Columns

Why like us? 2015.11.11

By DAVID GREEN

Odrissho Meghmilon likes the Observer's Facebook page. I'm sure you don't know him. He's from Chittagong, Bangladesh, and works at the Gold Workshop jewelry store.

He's a big fan of cricket, he listens to an internet radio station from Waco, Texas, and he’s a Katy Perry fan. One of his favorite movies is ABCD—Any Body Can Dance.

I don’t feel too special because he’s given a Like to dozens of newspapers around the world. The State Line Observer is just one of many. But on the other hand, he's never liked the Archbold Buckeye or the Hudson Post-Gazette.

Somun Rana lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His profile says that he's a female, but all of his photos are definitely male. He likes Justin Bieber. He studied in Singapore and he likes a few papers in California along with—yes, the State Line Observer.

Daniel Bin Hanif is also from Dhaka, but he's also lived in Chittagong. He's interested in men, he really enjoys watching the Discovery Channel and he likes one newspaper in the United States, the one from Morenci.

Rizwan Mirza is an engineering student from Kurukshetra University in India. He's a Muslim, he loves cricket, and he watches the Today Show—the Australian version, that is. He's a fan of NASA, he practices yoga and he's fond of Urdu jokes. This guy must live on Facebook. He's “liked” more than 1,900 Facebook pages including the State Line Observer.

Owaiss Wani grew up in Kulgan, India, and now lives in the Jammu area. "Cricket is my first and last love." He's down a few notches frpm Rizwan with only 224 Likes, but the Observer is included.

Now this one is really odd. Zoya Shaikh has only 11 Likes, but the Observer is one of them. I’m honored. We’re up there with one of her other big likes, the singer Yo! Yo! Honey Singh.

Nabeela Raashid teaches English literature at Jammu University. She has plenty of fashion likes, plus Bed Bath and Beyond and the Facebook page called Intelligence is Sexy. This woman knows her stuff, obviously, and she likes the State Line Observer.

Many of the Observer's Indian fans are "interested in men and women" and I suspect this might be more of an outlook on life than a statement of sexual preference. Take Haya Choudary, for example. She's a student who speaks English, Urdu and Punjabi. She lives in Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan, and I think she's had some tough times in her love life. Two of her Facebook likes are the pages "Loneliness is my best friend; at least it never leaves me alone" and "Broken Heart Sad Urdu Poetry."

Maybe the Observer connection all started with Mohammad Yousuf Wani, a teacher who studied at the University of Kashmir and lives in Jammu. He's a Sunni Muslim who likes cricket and women, "The Great Gasby" movie and watching the TV series "Californication."

I think he's having a tough life. His likes include "My Life Full of Errors," "Love is Pain," "Sad Poetry," "Dream Girls," and "the Stuttering Foundation." He's also an Ice Cream Lover. 

Mohammad has 13,291 likes listed—here's the guy who lives on the internet—and although I'm not going to check them all out, a quick perusal shows no American newspapers beyond the State Line Observer.  

What’s going on here? There are a lot of cricket-loving and fashion-loving Muslims and many are from the Jammu region, but not all of them.

Sohil Quyoom has a friend, Evelyn Gawahan, who works as a ride operator at Six Flags Fiesta in Texas. Sahgat Batt from Doda, Pakistan, says, "If U want to hate any person, hate me. I just want to see U HAPPY!"

Sohil and a few of the others also like a page called State Observer, so maybe they found State Line Observer by accident.

That could be half of the explanation, but not the entire thing. The Observer's Facebook page is boring. It's only used to announce obituaries, along with an occasional posting of an old photo. Sorry, but I just don't care about Facebook. 

So Sohil, Haya, Shafgat, Odrissho and a few others stumbled upon the Observer by mistake, but why did they all bother to "like" it? This is just really bizarre.