Self-Betterment Through #StayingAtHome

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As an introvert, I’ve never been bored staying at home. Not even one second of my whole life. But a friend challenged me to share what I’ve been doing at home, so here goes…

Let’s use our time staying in at home for self-betterment, productivity, and doing things that we always claim we ‘can’t find the time to do’.

E.g. learning the art of mindful silence, rethinking our habits, reciting and reading translations of the Qur’an, reconnecting with old friends / loved ones through video calls, taking online courses, learning cooking skills, journaling, making art, producing videos, learning a new language, self-reflection on your life goals / development, purging your social media, financial planning / budgeting, thoroughly cleaning your home, catching up on books / television shows / podcasts, writing your dissertation, fundraising for Covid-19, writing reviews for your favourite small businesses.

Continue reading Self-Betterment Through #StayingAtHome

My Journey to Newcastle University

So I recently started a Digital Content internship with Newcastle University, and my responsibilities include creating engaging content for prospective / current students. I’m particularly proud of this blog post where I write about my journey coming to Newcastle University!

Studying abroad at a top university had always been a dream of mine, and now I have the immense privilege of it being my reality. Upon reflection, it has been quite a journey indeed!

Pursuing Media & Communication in the UK

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(My brilliant TEDx Talk at Newcastle University… okay, okay, I was just pretending)

After completing a Diploma in Communication and Media at Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, I wanted to thrive in this field even further by pursuing an overseas education. I started by looking at universities based on QS World University rankings and course rankings.

Five universities were deemed worthy of making it into my UCAS application – Sheffield, Nottingham, Lancaster, Cardiff, and of course, Newcastle. I had a smooth journey with my UCAS application thanks to IDP Education, an overseas education consulting agency with a branch in my hometown, Subang Jaya.

The Grand Offering

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(Personalised GIFs and inspiring posters from the University hyped me up about coming here!)

I managed to get unconditional offers to all five universities, but Newcastle was the earliest to give me a response – after only 4 days! Since Newcastle was my first offer, it gave me significant hope that I could truly achieve this aspiration of flying to the UK.

However, I needed to argue my case to receive a convertible loan to study abroad, so I chose Newcastle which offered me direct entry into Year 2. I officially accepted the offer to pursue a BA (Hons) in Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies! My family was over the moon, and my friends felt extremely proud.

Newcastle was honestly not my first choice among the five, and I’d heard from a friend about how terribly cold and windy it is. Luckily, the University’s You Belong Here campaign gave me the extra encouragement I needed!

Continue reading My Journey to Newcastle University

If Social Media Never Existed, I Would Be A Different Person

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I’d probably be a different person today if social media didn’t exist.

By social media I refer to all the participatory features of Web 2.0. When I was a kid, I wrote a lot (okay fine, I STILL write a lot…) so my Mum decided to upload my writings to a blogging platform. My first time being exposed to social media.

I cut my teeth on Myspace and Friendster. I ‘Became a Fan’ of Facebook pages and had to use a special website to write tweets longer than 140 characters. I found solace on a certain social media platform called Tumblr due to a lack of friends in middle school. Later at boarding school, I felt severely deprived of social media.

Every role that I’ve held in UiTM, apart from JAWS2K17 Director, significantly involved social media. My first unpaid role off-campus was Head of Social Media for NALS. I was once a dropship agent for a book publishing company – selling solely through social media. Half my university assignments are about social media – and even my //final year dissertation// (8-10k words) is about social media marketing. My past internship at Leo Burnett heavily involved social media analytics. My current internship for Newcastle University is focused on creating social media content. I stay in touch with most people until today through social media.

Social media has helped me discover new interests, amazing knowledge, brilliant connections, niche communities, and remarkable opportunities – the whole universe at the edge of my fingertips.

Continue reading If Social Media Never Existed, I Would Be A Different Person

Creating Contentment

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I changed my Instagram bio to “content creator, creating contentment” and it’s probably my favourite one so far 🌸

The first part is of course because I am happiest when i am creating good and inspiring content. I love working with words and visuals, and enjoy it when people benefit from the content created.

But i also love the word ‘content’ because it means ‘rasa cukup’. It doesn’t mean extreme joy or excitement – it just means that you feel that things are enough. And god, it is such a blessing to feel content ♥️ It is SUCH a blessing to feel content.

