ISLAMABAD’S DIGITAL DOYENNES - Marya Javed aka 'No Fomo' - Writer, Filmmaker & Digital Content Creator
Tell us about your journey on social media, did it start off a hobby, or did you always see it as a viable career option?
I didn’t see it either as a hobby or a viable career option in particular; I saw it as an opportunity and an avenue. A good platform to share my writings and work on. When I started, print and mainstream didn’t have any space for the kind of work I wanted to do; this was going to be my space. Those who like it would come; otherwise I get a medium of expression and that was enough.
How do you characterise what you do? How do you feel about the word ‘influencer’?
I don’t necessarily feel the need to characterize what I do; I am pretty ok having an abstract line of work but to ease things for others; I do say that I am a writer, filmmaker and digital creator. The term ‘influencer’ might be new to the world but ‘influence’ is not; all learning and all inspiration has gone around in the world through ‘influencers’. They could be your teachers, your friends, your parents- even books; your earliest influencers were those guys. Yes, we lived to see a world where a new medium of influence took birth but in essence, nothing has changed. If we have a problem with the kind of influence people take or give, our problem is with the overall socio-cultural evolution and not with a few people.
The world is going digital, particularly with the global pandemic and lockdowns; people started working from home, many businesses moved online etc. Do you think that now even more than ever the future is online?
Yes, I am not sure if that’s a matter of opinion anymore- we are lucky to be living in a time where most work can happen sitting at home! During the pandemic I have scheduled my parents’ medical appointments online; I can’t feel anything but gratitude for a time when that was an option!
You’re a writer/filmmaker and very active on social media. What came first to you and how did you venture into filmmaking?
Writing came first! I started writing when I was five or seven perhaps. I wrote poems and articles and thought a lot! I stumbled onto filmmaking as an actor, by accident and realized perhaps this is one of the richest mediums as far as artistic expression is concerned; combining writing and acting and sound and fashion etc. Also, I was lucky to have started with the best in the industry so the inspiration was strong. From there, there hasn’t been any looking back. Social media as I said, is just another platform where I put the stuff I create.
Tell us a little about your short film Baadi and how did you come up with the idea for the film?
It’s an idea I have had in mind for a while; just got lucky to finally find people who believed in it too. It’s a coming of age story; a film that hopes to draw our attention to the fact that we need to bring up our future generations better. Offer guidance, not judgement. For more details, you will have to come to a screening.
We’re constantly being told about the detrimental effect that social media has on our mental and physical health? Do you ever switch off or take a break? How do you keep a check on your emotional well being?
Oh yes; I switch off every day. Post 6 pm I am careful not to post stories. I also make it a point to not post stories while with family or friends (something I started doing recently). I have also taken longer breaks where I was cut off completely. I feel it is extremely important to remember that it’s work. Or even if its entertainment, it is important to be mindful to use it for that purpose and exit. Frankly I don’t enjoy surfing social media at all; real life is much better if you pay attention!
On a related note, we’ve seen that negativity on the internet, or ‘trolling’ can have a real impact on people. How do you deal with trolls and what advice can you give to the rest of us who have to deal with them occasionally?
I have not had much experience with trolling and might not even know what exactly the ‘term’ means; like I said, the world has always been the same. None of this is new; only the scale is. There will always be people who disagree with you. Who project their negativity onto you, who misbehave with you. I guess a good way of dealing with it is to know it for what it is; usually people with a lot of free time on their hands and resentment in their hearts make the best ‘trolls’; I wouldn’t take them too seriously. Also, there’s always the option of blocking.
On a more positive note, what is it about being a digital content creator that you love and that keeps you going? Also, who would you pick as your favourite/top three influencers/content creators?
I love that I have found inspiration on this platform! I think if you use it for the right reasons and mindfully, it can serve you a lot of good. I have learnt the importance of family while being a successful career woman from Eva Chen. I have learnt the importance of finding joy in the small things from Shehzeen. Those two are my favourite creators because their accounts are so true to who they are!
INTERVIEWS: H! Pakistan
PHOTOGRAPHY: SALMAN MUNIR OF QAMAR ANWAR