Today – Jakarta Marathon Day, but also Hari Blogger Nasional

It is a sign of the times, I suppose. Today is a big day for Jakarta’s fashionable crowd because it is Jakarta Marathon Day.

And since running is now the flavour of the year, it is getting all the attention from the hip crowd who, all of a sudden, have discovered the joys of running. Never mind that the running craze is now about 40 years old and probably on its third wind. Unspun knows because in his youthful days he caught the second wind of the running craze and ran two full marathons in Kuala Lumpur, on top of being conned to write a column on running for The Star then.

And yes, he was as insufferable as today’s runners with the latest in running gear, interval training, tapering, carbo loading and anything that proclaimed that he was in with the fleet footed crowd. The saving grace then, to Unspun’s detractors, was we didn’t have social media and Unspun could not annoy them with his photos and posts of triumph against all odds.

One wonders whether running will run out of steam in fad-conscious Jakarta, which has seen the cycling, and then the fixie craze come and go lately.

One victim of Jakarta and Indonesia’s propensity of flocking to the fashionable is blogging. Believe it or not, it was fashionable at one point, as fashionable as running today. Then, anyone who was anyone was blogging, or hanging around bloggers.

It is indicative of how unfashionable it has become that even Unspun had forgotten that today is National Blogger’s Day. Muhamad Nuh, when he was  Information Minister Minister, opened the first Pesta Blogger in 2007 and declared that day Hari Nasional Blogger. Those of us who were blogging then didn’t know what that meant but we were euphoric. Blogging, we felt, had become mainstream, and we would help change the world with it.

Not so. In the intervening years blogging lost its popularity to the other forms of social media such as Twitter and Facebook that required less literary skills and effort. Many bloggers stopped blogging or were reduced to reporting old posts as they switched to Twitter and Facebook in an effort to keep themselves relevant and, hopefully. popular.

The few that remained faithful to blogging had some followers but they were never to regain the cache of those early days.

It got so that everyone, and even Unspun forgot about Hari Nasional Blogger and Pesta Blogger until Unspun found this repost in Enda Nasution’s LinkedIn Page. It brought back a lot of memories, but also served to inform how much the world has moved on since then.

 

Sejarah Hari Blogger Nasional #hariblogger #berkatblog

by  on 27/10/2011 in BLOGREMEMBER

We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten. –Cesare Pavese

Sejarahnya bagaimana sih tanggal 27 Oktober yang sekarang dikenal sebagaiHari Blogger Nasional?

Ceritanya sebenarnya sederhana dan singkat.

Alkisah tanggal 27 Oktober di tahun 2007, beberapa blogger Indonesia (Bang WimarMas NukmanMas WicakLita,PriyadiAttaMas Budi PutraOng) diprakarsai oleh perusahaan kehumasan Maverick mencoba mengadakan yang sekarang kita kenal sebagai Pesta Blogger. Ajang ketemu, kopdar akbar blogger Indonesia dengan Hanny Kusumawati sebagai event manager-nya. Support juga kita dapatkan dariMbak Shinta Bubu dan Satya Witoelar dan tentunya blogger-blogger Indonesia dan komunitas-komunitas blogger dari berbagai daerah.

Tempatnya blogger Indonesia unjuk gigi, karena walau blog sudah dikenal sejak tahun 2000-an awal, tapi belum pernah ada pertemuan nasional yang skalanya cukup besar.

Kebetulan di pergeralan Pesta Blogger 2007 tersebut juga saya dipercaya sebagai Chairman-nya, bertanggung jawab atas acara yang kita lakukan.

Acara berlangsung di Blitz Grand Indonesia, tidak ada yang tahu bagaimana acara satu hari, yang baru pertama kali kita langsungkan itu akan terjadi, tapi dipenghujung hari kita cukup senang, ada sekitar500-an blogger, tamu dan media yang hadir. Ada kekurangan disana-sini, sudah pasti, makanan yang kurang dan lain-lain, tapi niatan unjuk gigi itu berlangsung dengan lancar.

