Pakistan first… Facebook second?

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As I sit writing this piece, hitting the refresh button on former president Pervez Musharraf’sFacebook page, watching the number of followers add up by the minute (over 150,000 at the rate of 100 per day) I have to admit – whatever else – the former President really has an aceteam of Facebook advisors.

And that’s not where it ends.

Musharraf’s Facebook page announced the former president’s bold leap into the 140-characters-only world of Twitter in March, where he has, admittedly (surprisingly?), only garnered a smattering of less than 1,000 supporters. Perhaps this low response is due to the fact that being limited to saying what you need to say in just one sentence is a lot harder than it looks.

But that’s okay.

What goes unsaid on Twitter can always be delivered in a suitable, seated-behind-a-dull-desk online video. Yes, Musharraf also has his own YouTube channel, the aptly named“ThePasdarePakistan” where his latest video’s description reads, “Facts on Balochistan”. (Geo beware – the rumour mills predict that the markets may soon be awash with a downloadable Musharraf-in-your-pocket mobile application.)

But wait a minute.

Similar to Twitter, the YouTube channel is showing a massive discrepancy in the number of visits.

According to the available statistics, Musharraf’s YouTube channel has received less than 200 views despite being active for over a month. And despite the videos being blasted across the 150,000 plus Facebook fan page, “ThePasdarePakistan” only has 30 subscribers and a few thousand total views at the time this article is being written.

I fear the former president may be wrong in his assumptions about riding the online tide back into the hearts and minds of Pakistan’s youth.

Alas, these hearts and minds appear to have enough time to click a “like” button, or toss over a quick “Sir! Please come back to Pakistan!” on Facebook, but giving them the arduous task of actually watching a seven minute video seems to be asking too much.

Lets not even attempt to talk about getting fans such as this to vote.

Orginally published in The Express Tribune here.

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