Monthly Archives: February 2016

Reflection: Using Twitter search

Never having used Twitter and been gone from Facebook for a long time, I had only vague ideas about what I would find on the microblogging website’s search page.

No surprises: trending topics had tweets flowing from all sides.

My first search term was ‘Islamabad’. With the city’s team having qualified for Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) final recently, the page was full pf posts about Islamabad United. From journalists to politician Asad Umar and ordinary citizens between, everyone was rejoicing and hoping to see the trophy come to Islamabad. A popular and oft repeated tweet referring to the final was: “For the first time in history, Islamabad is going to take Quetta seriously.”

Here and there were posts about the recent snowfall in Islamabad, Imran Khan occasionally chipped in with a political post.

Narrowing it down I added the word ‘Beautiful’ before Islamabad. The results changed dramatically. PSL was not cut out completely, words like ‘Beautiful innings by Islamabad’s …’ could still be found. However, the page now mostly contained pictures from ordinary citizens that showed Islamabad in different colours.

I then used the term ‘Islamabad politics’ to search twitter. Again, great change but PSL still did not go away. However, with this came many new tweets, from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) to some news channels. Even some Indian journalists had relevant posts.

Overall, the Twitter search showed it could come in handy if suitable prefixes and suffixes are used.

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PoA 2: 3-poster campaign

The task given is to create a 3 poster campaign with a unifying theme. The target audience is youth and the theme is “You don’t need money to share happiness.”

Keeping it simple, the tagline we have decided is “Forget money, share happiness.” Our inspiration comes from the ideas that were used to recreate the walls of kindness around Islamabad. Ourne wall focused on balloons, many others on clothes and food. We have decided that these three elements, balloons for kids, food for the hungry and clothes for the poor will make up our posters.

Our unifying theme will be the use of WhatsApp emoticons in our posters. Not only will it serve as our unifying theme but also as our instrument of targeting youth.

The posters below show how money loses against the donation of happiness.

Ticks and crosses may be used instead of thumbs up and thumbs down.

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Ghubara-e-Mehrbani

Leaving the idea of food for the hungry behind, we started thinking afresh. While it is only the hungry that would come to a wall where food is distributed we decided that everyone would like to have money. We now had to think of a mechanism where we could distribute money easily and in an orderly way. The plan of getting a gadget built by one of our group members immediately appeared too ambitious, with less than a week remaining we had to come up with something simpler.

Then we hit upon the idea of using balloons. With small amounts of cash fitted inside the balloons, we could not only help the needy but also create an activity in which we would all have fun. With this we turned ‘Deewar-e-Mehrbani’ into Ghubara-e-Mehrbani’. Balloons of kindness seemed doable and interesting. We then filed details of our plan with the Do Good Mob, with a selfie of our group.

Only two days to go (Friday the 12th), and we find out that there is a meeting that would weed out our flaws. With our team leader in bed with typhoid, another member had to attend. The Mob told us to drop the idea of cash as it could create problems of crowd control and use eatables. We agreed on toffees and chocolates, (they also gave us some biscuit boxes) but I felt that the real soul of our activity would be sucked out. We had decided to stage our activity in the flower market in F-6, we were advised to change it to F-7.

We now decided that our primary targets of kindness would be children.

By the help of 12 charts pasted on our wall and Ghubara-e-Mehrbani written in bold letters, our wall was almost complete. Balloons filled by a vendor nearby completed our decorations.

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Our wall almost near completion, just before our activity officially started.

If there was one mistake that we made, it was our lack of prep. We had all the materials ready but no toffee filled balloons inflated. By the time we set up our wall, some kids had started to gather.

We had to ask them to return a little while later. Our plan of flooding the wall with balloons prior to beginning of our activity now seemed difficult.

The balloons were burst roughly at the same rate as they were filled. Still the party was in full swing by noon, a mere hour after we had started. Some people had gathered around the wall, we decided to ask for their help. Asad, a tourist from Lahore was first to respond. He helped for about 15 minutes in our activity. Some shopkeepers who had come over also lent a hand.