Saya memberikan sambutan (video part 1part 2) yang beberapa jam sebelumnya saya tulis. Acara dibuka oleh Pak Muhammad Nuh yang saat itu menjabat sebagai Menkominfo.

Dan Pak Nuh pulalah yang berinisiatif menyatakan bahwa tanggal 27 Oktober kita sebut sebagai hari Blogger Nasional di sambutan beliau.

Panitia tidak merencanakan sebutan tersebut dan saat itu tidak tahu harus bereaksi apa, tapi melihat kebelakang, dengan rasa terima kasih pada Pak Nuh, mengingat momen bukan hari, momen tersebut memang pantas kita ingat.

Tapi apa artinya?

Apa artinya Hari Blogger Nasional?

Hari Blogger bukanlah (belum) hari resmi dari pemerintah, tapi ini ada bagusnya karena mengingatkan kita bahwa kita pun boleh punya hari sendiri, dan maknanya terserah pada kita-kita, diisi oleh kita sendiri. Hari blogger ada dan terus ada atau tidak pun terserah pada kita.

Dari momen itu banyak hal yang kemudian terjadi. Blog dan dunia online makin dilihat dan disadari oleh masyarakat banyak.

Dan mengingat balik ke tahun 2007 banyak hal yang sekarang kita gunakan sehari-hari yang saat itu bahkan belum ada. Facebook belum marak, laptop, tablet, ipad, blackberry, modem dongle, social media, medsos, dan bahkan Twitter belum jadi kosa kata.

Momen itu menyambungkan banyak noktah di masa depan.

Momen praktis yang membuat saya ada di Salingsilang.com sekarang dan momen yang sama membuat kita di Salingsilang menyajikan data blogger Indonesia yang kini jumlahnya sudah ada 5.331.093

Momen itu membuat kita terus menyelenggarakan Pesta Blogger setiap tahun sejak tahun 2007. Momen itu juga membuat saya tetap terlibat dalam penyelenggaraannya sebagai steering comittee dan tidak lagi sebagai Chairman.

Momen di hari itu membuat di tahun ini kita memodifikasinya sedikit dengan menggunakan namaON|OFF 2011 yang nanti akan kita laksanakan di tanggal 3 Desember 2011

Momen itu mengenalkan dan menyentuh banyak orang, momen itu menyapa banyak isu dan bergaul dengan banyak peristiwa.

Moment itu membuat saya, kamu, dan kita semua ada di sini sekarang. Membaca kalimat terakhir di posting ini.

Selamat #hariblogger nasional!

 

Salingsilang and the closing of a chapter in Indonesia’s social media scene

And thus closes another chapter in the development of social media in the community.

At its height Salingsilang.com showed lots of promise and had the potential of becoming a nucleus of the online community in Indonesia. It had a stable of big names in the Indonesian online community either directly involved or supporting their activities: Enda Nasution, Paman Tyo, Ndoro Kakung and others.

In a feat of great imagination they also came up with Obsat, Obrolan Langsat (obrolan = conversations; Langsat = the street in Gandaria where they had their offices). The concept was brilliant: create a place where the online community could hang out and invite interesting prominent people to come speak to these bloggers, buzzers and other social media practitioners who had the power to amplify their messages to literally millions of Indonesians.

As a result they attracted many prominent Indonesian figures including Jokowi, Boediono and Anies Baswedan made pilgrimages to Jalan Langsat to propitiate the virtual gods of the new new order. (Obsat still takes place and is organized by the group headed by Pak Didi but the buzz around the event isn’t as vibrant as it used to be).

In the past two years they also branched into event organisation, organizing Social Media Fest in 2011 and 2012. The first event was a huge success and caused Pesta Blogger, until then the main platform for onliners to get together, to postpone its event by a couple of months to avoid over-saturating the online community with a similar event. The second event, however, was much less well organised, perhaps reflecting the waning fortunes of Salingsilang.

