Does Malaysia Airlines instil confidence in its handling of MH370 incident?

When tragedy strikes, like it has with the disappearance of flight MH370, the company at the centre of it all comes under intense scrutiny. It must demonstrate that it knows what it is doing and has a difficult situation under control – or lose the confidence of the public and all other stakeholders.

If it loses control of the situation it will plunge itself into a deeper crisis as all the frustration and anger of missing loved ones come to bear full force on it.

Fortunately for the families and loved ones of MH370, however, Malaysia Airlines has so far has demonstrated its professionalism in handling this crisis-like situation. Their burden remains heavy, but they can at least take comfort that CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his team know what they are doing.

How can you tell if they are doing a good job?  There are several tell tale signs.

The first is that Ahmad and Malaysia Airlines’ willingness to share information. Perhaps a bit slow off the block Ahmad nevertheless addressed the issue in a Press Conference yesterday where he expressed sympathy for the friends and families of the victims, told the public what they did and did not know yet, and what they are doing. This is the Triple R of crisis communications – Regret, Reason and Remedy.

The other indication of what sort of a company Malaysia Airlines is when it comes to crisis management can be seen very evidently  from how it manages its digital assets because in this age of the super-connected public, they are the first points of contact for most people around the world who are interested in the developments of the search and rescue and recovery of MH370 and its passengers and crew. The digital assets are primarily its website, as well as its social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

Companies trained in crisis management usually have a Dark Site prepared for incidents such as MH370. A Dark Site is a “dormant” website that is stripped of all promotion materials and designed to provide information and updates about the incident. It is activated only during crisis-like situations.

If you go to the Malaysian Airlines website you will see that they have stripped their website of all promotional materials, with a prominent “pointer” to the Dark Site.

MAS Website

Click on that and you go directly to the Dark Site where you get the latest information that the company has on the incident.

MAS Darksite

But Malaysian Airlines does not stop there. Go to their Facebook page and you will see the same messages being posted to amplify their message on the website. The Facebook page is also stripped of all colour and the airlines logo is grey together with a grey background, to prevent any inadvertent visuals that may not be appropriate for the mood.

MAS FB

This same treatment is also applied to its Twitter account which is also used to amplify the message on its website.

MAS Twitter

Such coordination and activation within hours of the incident suggests a company that takes crisis management seriously and has drilled its employees to be able to carry out such tasks under the pressure of public scrutiny. It should give confidence to the public that Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and his Core Crisis Management Team at Malaysia Airlines are competent, professional and know what they are doing.

In difficult times like this, such professionalism should be a source of comfort for aggrieved families and friends of the passengers of MH370.

 

Are Buzzers worth hiring at all?

The real question that needs to be asked is: “Are Buzzers worth hiring at all?”

All but the most naive of Indonesia’s Twittersphere have come to realise that these Buzzers are all hired guns and will tweet on any product – politicians, soap, aphrodisiacs, milk, slimming powders, you name it – for the right price.

Knowing this they don’t believe them or are not influenced by their endorsers. So why pay for buzzers at all?

The reason why so many politicians and brand managers still do is that they are lazy and have no clue how to connect with today’s savvy, hyperlinked and skeptical audiences.

They can’t get their act together to figure who their actual audience is, what makes them tick and how generate their own content that is relevant and engaging.

So they take the easy way out and hire Buzzers. The question that arises here is why aren’t the CEOs wise to this and put a stop to this futile practice?

Media monitor gives Twitter advice to political parties | The Jakarta Post.

Political parties and politicians need to consider more than just how many followers as Twitter user has when looking at hiring “buzzers” for the 2014 general election, a media monitoring company says.

“The number of followers alone does not guarantee the success of engagement created via the buzzer. There are other factors to analyze and measure,” Awesometrics business analyst Hari Ambari said in an official release on Wednesday.

Awesometrics gave a number of examples, such as actor Ringgo Agus Rahman who charged Rp 5 million per message on Twitter to promote a campaign to his 1.7 million followers, while professional corporate worker Henry Manampiring could charge between Rp 5 million and Rp 15 million to “buzz” his 70,000-plus followers.

The comparison clearly showed that users with larger amounts of followers did not always receive higher prices for a “buzz”.

Hari said political parties and politicians who wished to use buzzers had to consider four other factors: the Twitter user’s potential reach, reputation, usual topics and engagement with their followers.

 

Jilbab Hitam and Waiting for Godot

Regular readers of Unspun will know that this blog takes interest in journalistic developments in Indonesia and elsewhere.  The interest comes from Unspun having been a journalist for many years before he “sublimated” into a communications consultant.

Readers will know from the two previous posts that Unspun found the Jilbab Hitam issue fascinating since it involves several prominent names, the allegations of a putative ex-Tempo journalist and of extortion of well-known institutions.

That, however, was where Unspun’s involvement with the case ends. Ditto Maverick, the communications firm where Unspun works at.

