I just listened to Irfan Junejo on his recent Vlog – I QUIT! I felt sad. Happy for him to have made a decision that is probably mentally and emotionally correct, but sad for myself and his countless followers who look forward to every successive Vlog.
Is he crazy? You would ask. For some one who has a following of over 800K subscribers – yes, maybe!
However, Irfan’s 5 minute 40 seconds ‘I Quit’ Vlog gave me some insights into the world of Vlogging, and social media in Pakistan
I have always maintained that maintaining a social media presence can leave a telling strain on our personal lives. Esp. when that presence is our bread and butter. The lines between personal and commercial become so blurred that we fail to recognize one from the other. We seek moments & emotions in our every day lives that we can employ lucratively to promote our online presence, increase likes, engagement, and amass more followers. These moments can range anywhere from including our spouse and children to our personal relationships and living arrangements.
This trend of sneaking in ‘real life’ into our digital content started with reality shows that were the rave (and still are), in many parts of the world. Influencers and Vloggers have used this trend to find deeper connections with their followers (and grow them). All that is fine, and I’m fine with you sharing your intimate selfies with the world – but are you prepared to use them for financial gains? YES. A resounding YES, say the bloggers. And with that resounding yes, arise the following questions. And Irfan has been brave enough to face them.
He might not have said it in so many words, but these might be the daily battles that many like him face:
1. It takes a mentally strong person to maintain a social media platform
and continue his/her personal life in parallel, not letting one affect the other. BUT, it takes an even stronger person to recognize the need to quit, take a break, and step back from the show, and to take a moment and reflect that with so much publicity and fame come a host of other issues.
2. Anxiety, Self-esteem issues, lack of self-confidence…?
Yes, these are not my words, but the words of one of the most successful Vloggers in Pakistan.
As one follower commented:
“Am i the only one who noticed the tears in his eyes when he said “SCNZ kuch aysy hain” that broke my heart </3″
Irfan has been one of the few Vloggers who has staunchly refused to post click-bait titles. He has refused to comment on trending topics just because it will get him more likes. He has stuck to what he he wanted to create and in the process, given us some amazing content that speaks sincerity, non commercialism and honesty.
Being on social media and taking on the role of an influencer (whether you want it or not), can really take its toll on your mental health. You are constantly in a state of nervous tension. Checking recent activity on your platforms, judging engagement rates, thinking how to up your game, and keeping an eye on competition. And you know what – Social media has NO Downtime! It’s always there, always live, and you’re always on your toes. No surprise that you feel ‘anxious’?
3. Irfan might just have set a trend he didn’t think he would.
Will we see more Vloggers confess to feelings of anxiety? Will they also connect with their followers by requesting some down time? Will there be a wave of less commercialism and more genuine content on YouTube? Will influencers now reduce the frequency or quantity of content/videos they put out there in order to give more attention to their mental health? Irfan Junejo’s ‘I Quit’ can be treated like a landmark Vlog in a sea of YouTubers where cut-throat competition and an intense battle for followers is the norm.
4. Sometimes the creative process can be obstructed if we do not give our selves downtime.
This is a message for all people engaged in creating content on online platforms.
“Tarzan jab ek shaakh ko nahin choray ga, doosri shaakh ko nahin parker sakta.” says Irfan. We are waiting to see which shaakh Irfan will grab. And we wish him well in his quest!
Quoting Will Smith, Irfan says: It’s widely critical to be prepared for the next thing in life.
Irfan might not know it, but he might be a trendsetter in taking a break as well! And his followers are with him all the way, as one remarked:
Suggestion … title could have been “Taking a break” instead of “I Quit”. All the best Junejo… Rise and Rise Again until the Lambs become Lions
Irfan admits he felt unhappy from the moment his followers touched 500K. What is it that he’s seeking, he’s not sure either, but what he’s not seeking is the social discomfort that he’s feeling as a direct result of the continuous, and very successful Vlogging!
What now? He decides to quit, as for now. And reassess his vantage point. He says he might make more Vlogs, but only if he feels like it!
5. The question is: After quitting Vlogging, is Irfan Junejo seeking the next best thing?
Yes, say his followers!
“Something is Cooking 🔥 Sher Jab Ek qadam pechay karta hai it doesn’t means he scared . It means he will bounce back and knock you out . JUNEJO we Love you ♥️”
Irfan has taken a much needed break from the madding crowds. He quotes renowned artist Van Gogh from the moment his first painting was finally sold (after years of hardship and toil):
“You wish to succeed and shine. You really know what you want?”
Is it success that he craves? Or something more elusive? For now, Irfan misses the young boy who would laugh light-heartedly and make Vlogs because it was fun. He feels the need to reconnect with that person who is hiding somewhere inside him.
My take? I think many online influencers would do well to follow in his foot steps. A little time for reflection never hurt anyone! Come back stronger, and better – the world is waiting!
He leaves us with a final thought:
“Mein jo bhi banaoonga, Dil se banaoonga, aur wo banane mein mujhe personally buhat khushi ho gi.” – Irfan Junejo
Watch Irfan’s I QUIT Vlog here.
Shazia likes to pen her thoughts when she feels passionately about a life experience, a person or an event. She is mother to 3 lively boys and along with her husband, attempts to settle in her new country by taking German lessons so she is able to soak in the culture, language and spirit of the region.
“Wake up in the morning, take a deep breath and exhale! Keep on living with a passion that inspires others! “