Sameer Ahmed, a Bangladesh-Australian full time student, young entrepreneur, journalist, activist and most importantly an aspiring content creator trying to be the voice of those who don’t have one. Sameer, more commonly known as SameerScane over social media, creates content about social issues and hardships in Bangladesh and he highlights how we can help or at least try to help solve these problems on an individual level. We at TINDS, had the opportunity to sit down with him for a session discussing what it’s like to be a young creator tackling different topics on the internet.
Tinds: Tell US A Little About Yourself?
Sameer: There’s a lot of things that I can put by but I feel like the people doing that are often showing off and are probably none of those things. Above all, I would like to introduce myself as a content creator. I believe that content creation is an art and the best way to create content is to make a change and create an impact in society. It can be done on a bigger scale through journalism. For a long time I focused on activism and things like that, journalists for one are the people who can control the way of how people think.
Tinds: Where were you born & where are you right now?
Sameer: I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Then I shifted to Dubai and I was there for around three years very early in my life. I moved to Australia at the age of thirteen.
Tinds: What does SCANE mean?
Sameer: It basically means sugarcane. When I was trying to set up my twitter account, I needed an email address. I guess it popped up in the suggestions and I kind of decided to go with it. When I first started though, we thought we’d go by the name “Sameer the Paneer”, but then me and my team thought it would mean anything if Sameer the Paneer is actually talking about this year’s issues and stuff. We wondered if people would take it seriously, that’s when we decided to stick to SameerScane.
Tinds: When did you start making videos?
Sameer: I started making videos in June, 2020.
Tinds: Tell us a little about the start.
Sameer: Back in January, 2020, I was offered by my uncle to visit Puran Dhaka during the broad day time and I was always up for exploring. When we got there, there was unusual traffic so we started walking. It wasn’t my first time visiting Puran Dhaka, but something about that day felt different. There was severe noise due to people honking the horns, it smelled and the air obviously was polluted due to so much traffic. I almost felt guilty thinking Australia is better and wanted to go back home. It is then when in between all of the chaos I suddenly noticed a kid of my age just lying on a van and sleeping and I felt overwhelmed. I even made a content related to this “Check your privileges”.
Tinds: What inspired you to do what you do?
Sameer: My dad’s employer paid for our trips to Dhaka from Perth, so we got to visit a lot. My dad likes to visit Puran Dhaka, where he grew up. Now we go there at 12 o’clock in his car with tinted glass, music playing at full volume, food served to the car, and that’s his life, which is OK because he lived the normal life and got this good life through hard work, but we youngsters don’t really get it. I remember announcing at a family gathering that I want to go out with my uncle to do an internship. My parents said yes since saying no would be disrespectful to my uncle. From then on, I started exploring Dhaka’s true side, not the 0.0001%’s fake, superficial, manufactured side. We started touring around the city. Took a train to my uncle’s stock trading firm in Motijheel almost every day. I only went for the train ride, the experience meant a lot to me and I learned a lot. I felt closer to the country and the people. Since I spent a lot of time with the locals, I started caring about their concerns.
Tinds: What do you think makes you different from other content creators?
Sameer: It’s a sad thing that not many present in our country have actually learned the craft of making content. I do not intend to demean anybody but people are prone to making rather light content that doesn’t require the audience to put in much effort to understand. We on the other hand are looking forward to making content that means something. We have a critical way of thinking and a different perspective to it which is what makes us different from the traditional journalism that we encounter on a regular basis.
Tinds: What was the experience like making your first video?
Sameer: I was nervous because I had never filmed a video before and our team was on a call from 3pm to 5am the day before. The founder of this charity seenzoned me when we submitted the video. Called the co-founder and he told me it was a bad video. I thought I couldn’t handle this anymore. I didn’t have a Bangladeshi audience, I was a nobody, my hands were shaking, I was not going to drop the camera, and one of the four team members said something extremely remarkable. That made me think, and the next day when I met my friends in Perth, they all advised me to drop the film and they would share it, so I did. I predicted 1K views combined, but the video went viral on Facebook and reached 10K in 2 days, 2.5K on Instagram, and the next week we published another video that gained us our Instagram audience. That’s how we began.
Tinds: What are your plans for the future?
Sameer: I am moving back to Dhaka leaving my family in Australia. I am working on a start-up where we plan on being the first investigative journalism focused company in Bangladesh. It’s kind of similar to Vice News but from the perspective of Bangladesh. I now consider myself to be a journalist. I don’t hope to change the world by myself, I’d instead like to cover people and hope for that to create an impact strong enough to bring some sort of a change. We want to be the pioneer of the new wave of media.
Tinds: What would your advice be to new content creators?
Sameer: Do something or create content that has no competition. Do something that nobody else is doing and create a monopoly, be the pioneer. When you don’t have competition, you need to make sure you’re working extra hard and that you’re consistent. The good news is that nowadays everyone in our society is accustomed to consuming content. This is the future.
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