Mammon and the New Media in Indonesia

In Talking Points Unspun’s alter ego makes the observation that Indonesian has entered into an interesting phase where marketers have suddenly woken up to the potential of New Media. They are enlisting the help of Digital Influencers but are they all going about it in a way that would benefit the brands, their customers and, most of all, the Digital Influencers themselves?

Are digital influencers selling out to Mammon?

March 25th, 2010 | No Comments »

Posted in Brands & Marketing, English, Ideas, PR & Communications, Social Media, Trends |

I checked my Facebook account today and found that I had some invites from several prominent online presences (read: Twitterers and bloggers who are quite well known and therefore potentially influential).

Many of them are good friends or at least acquaintances with established Net identities/personas. So it was a bit surprising to see what they were inviting me to join. The invites were actually for products or brands that were irrelevant to what they themselves usually blogged or Twitted about.

It was as if I woke up to read in the papers that a sports editor in an influential newspaper had written a review on the Cobra Starship concert for the newspaper’s music column.

Something wasn’t right.

The reasonable inference from this spate of invites is that the Indonesian marketing communications community has come to the conclusion that new media–Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social network platforms–matters. And that they need to get in there to secure their share of voice.

Read more

Malaysia the poster child for social media adoption? Ptui!

You gotta laugh at this article (below from PR Weeek) as you no longer wonder why traditional media is on such a steep decline.

To make the claim in the headline that “Malaysia is rapidly becoming he psoter-child for the transformative power of social media” has got to be as preposterous as saying that the Super Corridor is a flaming success because all the tolerance in the country has unleashed vast quantities of creativity among the Malaysian populace and all foreign IT companies are rushing to invest there.

And to make such an inference on so few and paltry successes such as the one that derailed the lobbying for a low-cost terminal seems to be trying to make mountains of molehills.

For a poster boy on the transformative power of social media, PR Week might want to get off its ass, do some real howework and interview real bloggers and other social media users instead. If they di, they would soon learn that there is no stronger condidate for a poster boy than Indonesia.

This is a country where bloggers and social media users, among other things:

  1. forced Omni International Hospital off its high hospital bed when it tried to sue housewife Prita Mulyasari for daring to complain about their services; but before that raised nearly US$20,000 from the public as a warchest against the hospital
  2. turned public opinion against the national Police when they tried to fabricate charges against Chandra and Bibit, the commissioners in the nation’s Anti Corruption Agency. The force of the public opinion was so unrelenting that the police dropped all charges
  3. pushed #indonesiaunite with its message that “we are not afraid”as the top trending topic in Twitter worldwide in the aftermath of the twin bombings of the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott bombings in Jakarta
  4. got President SBY to rap the Minister of Information Tifatul Sembiring on the knuckles when his ministry tried to get a piece of legislation on multimedia content (known locally as RPM Konten) passed. The law is offensive to onliners as it makes the carrier or provider of the infrastructure, rather than the content generator, liable to prosecution. The onliners mounted such a campaign that the President chided Tifatul who slunked away to tweet another day (Imagine Najib rapping Rais Yatim)
  5. come together in a big way when it comes time for Pesta Blogger. Last year about 1,500 bloggers from all over Indonesia went to the event, the third annual event of its kind. Pesta Blogger also was preceeded by blogshops (workshops teaching people how to blog) in 10 cities throughout Indonesia (disclosure: Unspun’s company organizes Pesta Blogger)

These are only some examples of how transformative Indonesia has been when it comes to social media. So please, PR Week, do your homework and talk to people who actually know the social media scene before erecting any oster boys.

Focus On…Malaysia

Arun Sudhaman, prweek.com, 12 March 2010, 12:10pm

Malaysia is rapidly becoming the poster-child for the transformative power of social media.

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's capital

Malaysia has endured its fair share of political upheaval during its 47-year history. Recent months, though, have raised eyebrows a notch higher thanks to escalating religious and racial tensions.

