Good for Nothing
By Taj Siddiqui
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Last week we were invited to our friend’s home, Abdul and his wife Katharine. We have known them for over 30 years. Our children grew up together. During the dinner, their daughter Salma asked me, “Uncle I want to marry a boy in my college. His name is Mike. My father tells me that I am not allowed to marry him because he is an infidel”.
Instead of answering her, I politely told her that it is too early for her to get married, and besides there are many good Muslim boys in our community. She looked at me as if I had told her a big lie and left the dinner table in a bad mood. That night I came home very depressed, had horrible nightmares, running from infidels who were tightening their circle around me with their traps and long ropes.
Next morning I woke up late and missed Fajar Salat, not feeling good with upset stomach. I rushed to the bathroom and sat on the toilet seat. I heard a voice saying “No, no, you can’t use me; I am the invention of an infidel.” I looked around and saw nobody. The voice came again, in clear English. “I was designed and developed by infidels. Why are you benefiting from their findings, their inventions”? I said “I have an upset stomach, where do I go for relief?” The toilet replied, “This is not my problem. You should have thought about it years and years ago. You deserve to live back in the rural society where one can go out of the village for relief. And while we are on this rosy subject, even the female sanitary napkins and baby diapers come from infidels.”
I got more depressed and ran out of the bathroom. Being depressed is my most favorite activity. So, please don’t start getting depressed with me.
The whole day went by like that. It was horrible and miserable. The indoor plumbing in the shower refused to operate. My cell was playing dead. The landline was also down, as the telephone was invented by an infidel. Mr Computer changed my password and will not let me log-in. The appliances, stove, refrigerator, micro-wave, washer, dryer, etc. refused to obey my commands. The air-conditioner won’t let me touch the dial. My big screen TV, the surround sound system, the blue ray DVD player, nothing was working. And then the lights went off. There was no electricity in my house. We should have at least tried to convert Mr. Benjamin. My T-shirt and jeans started itching as I was wearing the dress code of infidels. In a panicky state I ran out of my house to go to McDonald’s. When I tried to start my car, it began to laugh at me. Sir, the automobile was invented by an infidel. You guys should not have disposed of your camels and horses.
In this crazy state of mind someone took me to the hospital. The doctor told me that the medicines are refusing to have any effect on my purified body as they were discovered by infidels. The apparatus and machines in hospital were all invented by infidels. I asked him what was my problem. Your problem, Sir, is that you think you are the best, superior to the rest of the humanity. Then I got mad at him. What do you mean, off-course, I am the best. I eat Halal food, offer Salat, pay Zakat, observe fasting, recite Qur'an daily, I did several Hajj and perform Umrah every year. I did everything they advised me to do. What else do you want from me? He said, sir, I have news for you. You may not go to Umrah any more, as the airplane was invented by the infidels. I told the doctor to leave and started watching TV to divert my mind. The news was on. Over 190,000 Syrians were killed during the four-year crises. Muslims being killed by other Muslims. Three millions displaced. Who are you, Yazidi, Alavi, Shia, Sunni? Let us get rid of you. How about the innocent small children in Peshawar? Who killed them, the infidels? No, no, this honor goes to the Muslims. At least this is one field where we left the infidels behind. The problem with the Muslim world is very clear, written all over the skies, in bold letters. No unity and no leadership. I started crying.
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims, every fifth human being is a Muslim. Although the first ever university in the world was founded in Morocco in 859 by a Muslim woman Fatima, today there are no more than 600 universities in 57 Muslim countries. Not one is in the top-100. The United States alone has close to 6,000 universities, 8 in the top-10. Literacy rate in the Christian world stands at nearly 90 per cent, whereas in the Muslim world it is close to 40 percent. We spend 0.2 per cent of GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends 25 times more. When we were busy building Taj Mahal, they were establishing Harvard. Printing press was banned and printing of books did not begin in the Islamic world until the 19th century, four hundred years after it began in the Christian world. The major discoveries by Muslims that have impacted the modern civilization can be counted on our fingers. Muslims have received only 12 Nobel Prizes, compared to 170 awarded to Jews, mostly in economics, medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature and a few Nobel Peace Prizes. For every Jew there are one hundred Muslims. I am getting more depressed.
