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Been traveling so much lately that this is the first time I’ve had to update this blog.
The posting below is from my company blog Talking Points that I wrote on the fly to commemorate our 10th anniversary. I suppose it is a good sign that all of us in Maverick are so busy that we’ve hardly had time to commemorate our 10th anniversary, but there will be a time for partying soon.
When Maverick first set out on its journey exactly 10 years ago this month, we had an audacious ambition: to be the most respected communications consultancy in Indonesia.
We weren’t content to be a Public Relations agency as Public Relations mostly meant media relations; we also didn’t want to be an agency, doing the bidding of clients who may not necessarily know better on what’s good for their brands.
So we set out to play in the field of communications and to be consultants first and foremost, with agency work as the support for our consultancy services.
A decade has passed. How have we done?
Let’s look at the desire to be “most respected” first. On a scale of 10 I’d say we have hit an 8 or even a 9. The client list we have is nothing to scoff at with the likes of Acer, Airbus, Airbus Military, Brand A, Coca-Cola, Nestle, HM Sampoerna and SMAX.
Then there is the Crisis and Issues Management practice which makes Maverick the go-to firm for many of the nation’s largest and most established law firms needing litigation support, multinationals facing labor unrest or consumer food companies having problems with their products. The client list is equally impressive but the nature of the work precludes us disclosing their names.
Where social media is concerned, we officially set up Raconteur, our digital storytelling division, a year ago and already it is making a name for itself as the digital consultancy that delivers results, not hype. In the beginning of this year it won a huge account in SMAX snacks. It has also handled the launch of a Google Chrome campaign, just introduced Evernote to the Indonesian online community and is working to help the Taiwan Trade Office (TAITRA) promote the island-nation.
There is also Gauge, our media monitoring and analysis division that continues to establish itself as the most comprehensive and high quality service of its kind in Indonesia, in spite of newcomers to the industry. It’s addition of social media monitoring and analysis as a service has also been a hit to our clients.
And last but not least, we have Brio our newest division that leverages Maverick and Raconteur’s experiences and knowledge as practitioners to provide training to corporations in need of communications and crisis management skills. It was set up this year and already it has hit all the financial targets we have set for it.
Together these divisions add up to an offering greater than the sum of themselves. This is good news for clients who may need and want a full spectrum of communications advice and service.
All, this, however has been possible because of two things. The culture and the people in Maverick.
We like to think that we have a culture that is unique and un-replicable by other competitors. It is a culture where individuals are continuously challenged to produce their best, and then go one step further. At the same time it is a nurturing culture where each and every Maverick has the responsibility to support and encourage their co-workers to greater heights and successes.
Let me start this blogpost with a confession: when i was first invited to be a trainer at the Tech Forum Central Asia in Almaty, I had to Google the place up.
I had never heard of it before and when I discovered that it was the old capital of Khazakstan, thought that I at least knew something of the country, but for all the wrong reasons, as it was confined only to Borat, him of the repulsive Slingshot costume.
The other facet of the trip was also as monumentally confounding to me – I was to join a group of technologists to help train the youth in Central Asia about social media and its uses. What did I – who grew up with a typewriter in my first job – know about technology to teach the digitally savvy youth of today?
But not being one to pass up a challenge and a hint of adventure (think Mongols, think Silk Road, think of vast plains and the Soviet system) I signed up and that was how I found myself in Almaty last Friday and Saturday (June 15 and 16).
The Tech Forum Central Asia was the first of its kind to gather youth form Central Asia to discuss how they can use social media to benefit their societies. It was organized by the Civil Alliance and sponsored by the US Embassy in Kazakhstan as well as several corporations such as Chevron.
It was apparently a feat to gather the participants from all the “-stan” counties – Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgistan, Pakistan and, of course, Kazakhstan – because the governments in some of these countries are suspicious and fear the combination of youth and the internet. Although some delegates had a hard time of getting a passage out of the country they all managed to come to the forum.
The result is a very eclectic and spirited Tech Forum Central Asia where the curiousity and passion of Central Asian youth came into contact with the more exposed and savvy use of social media of the trainers who came from Britain, the US, Pakistan, India and Indonesia – represented by the very talented Hanny Kusumawati and myself.