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Asad who is from Lahore, helped us speeed up our activity.

All our food items did not go into the balloons, we also hung a basket containing the biscuits. Fully understanding that the wall was made for them, the children started filling the balloons themselves. At this point we added our chocolates and toffees to the basket.

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The children set up such an atmosphere that it threatened to get out of control. At this point we decided that a break was needed. During the break a boy Muhammad Mehtab helped us to fill an entire car with inflated balloons. This exercise proved its worth when the party resumed. We presented Mehtab with a candy filled balloon in recognition for his help.

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Mehtab tying a balloon before putting it in the car.

 

We decided that the word ‘No’ would not be used. Everyone who wanted something would get it. Shopkeepers asked us to give them balloons for their children, all sorts of people asked us for chocolates and we obliged them all.

The children who were mostly flower sellers, ended up giving us flowers trying to return favors.

As we ran out of balloons, we gave away the last of our chocolates to the children and decided to call it a day. In a short space of around 3 hours we used up 400 balloons, and numerous biscuits chocolates and toffees. As we restored our wall to its original state, we were approached by a kid expecting to get something. I found in my pocket one last balloon, a special one. It was greeted with a smile from the young girl.

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The children had amazing energy, they truly saw the wall as their own. Just what we had hoped for. They will never forget the great day they had.

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Happiness written all over his face,

Note: All team members were involved in photography.

PoA 1

The challenge presented is to recreate the ‘Deewar-e-Mehrbani’, to help the needy. Inspired by an original effort in Iran, the aim is to start an act of kindness that will bring something good to our society.

In response to the Do Good Mob’s university challenge, our team of 6 came up with a plan titled “Ao khilayen”. We observed that one of the foremost needs of any person is to have his/her stomach filled. The important place that is occupied by food and feeding in our culture and religion also appealed to us greatly. We decided that our effort would be concentrated on providing food to the hungry.

We sought out a location that would help gather as many hungry citizens as possible. A wall in F-7 was our final decision, as it is already being used to give out free food every day. Widely known and acknowledged to host such an activity, it would help in not just attracting the needy but also to gather donations to keep our activity going.

Our activity would include providing people a place to sit and eat comfortably.

Realizing that we would also need sponsors, we aimed to find two or more companies that produce food or related products. Examples could be K&Ns and Dalda. The publicity would be carried out via Facebook page and flyers in the university.

As the final thing to be decided, we needed to come up with something that would make our wall different. To bring something new to the activity, we proposed to provide a menu to people coming to our wall. Seeing that they always help themselves to whatever food is available, the experience of choosing their own food might be a first for many of them.

Even though our idea was termed as a ‘Good effort’, we were asked to come up with a plan that would help the poor directly. Come to think of it we don’t need the wall to feed the poor. We were then given the option of either replicating the wall or coming up with a better idea. The biggest thing of all, we actually have to do it on the 14th.

Know your beat

Choosing City-Islamabad was a simple decision. Even upon hearing that having no personal vehicle could be a problem, I was not worried. I knew I could work my way across the city using public transport.

A little while back I arrived on a scene at Secretariat Chowk where a small crowd had gathered. It turned out that the police had pulled a man out of his vehicle and beaten him, after his truck was found past the permissible line of a security cordon for the Chief Justice of Pakistan. It remains perhaps one of the most memorable times I wished being a reporter.

The city is littered with stories waiting to be told. Although there are news stories in the city I would like to report, I wish to do more as a feature writer.

An unheard of topic is that of a Punjabi mochi (cobbler) that I have managed to track down. It is indeed unusual in Islamabad where cobblers are overwhelmingly Pashtoons. I shall try to make that my first. I know I can find more profiles of similarly interesting nature.

With the polls for capital’s first-ever mayor just around the corner, I also intend to write a head to head comparison of two major candidates. This will be achieved by conducting interviews.

I also hope to report news stories. My first will be a follow up on razed kiosks in Islamabad, an issue that has not been resolved but has went out of the papers.

I intend to start with stories around my residence and then slowly, spread my area of work across the entire city.