They also tried moving into social media monitoring, aggregating blogs, creating portals such as Politikana etc but throughout it all was the nagging question of how their business models would actually make money.

Then over the past few months came rumours of a breakdown in Salingsilang, with some names going to another enterprise backed by their investor while the rest were left to fend for themselves. Today’s official announcement (below) confirms the end of Salingsilang.

Salingsilang’s passage is a little sad because it also coincides with how the Indonesia social media scene had shifted. Once it was a tight-knit community with bloggers knowing and bouncing ideas and conversations off each other. There were rants and flames but it was on the whole a congenial community where people cared about what was said, which then became conversations  off and online. There was also a certain respect, probably because there was a greater effort and thinking involved in blogging.

Then things evolved. Facebook and Twitter came into the picture and opened the floodgates to everyman and his dog. In with them came the snake oil salesmen who used the new medium to become overnight social media rockstars by doing what it takes to win as many friends and fans as well as followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter especially allowed those obsessed enough, ambitious enough, or one-minded enough to build up followings, often by the sheer frequency of their Tweets. Then also came mercenaries who made a career of leveraging their insider status in journalism, politics or other professions to tar people; while simultaneously running  consultancies aimed at solving the very problems they create via their tweets and blog posts.

Schadenfreude and churlishness also became the new currency for a Twittering population seeking to gratify themselves gorging on twitwars and scandals. In short the Indonesian social mediasphere, at least to Unspun, has become a much less attractive place to hang out in.

So it is sad to see Salingsilang’s demise as it marks the closing of a chapter.

Salingsilang.com resmi ditutup – Beritagar

Situs Salingsilang.com, yang sebelumnya dikenal merangkum peristiwa di media sosial Indonesia, menyatakan secara resmi menutup seluruh layanannya, setelah berjalan sejak 2011. Hal itu ditegaskan dalam rilis media, yang juga dimuat dalam blog.salingsilang.com.

Berikut isi surat resmi dari Salingsilang.com:

Jakarta, 9 Januari 2013

Kepada yang kami hormati,

Pembaca, penikmat, dan pengguna Salingsilang.com, serta jejaring, maupun keluarga Salingsilang.

Dengan sangat menyesal, kami memberitahukan dan menegaskan bahwa Salingsilang.com, serta jejaring, dan keluarganya berhenti beroperasi, setelah berjalan sejak 2011.

Penyebabnya adalah fokus pada bidang yang berbeda satu sama lain, yang sebelumnya dilakukan di bawah bendera Salingsilang secara keseluruhan; mulai dari pengumpulan dan layanan data media sosial, pembuatan dan rangkuman peristiwa media sosial, dukungan dan aktivasi komunitas online, konsultasi kampanye media sosial, hingga penyelenggaraan acara seperti Social Media Fest. (2011, 2012), PictFest, dan Ngerumpi Days Out.

Kini, tim yang sebelumnya tergabung di Salingsilang, sudah berpencar mengerjakan project berbeda: di bidang consulting, media dan content, hingga mobile project.

Kami mohon maaf atas ketidaknyamanan ini. Terutama pada komunitas-komunitas yang sudah bergabung, dan mendukung kami sejauh ini. Kami menyayangkan Salingsilang tidak dapat berjalan lagi. Tapi apa boleh buat, itu yang terjadi.

Kami masih percaya pada kekuatan dunia digital untuk mengubah Indonesia jadi lebih baik, melalui media sosial yang masih akan terus berpengaruh di tahun-tahun ke depan.

Kami bangga atas apa yang sudah kami kerjakan, pada tim yang sudah terbentuk, dan seluruh pihak yang sudah bekerja bersama. We had fun!

Perjuangan belum selesai, dan tidak perlu berhenti sampai di sini. Mari terus berkarya, dan bersama-sama creating something awesome! 🙂

Kami, tim Salingsilang.com pamit undur.

