Light Within

Making sense of Social Media

Sitaroon Ki Bastiyan

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Abbas Khan is a celebrated writer of our time. His other published work includes three novels and seven short story books (Zakham Gawah Hain, Tu Aur Tu and Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada (novels), Dharti Binam Akash, Tensikh-e-Insan, Qalam, Kursi Aur Wardi, Us Adalat Men, Jism Ka Johar (short story books) and Reza Reza Keenat and Pal Pal (afsancha -- shortest story books) and a philosophical compilation Din Mein Charagh.

Living now in serene and rustic environment of Bhakar, Abbas Khan has completed another shortest story book Sitaroon Ki Bastiyan. I have the pleasure to translate the book into English while the Urdu version goes to the press. Stay tuned, I will soon start posting the short stories at Logic is Variable.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, January 16, 2021, ,

Krakoram Express

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Spanking new Krakoram Express (42 Down) running between Lahore and Karachi is already old and no more a rarity in Pakistan. When i traveled, all the original fittings like coat hooks, locks, handles and seat covers were in place. No more.

Six passengers have a compartment to themselves. No streams of persistent vendors. No one can have the pleasure of hanging from an open train door as they are locked stop to stop. Like Lahore-Islamabad motorway the train is for many a symbol of modernity and progress.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 15, 2021, ,

From the Mother of the Dolls

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Dear Friends!

I started in 1993 to make handicraft dolls in the village of TGD together with the village girls. The effort was based upon available resources and a respect for the local tradition. Especially the hand-made dolls representing the dresses of the different provinces and minorities became very popular.


Only scarce information was available at that time about these groups and their dresses and obtaining the relevant materials was also a problem. Detailed field studies were needed to obtain and organize the required information, which was quite expensive.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 14, 2021, ,

Monetizing Your Social Media Space

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We are living in the age when we can see mass media turning into media of masses. Printing press, back in fifteenth century, started a publishing boom and an information revolution. Along the way, market forces established the rights and rules of the game for the privileged few who could afford to buy printing presses and grind forests into paper. Result: handful few own the industry and control information - they decide what the masses will learn. These few disseminate information on a need-to-know basis mostly. You know them. That's the world of mass media.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 13, 2021, ,

Urdu Column in Army Magazine Hilal

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 12, 2021, ,

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 @ Monday, January 11, 2021, ,

Almost famous

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Nasim Shahid at Facebook

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 10, 2021, ,

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 @ Saturday, January 09, 2021, ,

Mai Bismillah

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I believe in “mothers” as an instruction. They are always there for granted. I had to say fare well to another great mother on Saturday, June 18, 2011. I feel the pain, sadness and void within on two accounts; one she was my mother in law and second she was a great person – an anjuman in herself.

I will always remember her for many things. Best one that I liked is that she would say Bismillah with almost each sentence in her conversation. Starting everything with the name of Allah had visible effect on her persona and I could see blessing of Allah almighty in her worldly affairs. Anyone could see that. Due to this I very fondly used to call her Mai Bismillah.

Another of her distinct trait was her generous hospitality. She was very hospitable. Anyone going to her house (and many people used to go to her house) would have food or whatever was suitable and possible at the time. She would go a long way to make sure that any guest has food before leaving. And this act too brought in more blessing in her life.

Looking back, I can say that what she did for her off springs and what she accomplished would not have been possible without uncounted blessings of Allah almighty.

You were a great mother and great person Mai Bismillah. I will miss you for ever. May your soul rest in eternal peace.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, January 09, 2021, ,

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.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 08, 2021, ,

Signs of the Past

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 08, 2021, ,

Judge the Nations by the Way They Look at Their Women

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Societies pride in different strengths: Some give importance to bravery, some to democracy, and some nations think that freedom of expressions, development and or education are the hallmarks for their long-term sustenance. “The nations should be judged on how they look at their women,” writes Abbas Khan, the author of Urdu novel Mein Aur Umrao Jan Ada, his eleventh.

There is a famous saying that every thing in fiction is true except dates. But in the novel written by Abbas Khan even dates are true because he has based his novel in the back ground of five very famous women in the history: Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Qura tul Ain Tahira (Iran), Mughal Princess Noor Jehan and Umrao Jan Ada.

