The Power of 140: Why #ShameOnLUMSVC is trending on Twitter?

By Zain Peracha on
November 11, 2014
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A talk was scheduled at the Lahore University of Management Sciences to entertain Mr. Asad Umar on the 11th of November. Mr. Umar, apart from being a prominent businessperson and multinational executive, is also affiliated with a certain socially hyperactive political party. The LUMS admin, after green-lighting the talk invited Mr. Umar to travel from his home in Karachi and deliver a speech to the eager business minds of LUMS.

Things got complicated when the admin realised that a lot of the promotional material for the talk was based on Mr. Umar’s political agenda and not, in fact, his prominence as a brilliant executive. In that moment of panic, the admin was faced with a choice between adhering to their long-standing facade of political neutrality or with incurring the repercussions of cancelling the much-anticipated arrival of Mr. Umar. At that critical time, in a rush of deliberation, the LUMS admin cancelled the talk by Mr. Umar one day before it was set to take place. The event’s following this are of particular interest to the readers of this tech forum.

The decision was met with a frenzied revolution. Not with picket fences and torches, mind you; but with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The LUMS population ( and soon those beyond it) took the Facebook, Twitter and even the campus email forum to express their dismay and dejection of this act on behalf of an admin they had recently only begun to gather faith in after the sexual harassment fiasco that had encapsulated at the university populous for most of the past week. These people used their individual words, opinions and personal analysis to express their own personal opinion towards the cancellation and soon their numbers burgeoned to a point beyond which the crisis could not be contained. The number one ally this series of individuals had, however, was a tiny social media component known as the hashtag or “#”.

If you’re one of the people who happened to notice the Trending hashtags in Pakistan on the night of the 11th, you’ll have definitely seen the #ShameOnLUMSVC and #PakistanLovesAsadUmar picks within the list. These hashtags show the change social media can bring. The very presence of them displays the transition of the decision-making mantle to a socially, politically and globally aware population. One which cannot be silenced because they’re no more afraid of speaking out and being silenced down. It was a tweet that began the Arab Spring and it could very well be a tweet that will spark the change that the Pakistani majority demands. Social media has distributed the capability of becoming that trigger and once the queue has begun, there’s always someone to get in line.

The end of the story is that Mr. Umar then personally addressed the LUMS body to inform them that he intended to carry out with his talk and since he had been denied an invitation to LUMS, he would instead hold the “talk” at Lalik Chowk (a five-minute walk from the university campus).

Once more, the point here lies in the fact that the multiplicity of opinion provided on the World Wide Web is possibly the strongest and safest weapon to bear. The arms are our social media outlets, and the ammunition is our word. The thread of political development has now also seen itself intertwined with that of technological change, as have so many before it, insofar that one would be critically handicapped should the other fall out of balance. Even though we’ve all had those time where we’ve cursed the damned one-hundred-and-forty word limit on Twitter, sometimes all it takes is an idea and someone to pen it down for the others to see, concur and act.

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Editor’s Note: The thoughts & opinions offered in this article are author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect the views & policies of TechJuice.

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