Happy National Bloggers Day

On this day four years ago, the then Communications and Information Minister Muhammad Nuh opened the first Pesta Blogger at Blitz Megaplex and declared the day National Bloggers Day.

Much has happened since then. The online community grew and grew, Facebook and Twitter made their entry and replaced much of the energy people put into blogging, several of the past Pesta Blogger chairmen went on to become well-known personalities in their own right.

At that event we also struck up a relationship with the US Embassy in Jakarta and this relationship turned into an annual partnership to organize Blogshops – workshops on blogging – in 10 cities each year as a run up to the main Pesta Blogger event, that lasts till this day.

Pesta Blogger also gave rise to a host of other social media events, much like a successful bakso shop will soon find itself surrounded by other bakso shops, and today we see a very vibrant online community. Where will all this lead to? Time will tell, even as we gear up for the 5th Pesta Blogger, which has been retooled as ON|OFF to change with the times, on December 3.

Here’s a blast from the past posting from Unspun on Pesta Blogger 2007 for those who were there and might ant to take a nostalgic trip back in time:

Pakistan’s greatest asset?

Unspun, together with Hanny Kusumawati and Anandita Puspitasari, were invited to participate in Pakistan’s 1st Social Media Summit on June 11 in Karachi. We didn’t know what to expect and was bushwacked by a deluge of warm Pakistani hospitality and enthusiasm. Hanny has written here very eloquently about the welcome we got and the feelings it evoked.

US Consul General in Karachi William Martin called the event a social revolution here and there was also TV coverage on the event

Here’s an oped piece I wrote for a Pakistani paper on the day of the summit itself that may, or may not, be published. No news about that and the shelf life is expiring, but the beauty of being a blogger is that you can self publish. So here it is:

Quick, which country am I talking about?

It has a moribund economy and is plagued with endemic corruption, natural disasters, poor tax collection, terrorist bombings and little legal certainty. In addition the government shows little political will to reform matters and the digital broadband is slow, yet it has a nascent but very active online community.

Most Pakistanis, a least those who attended the panel discussion at Pakistan’s 1st International Social Media Summit, thought it was their own country.

I was in fact describing Indonesia – circa 2007.

This was the time just before Indonesia’s economy took off and social media use became so widespread, the country is now being looked up to for clues on how to use social media for business and social movement purposes, and how individual members of the online community could monetize their online efforts.

But I could just easily have been describing Pakistan today.

It faces much of the same circumstances that Indonesia faced then, and the possible bright future that awaited Indonesia subsequently. Pakistan, from what I was able to gather from conversations with many Pakistani bloggers and people over the past 48 hours since our group landed in Karachi, also has a vibrant and online community, eager and hungry to experiment and find contentment if not financial success online.

By coincidence 2007 was the year we first organized Pesta Blogger giving bloggers throughout Indonesia an opportunity to gather, meet and exchange ideas offline. Many of the meetings resulted in projects and collaborations. It also spawned new communities to support and encourage each other on. These weren’t the sole reasons but it helped Indonesia develop into the social media powerhouse it is today, and with it a new sense of pride and confidence in themselves and their country.

In my conversations with many Pakistanis they were quick to complain about the ills and wrongs of Pakistan. Then I asked them the trick question: If you had only one thing to be bullish about where Pakistan is concerned, what would it be?

They thought and scratched their heads but the predominant answer I get from then is the people.

Pakistanis, they said, at the end of the day are a warm, generous and hospital people and although their may fight among themselves they will not hesitate to come together as a people and achieve great things.

And there you have it.

Pakistan may have many problems but it also has a great asset that is yet to be realized and untapped: its people, with the onliners at the fore because this is where change will happen.

The Social Media Summit has brought the Pakistani online community together for the first time. Hopefully this will lead to the collaboration and camaraderie that we saw in Indonesia.

