Who is @Jehan_Ara?

Guru and head of [email protected] on being a workaholic, loving Sinatra and the Beatles and loathing the term 'Twitterati'.

Faisal Kapadia August 09, 2011
Jehan Ara considers herself a communicator so writing, blogging,  social networking, presentations, the online show that she started - all of it makes her who she is and help her do her job better.

Born in Karachi and raised in Hong Kong she has gone on to become one of the most respected women in Pakistan's blogosphere.


Why did you join Twitter?

I was already active on my blog and on Facebook and it seemed a natural progression to get into micro-blogging. I use the social network for everything I do and Twitter is just one part of it all.

Have you ever had a Twitter fight?

No, I don’t believe in fighting. If someone disagrees with something I say, I try having a discourse but in case a person is unnecessarily rude, I just stop engaging rather than get into an argument. Everyone has a right to their opinion and it doesn’t have to agree with mine.

What was the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

Strangely enough the last movie I watched was “The Pirates of Silicon Valley”. Apple and Microsoft have changed so much from the early days that I just had to watch it again. I think it is a great movie to watch and learn from – especially for young techies and entrepreneurs.

If you were stranded on an island who would you choose as your one companion?

Aah, now that would be telling! I don’t want to break any hearts.

What quality do you most appreciate in a man?

Integrity and strength of character coupled with compassion and kindness.

What quality do you most appreciate in a woman?

Integrity and strength of character coupled with compassion and kindness. Why should it be different from what I expect from a man?

Where would you be right now rather than here?

I don’t want to be anywhere else right now but as a second option, Hong Kong is home.

What one super power would you choose?

I would like to be able to fly. Would save me from taking PIA and from wasting time during the multiple traffic jams we face.

What is your present state of mind?

I often say my mind is mush. I think that best describes it.

What is your one regret in life?

Surprisingly, I really don’t have any regrets.

What’s your favorite dessert?


What one gadget would you love to own?

I am fortunate that I have most of the gadgets I want. I could do with the new MacBook Air though.

What color do you enjoy dressing in?

Maroon or navy blue.

Describe Karachi’s traffic in one word?


You are president of Pakistan from tomorrow. Where do you start?

I don’t want the job! But if I did have it, I would dissolve the Assembly and have fresh elections with the proviso that only young, honest people with a passion for this country could be eligible.

What is it like being the president of [email protected]

It's wonderful because I get to do what I love - I help highlight and promote companies and individuals who are developing innovative products and services. I work with young start ups and entrepreneurs to help build capacity. I engage with the government on the kind of things that are needed to help this industry flourish. I help create networks so that people and companies can find ways and means of working with each other.

The launch of the [email protected] Social Innovation has added a new depth to what I am doing and I am extremely excited at the possibility of young people applying to this fund to create excellence in innovation for social impact.

What do you do when not working?

Errr … not working? Is there such a time? I am by any definition a workaholic. But I enjoy my work so it doesn’t really seem like work.

Any particular kind of music enjoy?

All sorts – Sinatra, Beatles, Elvis, the Carpenters, Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkel, Dizzy Gillespi, Ella Fitzgerald – rock, pop and jazz.

You visit Isloo often from Karachi. In your opinion how are the two cities different?

They are very different in character. Karachi is vibrant, abuzz with activity and truly ‘on the go’. Islamabad is pretty, it’s bland and it is like most capital cities – so unlike the rest of the country.

You have recently had the chance to meet many in Pakistans social media - do you think there is a future for this branch of media?

Oh absolutely! There are some very bright people with a lot of spark and passion who form the social media network. I have every belief that they are making a difference and will continue to do so.

What was your first love?


What comes to mind when you hear the term 'Twitterati'?

A self-absorbed group of people who think they are above everyone else. And when one gets labeled as a 'Twitterati' you begin to feel that perhaps you are truly shallow and have no depth. I know it is meant to be a compliment … my apologies.
Faisal Kapadia A Karachi based writer who blogs at deadpanthoughts.com and tweets @faisalkapadia (https://twitter.com/faisalkapadia)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


KolachiMom | 11 years ago | Reply The questions don't do her justice, because she seems more interesting than a 'if you were stranded on an island..." type of person. Also, maybe it's time you featured some males too... And my final suggestion. Lay off the "Who is..." title, and Tribune's Twitterati list. It reeks of elitist nonsense, and since social media is relatively new in Pakistan, let's not ruin it with these kinds of divides.
Mustafa | 11 years ago | Reply I didn't read the article. Who is Jehan Ara?
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