I was invited yesterday to be on a TV show called ‘Twenty Something’ on Dubai One. There were three of us on a panel to discuss the topic, ‘Is the internet affecting interpersonal relationships?’ The two other panellists were Husni Khufash, Country Manager – Google, and Dr. Saliha Afridi, a psychologist. I was the humble blogger and twitterer (twit?), the one with the alleged ‘affected’ offline life.
When the producer first called me for the show, I had to point out that I wasn’t a 20-something, for starters. And then, I wasn’t quite the avid blogger I once used to be. She reassured me that the name of the programme was more indicative of their target audience, and not necessarily the panellists. “And considering you’ve been writing a blog for 6 ½ years, you must have a lot to share,” she assured me.
Things didn’t start off too well in the morning, when I found that I had sprouted a great big zit on my chin. Of all the days, I thought. But the studio make up lady, did an expert camouflage job and I felt more confident about getting before the cameras.
We had a mini rehearsal on the sets with the two presenters – Anna and Marwan. Husni was asked about internet consumption statistics, which he expertly rattled off. I was asked to share about how I got into blogging, and the good and not-so-good repercussions on my life. Dr. Saliha spoke of how teens and young adults struggled to make the distinction between ‘connectedness’ and ‘relatedness’.
It was a lively chat, and all went pretty smoothly, until I made a ‘cultural faux pas’. I spoke of the negative feedback I got on one of my posts, with an anon commenter labelling me ‘a racist pig’. Both presenters leaped from their seats almost. “We can’t say the word ‘pig’ on air,” I was told.
The porcine ban notwithstanding, the segment got recorded pretty quickly. The length of the segment – 4 ½ minutes – didn’t really allow for too much of an in-depth discussion or debate. It was too broad a topic anyway, and there’s much to be said both for and against the Internet.
For those in Dubai and the Middle East who’d like to watch the show, it airs on Monday 29th March at 8 pm. Do tune in, and oh, please refrain from commenting on the zit.