If this can happen then the online community can perhaps help influence the future history of Pakistan for the better. Pakistan has many good and powerful stories to tell, to the world at large, but more importantly to itself. It has all it takes to move forward, the community now just needs to work together and believe in its greatest asset.

At the 1st Malaysian-ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference

Mahathir these days seems much smaller than he was in 1982, the year I started becoming a journalist in Malaysia and covering some of his news conferences. Then, he radiated power and kept many of us in awe.

But last Sunday, at the 1st Malaysian – ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference (1MARBC) organised by Blog House Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, he seemed shriveled by old age (he is 86), slight and vulnerable. He is still aware and articulate though and the most interesting quote of the occasion, in which Unspun was one of the nearly 40 ASEAN bloggers invited, came from him.

Group Photo of ASEAN and Malaysian Bloggers with the Malaysian PM and former-PM Pix from @Ranoadidas at ProjectBrunei.com

Speaking about blogging and government censorship in Malaysia during the conference luncheon, in which he accepted in becoming patron of Blog House Malaysia, he said: “There is no censorship but since I started blogging, I found some people to be too sycophantic and supportive or too critical.”

That was when I thought: “You’ve still got to give it to him. The Old Man may be getting on but he still has the ability to sum things up in one short and pity sentence.”

What he summed up was, for Unspun, practically the whole blogging scene in Malaysia. As someone who grew up in Malaysia and who later left to work elsewhere, but following the developments of the country’s online community from a distance, the Malaysian blogosphere seems  riven by partisanship.

You have bloggers supporting the Prime Minister Najib Razak and you have those critical of him, often in excessive measures. Ditto with almost anything else that evokes passions – race, religion, personalities, government, opposition. There seems to be very little middle ground or a common place for friendly disagreement.

Everyone there, as Unspun, conscripted as a speaker at a breakout session on Corporates and Blogging told the audience, seems to take their views and themselves too seriously. Passion is good, but when passion when not accompanied with skillful expression leads to slights, enmity and polarization.

It is against this background that the 1st Malaysian – ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference (1MARBC) was held and it is to the credit of the executive committee at Blog House Malaysia that they managed to pull off a successful ASEAN gathering that, if nothing else, lays the foundation for a pan-ASEAN Bloggers Forum.

It is a credit to the committee because many prominent Malaysian bloggers chose not to attend (because they were too critical of what they perceive the Blog House bloggers were too supportive of) and the short planning timeframe that the committee had to turn their plans into reality.

Still, they managed to invite an eclectic and lively group of ASEAN bloggers from Brunei (Reeda Malik and Rano Iskandar), Cambodia (Sopheap Chak, Kounila Keo and Ramana Sorn) Indonesia (Ollie, Herman and Unspun), The Philippines (Tonyo Cruz and Blogie Robillo), Thailand (Chandler Vandergrift), Vietnam (Hy Huynh and Anh Minh Do) and the guys and Abigail from Sabah and Sarawak.

In the meetings we had, and more importantly in the conversations that took place over a glass or five of wine, we found that there was actually lots of things in common and of interest among bloggers in ASEAN.

Unspun found out, for instance that, the Philippines in the way the use social media, the stage of development of the country and the community-mindedness of the Filipinos, was uncannily similar to Indonesians. The Filipinos, like the Indonesians, are also well advanced in using other platforms such as Twitter and Four Square extensions of their blogging.

Cambodian bloggers who call themselves Cloggers (Cambodia + Bloggers) are quite politically active and have political censorship very much at the top of their minds.

Malaysian bloggers are mainly political or SoPo, the local abbreviation for Social-Political, and – like most of the country – faction riven and partisan. They, and their east Asian counterparts, are very passionate though and perhaps take themselves and their blogs most seriously in all of ASEAN.

Singaporean bloggers are probably like the rest of us but the delegate we had (forgot his name) has a very peculiar sense of humor. Unspun found it difficult to laugh at his jokes with the appropriate timing but he seemed all fired up to give the Singaporean Government a run for their money, on the government’s terms.

