Light Within

making sense of social media mix

Travel Writing

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Travel writing is a fine art; accepted literary genre that is read. Writers who are gifted with an ability to understand what they see and can breathe life into a place when they narrate their travel experiences. The Internet that is wrongly considered as a pedestal for instantaneous scribbles mixed with emotions and indecipherable abbreviations has already become a place to find some good travel literature, travelogues and travel stories in addition to online trading of travel services. It can be one of the best display places for travel writers to showcase what their countries have to offer.

Travel is prosperity and leisure pursuit, which is a result of many things; history, heritage, culture, natural beauty and a quest to know what is unknown and meet wonderful people.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, May 04, 2016, , links to this post

Malka Hans

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I was posted in Okara when I did this journey in 1999 with my good friend Husain Qazi. Lately this journey came up in Literature Festival Islamabad. Good memories. 

Punjab is a gold mine for history seekers and curious travelers. You may find much more than what you hear or read. It pays to get out into the countryside and talk to ordinary people. What is more, people of the area are eager to help – on their own expense - when you ask anybody. One finds volunteer 'guides' who were forth coming with wealth of information. 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.


Given the history and heritage, it is easy to fall in love with ‘out of the way’ town like Malka Hans. Once an abode of Waris Shah, who stayed here and composed universal romance Heer Ranjha, malka hans is still serene, tranquil and pollution free. Legend has it that Malik Muhammad (alia Malka) who was a member of Hans tribe founded the town some 700 years ago. Hans became powerful when Mughal King Alamgir conferred a vast land around Malka Hans on Sheikh Qutab Hans. In 1764, Muhammad Azam who was the descendant of Qutab Hans became head of the clan. Ran Singh Nakka treacherously took Muhammad Azam prisoner where he died in confinement.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, April 27, 2016, , links to this post

Chill out at Chillas

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In northern Pakistan, Chilas - a small town - was once an important crossroads on the ancient trading route taken by travellers like Marco Polo. A jeep track leads from Chilas over the Babusar Pass to the Kaghan Valley. Until the opening of Karakorum Highway (KKH) this track was the main route to the Northern Areas of Pakistan. Going still is tough on the route that is passable only in the summers. We decided to take this track when I took the trip in May with my comrades, which started from Shinkiari.

Before leaving Chilas, visit to the famous inscriptions on the rocks is a must. Ancient inscriptions around Chilas date back in a period around first century BC. The most interesting thematic inscriptions are itched onto the faces of rocks between the KKH and the Indus River below Chilas town. One of the most interesting rock drawings we saw depicts two figures dressed in robes -- presumably Buddhist monks -- approaching a stupa in order to worship. The larger figure with a shaven head is carrying some sort of offering. The stupa to which theoffering is being made consists of a rectangular foundation with a ladder leading up to the path for circumambulation, which is surrounded by a railing. The dome of the stupa is decorated with a zigzag line, may be indicating a garland, and is surmounted by a small rectangular shrine and a vertical shaft with three horizontal discs. The architectural and stylistic features of this stupa drawing are similar to those of stupas found in the Swat Valley and other parts of ancient Gandhara in north-western Pakistan. Above the human figure making an offer and to the left of the dome of the stupa is a drawing of a single pillar with a capital (apparently a wild goat or ibex, which is the most common animal in rock drawings in the area) on a rectangular platform.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, April 25, 2016, , links to this post

Pornography on the Internet - Perspective

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Pornography on the Internet is a new king of plague that has spread all over the world. It is seamlessly tearing apart the fabrics of societies, visibly corrupting the public morals and damaging the institution of family. It is also here in our society and every Web user is aware of its presence. More than 60 percent of the country's Internet users are visiting porn sites, BBC reported quoting Pakistani telecoms officials. But many local users are still unaware of its impact and hence are indifferent about the need to combat this threat; some has simply chosen to ignore its presence. Even talking about pornography on any forum is considered a taboo.

Like it or hate it, explicit images of naked flash on the Internet are popular. Free and easy access to naked flash engaged in various acts is extremely popular. Let me hurry to add a disclaimer that the Internet cannot be blamed for this because it is merely a tool; neutral. Restricting access to the Internet is also not a solution. Similarly, Playboy, Penthouse, or Hustler cultures overseas cannot be held responsible for exporting the trend here. Dr. Irfan Mahmud Chaudhry, a psychotherapist in Lahore says, Viewing nudity is a personal penchant that may lead to addiction and many other negative behavioural changes.

Pornography began spreading with the advent of the Internet as a new medium of communications in the middle 1990s. Earlier, like the video cassette recorders and even earlier like printed material, the Internet has been effective because it allows viewing pornography anonymously in an absolute privacy, without fear of being pointed out as a sex starved or a perverted psychopath. And, now cyber space is littered with porno websites for any one with a computer and a modem to access. Experts predict that tech advancements like use of cable modems and DSL connections will fuel even more growth in the trend. No wonder some people in the world have not only accepted porno but playfully heap it with high brow attention and defend it?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, April 21, 2016, , links to this post

Discoveries of Empire

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In July 1798, the minarets and domes of Cairo emerged shimmering in the heat before the eyes of Napoleon’s troops as they marched south along the Nile River. Some ways away, amid the rock-strewn desert, stood the pyramids. The West was already acquainted with these strange ghosts of the desert that were ancient even when Herodotus wrote his nine-volume Histories in the middle of the 5th century BCE. But little was known about them beyond the fact that they were royal burial sites.


