There is an appropriate way to communicate & network …

August 7, 2010 at 10:27 am 12 comments

With the growing number of ways in which people interact with you, do you sometimes feel there is no breathing room at all? Like there is no privacy? Like you can’t hide even when you want to enjoy a few moments of complete peace and silence? I have begun to feel that way sometimes. Partly it is my fault for having my mobile number, my email address, and my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn ID on my visiting card. Yes I want people to be in touch with me but I want them to use some common sense.

For example,

1. Why should someone who is not a close friend or relative call me on my mobile phone after working hours or on weekends unless there is an emergency? Do I need to define the word emergency?

2. Why is it that when someone calls me on my mobile phone during the day, and I do not respond, they don’t understand that it is not convenient for me to answer the phone at that very moment? I could be in a meeting or conference or may just not want to be interrupted at that particular time. So why call me 20 times and send me a dozen SMSes demanding to know why I am not attending the call? If I don’t answer, there has to be a reason so please be patient – just send me an SMS asking me to call back and I will.

3. I have been accused of befriending a lot of people on Facebook. I do that because it is a great way to communicate with a community of people especially young University students who need to be aware of what is happening in terms of policy and innovation. However, my Facebook connection, like my laptop, is on all the time. That does not necessarily mean that I am on Facebook. So messaging me on Facebook chat just to say hello, how are you may be okay but if I don’t respond, there is no need to panic and start asking “Ma’am why are you ignoring me?”

4. Many of us receive hundreds of emails a day and it is not always possible to answer all of them. One has to prioritize and handle the urgent ones first. It is also possible that your email could slip through the cracks or end up in my spam folder. Don’t be heartbroken. Just give me a bit of time and then re-send it if you don’t hear from me.

5. The Facebook Wall – I have left the settings open so that if there is anything relevant that someone wants to post, they can, but when people start posting their sales messages and flyers on my wall, I begin to lose it. Please remember it is my wall. Tag me in  photos or cartoons or advocacy messages but please refrain from posting political or commercial messages. Respect my space.

6. If you want to meet with me, call my office. Make an appointment. Don’t just walk in. I will probably not be there and even if I am, I may be in another meeting. Save your time and respect mine. If you have made an appointment to meet with me, please be on time. It shows me that you value time.

7. If you comment on my blog, don’t be anonymous. You know who I am. I should know who you are otherwise your opinion doesn’t hold much value. I didn’t moderate the comments on my blog to begin with but then I started doing it because sometimes people would use the opportunity to post defamatory comments against other people or they would just try and be negative about someone for the sake of “bringing them down”. It is my blog. I believe in free speech but I also believe that with free speech comes a certain responsibility.

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Waqas Ali  |  August 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Morning J Ara,
    Indeed very important thing to bring under discussion.

    I like the way you connect with people especially young students, who are most probably gonna learn something positive from you in number of ways.

    But yes when it comes to communication, there are number of commonnesses one should observe. I hope this post will help many people connect you better, without any panic for you & for them.

  • 2. Rafaeel Akbar  |  August 7, 2010 at 11:00 am



    I agree Ma’am. Same happens with me word by word. Sometimes i feel like deleting my all social media accounts.

    I don’t believe in moderating comments as everyone has his/her right to post comments but the commentator should use his mind before commenting.

    Moreover i would add something more. If you schedule an interview/meeting with somebody, you should have enough ethics to inform the person if you are unable to make it. Only 30% come to give interview though we schedule it after asking convenient time from the applicant. Rest don’t even care to inform that we have had second thoughts and would be unable to make it. Recently we did some interviews and the guy didn’t come on the particular day. Few days later, i was in Islamabad for a meeting and he came to the office. He made the office boy and receptionist call me on my cell phone that he’s here and i should come and interview him.

  • 3. Farzal  |  August 7, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Jehan, this is soooooooo cool. Thanks for writing. There needs to be a short course at every educational institute about the ethics of mobile, IM and social network communication.

    Maybe Nokia, Yahoo and Google can sponsor it 🙂

  • 4. Jehan  |  August 7, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Waqas I think sometimes people just do things without thinking. They don’t mean to be a nuisance. That is why I thought we should speak up about it. Maybe a light will come on and people will realize that they should use some common sense in communicating with others. It is not just about me.

  • 5. Jehan  |  August 7, 2010 at 11:13 am

    @Rafaeel, I totally agree. If you make an appointment, you have blocked off time in someone’s schedule. It is only polite to let them know if you are not going to be there at the designated time – for whatever reason.

  • 6. Jehan  |  August 7, 2010 at 11:14 am

    @Farzal why restrict it to educational institutions. I have been at the receiving end of such communication from professionals too.

  • 7. Usama  |  August 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I happen to be one of those random people who’ve “franded” you up on Facebook but thankfully not one of those for whom you wrote this article 🙂

    I feel its pretty cool of you to write an article instead of losing it. I’m saying this because on the one end we have people who do this without thinking yet what’s worse is the person on the other side usually is equally unethical. Which then means we stay the same and never learn, blaming everyone else.

  • 8. Waisybabu |  |  August 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Hah, yes, quite true! I have seen how you get tagged in all sorts of random videos + photos just because people want you to see them. 😀

    You do need to check your wall from time to time though, for actual messages, cause I left a very saada wall-post saying how epic your iPad album was. Never got a reply but I totally understand. 😀

  • 9. Owaeis N  |  August 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    It is hard for me to give out my contact details to everybody just because of the same reason. I always used to think how you manage all this when I saw you accepting FB friend requests from everybody and giving out ur card. Then I realized your greatness and how cooperative you are. Specially with the young ones. If you care for others and cooperate, others should also.

  • 10. Muhammad Shafique Malik  |  August 8, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Good article.. Thanks for reminding us about our social and ethical responsibility. (Y)

  • 11. Usman Latif  |  August 8, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Totally agree with all of your points but loved the 3rd point. That’s the worse that happens to me including most of others. Being online all the time, I try to remain online on Facebook and check updates time to time but people come to me and start asking stupid questions.

    App kya krte hein sir?
    How are you?
    What’s up?
    blaah blah..

    And one day a guy from some other city came and started chat. I didn’t notice and didn’t reply. He left me this message.

    “her banda ek jesa nhi hota Usman sahib.. kuch log waqai sincere hote hein..”

    When I read I felt like, I blow his head away.. and tell him that;

    “her banda itna faarigh bhi nhi hota..”

    Well, as you said, its ethics and common sense in the end.

  • 12. Arsalaan Haleem  |  August 18, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Loved this blog, esp. the comic strip…a preoccupation of many :))


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