JNTUH Updates' creator Shahazan Khan talks about why he started the Twitter page and more

JNTUH Updates has 40.6K followers on Twitter and EdexLive speaks with the man behind the page
Shahanaz Khan | (Pic: Shahanaz Khan)
Shahanaz Khan | (Pic: Shahanaz Khan)

Shahazan Khan, a former Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTUH) student, created the JNTUH Updates Twitter page, that goes by the handle @examupdt, in June 2020. His initial aim was to aid students of the university to find easy access to information and updates related to JNTUH. However, recently, the page had a huge role to play in the protests related to issues of subject exemption and grace marks plaguing students of the university. The page took the initiative to update its followers about protests and facilitate the students to get together. The issue was eventually taken up by the administration and requests for grace marks were granted. Subject exemption is still an ongoing issue at JNTUH and the page is doing everything it can to assist the students.

Shahazan Khan, who completed his Master in Business Administration (MBA) from JNTUH, introduces himself as a Human Resources (HR) Manager of a Multinational Company (MNC). “I am working for a Multinational Company (MNC) as a Human Resource (HR) Manager and I run this page (JNTUH Updates) as a part-time job to update students of JNTUH on relevant issues,” says the 26-year-old.

The Twitter handle was started in June 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown to provide students with information amidst the lockdown chaos. Shahazan says, ”I had quick connections from JNTUH and could, thus, provide regular updates from there. Later on, the following increased and the page grew.” The page is run solely by him and when we ask him how he manages to find time to invest in it, he addresses something interesting, “I do this simultaneously with my job and invest my free time whenever I can. I invest the time I previously used for personal updates on Twitter and Instagram to now update and find information for JNTUH students.”

This young man from Telangana's Karimnagar has a corporate job that keeps him busy from Sunday to Thursday but he manages to find time on off days and after work to interact with students. He finds joy in playing cricket, along with running this Twitter page and a website. His main motivation to run this space lies in his history with the university, during his time there, when he found it difficult to find easy and timely access to updates and information. “If the results were released at 5 pm, we would get that information 6 hours later. With nothing on social media back then, we had no source for instant updates. We didn’t have this ease and we suffered a lot for the same. A notification released on Monday would reach us the next day or later through our colleges. Students also struggled with fee dates, along with other information like credits, subject exemption or how to calculate our percentage,” Shahazan says. 

He adds, “The main reason behind this was that JNTUH has no official active page. There is no chance of response to direct messages either. If students have any issue they wish to raise, there is nothing from the university they can reach out to. The motivation was, thus, just finding a way to help the current students so that they wouldn’t have to face the issues I have faced during my time in college.”

Shahazan’s noble motivation has helped create a space to mobilise the students and help them come together to speak on relevant issues. Nevertheless, when asked about his role in the credit detention and grace marks issue specifically, he insists his only part in it was to tweet about it. “I  just explained them the plausible scenarios and eventually because of the protests, grace marks were provided,” he says, “Regarding the recent credit detention issue, I was to join the protests but refused to do so and instead only provided updates about the protest. Also, I encouraged only peaceful protests with permission from the police department and the authorities.“

When we ask him why he refused to be at the protests, he has this to say, “I didn’t want to create any panic because we have around 40 thousand followers and to ask them to come to the protest would be encouraging chaos. We wanted the protests to happen peacefully. In my opinion, in a students' issue, only students should participate.”

To successfully run a Twitter page also comes with its challenges today, especially with all the inflow of fake information out there. Shahazan says the main technique to separate genuine information from the rest is by reviewing the use of the fonts on the notices. Additionally, he is also a part of a group with the assistant professors of JNTUH, which helps him verify the content he receives, “If there is any content that we suspect might be fake, we post them in that group to verify. Further, the professors share a lot of the updates from JNTUH as well.”

Shahazan calls himself a social media addict and insists this addiction has been a boon for him. It helps him manage the page on his own and wishes to keep it that way. “More people on the team might cause unnecessary conflicts,” he adds. The page has seen exponential growth in a year and the number, Shahazan says, is the evidence of the faith that people have in the page, which he wishes to hold on to till he can.

Career-wise, Shahazan wishes to remain in his MNC and explore the possibilities of growth there while maintaining the page on the side. In the future, his wish is to launch an Android or iOS app for the page, such that it becomes more student-friendly. “An app would require a lot of investment and, thus, can only happen farther down the line. Sponsorship does not work for me because that would require me to act according to their terms and conditions, so self-sponsoring is all I have,” he says as we wrap up our conversation.

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