Unspun also found the Brunei bloggers a cool and articulate lot and the Vietnamese bloggers, Anh and Hyunh, the equivalent of Boy Band celebrities of the blogging world, but with brains.

We discussed many things and pledged with various levels of seriousness and inebriation to get together again because at the end of the day it was a truly ASEAN gathering. We found congeniality, camaraderie and a sense of belonging to the ASEAN region – and that, surely, is what ASEAN is about and what the ASEAN governments should be trying to do more of.

So for all its shortcomings in organizing the conference (Unspun’s sure someone sometime will take issue with selection fo condidates and the nitty gritties) credit must go to Blog House Malaysia’s exco, namely Syed Akbar Ali, secretary Tony Yew, assistant secretary
Firdaus Abdullah, treasurer Zakhir Mohamad, exco members Nuraina Samad, Eric Woon, Shamsul Akmar, Salahuddin Hisham, Endie Shazalie Akbar and advisor Rocky Bru for organizing what is hopefully the start of a meaningful dialogue between ASEAN netizens. Thanks for everything – especially the Galaxy Tab. No thanks though for raising the bar so high in terms of gifts that the rest of us who organize events now have a hard time topping it.

Other posts about the conference:

projekbrunei.com/asean-regional…

http://anakbrunei.com.bn/2011/04/26/blogging-mindfully-and-responsibly/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFElqALYpfI

hermansaksono.com/2011/04/kemerd…

mediamonitors.com.sg/insights/blogs…

http://j.mp/hofYZ8

Blogshop and Mini Pesta Blogger+ in Padang

Just spend an enjoyable couple of days with Pestablogger+ Steering Committee members and the online communities of Padang organized by the local blogging group, Palanta.

The Blogshop was held at Universitas Negeri Padang and about 50 aspiring bloggers attended. In the evening we had buka puasa with Palanta members as well as the local members of the online communities at a – what else – Padang Restaurant. PB+ Chairperson Irayani Queencyputri and PB 2009 Chairman Iman Brotoseno represented the Steering Committee. Representatives from PB+2010’s main sponsor, the US Embassy and partners dagdigdug were also there.

Padang is the second of 10 cities that will hold Blogshops as a run up to Pesta Blogger+ 2010 on October 30.

Here are some photos from the Blogshop and Mini Pesta Blogger+

Pesta Blogger: To party or not to party?

A rather spirited conversation has cropped up in the Indonesian blogosphere over Pesta Blogger+ 2010 after Solo blogger Blontank Poer questioned the purpose and the running of the national event for bloggers in a post entitled Its not a question of the party (Bukan Soal Pestanya).

In a rambling post that, among other things, evoked the Indonesian struggle between farmers and nobles (petani dan bangsawan)and probably the spirit of Karl Marx and Woodstock, the author essentially said that Pesta Blogger was not worth going to or participating in. Among the reasons he gave were that some members of the Pesta Blogger committee were stand-offish, the “celebrity bloggers” were elitist and that the event did not try to address some of the ills of the country.

His posting has attracted many diverse views. At last count there were over a hundred comments, some agreeing and some disagreeing with Blontank Poer.

blontankpoer
Blontank: Party Pooper?

The conversation got even more spirited yesterday when Iman Brotoseno, who was Pesta Blogger chairman last year and was once too a critic of Pesta Blogger waded into the fray with his posting There is Nothing Wrong with Partying (Tak ada yang salah dengan Pesta). Iman’s view is that Pesta Blogger was set up and meant to continue as a Pesta, a party, where bloggers can meet, celebrate their common pastime and chill. So its critics should relax and not try to push their own agendas and angst on Pesta Blogger.

Iman: Party Animal?

The entry was posted only yesterday and has attracted 20 comments so far.

Where will this particular conversation go? It remains to be seen. Perhaps it is fitting that the theme of this year’s Pesta Blogger is Celebrating Diversities. Let a hundred flowers bloom.