The format of the forum was based in the Tech Camps run by the US State Department, where participants were first exposed to a speed geeking session – think speed dating but for geeks. Essentially, the trainers have five minutes to share a story or a case history, where social media has been used to great effect on behalf of an organization, to a small grpup pf participants. St the end pf 5minutes a whistle is blown and the trainers tell the story Again to them. They are allowed to ask questions.
I shared the story of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, a NGO that works to release captured Bornean orangutan into their natural habitats and how its foray into social media allowed it to be more searchable on the Net. It also allowed the BOS to become the primary source of information on the state of orangutan capture, treatment and release after a SCTV documentary put the topic on the national news agenda.
The participants were then given free reign to join groups for discussions ranging from crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to mapping, the use of video on the Net, gender issues and Net strategy. There were several discussions sessions, each one designed to sharpen their focus on their areas of concern, culminating in problem solving sessions.
Some of the problems they raised gave us a glimpse of issues important to the youth of Central Asia, namely women’s rights in male dominated societies, how to raise funds for causes, racism against Asiatic-looking central Asians in Russia and other Caucasian-dominated countries and how to help the disabled more.
What surprised Unspun was the extent of English being used in what was once a Russian-dominated region. What delighted Unspun was the warmth and curiousity of the delegates and the many volunteer helpers and translators that made the TFCA a success, at least as the begining of a discourse among the caring young Central Asians who want to do something for their societies and see the internet as a potential tool for making their missions easier and more effective.
Indonesia’s Twitterverse and the Liberal-minded are aghast.
In today’s editorial (below) The Jakarta Globe, seen by some as being until lately a progressive force in Indonesia, seemingly condoned the decision to nix Lady Gaga’s controversial would-be concert in Indonesia.
The editorial begins by saying that the organizers made the right decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show because of security concerns. Fair enough. It then says the paper does not condone violence or threats to forward an agenda. Good point.
Then it gets interesting: “It is not about how she dresses, which is needlessly provocative, but about what she sings and the lyrics of her songs. It is about the lack of morality in what she represents. Youth will typically be rebellious and anti-establishment.“
This is puzzling. Lady Gaga sings a lot of shit that typically appeal to youth. Rebellious, anti-establishment, aimed to shock. The same type of music that horrified the morals of the parent generation in the time of the Sex Pistols and Marilyn Manson. Go a bit further back and Elvis Presley, with his obscene gyrations, was considered a devil spawn by the Establishment then.
So if you take Lady Gaga in a historical perspective, she is as dangerous – or not – as the Sex Pistols, Marilyn Manson and Elvis in leading our youth to Hell and damnation. Surprisingly, may of these youth are in positions of responsibility and frowning on lady Gaga these days.
The Globe editorial then becomes a bit confusing: ”But it is also important that we inculcate in them the proper Indonesian values that will put them in good standing when they enter into adulthood. Given the divisiveness and the controversy created, the decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one.”
Why canceling Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one when it comes to putting these youth on the correct path of Proper Indonesian Values is never quite explained.
And finally, the very interesting denoument which is actually composed of two half formed thoughts 1: “We must all show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities.” and 2: “We must accept that Indonesian society is different and that we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies” juxtaposed to give the illusion of proper reasoning.
Thought #1 is a truism. Nobody can argue against the fact that we all should show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities. You can make that argument even in America, homeland of Lady Gaga and no one can disagree with you on this.
Thought #2 is a combination of a truism: “We must accept that Indonesian society is different” and a fallacious conclusion “we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies.”
Which societies are we talking about. Saudi Arabia, Puritan America, The Mormons, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China? It would be helpful if The Globe were to elaborate on that. (And let’s not have the tired argument that you have only so many words to write an editorial. A journalistic rule is also that if a story or opinion is that important you should be creative and find space for it).
This editorial has, naturally, stirred up controversy and criticism in Indonesia’s Twitterverse, the current cool hangout for Indonesia’s chattering classes and liberal sentiment. One of them is a string of criticisms against The Globe by @AubreyBelford, the Asia Correspondent for http://www.theglobalmail.org.
