On the @misbahkun vs @benhan case

Unspun’s reminded of the Gandhi witticism: “Those who engage in mudslinging often lose ground” in the unfolding case between Twitterati Benny Handoko (@benhan) and Golkar politician Misbahkun (@misbakhun). For the current development of the case  see here.

As things stand, Benny is now under detention for allegedly slandering Misbahkun over the Bank Century case, after the latter complained to the police. The series of twits that has led to this serious turn of events is captured in Jackson Purba’s Chirpstory feed “TwitWar Misbakhun Vs Benhan” by @misbakhun N @benhan.

As the Chirpstory feed clearly shows @benhan fired the first salvo by accusing @misbahkun. A Twitwar ensured where @misbahkun duked it out with @benhan, Twitblow for Twitblow. The virtual slugfest, after 100 tweets ended after @misbahkun warned @benhan to retract his statement and apologize or he would file legal charges.

Now it appears that @misbahkun has followed up on that threat and is getting the Indonesian Twitterverse riled up because of his action.

It is an interesting incident as the central issue here is whether you have a right to sue (or in the case of Indonesia, file a police report against) someone for slander after you’ve duked it out with them on Twitter.

True, the Internet and Twitter does not, and should not, exonerate anyone from slandering another person.  Twitter, however, allows you to talk back and have your say to whomever is interested in what you have to say. So several interesting questions pop to mind here:

  1. Would Misbahkun  have been morally justified to take legal action against Benny if he did not use his Twitter account to engage in a Twitwar with Benny. Would it have been Ok if he merely used his Twitter account (20,343 followers) to say that Benny was incorrect and that if he persisted he would take legal action, and left it at that?
  2. Did Misbahkun waive his moral right to legal action after engaging in a Twitwar? Would going to the law after arguably losing a fight with Benhan (a Twitter heavyweight at 49,799 followers) make him look like a sore loser?
  3. Finally here’s a question for social media and issues management typed: There is a lot of noise in the Indonesian Twitterverse. Would Misbahkun be better off had he ignored @Benhan’s tweets and let it pass rather than wage a Twitwar and file a legal action? Would such a course of action – benign neglect – have hurt his reputation? (not say he has a great one but would such an action lower his reputation from what it was before the Twitwar?)

Looks like its time for a vox populi on the issue:

The Buzz about Buzzers in Indonesia

So here we have it, the widespread use of buzzers in Indonesia to push the products or brands of companies.

The questions marketers need to ask before they embark on their next foray with buzzers are these:

  1. What competitive advantage is there for their brand when their competitors are all also doing the same – paying buzzers to endorse or “create buzz” around a product or event?
  2. Is there any credibility in it at all given that everyone using social media knows that buzzers are guns for hire and are a promiscuous lot? If there isn’t, what’s the point of using the buzzers?
  3. Are brands squandering their resources by using buzzers, since it is transplanting the old world practice of using Key Opinion Leaders to influence others? That idea is grounded in Edward Bernays’s theory of Influencing the Influencers that is at least 85 years old. A lot has happened since then, specifically the social media that renders most things transparent and demands authenticity and relevance from brands
  4. Shouldn’t brands focus more on how they can use social media to create a great customer experience for their audiences instead?

 