Helen of Troy was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and wife of Menelaus, considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Her abduction by Paris caused the Trojan War and made thousand ships drown.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Thursday, January 07, 2021, ,

How to upload the pdf file to blogs

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Readers here know that I am on eBooks as well. Today I have had the pleasure of sharing two eBooks with readers online. In the process I learned how to share pdf files using blogger blog upload the pdf file to blogspot. BTW, I use blogspot and I wish blogspot have the upload file function. That is a must now. Curiosity lead me and I could find a solution for my friends. There are two easy ways: 1) Use Google Group or 2) Upload to Ziddu.com.

Best is that you create a “Google Group” account – http://groups.google.com and find it is easy. I have uploaded a book here. Go explore.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 06, 2021, ,

Connect and Network - Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit

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Blast from the past


Social media tools like blogs, twitter and facebook are being widely praised for helping to bring change. The best thing about social media is the way it brings openness and shared environment. It is unlike mass media where only a few have a control over information industry and they are the ones who decide what to tell the world and when and they do it on need to know bases. We can see some powerful examples of social campaigns in the recent past.


Network!: Pakistan’s First International Social Media Summit is being held in Karachi (June 10-11, 2011) to accelerate this change by everything and anything that can create a social positive change through an integrated open approach using the social media. It feels good be a part of this change; sounds good. Lahore bloggers (Mubeshir Ali, Mehreen, Raza Rumi, Yasser Latif Hamdani, Shiraz Hassan, Ayesha, Nabiha Meher, Shamreez, Darweesh, Amara Javed, Shemrez Nauman Afzal, Ale Muhammad and your truly) are eagerly gearing up to join their colleges and some like-minded friends from all over Pakistan and abroad.

What am I expecting from galaxy of bloggers (social media starts) meeting in Karachi? In addition to learning about Education and Good Governance: Going Digital, Women and Social Activism in the New Media Era and Monetizing Social Media Spaces, I am looking forward to connect and network with those seeking similar. Connect with people who are proximate geographically. Connect with like-minded people who are thinking to be together into a movement. It is only this connection that can start a change. No?

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, January 06, 2021, ,

Have a Blog or a Printing Press

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Who all should have a blog? The answer depends on who is being asked this question. Given my personal interest, I say everyone should have a blog.

For marketers, public relations professionals, writers and all those who need to reach out with their ideas and or products and services, blogs are a must; easier, cheaper, convenient. But think outside the box and you will find people have experiences to share, stories to tell and put the things on record. They all need a blog.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, January 05, 2021, ,

Say it with flowers

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Flowers surely bring people together. Blossoms can fuel a flaming passion, calm a raging jealousy, comfort a living being or earn a living. Presenting flowers is a romantic social folkway. Aside from romantic and literary delights, there is commerce in flowers too.


The town of Patoki is one of the most famous places in Pakistan for growing flowers. The town has one of the biggest clusters of flower, fruit and decorative plant nurseries in the country. Growing flowers and tree plants and selling is a major business concern in this sleepy town situated in the suburbs of Lahore.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, January 04, 2021, ,

When dreams come true

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The first thing that I saw hung on the wall of his office was a framed verse of revered Pushto poet Khushal Khan Khattak. It said, "Right you love me deeply and immensely but what should I do that it still is not enough for me." Gulzar is a newspaper forwarding agent who works on contracts with different publishing houses to dispatch their publications to the newspaper agencies, which further arrange their mass circulation. I first met him in his office cum residence a decade ago. That was a place from where he arranges the dispatch of newspaper and periodicals to the agencies in over 200 stations (including remote villages, towns and small cities). He uses railways, road transport and airlines of that purpose. He has employed 11 workers, one motor rickshaw and a Suzuki pick up for the job. He has two telephones in the office and of course carries a cell phone.

It takes a lot far a man to admit but over a period of 10 long years of our associations, Gulzar Baig has displayed a great courage in revealing the emotional trauma of his childhood, contempt and malice with which he had been treated and his undying obsessions.
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, January 03, 2021, ,

Challenges; Making Money with blogging in Pakistan context

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Blast from the past: 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 @ Saturday, January 02, 2021, ,

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“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be" in Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 01, 2021, ,

Making Money Online in Pakistan

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Blogging is no more a new phenomenon in Pakistan. Many Pakistani online users are writing their own and rest are reading others' blogs and interacting in meaningful ways. Their voice is being heard in the blogsphere. Getting paid for blogging is still a new idea in Pakistan though.


There are reasons for this. Ironically, corporate Pakistan is yet not aware of blogs as economical, effective and interactive marketing tool. Like anywhere else, blogs can be a welcome mat for local businesses to reach out across the world but this has not started happening yet. Which is why Pakistan blogsphere can be characterized by only anti-establishment, noncommercial write-ups and rants, mostly. Exceptions aside, Pakistan blogs are mainly personal where bloggers post purely because of their own interests.