But enough of what Unspun, Aubrey and The Globe says. What do readers really think? (and if you’re not satisfied with the poll, you can always leave a comment)
The saga over Lady Gaga’s concert is finally over now that the pop star decided to cancel her Jakarta show. The reason was security concerns and, given the public controversy, it was definitely the right decision. Certainly her large fan base in Indonesia will be disappointed. It is also unfortunate that the concert was called off due to security concerns. The country’s police had assured both fans and organizers that it would be possible for the show to proceed. There are larger issues at play, though. Indonesia is a vibrant, diverse democracy and as such the authorities had to take into consideration all voices. It is their job to ensure that all segments of society have their voices heard. We do not condone the use of violence and threats to allegedly push an agenda. We do not condone breaking the law and damaging property just to make a point, as some groups have allegedly done recently. Such behavior is unwelcome in a democratic, civilized society. There are, however, many justifiable reasons for opposing acts like Lady Gaga, such as the messages these supposed artists project. It is not about how she dresses, which is needlessly provocative, but about what she sings and the lyrics of her songs. It is about the lack of morality in what she represents. Youth will typically be rebellious and anti-establishment. But it is also important that we inculcate in them the proper Indonesian values that will put them in good standing when they enter into adulthood. Given the divisiveness and the controversy created, the decision to cancel Lady Gaga’s show was the correct one. We must all show maturity and understanding about the cultural sensitivities in our communities. We must accept that Indonesian society is different and that we cannot be expected to be as liberal as other societies.
Unspun’s very proud of his co-workers because they kick ass every so often. The latest ass kicking lies in the publication of Maverick’s Indonesian Journalists’ Technographic Report.
It was a team effort, spearheaded by Raconteur and Mabverick’s media relation’s team and they’ve done a superb job capturing how journalists consume and use the media. More importantly they telly why it is important for anyone interested in marketing, branding and corporate reputation building or protection.
Is Unspun blowing his horn as usual? Well, not according to Slideshare where we posted the report. Here’s the message:
If you’re interested in the results of this survey, the second one in two years, then click here.
If you want to know more you can always write to email@example.com.
Information Minister Tifatul, the Hitler-admiring and shaker-of-Michele-Obama’s-hands-in-denial Information Minister gets a lot of things wrong, but his angst at anonymous accounts on Twitter that use insults to attack people has some merit to it.
Make no mistake, Unspun’s 100 percent in agreement with Wicaksono aka Ndoro Kakung in the story below. There are just too many Twitter accounts to be able to crack down on, and who’s to decide what’s insulting and what’s not? One person’s insult may be another person’s attempt at honesty.
Nevertheless the nature of Twitter users have changed somewhat in Indonesia. It used to be quite a friendly and quite a well-mannered place. Disagreements were allowed and there was some decorum. Lately however, maybe because every man and his dog are now on Twitter, the nature of the conversations there have deteriorated and some Tweeters have built a sizable following based on Twits that insult others. One young journalist, for instance, has about 20,000 people following merely because he pisses on anyone and everything within range. The Tweets are an angry rant at the world and not at all even witty or intelligent, which would have mitigated its boorishness.
Sadly, there is more and more people like that journalist. They have a following because the Twitter crowd in Indonesia is looking for entertainment, not information or conversations. They get excited when someone is pissing on others and if a pissing contest ensues between two people it is even more entertaining. And if you have detractors who dare not confront you face to face, the anonymity and impersonal nature of Twitter allows them to join in the pissing contest, a bit like the Roman senators joining in to stab at Cesar during the Ides of March.
In social media terms they are trolls. A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous or off topic messages either in Twitter or other social platforms with the primary intent of provoking a reaction or of distracting you from the topic in discussion. Such people are not open to reason, no matter how much you try. What do you do with people like that?
The best course of action is to monitor what they say but ignore them completely. If they don’t get a rise out of you they will eventually tire and pick on someone else.
And what of the ever lingering electronic disparagement they have made of you? Relax. There is so much clutter and insults out there that such posts will hardly make a dent because even though social media is the rave of the town it is often the traditional media that legitimizes or gives credibility to a story or claim. Unless that happens there is very little reason to rise to their bait.
By announcing that the Government is targeting the trolls, Tifatul is playing exactly into their hands. Already Twitter today is full of rude and insulting remarks about the Minister. Some things are best left alone. There is too much of other important things for the Information Minister to do, such as how to close the digital divide and improve the bandwidth and the horrible state of mobile communications in this country. They have too much time on their hands, indeed.
‘Rude’, ‘Anonymous’ Tweeters Beware: Tifatul to Target Twitter | The Jakarta GlobeAfter blocking access to almost one million pornographic Web sites, the Communication and Information Technology Ministry is now targeting anonymous accounts on Twitter. Minister Tifatul Sembiring said on Monday that he has learned that Twitter was filled with many anonymous accounts that often use insults to attack other people.
