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Why Does Controversy Sell on Like Hot Cakes on Social Media?!

Why Does Controversy Sell on Like Hot Cakes on Social Media?!

Hussain Saeed

There is nothing Pakistanis love more than a good controversy – except probably a conspiracy theory.

The Pakistani youtube community has been rife with controversy lately. Popular youtubers, Ducky Bhai and Sham Idrees have been at each other’s throats – and as a result many others have joined in.

Trying to resolve the cyber feud, Zaid Ali T made a video montage of all Pakistani Youtubers apologizing for the recent message they have been putting out.

But that was a few days before Sham Idrees’s wife, who goes by the name Froggy, was punched at a meet and greet in Karachi.

This kickstarted the feud once again, dividing the media on whether the incident even took place.

Shahmeer Abbas, who was also at the meet and greet in Karachi took to Youtube to clarify what had happened. During the video, he called the man who pulled and ripped his shirt a “Mota Khusra”. Look at the clip below to see for yourself. Skip to 00:30 to hear to comment.

This transphobic (and also fat-shaming) comment is wrong on so many levels. Identifying as a transgender is not an insult, and to insinuate that is not only tone-deal but insulting to the transgender community. The community still faces constant discrimination in our society. They are thrown out of their houses, denied employment and face constant sexual and physical harassment.

But the bigger problem with this moment is that it shows the underline
problem with today’s social media-controversy can be a good thing.

What is even going on?

So if you weren’t aware by chance of what I’m talking about, Pakistani social media has had a very active and scandalous month. I could go into a lot of detail, but I’m just going to keep it short.

In the past month, Canadian-Pakistani Youtuber Sham Idress and his wife Froggy have been touring Pakistan. Sham has been trying to make collaborations with local Youtubers, his most famous one being Shahmeer Abbas. Sham has a bad history with most people in Pakistani social media, so part of his tour was to “make peace”, as he said.

Well it didn’t go well, and the fans go involved. Last Sunday, at a meet and greet with Sham and Froggy in Karachi, Ducky Bhai fans stormed the place and allegedly on punched Froggy. Now every Youtuber involved, and many that aren’t, keeping making videos about this story.

Now this history may have seem a little boring and useless, but here’s my point of all this. In the past month, as all these Youtubers keep making videos about either and all the stuff that keeps happening, they keep getting more viewers and subscribers than before. And here’s the proof;

Shahmeer Abbas

Ducky Bhai

Sham Idress

As you can see above, all 3 Youtubers are gaining off of
what has been happening. They keep getting viewers, subscribers and, as a
result, money! You’d think controversy would hamper a career. But the truth is;
controversy is great way to get media attention. The more controversial you
are, the more likely people will want to talk about you.

That gets your name out, and that is a all you need social media world.

And it’s not just the Youtubers involved within this. Rahim Pardesi, another Youtuber put out a video claiming that Froggy faked getting punched. His video, which has been on Youtube for 19 hours as of writing this article, and already has 678000 views!  Many of Pakistani Youtubers are making videos relevant to this, they are all benefiting off of this.

It’s not just Social Media

Controversy helps everywhere these days. It’s part of how you can generate free media coverage. Just two days ago, Muhammad Shoaib of Samaa Tv’s Naya Din had controversy of his own. He chastised his guest, Nasir Khan Jan, for his content. This caused a massive outcry; but his name is out there now. Muhaamd Shoaib isn’t just random person anymore, he isn’t just an anchor; he is Muhammd Shoaid. And he did what everyone who has a scandal does; he apologized and he will move on.

He chastised his guest, Nasir Khan Jan, for his content. This has caused massive outcry; but his name is out there now. Muhaamd Shoaib isn’t just random person anymore, he isn’t just an anchor; he is Muhammd Shoaid. And he did what everyone who has a scandal does; he apologized and he will move on.

I don’t know or think any of this was deliberate, but what I do know is that they will benefit off of this.

It’s not just us

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 01: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a meeting with leaders of the steel industry at the White House March 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump announced planned tariffs on imported steel and aluminum during the meeting, with details to be released at a later date. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Social Media is a pretty new concept in Pakistan. It has been around for a while, but it hadn’t taken the stronghold it has until today. As a result, we can look at other places and see how social media and controversy go hand in hand.

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy to run for President, no one took him seriously; especially the media. They made fun of him and disregarded him. However, his wild and crazy comments gained him massive media attention.

 Through that free press coverage,
Donald Trump was able to establish himself as a contender, and eventually
became President of the United States of America.

If that wasn’t enough, just look at everyone’s favorite family; The Kardasians. They have literally made an empire that runs on the idea that controversy will gain them free press, which will make people more interested; and they shall tune in, buy their products or whatever they are selling. This case is interesting though. The start of their empire, as most of you are aware, was due to a leaked sex tape. Kim Kardasian, to this date, says that she never released it and it was the worst moment of her life.

If that is true (which it probably is), then the way in which her and her mother, Kris Jenner, have been able to transform a media scandal into a media empire is impressive. But it makes us wonder.

Is this really all bad?

Not always. Look at how Ellen Degenerous has turned her career around. In the 1990’s, America was pretty homophobic. After Ellen decided to come out on the cover of Time Magazine, her show was cancelled and so were her comedy tours.

It was so bad, people stopped naming their newborns Ellen in the United Sates!

It looked like this was the end for Ellen. But then came The Ellen Degenerous Show; one of day times most watched shows. Ellen changed from a controversial figure to everyone’s favorite host. And many attribute her ability to transform her media perception with the changes in the perception of LGBT individuals in society-earning her a Medal of Honour by President Obama. What worries me is that something that has been used for good, to help and improve society, may now being used just for direct personal gain.

So what now?

Honestly, just be more aware of what is happening around you. Just understand that the media, even social media, has an agenda behind why they are saying this or doing that. Don’t just write it off.

Question everything!


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