Things started changing with an exponential increase in urbanization. Large number of outsiders started moving in Lahore to live and or work. Now even the immediate neighbors do not know each other and people act like total strangers. Garish housing societies have come up on all the open spaces inside the city and Lahore has expanded much beyond what used to be municipal boundaries. The crime rate has grown with mush faster speed than the city.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 26, 2017, , links to this post

Urdu Twitter for Hilal

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This article appeared in June 2012 issue of Pakistan Army Monthly Hilal .
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 24, 2017, , links to this post

Sunday Tending

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 22, 2017, , links to this post

Harand heritage

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Perched in between legendary Suleman Range on one side and mighty River Indus on the other, ruins of original Harand Fort are situated in the area commonly known as Pachaddh. The Fort has seen a lot in the past and looks as if hiding thousands of secrets besides its historical and archaeological importance.

The Fort was originally built opposite historic Chachar Pass in Suleman Range to guard against the invaders. The fading signs of the edifice are still there in the forms of derbies and bricks scattered around the old site. Sikh Governor Sawan Mall used the material of the old fort rebuilt the Fort on a new location in 1831. Present structure of the Fort - a valuable part of our heritage - is situated about 25 kilometres west of sleepy and rustic town Dajal in district Rajan Pur. The Fort is spread over an area of 50 acres. The outer wall of whatever is left of it is one kilometre long and was made of thin red bricks. There are 16 pillars. Main entrance is in the west and another one is in the east. What ever is left of the fort is a clear evidence of its past, solidity of masonry and quality of construction.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 20, 2017, , links to this post

Pakistan Army should blog as a policy

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I remember the days when army soldiers were told not to disclose their locations where they happened to be serving. I also remember seeing those silly signs on bridges saying ‘photography is prohibited’. No more. Things have changed now. Advent of technologies like GPS or cellular phones has changed the way we work and also our priorities. It is in this milieu that I say blogger outreach and social media influence can be of great advantage to any organization including Pakistan Army. Why else other armies have dedicated army blog networks where soldiers, family members, friends and supporters can post video, images and written stories?

By getting into blogging and other social media channels, army can pick up useful insights to successfully and directly connect with people. Blogging can encourage authenticity and transparency to build credibility. Social influence is very much relevant to any army today, more so to Pakistan Army that derives its strength from masses. This may also help army to actively listen to those strong opinionated advocates and those “realist, liberals, progressive, revolutionaries” that are present out there in blogosphere.

It is about time that Pakistan Army should include blogging in its communication strategy and fill the huge void that exists. Army need to update policies and encourage solders to engage meaningfully. And I know soldiers are good at it (I still remember those public speaking lessons that I had during my training in Pakistan Military Academy – one of the best training institution anywhere in the world – and later those Method of Instructions tutorials I had to attend).

Army has great opportunities to offer to its people. They need to tell this to people it serves. Internal as well as external army bloggers can do this better than anyone else.

Can influential bloggers help army in present context? Shoot down if you don’t agree.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 19, 2017, , links to this post

Wheels of Empire

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Wheels of Empire by Salman Rashid

Salman Rashid is clearly Pakistan’s most notable and erudite travel writer. His work is informed not only by deep insight but an even deeper love of his subject. A signature Salman piece welds impressive knowledge of geography, history, ethnography and ingenious and tradition with a writing style that quivers with life.


Salman Rashid is also an accomplished lensman with a sensitive eye for landscape photography that further enriches his travelogues.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 18, 2017, , links to this post

New domains

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Penetrating new IT domains appeared in Profit, Pakistan Today.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is about to expand general Top Level Domaown names (gTLDs). The applications have already been invited from January 11, 2012 through April 11, 2012. During the first round, ICANN will accept only 500 applications, while the subsequent rounds will be limited to 400 applications. The gTLDs expansion program has the potential to add countless new names to the existing twenty one available top-level domains (.com, .net, .edu, .biz, .org) and over 100 suffices (.pk - Pakistan, .ly - Libya) by permitting brands, businesses, geographical regions and even individuals to apply for a virtually unlimited list of new gTLDs in different scripts including Arabic. It is expected that the first gTLDs will come online by 2013.

This news has initiated a debate amongst the various stakeholders since May 2008, when ICANN first came up with the idea of expanding gTLDs “to unleash the global human imagination. The decision to expand respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” says Rod Beckstrom, the CEO ICANN.

Businesses and governments are analyzing the impact of proposed expansion of gTLDs on the internet with caution and concern. The focus for many brand owners has been to argue against the expansion of the name space, or at least to postpone it till the internet really needs such a change and till a more efficient brand right protection system is in place. But ICANN is going ahead with the program. A global awareness campaign to educate the world about the expected changes in the in the cyber space is in the air and will be launched anytime.

The decisions will vary from industry to industry and business to business but one thing is for sure; new gTLDs are not for everyone. The option is costly; $185,000 initial application fee plus $25,000 a year to run the registry. If someone else wants the same domain, bidding will determine the winner. And another fee will crop up when a registry is setting up secondary domains on a top-level domain. One wonders what might be the rationale for the proposed fee structure by ICANN - a nonprofit entity. The price tag alone leaves small and medium sized businesses out of the big name games.

Owning a “.sports” TLD for anyone in the industry manufacturing sports goods sounds like a good idea provided the business can afford outbidding other sports goods manufacturers and the fee. The opening up of new gTLDs is certain to set off a wave of new activities on the internet domain space that could fundamentally change existing practices related to domain name use and search engine optimization, and more broadly impact internet based advertising, promotion and ecommerce. Unless it happens, no one can say how? Big businesses have already started research to judge the impact to their businesses of this impending change, and are reviewing the recently revised and published ICANN draft guidebook closely for insights. Some companies (like Canon) have already announced that they will apply for custom suffixes (.canon).

Biggest advantage to ask for a new gTLD is to have a key generic term in any industry. The new internet domain space may open the potential for new ideas to improve an online presence in the marketplace. It can also open new opportunities for communities, cities and regions who would like to have more powerful presence on the internet.

But who really needs a new gTLD? Analysts say that proposed gTLDs expansion will solve problems that do not exist. The current dot-com structure works fine as it is. The expansion of the gTLDs will only challenge existing online branding and brand protection and marketing strategies at all levels adding more noise. The businesses will feel forced to spend huge sums in fees to ICANN and legal firms in order to reserve names to protect their trademarks from cyber squatters who could use them for spam and criminal activities.

The only winner in this program seems ICANN that will reap millions in fees for domain names that are not needed in the first place and the United States that intends to retain control on the Web's critical naming system.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 17, 2017, , links to this post


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