“We are now studying it. Because if they really violate [laws] and insult people, they could be reported as spam. Then their [accounts] could be closed by Twitter officials,” he said. Complaints can be filed against Twitter users that disturb the public or attack and offend public figures, he claimed, even if it is an anonymous account.
“If they violate the laws, they will be punished. Principally, every account user could be held responsible by tracing his position and device,” he said. Based on the Information and Electronic Transactions ITE Law, Tifatul said, there are five violations in the cyber world that can warrant legal charges: pornography, gambling, threats, fraud and blasphemy.The ITE Law stipulates that anyone who violates the law could face seven to 12 years of imprisonment.
Blogger Wicaksono, who has about 55,000 followers on Twitter, told the Jakarta Globe the ministry had too much time in its hands if it actually pursued that plan. He said there were growing numbers of anonymous accounts, but many of those accounts are tweeting humorous material, such as an account named Suster Ngesot the mythical crawling nurse ghost. “And what is the definition of insulting? It has so many interpretations,” he said.
An owl backed by big names on Twitter, K-Pop celebrity Taecyon backed by Indonesia’s avid K-pop bloggers and Multiply shifting its HQ to Indonesia are the items highlighted by the Raconteurs in this week’s installment of the Indonesian Social media scene.
Indispensable information for marketers, anyone interested into what drives the young Indonesian psyche and, yes, even our competitors. Heh.
Very proud of how my colleagues at Raconteur, the social media division of Maverick, are using their knowledge, savvy and expertise of the Indonesian cybersphere to keep the rest of us informed about what the online community is saying, what’s hot with them and how they are reacting to offline events, like the tragedy at Tugu Tani when a car driven by a women stoned out of her wits, ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians killing seven people including a pregnant woman and several children.
In this week’s update the Raconteurs also discuss what’s behind the online fad of using the expression “KOWAWA \(´▽`)/”, the urban legend behind the wary tweets about Nenek Guyung and how Telkomsel’s online tricks as it launches the IPhone 4S.
The idea behind these weekly updates is that old fogeys like me who aren’t on the Net as much as we should, as well as corporations and communicators who need to keep abreast of the conversations in Indonesia’s social media scene, have an easy way of accessing this information.
What do you guys think of this service?
Why are Indonesian onliners peeved off by Ernest Prakasa’s pleas of help after his “kidnap”; what are they saying about visiting megastar Kathy Perry’s kiss and what do Indonesian onliners have to say about what’s happening about half the world away – America’s Stop Online Piracy Act?
Find out and keep abreast of what’s buzzing in Indonesia’s social media hive in a weekly update started by Unspun’s colleagues at Raconteur here
Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone. .
Malaysia’s Defense Minister Ahmad Zahidi Hamid, whose Ministry became the laughing stock in Malaysia because of the use of outlandish English translations on its website (e.g. Menjolok mata = poke eye) blamed Google Translate for the mistakes.
Really? Here’s a comparison in Uppercaise
Well, they do say that the Net makes everything transparent.
It has been a pleasure to work with Ollie in her role as Chairwoman for ON|OFF. Throughout the preparation stages she has been full of ideas, contacts, flexibility, firmness and never too proud to admit the things she did not know and to ask for help.
And she’s acquitted herself extremely well on Saturday when the ON|Off event achieved – if the Twitter feed for #onoffID is any indication – wild success. Unspun’s observations and thoughts of the event and the evolution of the blogging scene in this country in a later posting but in the meantime here’s Ollie’s own account of her journey as this year’s Chairwoman:
December 5, 2011 Ollie
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It’s been a long journey. Early May 2011, Ong & Hanny come to me and asked me to be the Chairwoman of Pesta Blogger 2011 or we call it now ON|OFF 2011. I was overwhelmed (still is). It’s been a BIG event since 2007. I don’t know if I can do that. Ong then explain my job descriptions, then also plans for this year’s event. I have some ideas regarding how the event should work, I told them on the spot, they like it. I still have plenty of ideas for ON|OFF, so, Bismillah, let’s do it.
We do our first media conference in July 2011 to kick off the event. I felt like a student learning for an exam when I get all the media documents from Nia. I’ve been connecting with medias, but mostly to talk about myself. This time it’s different. I become ‘the face’ of ON|OFF 2011 also represent our sponsors: Acer Indonesia & US Embassy. New experience for me.