Now, for the first time, these peculiar apparitions became the subject of scientific inquiry, thanks to the 175 ‘learned civilians’ that were part of Napoleon’s train. They came with scientific equipment and a veritable library containing every book, ancient and contemporary, then available in France on the Nile valley.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, April 19, 2016, , links to this post

Business {Blogging} Proposal

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A strong online presence is important for businesses in today's high-speed and competitive world. Blogs have already become a new are a new buzz marketing. Marketers are blogging for organizations, products, ideas and or for other organizational goals and achieving.

That has not started happening in Pakistan yet. An overwhelming majority of local consumers who do not (or cannot) use the Internet and even marketing professionals still ask what is Blog?

To understand blogging as a corporate communications tool, we must understand the nature of blogs . Here is a short definition, "Blogs - an abbreviation of 'weblogs' - are published on the web, typically as microsites standing by themselves but today also as parts of traditional web sites. They reflect the interests, thoughts and opinions of the person, sometimes persons, publishing the blog. Blogs are characterized by frequent updates, an informal tone and many links to other blogs and web sites."

A business blog is a blog published by or with the support of an organization to reach that organization's goals. In external communications the potential benefits include strengthened relationships with important target groups and the positioning of the publishing organization as industry experts. Internally blogs are generally referred to as tools for collaboration and knowledge management.

Blogs can drive visitors to existing web site and help find new customers and engage the ones organizations already have. Blogs are prevailing and cost-effective marketing tools. As far as businesses is concerned, there are clients and potential clients. A blog will create a dialogue between the business, present client base, and potential buyers. Communication has never been easier and user friendly.

Once an organization has a blog, it offers immediate and high impact interaction with its target audience. As more people have online access, they'll want more than the standard online newsletter or typical PR response (we are so averse to existing PR stereotypes). Long gone are the days when companies simply fed information to their customers. Now everyone asks for a dialogue - a meaningful exchange of information. People also want to know that organizations are listening to them and paying heeds to what is being suggested, and blogs allow just that -- responding quickly and openly.

From a business point of view there are several potential reasons to blog particularly in less connected country like Pakistan. But, as always, it depends on what businesses want. Blogs are no different from channels like video, print, audio, presentations and even word of mouth marketing. They all deliver results - but of varying kind. The kind you can expect from blogs is mainly about stronger relations with important target groups.

Who should blog for the businesses? Ideally, front line people who know the business in and out should blog about it. Marketing professionals can also use this powerful tool. Organization can hire professional writers to blog for them under company's name or blog under their own. Depending upon the feedback and information provided by audience, an inside blogger can develop the ability to write in his or her own voice and create content for business blog. Outsider bloggers can view business with an objective eye and offer fresh marketing ideas and strategies.

Outsider blogger can study company's marketing materials, reports, other collateral information, and meet key people in organization to learn about what organization does and how best to market the product through blogging.

In developed world, blogging is being taught in most business school as a part of business studies and or part of mass communication courses.

Bloggers can post material written in editorial style and voice, updating at least once a day, three-to-five days a week. The content may also include company news, events, and information about new products and services relevant to your business.

Earlier, online marketing and web sites never picked up in Pakistan because of obvious "digital divide that exists due to individual disparities in levels of income, education standards, psychological reasons, age, gender, rural urban divide, and quality of life or collective deprivations like lack of physical infrastructure."

Pakistan corporate world should look at blogging as an opportunity to reach out but sadly, this has still not started to happen.

Related: Fine Art of Paid Blogging - Making Money Online

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, April 14, 2016, , links to this post

Challenges; Making Money with blogging in Pakistan context

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Summery of issues discussed on one of the Monetize Social Media Space workshops during Network!: Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit. They are still the same if not worst. 


Social space has combined some major human activities - communicating, sharing, social networking and ecommerce. Use of newly found social media space where as anyone can shoot out, is a creative activity and fun. Most online users enjoy their online presence. That is why people blog tweet or network in the first place. Along the way, a time comes when online users start thinking to monetize their social space. And then everything starts changing.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, April 12, 2016, , links to this post

Net results

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Computer and the Internet are fast becoming starting points for every work and lumber rooms for what people achieve with them. Any one can foresee that they are modern ways into the future. But the users are sometime intimidated by the sophisticated gadgets and openness of the Internet, hence they are not using them optimally.

It is the same all over the world when it comes to the scare of using computers and the Internet. BBC on the eve of UK National Computing Day reported Computeractive magazine survey and a research study by the Oxford Internet Institute both implying that users are scared of using computers and working on the Internet. Another recent Australian study also found that many people are afraid of their own computers.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, April 11, 2016, , links to this post

Keep me in your heart

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, April 10, 2016, , links to this post

True Blue

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Multan retains in many respects the historic form of the medieval city — the towering citadel of Multan known as Qillah Kohna Qasim Bagh with its noble monuments sheltering the dense and compact walled city shrines and bazaars below. Its history goes back to pre Islamic and possibly to that of Indus valley civilisation and even beyond.

The history of Multani arts and crafts also goes back to medieval period. Kashi work the glazing and hand painting of ceramic products is an important art for which Multan is famous all over the would. The use of foliage or branches and leaves of trees and superb richness of colours (mainly blue) in Kashi work is a evidence of Persian influence. As Persian arts themselves have been under Chinese Mongol influence, there fore some historians are of the view that Kashi work had originally come from Kashghar, China. Over a period of centuries Multani Kashi work has matured and developed a unique and distinctive style of its own.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, April 09, 2016, , links to this post


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