A rich person might not feel content despite all their fancy things, a smart student in a school might not feel content despite all their top grades, a gorgeous person might not feel content despite all their beauty.

I wanted to write ‘chasing contentment’ at first but that sounds exhausting. I think that contentment / rasa cukup comes from within. you are the one who chooses to CREATE your own contentment, and it is a constant daily effort. because – crap happens in life. And there will be periods of time when you feel intense anger or misery. But i pray that in the end, He guides you to create your own contentment despite the difficult situations you are put in.

“Sungguh ajaib dalam urusan orang Mukmin. Sesungguhnya setiap urusannya baginya ada kebaikan dan perkara ini tidak berlaku melainkan kepada orang Mukmin. Sekiranya dia diberi dengan sesuatu yang menggembirakan lalu dia bersyukur maka kebaikan baginya dan sekiranya apabila dia ditimpa kesusahan lalu dia bersabar maka kebaikan baginya.” (Riwayat Muslim)

The Power Of One Voice

Assalamualaikum wbt.

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I made a friend when I was facilitating a summer camp in Melaka two years back. After the thrill of getting #Undi18 passed in Parliament, he decided to tweet YB Syed Saddiq about his frustration about unpaid internships.

University students are being called ‘manja’ and ‘mengada’ for wanting to be paid at least RM0.01 throughout their whole USUALLY COMPULSORY internship. Unpaid internships (especially from big companies) is basically modern slavery when you could be working at a mall for RM1500 per month.

Imagine somebody who lives is Kelantan or Perlis and has to look for work in KL – needing money for accommodation, utility bills, food, and transport. Dude – even JOBHUNTING ALONE costs a fair amount of money for travelling.

The tweet gained traction and gained a few couple thousand retweets, with many individuals venting their own disappointment and anger at unpaid internships. It caught the eye of YB Syed Saddiq who promised that he would fight for our rights.

And whaddya know? One week later, paid internships are BACK in ministries and government agencies! What a WIN for the youth. I think it’s pretty frickin’ amazing that technology gives us a platform to voice out to individuals who have the power to make a positive change. In this age of communication, silence is deadly.

Meeting Tom Hiddleston + Watching Avengers: Endgame

Assalamualaikum wbt.

Wow. I haven’t updated for more than a year. I hope this will be the beginning of me making a proper comeback to the blogging world. The most important changes in my life: I graduated from UiTM with a Diploma in Communication and Media, spent one semester in UiTM Shah Alam doing an Advertising degree but dropped out to pursue my Bachelor’s degree at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. So much has happened since then. Alhamdulillah. I might do a recap of January 2018 to May 2019 soon. But for this post I will focus on what happened exactly one month ago on 25th April 2019: meeting Tom Hiddleston (yes, really, yes, the one who plays Loki) and watching Avengers: Endgame!

You might think the two are related – like, I must have met him at an Endgame event or something. But no, I just wanted to have a super eventful trip to London. HAHA.

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I’ve been a pretty huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since getting dragged to watch the first Avengers movie in 2012. Here’s my post about Age of Ultron from 2015. I can clearly differentiate between the characters and the actors. I love so many of them, but my number one favourite actor has always been Tom Hiddleston. It’s hard to describe why, but I have to boil it down to: his charisma, extreme politeness, humility and intelligence. He speaks with substance, is extremely humble, loves books, and respects women. If you guys know any single men like him in real life please DM me, thanks. Haha.

Anyway, I came to the UK on 17th September 2018. On my 39th day in Newcastle I thought it would be funny to post an Instagram story with the words ‘Day #39 in the UK and I still haven’t met Tom Hiddleston *wailing emoji*’ – because, so close yet so far! I also figured it would be a humorous way to keep track of how long I’ve been in the UK, and like… what if I actually DO meet him?

Continue reading Meeting Tom Hiddleston + Watching Avengers: Endgame

The Role of Mass Communication in #GE14

To anyone who thinks Mass Communication isn’t important, or is easy: you’re wrong.

Let’s analyze the media’s role in #GE14.

[Artwork by Nixon Siow]

Colourful billboards/websites/flyers for various parties and PSAs encouraging people to vote? Advertising.

Conducting press conferences and preparing media kits while maintaining a politician’s public image in spite of crises and rumours? Public Relations.

That historical angkat sumpah moment at Istana Negara you watched live? If it wasn’t for Broadcasting, you wouldn’t have been able to witness it.