One wonder why local businesses have failed to notice the growing readership and influence of these Internet postings and the buzz corporate blogging can create particularly as a process of Search Engine Marketing or targeting online segment of consumers. But this is not about how Pakistani businesses can harness the power of blogs to reach out. This is about the options available to Pakistan bloggers to get paid for their work online.

Payments by most online advertising programs and affiliates are made through Paypal - widely used online money transfer service. Sadly, Paypal is not available in Pakistan so far. This alone puts Pakistan bloggers at a great disadvantage because without Paypal account they cannot join most of the programs.

That said, Pakistan bloggers are exceptionally good (and I am not being ethnocentric here). They have acumen for corporate writing. Their language and blogging skills and networking capabilities can be compared with any bloggers' community in the world. Internet coverage and users ' base is constantly growing. Even trend to shop online is taking off. Given chance, all this can indirectly help in efforts to make making through blogging.

Despite the odds, some of the savvy Pakistan bloggers are already using different methods to make money from blogs; Google AdSense advertising program being the first choice. Google pays through check and is liberal in taking small blogs in their program. Only recently, Google has started paying in Pakistan through Western Union and now bloggers here don't have to wait for 40 long days to get their checks cleared through normal banking channels or pay them $ 12 for every transaction.

Google's AdSense program, which started in 2003, pays Web publishers including bloggers based on how many times advertisements on their sites receive clicks. Google places the ads on participating Web sites using contextual word matching, in an attempt to ensure that the advertisements relate to the content on the page. Users' friendly AdSense also offers the opportunity to monetize site searches while providing a powerful and fast search engine for blogs sites. Google places relevant ads along with search results pages. Clicks on these ads also earn the site owner revenue. Earnings are not big mainly because there are not many local ads in Google's AdWord inventory. "Things are changing," says Badar Khushnud, Google country representative, "as Pakistan businesses have started using AdWord program."

AdBrite and Bidvertiser - both click based advertising programs that make payments through checks - closely follow AdSense.

Bloggers can also make money through "affiliate networks," which, in contrast to Google's automated system, allow blog writers to choose which advertisements to put on their pages. They also can be paid based on how often ads on their sites lead to sales rather than how often the ads receive clicks. I have experience with Text Link Ads (they pay through check) and it is fun working with them. They sell space off my blogs and I have control over what appears on my multiple blogs.

Then, businesses and organizations from all over the world offer to pay bloggers for mentioning them, their products and or services in blogs in order to create an online buzz, get more traffic and better page rank. Many online services like Pay Per Post, Sponsored Review, Loud Launch - paypal required - and Reviewme to name just a few, have come up. These services manage growing demands by advertisers and arrange supply through interested bloggers. Few months ago, I had signed up for Reviewme because they also pay through check. Reviewme offers products or services for review. I write about whatever I like and they pay me fifty percent of what they charge the advertisers. This arrangement works fine for me.

I have tried with merchandising through my blogs as well. Attempt to sell my own books (and the one I had translated) was a good experience. While I did not have a lot of success with merchandising - I am sure other bloggers can see this as an opportunity to make some money from blogs by selling products. That is not all. Bloggers can sell branded products whatever way their entrepreneurial heart desires using CafePress by creating and adding online store's link to blogs and CafePress will do the rest. There are so many more ways to earn money by blogging for those who are interested in earning using blogs. Driven by demand, more advertising programs, affiliates and sponsors and others are coming up every day. Bloggers can experiment with different programs that suit them and can create diverse stream of earnings.


A word of caution; earning through blogging does require persistent postings of quality contents and blog promotion. Best is to keep blogging for joy and monetize blogs on the side; keeping money making expectations realistic. It is a long and slow process. Only "17 percent of most popular bloggers in NYC earn more than thousand dollars a month. That leaves a whooping 83 percent earning less," revealed a NYC Blogger Summit Survey earlier this year. But again these figures are relative.

Blogging is a creative activity and fun. Most bloggers enjoy blogging. That is why they are blogging in the first place. Now let's think about getting paid for blogging.

Some of the sources that pay through check and I have experienced are Google, Link Worth, Earn $$ with WidgetBucks and ReviewMe.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 01, 2021, ,

About

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S A J Shirazi

Contact at sajshirazi@gmail.com

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Friday, January 01, 2021, ,


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