It was therefore very surprising last Thursday night when the names of Unspun and Maverick started cropping up on Twitter. The head of a research firm in Indonesia (let’s call him Godot), who is also an occasional newspaper contributor and commentator on anything from politics to economics had insinuated that Maverick was involved with a corporation (let’s call it AA), whose name had been bandied about as the possible instigator behind the Jilbab Hitam posting in Kompasiana.

AA was supposed to be involved, so the rumour mill has it, because they wanted payback for a book claiming to expose questionable practices in the corporation.

Now, sometime during the last week or so a blogger, who had almost the same name as one of our employees (let’s call him RF) , had posted an opinion piece in a Detik.com blog criticising the book. In the posting the blogger had said that he was a student of a lecturer  in University Indonesia who had also earlier posted a critique of the book in Kompasiana.

The detik.com posting sent Godot’s research juices flowing and somehow (presumably through something more sophisticated than a Google search, for he is, after all, a researcher) he came up with the allegation that Maverick and RF were in cahoots with AA to run down the author of the investigative boo. Without further ado Godot started to post Tweets about his suspicions.

As with most things that come up out of  the blue, Maverick’s crisis management training has taught us to seek and verify facts before reacting rashly. So we methodologically called up RF’s personnel files and found out that unlike Godot’s insinuations, RF did not go to school in University Indonesia. We then asked RF if he had known the particular lecturer. Negative. Had RF written any opinion pieces and posted them on any blogs, let alone Detik.com? Negative. Curiouser and curiouser.

We then went on the next stage of fact-finding. Going to source is usually the most reliable means of arriving at the truth. So since Twitter seemed the communications channel of choice for Godot, we asked him a simple question : why did he think that the blogger was the same person as our employee RF, since it was a common name and a Google search came up with dozens of RFs. Why did he think our RF was the RF?

That’s when the Twitter conversation turned weird. Godot dissembled and never answered the question. That didn’t stop him from casting aspersions on us and the PR profession though.

Normally, we would dismiss Godot as a troll and ignore him but because this issue was emotionally charged among a community we are close to – journalists – we thought we needed to resolve the matter conclusively and give it a decent burial. In social media, anything that doesn’t get a decent burial can come back to haunt you.

So we asked Godot for a face-to-face meeting so that he can explain how he came to his conclusions and we can set the record straight. By then the Twitter exchange had attracted the attention of some prominent Twitterati, a few of whom are senior journalists. They felt it was a good idea and encouraged Godot to meet with us to clear the air.

In spite of all this willingness to engage though, Godot has not replied. If he felt that he was right there was no indication that he desired to get to the bottom of things. If he realised that he had been wrong there was no hint of owning up and an apology for wrongfully insinuating that Maverick was in cahoots with AA.

So we are now…. waiting for Godot

(Thanks @julianto_irwan for being our muse with the name)

Strange things on the Net: Jilbab Hitam, Tempo, Abraham Samad, SBY

Strange things are happening on the Net in Indonesia.

The latest is the kerfuffle on Twitter yesterday after a putative ex-Tempo journalist with the nom de plume Jilbab Hitam wrote in a blogpost accusing Tempo and the other large newspapers of systematically extorting money and being in collusion with vested powers.

The post was taken down from its blog. It appeared briefly in Kompasiana and then was taken down. A copy now resides in Rima. news (click here). The articles named names, some of which are the most respected in journalism; made accusations and also dragged in a prominent ex-journalist turned researcher as well as a columnist turned researcher.

Reaction to the posting has been mixed but noisy. Some jumped straight away to condemning the accused prominent media and journalists. Others claimed it was an act of fitnah (libel). Others too the cautious time-will-tell route and asked the media houses named to tell their side of the story, even against an anonymous writer.

In an era when the even the highest institutions of law such as the Constitutional Court are enmeshed in allegations of corruption, one does not know what to believe.

Similarly confusing and seemingly improbably was an article in Kabarnet yesterday where the head of the Anti Corruption Commission (KPK) Abraham Samad apparently railed and threatened President SBY with arrest. Kabarnet quoted a Twitter account apparently belonging to Abraham Samad, but the article did not say whether it tried to verify that the Tweets were from Abraham Samad or whether his account was hijacked.

These are strange days on the Net, that was once supposed to unleash an era of openness and transparency now pulls a veil of confusion over its Netizenry. What is one to make of these stories?

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!

 

The President’s fleet-footed son

There’s been a storm brewing in Indonesia’s social media teacup over the running accomplishments of President SBY’s No. #1 son, Agus,  and the debate that is still raging now is whether the athletic presidential scion is an inspiration or an object of contempt for others.

The incident unfolded yesterday after Agus and friends from his running club, Garuda Finishers, finished the Adidas King of the Road run at BSD. For his troubles Agus was awarded a medal for completion and all would have been fine except for his tweets, coupled with the fact that he had asked the run’s organisers to set up a separate run for him since the event had actually finished by the time he got there.