Latest verified articles and updates on #GE14 brought to you every minute? Journalism.

The copy editing, layout design, and printing of 10th May’s newspapers you want to frame and show your grandkids? Publishing.

People weaving strong points together to convince their friends and family to vote for a certain party? Interpersonal communication.

Clear instructions on how to register as a voter / the voting process on polling day? Instructional communication.

All the official procedures / strategic planning such as writing memos, managing stakeholders and announcing manifestos? Communication management.

New media, particularly social media played a GIGANTIC role in the 2018 elections, from strangers helping each other for #PulangMengundi, to the Facebook live streaming of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s speech on 8th May.

There’s actually so much more. But I’ll stop here.

Astro Awani menggoncang negara when they openly criticized the SPR on national TV. Personally, I felt like I was watching a more free media outlet such as Bloomberg or CNN News. This could be the start of a better, cleaner, and more objective media in Malaysia, uninfluenced by the chains and shackles of higher authorities. Moga-moga!

Thank you to all media practitioners who worked endlessly and sacrificed their effort, time, and money for #GE14!

#HidupMassComm

 

A New Malaysia

Assalamualaikum wbt.

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“In this lifetime I’ve been blessed enough to witness: North and South Korea’s leaders shaking hands, America’s first black president, and the longest ruling government in the world slowly being overcome by sheer power of the people. What a time to be alive.” — Twitter user @jean_heng

Perasaan bangga di hati saya tidak dapat diungkapkan dengan kata-kata. Dari gerakan #PulangMengundi sehinggalah melihat kenalan yang menetap di luar negara gigih berusaha untuk mengundi walaupun banyak halangan. Rakyat Malaysia bersungguh-sungguh untuk merealisasikan perubahan bersama tak kira agama dan bangsa.


After the elections, I was amazed by the professionalism shown by both YB Khairy Jamaluddin and Syed Saddiq who, despite their differences, both voiced out their intentions to work together to rebuild a better Malaysia, which is what we ALL should do.


May Allah bless Malaysia and may we prosper from all aspects! Democracy is ALIVE and WELL in this country. We have proven that the rakyat has a very loud, clear voice, echoing all over the world! 🌎 Alhamdulillah Ya Rabb. We have witnessed HISTORY before our very eyes.

Regarding the old ruling government, I genuinely wish nothing but the best for them. May they realize their mistakes and make a comeback, stronger and better. Weed out the bad things. Rebrand everything. Become a well-respected opposition party in their own right. Thank you for your 61 years of service, and all the good that came with it.

If you told me two years ago that Tun Dr. Mahathir would be seventh prime minister of Malaysia, I would have thought you barking mad. I am excited and thrilled to see what the new ruling government has to offer. So much potential! Hoping to see fresh and progressive changes in the nation. It’s only been two days, and things seem to be going well so far. And if they don’t perform, well… they should be afraid of the rakyat, then.

Do Social Media Executives Get Paid to Tweet All Day?

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I haven’t blogged in so long. I have so much to blog about, but I don’t know where to start. And no, I am not dead, if you’re wondering. Just taking a break from my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts to break free and get my life together for a bit.

Ironically, I’ve been spending even MORE time on social media because I’m Head of Social Media for NALS 2018 and a Publicity Officer for The Kalsom Movement, and now is a very crucial time for both. There are new announcements several times a day. The frustrating part is I look like I’m just scrolling through social media for leisure for hours… when in reality the gears in my brain are whirring rapidly in order to schedule posts, delegate tasks, write captions, reply endless enquiries, and edit photos. However, I do love my jobs and am proud to be a part of such amazing organizations!

Some people think that working as a social media executive is getting paid (or in my case, NOT paid) for tweeting all day.

Technically, you’re not wrong. But there is so much more to it than that.

Every single thing you post reflects on your organization. It is probably the most up-to-date and most public face an organization has. It is essential to always provide relevant, accurate, engaging and interesting content. You really do not want to make a public figure mad by posting inaccurate facts about them.

We live in an era where content is always being shoved into our faces and fighting for our attention. It’s difficult to stand out and grab attention. Two Malaysian brands I know that have a strong online brand presence are Domino’s and Nando’s, always keeping up with the latest trends.

You also double as a customer service executive with all the enquiries and love/hate comments from netizens. Need to master the art of replying them well and winning their hearts.

