1) For those who don’t know about ‘Sarcasmistan’, can you tell us a little about ‘Sarcasmistan’?
Sarcasmistan is a facebook page created about 2 and a half years ago with the aim to provide people free entertainment. We mostly post funny pictures and statuses mostly related to our beloved Pakistan and us Pakistanis. Sarcasmistan is a platform where they can show off their creativity in the form of either memes, comics, short movies and a lot of other things. In short, sarcasmistan is not just a page, it is a virtual community.
2) I’d like to start with a general background of what you were doing prior to the time and how you came up with ‘Sarcasmistan?’ How many members founded ‘Sarcasmistan?’
The main force behind the page’s creation was that I had time on my hands. I was in the 4th semester of my bachelors back then. My degree was in evening and I used to stay up till late at night. There was very little social activity for me (partly because I’m pretty much of an anti-social guy). After wasting a lifetime on facebook, I decided to create Sarcasmistan. The page was named by Ali Sufian. In the beginning I had like around 15 admins but none of them seemed interested. Some left and some had to be removed. There wasn’t really a criteria for the admin-ship. They were all friends and acquaintances. Right now, only I, Awais, and Safeer Ansari are handling the page.
3) Describe ‘Sarcasmistan’ in one word?
‘Witty’. One word isn’t actually enough to describe the page but I guess ‘witty’ would be the best fit.
4) What was the biggest obstacle you have faced since starting ‘Sarcasmistan’ and how did you overcome it? How is your experience with ‘Sarcasmistan?’
The biggest obstacle was the opposition from other similar pages. They called themselves “the real entertainers”. They would come and try to bash us but we stayed resilient. Hey! I mean when the first car was made, it didn’t mean that no other person could make a car of his own. I think ignorance is a key factor.
Sometimes you post a picture or a status and people think that we’re offending them, whereas, all we’re trying to do is highlight the issue. Posting humorous stuff doesn’t mean we don’t care about our society or our country. We try to post all kinds of stuff. We try to educate people. We try to hold arguments. Like I said, Sarcasmistan is a community open for all.
5) What was the real motivational force behind ‘Sarcasmistan?’
Like I said, time wasting was a real motivational force. But after some time, I felt that people actually like the page. They actually like our work. It felt good. Right now, the main force driving Sarcasmistan is the fact that some people access it and have a laugh or two. As long as I’m entertaining at least one fan, I’ll keep the page alive and running.
6) What do people most often criticize about ‘Sarcasm?’ Why do some people hate sarcasm?
Sometimes I find it a bit ridiculous that Pakistanis hate sarcasm. Sarcastic remarks is a common thing in Pakistan (in Punjab at least). Some people think sarcasm is an insult and they get offended pretty easily.
7) What does “being creative” mean to you?
Creativity is the essence of a good idea. Creativity doesn’t mean that you restrict yourselves to just new ideas only. You can always take an idea and modify it into something new. Something brilliant. Something fun. Something that clicks you at first sight.
8) How would you describe the relationships between you working as a head and your society members?
I don’t really consider myself to be a “head” with bossy attitude or anything. Yes, I like to keep things at a certain level and I ask everybody to do their work in time. Otherwise, I’m a friendly figure.
9) When you started ‘Sarcasmistan’, did you figure out best practices, like when to post and what posts do well? Were you aiming to get promoted?
The best practice was to post things in general. Posts related to our culture and life style. The page was promoted on just 2-3 pages at first. The promotion was stopped once we reached around 200-250 members. After that, people just started flowing in.
10) What do you feel the world needs today: universal beauty or something experimental, unknown, new forms. I mean what will save the world – beauty or something else?
Compassion, humanity, tolerance, faith. We all need these in the world right now (especially us Pakistanis; we can’t tolerate much).
11) Can you take us through a typical day for you, from warm-up to when you put the post a status and call it a day?
I try to be online and updated all the time. The first post starts at around 11 and then I keep posting after every 3-4 hours. People may submit pictures but I have to think hard for a status update. I try to engage people as much as I can. The last post is usually updated between 11-12 before going to sleep.
12) Do you think you are achieving your goal in spreading humor and entertaining platform for Desi users (Pakistan’s)?
To an extent, Yes! You can submit your content and we try to share as much as we can if we think it is good enough.
13) Where do you think the comic strip fits in today’s culture?
I think this is a Golden era for the comic strips. People like Tayyab Tanvir (Mango People), Shahzain Hussain (Shahzaib Hussain Art) and a lot of others are flourishing. Their comics have great and fresh ideas and I feel proud that they are actually doing something that isn’t really practiced on our country much.
14) Which other social elements you want to address on your page?
Everything that is going on in our society. Unfortunately, people don’t have a knack for tolerance. But we have never stopped trying.
15) What are your plans for the near and far future?
My vision is to take the entertainment level in Pakistan to a whole new level. It is a tech era and young people seldom watch TV. Everybody uses the internet and the Social Media. Plus, it is easy to reach out to Pakistanis living abroad. I intend to provide people with all sorts of entertainment where their contribution is appreciated.
16) Any message to your fans?
You guys are the best. You keep me motivated. If it weren’t for you guys, I wouldn’t even be on Facebook anymore. Thanks for all your support. Also, I would like to thank some really great fans + friends who helped me during the journey.
17) On a scale from one to 10, rate me as an interviewer.
18) Views about GaibianPost?
Great blog/website. Loved the layout. Loved the color scheme. The work being done is ambitious and innovative. Thank you team Gaibian. Good luck for the future!
Interviewed by: Abdul Rehman Mian