Agus, you see, had been a busy boy. That morning he was up at the crack of dawn to run at a 10K race to commemorate the Indonesian Military’s 68th anniversary at 6.30am. Being a runner and not a sprinter, he finished that race, and being a sporty chap with lots of adrenaline to spake then proceeded to run at the Adidas run. The only problem was that that even started at 5:30 am and finished at 8:30am.

Agus and mates got there after that but so keen they were to hit the pavement that they told the race organisers to re-erect the run signage, the starting and finishing line as well as to bring back the timing officials so that they could run the 16.5 km race and get a medal for their accomplishments.

Perhaps finding it difficult to say no to a Presidential Son, the race organisers obliged  (Agus’s supporters were to claim that they had informed the race organisers that they would be late and the organisers said no problem, just mosey along whenever they are ready).

All that would have been a low-key affair except that Agus is not only fleet with his feet but with his fingers as well. he posted two tweets about himself, obviously so that his admirers can admire him all the more and be inspired by his example.

The first had the message: “Never..Never..Never give up…I ran 17K at the King of the Road this morning” accompanied by a picture of him and his chums running in the race.

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Then he posted another message: “Always finish what you have started. Salam @GarudaFinishers 🏃🏃🏃” with a photo of him and the coveted medal for finishers

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All of this must have been very inspirational to his supporters and water carriers but quite a few social media users, perhaps sick to death of seeing who they perceive as privileged children bend the rules and getting all sorts of special treatment, had a different view and the social media scene has since been all the more lively for the different views being espoused by Agus’s supporters and detractors.

So what do you think? Is Agus perfectly a sporty and spirited young man that should serve as an inspiration to aspiring runners everywhere, especially with his exhortations of persistence and seeing things to the end? Or is he just another spoilt brat from a privileged family who has no self awareness of what a schmuck he appears to be?

Below is today’s article in Kompas.com about the incident:

Ketika Agus Yudhoyono Telat Lari Maraton…

KOMPAS.com — Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, putra sulung Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, menjadi perbincangan di lini masa Twitter dalam dua hari terakhir. Semua berawal dari gambar ataupun kicauannya di Twitter terkait partisipasinya di ajang lari maraton Adidas King of the Road, di BSD City, Minggu (29/9/2013) pagi.

Dengan mengunggah fotonya saat mengikuti lari maraton, Agus melalui akunnya @AgusYudhoyono berujar “Never… Never… Never give up… Lari 17K di event King of The Road tadi pagi,” yang dipasang pada pukul 19.20. Tidak lama kemudian, dia melanjutkan kicaunya “Always finish what you have started ” dengan menyertakan fotonya sambil memamerkan medali finisher. Medali tersebut diberikan kepada peserta yang berhasil sampai garis akhir.

Yang membuatnya jadi bahan pergunjingan di media sosial justru karena dia terlambat datang. Beredar penuturan dari pengguna yang diduga panitia acara yang menjelaskan bahwa acara tersebut seharusnya digelar pukul 05.30 sampai pukul 08.30. Rombongan Agus dengan Pasukan Pengamanan Presiden (Paspampres) datang setelahnya.

“Terus minta ke race organizer-nya supaya signage serta gerbang start dan finish line, timing,dan lain-lain jangan diberesin dulu karena mereka mau lari 16,5 kilometer dan minta dapet medali,” demikian tulis seorang pengguna media sosial Path yang lantas menyebar lintas media sosial.

Dalam foto yang diunggah Agus, tampak dia mengenakan nomor bib 1010. Begitu dicek dalam situs resmi acara, tidak tampak nomornya dalam daftar pelari yang menyelesaikan maraton 16,8 kilometer. Begitu pula orang yang ada di sebelahnya dengan nomor 3450. Tentu saja hal ini akan terlihat janggal karena sebelumnya dia memamerkan medali finisher.

Sejak semalam, akun milik Agus jadi sasaran perundungan atau bully. Tweet-nya terkait partisipasi dalam event maraton tersebut dikomentari oleh beberapa akun Twitter milik pesohor, seperti Melanie Subono, Panji Pragiwaksono, dan Joko Anwar. Tidak hanya itu, muncul juga akun-akun yang berupaya membela Agus dan mengatakan bahwa keterlambatan rombongan sudah diketahui panitia.

Hingga pagi tadi, akun @AgusYudhoyono belum memberikan reaksi. Pengguna dengan akun @hwhardana pun berharap agar penjelasan segera muncul agar masalah bisa jelas. “Lets hear your side of story, kenapa mas agus telat ke kotr… Ditunggu ya…,” kicaunya.

Berdasarkan kegiatan yang diikuti Agus hari itu, ternyata pagi harinya dia mengikuti maraton 10 kilometer yang digelar dalam rangka ulang tahun ke-68 TNI di Monas dan dimulai pukul 06.30. Agus membawa serta komunitas lari Garuda.

Dari sana, Agus dan rombongan baru ke BSD City untuk mengikuti maraton KOTR 16,8 kilometer yang digelar Adidas dan ia datang terlambat

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: