Who is @TristramPerry ?
Lahore's favourite US diplomat talks Twitter, social media and his first love -- books.
Tristram Perry is the information officer and spokesman at the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore. He was one of the driving forces behind Network, Pakistan’s first international social media summit, which took place in June in Karachi.
Tristram is a career diplomat and has served at posts in Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Washington DC. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, he worked in public relations for several years in Boston, including as the director of Public Relations for the Boston Conservatory. He was educated at Tufts and Oxford University, and speaks Russian, German and Indonesian.
1) Why did you join Twitter?
I joined because my youngest brother was not active on Facebook, and I wanted to stay in better touch with him.
2) Have you ever had a Twitter fight?
No, not really - my brothers and I constantly use it to continue our childhood teasing of each other, but that doesn’t count. I do enjoy watching others have them, but I don’t take Twitter too seriously.
3) What is the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?
I re-watched “The Departed” the other day. It made me simultaneously miss Boston and feel relieved that I don’t work there anymore.
4) If you were stranded on an island who would you choose as your one companion and why?
Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister. It would be an excellent opportunity to… practice my Russian and…uh, discuss Ukrainian parliamentary procedure? Also, I love her Princess Leia hair.
5) What is the quality you most like in a man?
Eye contact and a firm handshake. There is nothing worse than getting the “dead fish” in your hand when you first meet someone, but I know that’s an American thing.
6) What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Wit and a sense of humor.
7) Where would you be right now rather than here?
With my mother in Scotland, who is visiting my sick aunt right now.
8) What one super power would you choose to have?
Flight! My addiction is travel, I’ve already visited 45 different countries, and so the ability to fly would really cut down on airfare costs.
9) What is your present state of mind?
Calm and reflective.
10) What is your one regret in life?
I wish I had spent more time with my father before he died. We were very close, but you only get one set of parents.
11) What is your favourite dessert?
All of them.
12) What one gadget would you love to own?
I’m a gadget freak and always have to have the latest and greatest. But I also collect antique technology and have tons of old cameras, vintage radios and obsolete audio equipment. So I’m going to say: a telegraph.
13) What is your colour of choice to dress in?
I wear either blue suits and a tie for work or a black t-shirt and jeans when not working. I’m very conservative in my clothing.
14) Describe Lahore’s traffic in one word?
It is nothing compared to Jakarta, Indonesia, where I lived for three years- Lahore is really not that bad at all.
15) You are president of Pakistan from tomorrow. Where do you start?
I would fully-fund free education for all. I have been consistently impressed with the talent and creativity of the Pakistani people, but you can only go so far without an education.
16) What is it like working in the diplomatic sector? What do you enjoy most about it?
Obviously, I love the extensive memo-writing and strict adherence to protocol! Actually, the best part is my amazing and talented colleagues, as well as the different and interesting people I get to meet through my work.
17) What do you do when not working?
Read, eat, sleep. Just like everyone else.
18) Any particular kind of music enjoy?
Almost any kind. I play classical violin and viola, but I’m on a big Nicki Minaj kick right now. I’ve found that the more you like music, the more types of music you like. Anything of quality, really.
19) You visit Karachi often from Lahore. In your opinion how are the two cities different?
They are very different, but I love them both. Again, it’s the people that make the place, and I have great friends in both cities. Of course, being a diplomat, I don’t get to see as much of either city as I’d like.
20) You have recently had the chance to meet many people in Pakistan’s social media. Do you think there is a future for this branch of media?
It is the future of media in Pakistan, and worldwide. For most people under thirty here, social media is not “new” or “social,” it’s just how they get media and information.
21) What is Tristram Perry's first love?
Books. I’ve been a voracious reader from a very early age – I go through several a week.
22) What comes to mind when you hear the term 'Twitterati'?
Literate twits. Twitter is a conversational medium, so people who thrive at Twitter are good at being concise. To miss-quote Oscar Wilde, “Brevity is the soul of T(wit)ter!”
23) How different is it for you to live in a country like Pakistan?
Countries are like snowflakes - each one is different. I actually find Pakistan more similar in many ways to the US than some places I've lived. I think everyone focuses on their differences, but there are tremendous similarities in the histories and the people.
24) What is the one thing that made you join the diplomatic community?
Cliché as this sounds, I'm a diplomat because I love meeting new and interesting people.
25) Tell us about your secret hobby of getting people from different spheres of life to meet and why do you indulge in it?
It’s not a secret; I enjoy getting people I find interesting together who might never otherwise meet. The result is almost always something great, and it makes me happy to see people I like appreciate each other.