Karachi Tips: Uniting people, bit by bit

One day, as I logged on to my Facebook account, I found something that made me smile in a way I hadn’t in a long...

Ema Anis July 03, 2011
One day, as I logged on to my Facebook account, I found something posted on my wall that made me smile in a way I hadn’t in a long time.

It was a series of one-liners typed in as pictures; One of them said:
“If a friend calls you and says "baat ker” it means you have to bail him out of a traffic police incident. Remember that.”

I smiled and recalled all the times my friends and I did this.

Another message said:
“Never whole-heartedly believe your exam schedule. Strikes happen.”

Yes, that has happened to me too.

So, I opened the page from where these were being shared, and ended up smiling ear to ear going through all the pictures.

The page was ‘KarachiTips’ - founded by three young people from Karachi - two boys and a girl.

It came a day after 'LahoriTips' was launched, a similar Facebook page that popped up in the series of other tips like ‘Burger Tips,’ ‘Maila Tips’ and ‘Sindhi Tips’ etcetera. ‘KarachiTips’ was initially started “just for the heck of it” as the founders like to put it, and most probably to compete in the age-old battle of Karachi versus Lahore.

But, it ended up being more than just a page.

The way thousands of people from Karachi related to the tips, gave the page a great head-start as the growing fan-following compelled the founders to keep the page updated and also to expand on to other networking sites like Twitter and Tumblr.

In merely a month, ‘KarachiTips’ managed to gather more than 13,000 fans on Facebook, which is more than any other Tips page from Pakistan. The tips which are open to contributions from people have risen up to 150 in number and are updated every weekend. The founders were also featured in two radio shows and a new campaign was also initiated by them titled “Karachi - meri nazaro se” where people send in pictures which depict the way they see the city. The album has 34 pictures so far. If that was not enough, ‘KarachiTips’ also decided to print T-shirts with the top ten tips on the page, which can be ordered online.

Every day, as we are exposed to news of horror, misery and hopelessness, we are forced to live each day amidst fear and anxiety. Every next day, we smile a little less.

Their so-close-to-reality tips are not merely a sign of success on part of the initiative but they rather help in giving reasons for people to smile, who are otherwise perpetually distressed. The people running the group are no different from the ones we see around us every day, equally affected by all the violence, pain and depression that has engulfed us, but they sure are aware of the small pleasures of life.

We might not like to believe how such a tiny online initiative can end up uniting people silently bit by bit, but there’s always a chance of hope.
Ema Anis
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.