By: Shamsul Huda Qasmi
Before we talk about the Social Media and it use, we should know that there are four main categories of communication styles.
Verbal communication is the use of language to transfer information through speaking or sign language. It is one of the most common types, often used during presentations, video conferences and phone calls, meetings and one-on-one conversations. Verbal communication is important because it is efficient.
Nonverbal communication is the use of body language, gestures and facial expressions to convey information to others. It can be used both intentionally and unintentionally. For example, you might smile unintentionally when you hear a pleasing or enjoyable idea or piece of information. Nonverbal communication is helpful when trying to understand others’ thoughts and feelings.
Written communication is the act of writing, typing or printing to convey information. It is helpful because it provides a record of information for reference. Writing is commonly used to share information through books, pamphlets, blogs, letters, memos and more. Emails and chats are a common form of written communication in the workplace.
Visual communication is the act of using photographs, art, drawings, sketches, charts and graphs to convey information. Visuals are often used as an aid during presentations to provide helpful context alongside written and/or verbal communication. Because people have different learning styles, visual communication might be more helpful for some to consume ideas and information.
Islamic Point of View:
When we see it as Islamic point of view, we find that Allah Almighty sent approximately one hundred and twenty four thousand prophets to this world to convey His message to the people. We see that all the prophets used verbal and nonverbal means of communication to convey the message of Allah to people. We find an example of written communication as well in the Quran. Hazrat Sulaiman (AS) had written a letter to the Queen of Saba, Bilqis, and a bird was used as a medium to carry out the responsibility of delivering it.
It is Sunnah of our Prophet (saw) to use a medium which can cause a message to reach maximum number of people. When our beloved prophet Muhammad (saw) was blessed with the prophet-hood, he climbed the mount of Safa to call the people of Makkah towards the worship of Allah alone. Our prophet Muhammad (SAW) used written communication also and sent several letters to many kings of their times.
Now the world is progressing rapidly a tremendous progress has been seen especially in the field of communication. Since last 25 years, various platforms of communication have emerged and people are highly attracted to it. The popular among them are Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, and WhatsApp. We can apply these platforms to communicate the true message of Islam using our verbal, written and visual means of communication.
First of all, we take Facebook:
Facebook was founded in the year 2004 and it came to India in 2006. With over 2.6 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide. There are over 280 million Facebook users in India alone, making it the leading country in terms of Facebook audience size.
Facebook is big platform to share and receive information and all types of people are using it for their different purposes. Common people even our Ulama, in search of news, views and true teachings of Islam are falling prey of various propagandas on social media. Therefore, it becomes our responsibility to effectively use this impressive social medium to convey the true message, news and views.
We personally post our messages on our timeline occasionally and enjoy few likes and forwards, but it is time to prepare a sincere and capable team of five to ten people who can write in Urdu, Hindi and English. The team should create a brand name to make a Facebook page. How the page would be made effective and useful to the readers can be discussed further.
YouTube is an American online video-sharing platform headquartered in San Bruno, California. Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion.
Over 2 Billion users visit YouTube each month and every day people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views. More than 70% of YouTube watch-time comes from mobile devices. YouTube has 265 million active users in India.
It is also a very popular and highly used platform by our young generation. Our team, as suggested above, should crate YouTube channel and make short Islamic clips, interviews and documentaries on Islamic events. For children we can make a separate channel to teach them Islamic teachings, culture, etiquette and give them informative and interesting videos through short stories of the prophets, companions of the prophets and our forefathers. It would require a sincere and dedicated team but really would be a great service to the Ummah. People are really in search of true knowledge of Islam.
Twitter is an American social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as “tweets”. It was created in 2006 and launched in the same year. There are 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users on Twitter. 63 percent of all Twitter users worldwide are between 35 to 65.
Users can post, like, and re-tweet tweets. Tweets were originally restricted to 140 characters but now doubled to 280.
Twitter is popular among those who are educated and qualified. They reach a large number of people quickly through tweets and re-tweets. They promote their news items, research work, articles, stories and business. Experts believe that there is no better platform than Twitter to know the happenings around the world.
Twitter occupies great importance because world leaders like US president Indian prime minister, its cabinets, Chief Ministers, MPs, MLAs, Media houses, journalist, police officers, railways, airlines and all major organizations use it to spread their words.
Twitter has an exclusive feature called Trend. When people on twitter start discussing on a topic and certain words become important and frequent use in their tweet, it becomes trend on twitter. People attach hash (#) with certain words to make it a topic and launch a twitter trend. Trend easily catches eyes of the news channels and journalists and it finds place in news papers and news channels if the topic is really important. It is very effective means to spread the message among the people. Daily we see that some political IT cells using Twitter to spread propagandas and misinformation for political interests. Even they go on to distort the face of our Muslim community. It was really painful to see that many a times Twitter trends were launched against the prophet Muhammad (saw) and Islam. The communal hatred and disharmony in the country is the result of the fake news, propagandas and misinformation spread by the political IT cells.
We do use Social Media but in a limited way. We enjoy WhatsApp discussions in our respective groups and do not dare to go out on bigger platforms like twitter as it requires polished language, knowledge, intellect and insightfulness. If we train our MMERC friends and make a twitter team, it would be a good job in the age of social media. We would be able to launch Twitter Trends to counter the propagandas and fake news. We can change the perception of the people about the Muslim community if we make a list of important topics which can be trended on twitter from time to time.
Finally, I would advocate to make a dedicated research team to use the social platforms in an effective manner because social media has its physical and mental negative impact too. People get addicted to it which may reduce the workplace productivity. If you are a student, it may reduce the learning and concentration in class. Therefore we should prepare a team of writers that will ensure to provide good piece of information, articles and community related news, educational stuffs.
I would finish it now with the verse of the holy Quran: “Invite all to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in a way that is the best.” (16/125)
May Allah enable us to make these social media platforms useful for the community and the humanity as a whole! Aameen