What makes one person instantly successful while others continue to struggle? Khaled Janahi’s got that one covered. Read on for his advice about matching personality and career.
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Can you tell us about yourself and what do you do?
My name is Khaled, and I’m an aircraft engineer. I’m 27 years old, and I love technology. I try to get all the new tech equipment as soon as it hits the market. I use Instagram to post funny videos on social topics. I try to deliver a message and use comedy in a way that will not offend people—though sometimes, they get offended anyway!
Why do you think the comedic approach is best?
Well, in the beginning, I didn’t envision going in that direction—but after posting just two videos, I saw that people accepted it, so I just went ahead with it.
You didn’t study the market to understand what people want?
No. I started posting comedic images way before videos. Just pictures with a funny caption. I tried to post non-comedic videos addressing social issues, but the comments amounted to only 20% of what I usually get.
So people don’t get offended by your posts if they’re done in a comedic way? Do you think they would become upset or sensitive otherwise?
I am usually very careful with the content I post, I strongly believe that no matter what you post there’s always someone who’s taking it personally, even if the post is not offensive at all.
You’re an icon in Bahrain. Can you tell us how that happened? When did it all start?
It started in 2013 on various social media channels, but mainly Instagram. Before that, I covered the Olympics in Bahrain (Bahrain11). I handled their social media from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, moderating the comments and posting videos.
Did you study facts or statistics before posting, or was it just random?
It was very random. I didn’t intend to study the facts before I started, but as I started to see the interaction I started to take note & started learning about what works on social media & what doesn’t.
Did anyone encourage you along the way?
It started with me just uploading videos within my circle of friends but as time passed my friends started to get excited about the interaction I started to get online and are very supportive now.
Bahrain is small, and we all kind of know each other. What are the positive and negative aspects of being well-known around Bahrain?
Everything has a positive & a negative side, the positive side is that I get to meet a lot of new people all the time which is great for networking & making new friends. As for the negative aspect since the country is really small, rumors can spread really fast which can be quite damaging to a person’s image, depending on the rumor of course.
Do you feel pressured by society?
I wouldn’t call it pressure but its become very common for strangers to interfere & ask questions about my personal life, which I don’t mind answering in most cases since I enjoy networking and meeting new all the time.
Do you consider yourself an entertainer or a comedian?
I never really thought about the title, I was leaning more towards the experience itself, although I do enjoy entertaining audiences whether it’s from a smartphone or from a stage. As for being a comedian, I tried it once with Imran Al Aradi & it was a fantastic experience. We performed for Ahlia University students & it was very successful, being a stand up comedian is definitely in the plan & I am looking forward to get on stage again.
I don’t necessarily agree, but many people think what you do is something that could be done by anyone. They think anyone can just post a video on Instagram and have it go viral. Many who enter this field of entertainment fail. Why do you think this is true?
It’s actually like any other field, in every profession some succeed while others don’t. In order for anything to go viral on the internet, the content must appeal to large audiences. Through trial & error I learned the essential ingredients of what makes a post go viral.
Why did you become successful when thousands of others couldn’t make it?
Again, it’s like any other field. I believe passion plays a huge role in someone’s success & I am very passionate about what I do, although I don’t really consider myself successful, I have a long way to go with so much more to learn. My goals haven’t stopped at posting viral content on Instagram, I’ll also be focusing on other social media platforms such as YouTube. In other words, we haven’t even started yet.
Do you think getting people’s acceptance in Bahrain is difficult? Are Bahrainis hard to please?
Our people are very supportive and just like any community you have those who accept what you do and those who don’t. However, in comparison to others I believe Bahrainis are very accepting to what we’re doing. I usually run into friendly strangers who complement my work which is very motivating.
Do you have people who support you in what you do?
Absolutely, I was blessed to have friends who provided me with great support. My Lovely wife ,Imran Al Aradi, Ammar Janahi, Mohammed Khaja, Anas Janahi, Yonis Attiya ,Ahmed Sharif and rashed aljowder.
Does each one of your supporters have a specific talent?
Yes, they are all very talented & in various fields, for example Anas Janahi is a very talented videographer & director & Ammar Janahi was the first from my friends who supported me with video production. Besides them being very talented, what helped me the most is the constructive feedback I got from them which helps me improve & deliver better results.
People tend to say that they prefer to work alone, because they believe Bahrainis can be spiteful or envious. Do you think that’s true?
Not necessarily. It all depends on the nature of the person. At some point in your life, you will definitely engage with these types of people. But then again, there are very nice people out there, too.
How do you handle the ones who are spiteful?
Being in this field it’s very important not to let negativity & spiteful people bring you down. This is actually a very important topic, those who can’t handle negativity & spiteful behavior will find it very difficult to survive in this field. I make it a point not to let those two factors bother me.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Not repeating the same content. Being creative and innovative when it comes to ideas. You have to renew your content all the time. If you keep repeating, people will follow you for a while, then just stop.
Do you think this particular field in Bahrain is strong and sustainable? Could someone just quit his or her job one day and enter this field?
The field is definitely strong considering that majority of the people have smartphones (including 4 year olds) as for sustainability it all depends on how serious & committed a person is towards this field. Quitting a full time job and jumping into something that’s considered unstable is obviously not easy and very risky but I’ve noticed that recently many Bahrainis have started doing it. The option doesn’t exist now but I believe that this could be a full time profession with the proper career guidance. In Bahrain we lack corporate support, many organizations tend to believe that utilizing someone’s social media accounts for advertising purposes is free, we need to put more efforts in educating the market about how social media operates.
Do you believe that in the Gulf region, there are organizations that support your field?
Yes, definitely; in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc. In Saudi Arabia, they don’t just support social media; they support comedy, as well.
Recently a company called Stage Time Entertainment has been supporting the social media scene in Bahrain. The support includes turning a social media influencer’s freelance activity into a corporate service offering, anything from social media appearances, advertising, production & even developing content.
How could the private sector open doors to social influencers?
The private sector can play a very supportive role in this field, some already do by utilizing social media influencers for advertising purposes.
How can Tamkeen support this group of people?
In the same way they support organizations & startups, Tamkeen can apply the same initiatives for individuals who are interested in entering this field. It starts with educating the market and exposing us to those with the relevant experience.
Thank you, Khaled, for your time.