Unspun had very little idea that a seemingly innocuous topic like Bridge Blogging would spur quite a few conversations.

The clip below is Fatih’s take on bridge blogging.

There is also a lengthy analysis in Marisa Duma‘s journal where she considers the differing viewpoints between Unspun and Jennie S. Bev, a good friend who disagrees with me on what bridge Blogging should do. She also quotes Rebecca McKinon of Global Voices whom Unspun thinks might have oined the word in the first place.

What is Bridge Blogging, anyways? As defined by Rebecca MacKinnon on behalf of Global Voices Online, a bridge blogger is “somebody who acts as a “bridge” between their blogging community and the rest of the world. Lots of blogospheres are springing up around the world, in lots of languages, but many of them don’t communicate with each other. That’s unfortunate, as there is much potential for dialogue across these communities”. [Link]

One of the fascinating complaints Marisa has is that if you’re Indonesian and blog in English you get a lot of flak from some quarters in Indonesia. How widespread is this phenomenon and what are the reasons for this reaction? Unpun‘d be interested to hear form Indonesians who blog in English.

And then there’s of course the alternative view which employs quite many tricks as explained in this posting. A contest to spot the most number of tricks employed? 😉

clipped from fatihsyuhud.com
On Bridge BloggingEveryone in the universe must’ve been very familiar or at least ever heard of such popular names as Mc Donald (McD), KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), Nokia, Sony, Pepsodent, and many other international brands. All the brands barely talk about themselves, not to say about their respective countries. But almost every single person knows where those brands come from. America world-widely known at least for its McD and KFC, and Japan for its Sony, Toyota, Honda, etc. As far as I am concerned, these international brands have successfully bridged world understanding towards the countries they belong without even a word of explanation.

When I urged Indonesian to start blogging and blog in English, what I had in mind was something like what the above international brands have done to their countries: repute, good positive image of progress and modernity and, no less important, more understanding.

  blog it

9 thoughts on “Unspun spawned conversations on Bridge Blogging

  1. That’s a very good definition. It’s much more specific about using a specific languag. A bridge blogger is somebody who acts as a “bridge” between their blogging community and the rest of the world.

    I can proudly say that Fatih Syuhud is a “bridge blogger” in the fullest meaning of the word. He truly helps the world to better understand Indonesia and Islam within the spectrum that he believes.

    Others may not be a “purist” bridge blogger, but we all bridge one human being with the next. One posting at a time. And I personally think it is as important as bridging a “community,” whose definition is so blurred nowadays. As long as a blog’s intention is noble, there is no need to create separate divisions between “bridge bloggers” and “non-bridge bloggers.” (I urge this, Ong, from the bottom of my heart, so we can “unite” as bloggers without any “labeling.”)

    Just my two cents. 🙂 Have a great day, Ong. And keep smiling. Whenever you visit SF Bay, give me a call!


  2. Unspun, my fingers are kinda freezing. It’s 40 degrees F outside. Too many typos. Sorry about that. 🙂 Of course we’re good friends and that new friend of yours Mr. Bambang keeps asking me about you-know-what. 🙂


  3. Oh the pressure..

    Thanks for pointing my article out, Mr. Ong Hock Chuan.
    Actually, those aren’t complaints, those are consequences. Complaints are when you need to lash out a bad mood Monday. Consequences are yet-another reallistic point of view, which is free to be disagreed with.
    But I don’t mind you calling them complaints though, people somehow are more amused with self-pitiful notions. And I take pleasure in it. Heheheh..

    Have a great day to you, sir. 🙂


  4. Good day Pak,

    My comment below was initially put in Journal Marisa (http://journal.marisaduma.net). But I think I it would be better to share it here too.

    I believe that the use of English in blog is vital for Indonesians especially because this country is still inferior to others countries in many aspects including economy development and even the language. If, for example, we are at the same level as England like Japan, England, and Germany, we might not really need English. Therefore, at present, using English is one way to ensure that we will be heard by rest of the world. According to Wikipedia, Bahasa Indonesia ranked 8th with 250 million speakers, while English was third with 380 million native speakers (no.1-2 in total speakers throughout the world with 1.8 billion people).

    Unfortunately I found a fact that I was wrong to assume that young people are eager to write in English due to better education. A-19-year old student in a prestigious university in Jakarta just told me that she was reluctant to write blog in English cos it’s not easy. Better and faster to write in Bahasa Indonesia, she said. I will understand if the response stems from a student studying in small cities who are not used to speak and write English. My perception that young people in Indonesia are now more confident to use English is suddenly gone. So who is going to write in English? Me? You? and few other old people? Who’s going to encourage, and lead those young people to write in English?




  5. @ Iwan

    If I may add something to your discussion with Mr. Ong Hock Chuan,

    Actually in Jakarta, there are already tons of us consuming English-written materials (magazine, music, websites, movies, etc). Consuming, not producing. Even if they’ve been producing, they have their own space to do it.

    “And in my opinion, it’s not that kids today are less confident about writing in English. They are less confident about exceeding the standards that is already placed upon them. They are not feeling secure with the idea of writing itself, some kids may even not feeling secure just by being themselves.
    But I respect that you’ve noticed that. Not many of us do.”

    Unfortunately, they won’t be the ones reaching for ‘this certain demographic’ of the blogosphere. Don’t ask them if they knew who Enda Nasution, or Budi Putra, or Jennie s. Bev is. Because there’s a great chance they don’t.
    They’re still expecting a bridge, for that matter.


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