That the political stakes have risen so sharply is due in large part to the success of Anwar Ibrahim in galvanising opposition to the ruling Barisian National coalition. In this, Ibrahim has been able to circumvent state-influenced traditional media by appealing directly to an increasingly raucous blogosphere.

Ibrahim’s success has had consequences. He faces a second trial for sodomy, 10 years after he entered prison for a six-year stretch, following a high-profile rift with former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad.

The influence of social media in sparking public opposition cannot be underplayed. In many respects, Malaysia perfectly illustrates the medium’s ability to galvanise change, best illustrated by the election of prominent blogger Jeff Ooi to Parliament in 2008. Ibrahim himself is also an active blogger.

Bloggers are now also turning their attention towards corporates, as Fleishman-Hillard Malaysia GM Ku Kok Peng.

Ku points to a campaign by various socio-political bloggers, led by Sime Darby Watch and Rocky’s Bru, which successfully derailed low-cost airline Air Asia’s plans to lobby for a new carrier terminal some distance away from the capital city’s main airport.

read more here

Onliners 1: Minister 0

Tifatul Sembiring made a debut as Indonesian Information Minister by courting bloggers. Two days after his appointment as minister he accept an impromptou invitation and showed up at Pesta Blogger 2009 to open the event.

tifatul sembiring by wongbagoes.

There he promised freedom of expression – with the usual caveat about responsibility. Since then he’s been Twittering furiously and won some admiration from the online community for being technically savvy, compared to the other politicians.


Lately, however, he’s been under heavy attack from the onliners in blogs, Twitter and Facebook about the attempt to have the draft law on multimedia content (known locally as RPM Konten) passed. The law is offensive to onliners as it makes the carrier or provider of the infrastructure, rather than the content generator, liable to prosecution. So if, say, you run a forum and someone posts something offensive or something indecent on the forum you get slapped with the law, not the person posting it.

This resulted in the onliners creating such a racket that this morning President SBY in the Cabiner meeting rapped Tifatul Sembiring on the knuckles by asking his inisters to not jump the gun and to exercise caution before giving statements to the public about sensitive issues.

That is Indonesian politician-speak for “you goofed up.”

Hence the statement from Tifatul below that he woul cancel the draft law if it was considered to be restricting the press.

Tifatul also sai that he’s not read the draft. That’s a bit difficult to believe because he was heard speaking to the BBC that he’s read it.

That’s a minor point though. The real point here is that Indonesia has a vibrant democracy where the onliners, the e-chattering classes, can cause a minister to be rapped on the knuckles by the president.

Now let’s see Malaysia get so democratic. Can’t imagine the bloggers in Malaysia forcing Rais Yatim to do a climbdown.

Multimedia Content Draft Will be Canceled if Press Freedom Threatened: Minister

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring has said he would cancel the draft on multimedia content if it was considered to be restricting the press.

Tifatul made the statement upon landing in Jakarta from Sweden on Friday for a meeting with a number of cellular phone companies.

“If the draft is restricting the press, I will automatically erase it,” Tifatul told Kompas.

He said the draft had been in the process of being written since 2006, so it was possible that the draft was not in accordance with the present developments. He said that he had never received any report that the draft was about to be launched.

The multimedia content draft had sparked criticism and protests from Indonesian politicians, internet communities and the House of Representatives over concerns that it might violate freedom of expression.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also discussed the draft in Thursday’s cabinet meeting. He asked his ministers to not jump the gun and to exercise caution before giving statements to the public about sensitive issues.

via Multimedia Content Draft Will be Canceled if Press Freedom Threatened: Minister – The Jakarta Globe.

Would you want to stay in the US if you’re a Muslim?

The US Embassy in Jakarta has, since its early days of cooperation with Pesta Blogger in 2007,  plunged into social media with a zeal that only Americans can have.

Its Facebook page, for instance, has nearly 24,500 fans and its latest initiative is to use its Facebook fan base together with its ties with Kompas TV to collaborate with Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry to bring what is possibly the first direct streaming forums of its kind in diplomacy.