In Indonesia, buzzers not heard but tweet for money – RTRS
23-Aug-2013 04:00
By Andjarsari Paramaditha
JAKARTA, Aug 23 (Reuters) – In Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, a buzzer is not an alarm or a bell, but someone with a Twitter account and more than 2,000 followers who is paid to tweet.
Jakarta is the world’s tweet capital and advertisers eager to reach the under-30 crowd are paying popular Twitter users to spread their word through social media, starting at about $21 per tweet.
While celebrity endorsements via Twitter are common worldwide, Indonesia is unusual because advertisers are paying the Average Joes too.
These Twitter “buzzers” send short messages promoting brands or products to their followers, usually during rush hour, 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m., when Jakarta’s notorious traffic jams create a captive audience with time to scan their mobile phones.
Jakarta has more Twitter users than any other city In the world, according to Semiocast, a social media market researcher, and Indonesia is home to the world’s fourth-largest population, with half the people under 30. All ingredients for a social media marketer’s dream.
“Indonesians love to chat. We love to share. We are community driven as a culture. For us it’s very easy to adopt social media because it is a channel through which we can express our opinions,” said Nanda Ivens, chief operating officer at XM Gravity Indonesia, a digital marketing unit of London-listed advertising giant WPP Group WPP.L.
For advertisers, using Twitter buzzers is a way to personalise the pitch, connecting someone who may have a special interest in a product with like-minded potential customers. A local photography buff, for example, would be a good target for a camera company.
An effective social media campaign will generate real conversations and genuine endorsements, said Thomas Crampton, Hong Kong-based social media director at advertising firm Ogilvy. But one issue with paid buzzers is that they may be seen as endorsing something only for the money.
“It’s not going to be transparent to the people reading the Twitter feed whether they’re being paid, and that’s not very honest,” said Crampton.
“The followers will see that this guy is for sale. It’s really like talking to a friend. If your friend is being paid to tell you something then a) you wouldn’t consider that person your friend and b) you’re not going to believe them.”

MEASURING SUCCESS
PT Nestle Indonesia, a unit of global food company Nestle SA NESN.VX, counts teenage pop singer Raisa (@raisa6690) and heartthrob actor Nicholas Saputra (@nicsap) among its brand ambassadors. They recently tweeted their experiences at a large Sumatra coffee plantation in a campaign supported by hired buzzers who were retweeting the celebrities’ comments and other sponsored messages from the company.
The challenge is measuring success.
“We do have quantitative measurement, which is the number of followers, the number of likes and the number of clicks,” said Patrick Stillhart, head of the coffee business at PT Nestle Indonesia. “But how do we relate that to brands and sales? There’s left a question mark.”
Stillhart said the company uses social media for more than a dozen brands and about 15 percent of its advertising spending goes to digital media. Apart from Nestle, competitor Unilever Indonesia UNVR.JK also followed similar path for their products.
Sometimes things go wrong.
Prabowo (@bowdat), 33, who quit his day job two years ago to scout for buzzers, recalled one cautionary tale about tweets meant to promote an Android product 005930.KS that were sent through a rival BlackBerry BB.TO or iPhone AAPL.O device. Followers could see the gaffe because tweets often include an automatic tag indicating how the message was posted.
Stand-up comedian Ernest Prakasa (@ernestprakasa) fell afoul of the “twitterverse” last year while promoting the Mini Cooper, a popular car made by BMW Group BMWG.DE
“There was a viral video. The idea was, I had to pretend to be locked in a container for several hours and then I escaped with the car. I was asked to act as if I was captured,” said the 30-year-old, who charges advertisers 7 million rupiah ($670) for 10 tweets.
Some of his friends didn’t realise it was an act, and began retweeting he had been kidnapped. They were furious when told it was an advertising gimmick.
“I was cursed at, accused of only trying to create a sensation. I had around 15,000 followers so I didn’t think it could become big. But I also learned that whenever this sort of fiasco happens, stay silent. It won’t last more than two days. Something new will come along and people will forget anyway.” ($1 = 10,490 Indonesian rupiah)

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Wagstaff, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher and Raju Gopalakhrisnan) ((andjarsari.p@thomsonreuters.com)(+62 21 3199 7170)(Reuters Messaging: andjarsari.p.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net))

Bully for the President

How naive can one get? The Internet can be a powerful medium to communicate and engage with lots of people but it has never been a Utopia.

In fact, from the start the Net has had a culture of crash and burn. It has not gotten any better with the millions of people now using social media. In fact it may have gotten worse as it gets easier to be stampeded by a herd mentality.

All this information has been available to anyone interested in finding out the working of the Net. So it is a bit rich for the President to complain about “bullying”. His social media team should have warned him before hand that the Net is a place for big boys who can take the hard knocks, not crybabies.

Which raises the often-asked question of prominent people who venture into social media use: why did they go in, in the first place?

 

BBC News – Indonesia: President ‘bullied’ on Facebook

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with his wife in Laos in November 2012

Anti-social network? Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s not happy with some “fans”

Indonesia’s president complained about being “bullied” on Facebook, just a day after launching his fan page.

