Pork in Egypt...On Facebook?! Dalia Awad looks into the politics of swine and social media and finds that stranger things could happen.
I spend most of my working days online. It’s my job. Before it was my job, it was my primary source of information and entertainment. Now it’s all three, so there isn’t a viral video I haven’t seen, a celebrity Twitter account I haven’t stalked or a photo of that hot girl from school who later got sad and fat that I haven’t relished. Nevertheless, every now and again something unexpected pops up on the internet. Something that makes you stop, stare, click and share.
For me, this was a Facebook fanpage called porkinegypt. Yes, one word. No, no capitals.
This might seem pretty normal to most people. In retrospect, it’s pretty normal to me too. But in the middle of my work day – in between emails and spreadsheets and the 27 tabs I had open at the time – this really confused me. For a moment, I thought the page was using ‘pork’ (disgustingly) as a verb. Yuck. Then I thought it ‘porkin’ was some cool, kitsch brand in Egypt, probably selling edgy jewellery or beanbags or baked goods. I finally clicked on the link and it dawned on me that they mean Pork in Egypt. As in, pig meat. For sale. In Egypt. Duh.
I know there’s probably some socio-political reasoning behind the bad grammar in the name of the page, but they really could have done something else with it, right? As a social media editor (I made up that title and it stuck), I couldn’t help but cast my critical eye on the page and wonder how they’d rallied up so many fans with so little branding and limited visibility. It wasn’t even clear for a while that this was a business. It could just be a place where people get together and, you know, talk about succulent pig and stuff. If there’s one thing I know about digital marketing, it’s that you need to get your name out there; you need to be seen and heard and cool and creative. I’m pretty sure no one’s ever searched ‘porkinegypt’, one word, no capitals. It’s not like searching for ‘Mohamed Al Sagheer’, ‘Bar D’O’ or ‘Buddha-Bar London’ (see what I did there? I got my clients’ names out there. That’s good marketing).
Anyway, when my overreaction to this page subsided, I thought about the other cardinal rule in online media. Sometimes you just need to get straight to the point, especially if you’re offering a niche product. And that’s what porkinegypt does. It gives you pork in Egypt, no bells, no whistles, not even a cute post about micropigs. porkinegypt doesn’t need to sell an idea or concept or a lifestyle. If you want pork you can get pork. Stop talking about pork so much, gosh. But that’s what we Egyptians do, isn’t it? We talk and talk and talk for hours before getting to the important part. Why couldn’t we all be like porkinegypt and give people the information they need? Here are some Facebook fanpages I’d like to see:
Pigs in Egypt – Pigs are pork too. They might even be better with grammar. Give them a chance.
Lipsticks in Handbags – Maybe then I’ll find it. Maybe it’s Maybeline.
YouTube Links for That Part of That Show You Can’t Remember the Name of But You Found Really Funny – If people have the time and energy to type out song lyrics for full albums or troll news sites to write obnoxious comments, then somebody, somewhere has the time to find that exact clip you were thinking of.
Obnoxious Commenters of the Web – They should have a place to gather and be utter assholes together.
Odd Socks Reunited – One day, one day…
Today I’m Wearing: Egypt Hipster Edition – If you’re all going to dress the same, you might as well be organised about it. This page can also be a platform to discuss On The Road by Jack Kerouac, vintage cameras and, importantly, fonts.
Secluded Places to Park Your Car and Do Illegal Things in Cairo – Everyone has a favourite.
Telephone Perverts in Egypt – You know those creepy guys that torture you for months, calling your phone and saying disgusting things, or worse, making disgusting sounds? What if we had a place where we could post their phone numbers so other people could call them and ruin their days? Think about it.
muffinsinegypt – Screw pork, what’s a girl gotta do to get a good muffin around here?
Non-Judgmental Pharmacists EGY – Knowing that you’re NOT a doctor should be a prerequisite for being featured on this page. Asking no questions and handing the pills over with a smile will earn you a highlighted post.
Sean Paul Translations – WTF is he saying? WTF is going on? Is this a song about Twitter? What’s happening? What race is he? Who am I?
Lists on Blogs – Because I don’t think anyone’s New Year’s resolution was to read more long-winded sentences and passionate rants.