Facebook diplomacy: live streaming discussion on what its like to be a Muslim in the US tonight

At 5pm today the live streaming will feature American Zeenat Rahman, an Interfaith Youth Core member and Indonesian student Anggita Paramesti from Gadjah Mada University in a live chat on the potentially controversial topic Ever wondered what life is like in America if you’re Muslim?

Participants must register (here) and then they can take part in the conversation and voice their ideas on how people of different faiths can live together in harmony.

UGM's Anggita Paramesti will be providing the Indonesian point of view

Hmmm…who knows, they might even broach the subject of whether non-Muslims can use the word Allah, in which case the Malaysian Government should be tuning in.

Yosef Ardi back, now with RSS

Unspun’s laments, believe it or not,  sometimes gets heard. Back in June last year Unspun wrote that Yosef Ardi, former researcher at Bisnis Indonesia who used to run a very informative blog for businesspeople, Indonesia Today, had begun blogging again after a hiatus.

His return then, however, was sporadic in the frequency of his postings and his blog was not equipped with RSS that made blogs easy to follow though. Unspun lamented at some point that Yosef would do himself a favor by installing RSS on his blog.

A few days ago Unspun got a Twitter message from Yosef himself saying thanks for reminding him to put in RSS. He’s done so. His postings have also become more constant. So welcome back Yosef and look forward to your informative postings on business life in Indonesia.

Unspun’s photo blog

Unspun‘s taken some photos over the years and some of them are not too bad to look at as well, IMHO. And since Flickr has a 200 photo limit Unspun thought he’d compile these photos into a blog — called, of course, UnspunPics — more for his failing memory than anything else. But if you enjoy those photos then that’s and added bonus.

Who knows, it may be so much fun that Unspun might pass on to become a photo blogger instead of being a purveyor of rants, acidic barbs and the occassional logical train of thought.

Getting Lunatic over infotainment journos

Apart from the fact that Luna Maya is probably justified to vent her anger at Indonesia’s equivalent to the paparazzi , Unspun‘s always wondered why those reporters are called infotainment journalists.

Why infotainment? The cover the entertainment so shouldn’t they be called entertainment journalists? Unspun wonders what’s the etymology of infotainment. How did that word creep into the Indonesian vocabulary.

Indonesian actress Luna Maya closed her Twitter account after launching a tirade against infotainment reporters.  (Photo: SP File)

Indonesian Celebrity Luna Maya Shuts Twitter Account After Infotainment Prostitute Slur

An Indonesian celebrity has been threatened with legal action by a journalist’s association and has closed her Twitter account following backlash against a heated message where she labeled infotainment television program crews as being “lower than prostitutes.”

Luna Maya, a television presenter, model and actress, apologized to her Twitter followers before closing her account, under the username lunmay, permanently after the outburst.

In a message posted on Tuesday night, she wrote: “Infotainment are LOWER than PROSTITUTES, MURDERERS!!!!! May your soul burn in hell!!!”

“I’m sorry everyone for the unimportant tweet. I thank those of you who understand (my reasons) and for those who don’t, I apologize,” Luna wrote on her Twitter account on Wednesday.

Luna was believed to have written the harsh Twitter message after being mobbed by crew members of infotainment television shows after she attended the premiere of the film “Sang Perimpi” (“The Dreamer”) at EX Plaza in Central Jakarta on Tuesday night.

Luna, who is in a relationship with singer songwriter Ariel from the band Peterpan, was watching the film with Ariel’s daughter from a previous marriage, Alleia, and his father.

When Luna left the movie theater carrying Alleia, who had fallen asleep during the film, the actress alleged that one of the infotainment crew members bumped Alleia’s head with their camera in the jostle for photographs and interviews. Luna had allegedly already asked the infotainment reporters to wait in the lobby at EX Plaza where she would give an interview.

After the incident, Luna vented her anger on her Twitter account at midnight.

Her comments sparked backlash from her followers.

via Indonesian Celebrity Luna Maya Shuts Twitter Account After Infotainment Prostitute Slur – The Jakarta Globe.