The press team of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – known as SBY by the Indonesian media – signed him up to the social network, along with YouTube and Google Hangout, on Friday, reports the Jakarta Post . And, having attracted almost 100,000 fans within 24 hours, the president declared in his first Facebook post: “I want to be able to communicate more with my fellow Indonesians.” He thanked all his followers for their input but added: “Sometimes I am being bullied.

He later posted a poem dedicated to his wife, who celebrated her 61st birthday on Saturday. By Wednesday morning, SBY’s page had amassed nearly 250,000 “likes”. However, he still has some way to go to match the 2.7 million followers his @SBYudhoyono account has on Twitter .

Singapore a petulant child?

If I were an Indonesian minister I’d smack Singapore as well for being a petulant child.

But I’m not a minister and my child is not choking and gagging from second hand smoke, so what do I know?

Indonesia Says Singapore ‘Behaving Like a Child’ Over Haze

By Agence France-Presse on 1:50 pm June 20, 2013.

Category Environment, News

Tags: haze, Indonesia forest fires, Indonesia-Singapore relations

An aerial view of haze covering Indonesia’s Riau province June 20, 2013. Singapore called on Thursday for “definitive action” from Indonesia as air quality stuck at very unhealthy levels for a second day because of forest fires in its neighbour, disrupting businesses in the prosperous city-state. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

An aerial view of haze covering Indonesia’s Riau province June 20, 2013. Singapore called on Thursday for “definitive action” from Indonesia as air quality stuck at very unhealthy levels for a second day because of forest fires in its neighbour, disrupting businesses in the prosperous city-state. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Indonesia on Thursday accused Singapore of “behaving like a child” by complaining about severe haze from raging forest fires on Sumatra island that has cloaked the city-state.

“Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise,” Agung Laksono, the minister who is coordinating Indonesia’s response to the haze crisis, told reporters in Jakarta.

“This is not what the Indonesian nation wants, it is because of nature.”

The minister for people’s welfare also said Jakarta would reject any offer of financial aid from Singapore unless it was a large amount.

“Unless (Singapore) wants to give us a large amount, we won’t consider accepting it,” he said. “If it is only half a million, or one million dollars, we don’t need that. We would rather use our own national budget.”

The comments came as the neighbours prepared to hold emergency talks in Jakarta to ease the severe smog enveloping the city-state.

Singapore’s air pollutant index was again hovering around the “hazardous” level of 301 at midday, close to the all-time high of 321 set the night before. Any reading above 200 is considered threatening to health.

Laksono said investigations were under way to find out which company was responsible for the haze.

“There are Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian companies there,” he said, echoing previous comments from officials in Jakarta seeking to shift the blame away from solely Indonesian firms.

Agence France-Presse

via Indonesia Says Singapore ‘Behaving Like a Child’ Over Haze – The Jakarta Globe.

In a haze over forest fires

“What we know is that there are several foreign investors from Singapore involved. But we can’t just blame them for this since we still need to investigate this further,” said Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry.

In this age of satellite imagery what further investigation is needed to zoom in on the plantations with forest fires and punish them? What fumes is the Forestry Ministry and other Indonesian officials inhaling?

Singapore’s air turns “hazardous” as Indonesian fires rage
20-Jun-2013 00:31

Pollution index tops 300, indicating hazardous air quality Singapore sending delegation to Indonesia on Thursday Indonesia suggests Singapore companies partly to blame