It is also essential that you don’t, God forbid, accidentally whine about your co-worker on your organization’s story or share a link to a NSFW video on your organization’s Twitter.

You’re also expected to write good copy. REALLY. GOOD. COPY. (Copy = text/writing) Words are important and can make or break you. Think how good copy in Ikea’s catalogues are.

Different age groups use different social media. People 5 years older than me still use Facebook regularly while people 5 years younger than me think Facebook is for dinosaurs. Instagram and Twitter might end up like Myspace over the next 10 years.

And a very crucial thing in social media today? ALGORITHMS. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram used to be wonderful for small businesses, budding freelances, bloggers, and charitable causes. However, these money-hungry social media platforms now put the most ‘engaging’ and ‘relevant’ content on the top of your news feeds.

One thing I found out today is that nowadays on Instagram, the first ten minutes of your posting is CRUCIAL because it determines whether your post gets to be on people’s feeds or not. They only show it to 10% of your followers for the first ten minutes and if your post doesn’t get enough engagement, it won’t appear on the feeds of your other followers. This is why some users never ever appear on your feed. It’s so important to make sure the post is visually pleasing, has great copy, and is posted at a time of the day when users are active (usually 12-2pm/8-10pm).

The other day a rising celebrity with 30k followers posted an ad for a charitable organization but the post only received 20+ likes in the span of one hour. How sad is that? Even I get more than 20 likes in an hour. Her other posts featuring selfies and pretty clothes got hundreds and even thousands of likes.

By the way if you need a social media executive / content creator for your organization/business do contact me at arifahbadli@gmail.com. I can strategize publicity campaigns, design posters, write good copy, make your feed pretty, curate Twitter threads and tag relevant people. I have experience handling social media for 5 organizations and events (local and international!) with up to 7000+ followers. Will post my portfolio/resume here once it’s updated.

Stars and Night Lights

Assalamualaikum wbt.

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I have an obsession with stars or just night lights in general. In fact, my phone’s current lock screen is galaxy-themed and the homepage is a view of city lights at night.

When I was a small kid, I asked my uncle for a telescope. Sebenarnya itu telescope cikai je but I thought it was a REAL telescope that you could actually observe stars from. Needless to say, I was very, very, very disappointed.

Whenever I imagine myself escaping somewhere far away, I rarely imagine sunny beaches. I usually imagine…

  • Stargazing in the middle of the quiet African savannah and pointing out constellations (influenced by The Lion King haha)
  • Staring the billions of lovely Paris lights below from the top of the Eiffel Tower
  • Enjoying an (environment-friendly) lantern festival in China
  • Strolling through Masjid an-Nabawi’s courtyard after Isyak prayer, with the giant umbrellas and tall minarets all lit up. It’s Madinah al-Munawwarah (the City of Lights) after all!
  • Watching an amazing firework display going on behind the Cinderella castle after a terrific night show at Disneyland
  • Going to an airport observation deck and watching planes fly into the night sky, disappearing into the middle of nowhere
  • Enjoying a candlelit dinner on a gondola cruise in Venice after dusk while being serenaded
  • Travelling through time and space in the TARDIS with the Doctor
  • Painting my own version of Starry Night with Vincent Van Gogh
  • Attending an enchanting night garden party decorated with soft fairy lights
  • Sitting on a the rooftop of a tall skyscraper in New York City and staring at the billions of lights below
  • Flying to outer space in a rocket ship, staring in awe at the beautiful solar system and watching the earth spin round
  • Swinging from the tall skyscrapers of lit-up New York City as Spider-Woman
  • Seeing the world — shining, shimmering, splendid… over, sideways, and under on a magic carpet ride with Aladdin and Jasmine (but that would be third-wheeling)
  • Taking the midnight train going anywhere~~~ and just watching the dimly-lit views whizz past

Even going for a drive through a normal highway at night calms me down and helps me relax. Putrajaya is my go-to location for a night drive, actually (even if not very often)… with its modern and fascinating illuminated structures. I hope to go to Bukit Ampang sometime soon as well – apparently you can enjoy a stunning view of the KL city skyline.

I recently huddled around a beach campfire with my fellow Invictus Camp facilitators with actual marshmallows and guitar tunes, while the stars twinkled above us. It was wonderful.

What helps you calm down? Feel free to comment below 😀