That evening I came home, depressed and sad. I know I need someone to lift my spirit. Someone who knows me, who I am. I saw my wife cooking in the kitchen. So I rushed to her. Oh beautiful, oh the princess of my dreams, oh the object of my love, oh the mother of my children, tell me how good I am. She looked at me with her fiery eyes. She looked at this pathetic moron and checked me out from head to toe. Then in a firm assertive voice she very calmly said, “Good for nothing”.
Afraid to Admit That You Don’t Understand Social Media?
By Marsha Friedman
I talk to a lot of business owners and authors who don’t “get” social media.
A year or two ago when I’d speak with them, most were quick to say they didn’t understand it and didn’t need to.
Today what I hear is: “I know I’m supposed to be doing that, so I have a Facebook account.” Or, “Yeah, I’ve got my teenaged nephew taking care of that.”
Unfortunately, simply posting occasional announcements about upcoming sales or telling people why they should use your service or read your book is not social media marketing and it’s not helping you. In fact, if that’s all you’re doing, it could be hurting you.
What’s worse, you’re not taking advantage of what could become the most powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Why?
Social media is the world’s biggest cocktail party and everyone’s there – including your competitors and your potential customers.
I first heard the cocktail party analogy from marketing guru David Meerman Scott, who used it in his best-seller, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, published in 2007. It immediately clarified for me why social media networks are marketing gold.
Imagine walking into a networking party at a hotel. People are roaming around, engaging with folks they know and being introduced to those they don’t know. They’re talking about the economy, the weather, the price of milk.
You get into a nice chat with someone and he asks what you do for a living. If it were me, I’d say, “I’ve got a national PR company that specializes in publicity.” The person might say, “Wow, I’ve got a friend interested in that. Let me introduce you!”
The friend may or may not be present at this cocktail party.
But if that same conversation happened on a social network like Facebook, that friend and dozens more would be so close by. They may actually be “listening” to your conversation. That’s what makes social media so much more valuable as a marketing tool. You can be exposed to thousands more potential customers than you would through traditional networking channels.
How does that happen? Social media users stay connected by “following” one another.
If I’m following you, I can see your conversations. Post something clever and I might share it with my followers, who may also share it with their followers.
Before you know it, you and your brilliance may be exposed to hundreds of thousands of strangers. Some of them will become your followers and, voila! You have a growing audience.
But it won’t happen if you don’t have a plan and don’t apply cocktail party rules of etiquette. What works on social media – and what doesn’t – are the same things that work (and don’t) when you’re networking at that hotel conference room party:
• Go in with a plan. If you’re going to a party to network, you have goals. Maybe you want to find prospective clients or get people interested in your upcoming project. You identify your target demographics and learn which influencers will be at the party, such as the local media, politicians and celebrities. On social media, the world’s biggest cocktail party, making the right moves gets a bit more complicated and involves some strategizing. (My company now offers customized strategy plans that can be easily implemented by casual or newbie social media users.)
• Don’t stand in the middle of the room saying the same thing over and over. Repeatedly posting the same thing, like “Come in for our big sale tomorrow” or “We won Business of the Year!” is like going to a party and saying the same thing over and over. People will run from you. Instead, engage in conversations on a variety of topics. They can be related to your business or book, but in a tangential way. Someone who sells jewelry, for instance, might share a great trick for cleaning rings.
• Be genuine and show some personality. At a party, you smile, ask people questions about themselves, maybe tell some jokes, if that’s your personality and the personality you want your brand to reflect. People are drawn to people, not things, so let your humanity shine. But don’t try to be something you’re not. Other users will quickly figure it out and you – and your brand – will lose their trust.
Social media is a great way to build awareness of your brand, cultivate prospective customers and establish yourself as an authority. It has tremendous value for anyone with marketing needs, and it’s really not intimidating once you jump in.
Plus, it’s a whole lot more fun than an old-fashioned networking cocktail party!
About Marsha Friedman: Marsha Friedman is a public relations expert with 25 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations and media newcomers alike. Using the proprietary system she created as founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations, (www.emsincorporated.com), an award-winning national agency, she secures thousands of top-tier media placements annually for her clients. The former senior vice president for marketing at the American Economic Council, Marsha is a sought-after advisor on PR issues and strategies. She shares her knowledge in her Amazon best-selling book, Celebritize Yourself , and as a popular speaker at organizations around the country.