By Kevin Lim and Eveline Danubrata
SINGAPORE, June 19 (Reuters) – Singapore’s air quality deteriorated to “hazardous” levels late on Wednesday as smoke from slash-and-burn land clearing in Indonesia enveloped the city-state, inflaming tensions between the Southeast Asian neighbours.
Singapore, a major financial centre, will send a delegation to Jakarta on Thursday to discuss the smog that has turned its usually clear skies grey, Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told a news conference.
The outlines of skyscrapers were barely visible in the central core of the bustling city-state and the smell of burnt wood permeated the air.
“Things will get worse before getting better,” the Today newspaper quoted Balakrishnan as saying on its Twitter feed.
The Pollution Standards Index (PSI) soared to a record high of 321 at 10 p.m., up from 290 just an hour earlier and below 200 earlier in the day. The haze has also shrouded some parts of Malaysia.
A PSI reading above 300 indicates “hazardous” air quality, while a reading between 201 and 300 means “very unhealthy”.
The 321 level smashed the previous record of 226 reached in Singapore in 1997 when smoke from Indonesian fires disrupted shipping and air travel across Southeast Asia.
Operations at Singapore’s Changi Airport, an Asian aviation hub, have not been affected so far but work at some construction sites appeared to have stopped or slowed.
Drug stores and supermarkets ran out of face masks and people queued in long lines to buy multiple boxes of them when fresh supplies came in.
Raffles Quay Asset Management, which manages the Marina Bay Financial Centre complex that houses many of the banks operating in Singapore, said it has issued face masks to security staff.
“They are stationed outdoors for long hours and directly exposed to the haze,” it said.
The illegal burning of forests to clear land for palm plantations is a recurring problem in Indonesia, particularly during the annual dry season from June to September.
Indonesian officials have suggested companies based in Singapore may be partly to blame for the blazes. Singapore has said it wants Indonesia to provide maps of land concessions so it can act against firms that allow slash-and-burn farming.
“What we know is that there are several foreign investors from Singapore involved. But we can’t just blame them for this since we still need to investigate this further,” said Hadi Daryanto, a senior official at Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry.
Singapore-based palm oil companies with land concessions in Indonesia include Wilmar International Ltd WLIL.SI, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd GAGR.SI and First Resources Ltd FRLD.SI.
Wilmar, Golden-Agri and First Resources said on Wednesday they had a “zero burning” policies and used only mechanical means to clear land. Cargill, whose Asia-Pacific regional hub is in Singapore, said there were no hotspots nor fire on its plantations in South Sumatra and West Kalimantan.

And why don’t Ahmad Hamidi go back to Jogjakarta?

I have emigrated.

I have done so because of chauvinistic pigs like Ahmad Hamidi who think they have a better claim on the land where four generations of my family grew up in than relative newcomers like him.

If you look at the Wikipedia entry into Wan Hamidi, it says that he is of Javanese origin, with with roots in Kulon Progo Regency, Yogyakarta. Here you see a photo of Wan Hamidi in Javanese gear being at home in Jogjakarta.

 

Menteri Pertahanan Malaysia Dr Ahmad Zaid Hamidi bersama dengan Walikota Yogyakarta Haryadi Suyuti ziarah ke Makam Raja Mataram

So you have to wonder at the duplicity that Malaysians have to put up with if they stay in Malaysia. You have this Javanese posing as a Melayu (which is an ethnic group in Riau and Kalimantan, but become elevated to a race in the Malaysian Constitution). The Prime Minister Najib Razak and his father a former Prime Minister are of Bugis origin (see here).

And of course, as we all know, Mahathir is a mixed-blood with Indian being a prominent part of the mix. (The Tunku – Abdul Rahman – was also of mixed blood with Thai coursing through his veins but he’s the only decent chap in the Umno elite)

So you have all these guys with foreign blood running Umno and through Umno, Malaysia for the past five decades. It is rotten to the core and they would have been drummed out of office, if not for widespread fraud.

So emigrate my Malaysian brothers and sisters. Life outside is much better. But if you’re not inclined or do not have the option to emigrate, fight them tooth and nail!

New Malaysian home minister tells unhappy Malaysians to emigrate

PETALING JAYA – Malaysia’s newly-appointed Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has reportedly said that Malaysians who are unhappy with the country’s political system should leave the country, stressing that loyal citizens should respect the rule of law.

Malaysian news website fz.com reported on Thursday that in his first opinion piece printed in the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia daily since receiving the portfolio on Wednesday, Mr Ahmad Zahid wrote that the illegal gatherings held across the country by opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition was a form of escapism and the denial of the fact that it failed to take control of Putrajaya.

“Malaysia inherited the political system from the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries also use the first past the post system where political parties contesting in the election will only have one representative in each constituency with the principle of a simple majority of votes,” he said in a column.

He said opposition leaders, especially those from Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the Democratic Action Party, had been “irresponsible” in confusing young Chinese voters and their followers who are “politically blind” to dress in black to protest against the result of the 13th general election which they believed went in their favour, going by the popular vote.