Sayonara, Facebook and Twitter! Welcome, Sebangsa!

I remember writing about Sebangsa four years ago [read on: New Indonesian-Flavored Social Media Sebangsa.com Tries to Gain Traction]. It was a new service still and not many people knew its existence. Sebangsa was later on supported by ATSI (Asosiasi Penyelenggara Telekomunikasi Seluruh Indonesia/ Indonesia’s National Telecommunication Service Providers Association), which enables it to survive to its very second.

In 2014, the service launched after Enda Nasution and Indira B. Widjonarko made it. It was far from popularity. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were still widely used. In terms of functions, it had a lot in common with the first two social media services aforementioned. It presented a timeline with multimedia content.

One thing the service has tried to facilitate is the spirit of ‘gotong royong’ or communal solidarity. It accomodated Indonesian migrant workers so its content was uniquely ‘Indonesia’. Group is its best feature. Linguistically, it was also designed to provide more ease of communication among Indonesians. So you’ll find bahasa gaul or Indonesian slang there.

Fast forward four years later, I still know Sebangsa but I am hardly on it. I have been too engrossed with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And thank God, it still exists.

After the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook shameful scandal, I came back to it once again. I gained my access to my already existing Sebangsa account (which is by now 4 years old). As of today I start to be on it more especially after I deleted my Facebook and Twitter private account.

The app cofounder Enda said [as cited by maxmanroe.com] that their strategy was never about getting head-to-head against the giants [read: Facebook and Twitter]. “We are here not to drag netizens out of Twitter or Facebook. It doesn’t matter if they are still on both social media services as our features are different from theirs.”

But if I had been Enda, I would have been more assertive in stating my ambition and proactively acquiring more users in the Indonesian market. Especially in the time of Indonesian public disgust over the scandal involving Facebook. We Indonesians now know more that trusting our data to foreign entities costs us a lot more than mere privacy leak and damage of trust.

It costs us our sovereignty and freedom to determine our own fate [through supposedly intervention-free democracy processes].

Now I know the reason why Facebook and Twitter are strictly banned in China and the country only approves of local social media networks.

If there is a perfect time for Indonesia to reclaim its digital sovereignty in this 21st century [read on: The Indonesian Government Threatens to Ban Facebook in Indonesia] then NOW IS THE TIME FOR SEBANGSA TO SHOW UP.

Leaving Facebook and using Sebangsa sounds more feasible to me because I hate to say that I hate it when people say proudly:”Indonesia is one the biggest Facebook users number in the world.” Indonesians should not feel proud of it because it shows the nation dependency on another nation’s products. And to me, that is a flaw to fix, instead of an achievement to show off. (*/)

My Life After Leaving Facebook

Odd at first, natural later on. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

It is so weird to hear a friend mentioned folks on Facebook have been in abuzz about the next general election last night. She seemed to have no idea about my opting out of Facebook. Which is of course understandable because I never want to announce it. I just quit. Just like that.

Why?

My first and foremost reason to leave or use Facebook significantly less than before is because I have no time to keep my wall updated. And every time I am on Facebook, what I see is MOSTLY DIGITAL TRASH. These are things I do not need to digest, things that are totally useless for the betterment of my life and career and everything.  I just killed time by getting on Facebook.

I have deactiveated my Facebook private account surely but I have to admit I still keep a separate account.

Again, why?

Well, before you accuse me of being untrustworthy and unreliable with my statement and view on Facebook, let me tell you I am an administrator of a community which requires me to be on Facebook. This is the last reason why I am once in a week log in Facebook and update the feed.

I have no reason to stop.

And then it came to think of it: why not delegating the task?

And then came another excuse. I have a blog. This very blog. It has a following on Facebook page I founded years ago. As silly as it may seem, I must say Facebook is quite useful to encourage people to visit my blog. Because again Instagram does not allow me to post clickable URLs on my captions. Which sucks a lot. But I really turn to Instagram right now simply because I see much less political content there. It’s mostly about yoga and health and no political views shown liberally by its users and my friends.

I have been on LinkedIn more often lately but it is too silly to post every and each blog post I just publish on my profile because not every piece is related to work. Some are very casual by nature. Far from serious topics and definitely written for sheer fun. Because writing to me is a way to destress as well.

So by ‘leaving Facebook’, I mean I am no longer updating my personal feed ever again. And I do not have any urge to do so. I have much less energy to rant on my Facebook. It is still an awesome platform for sure but it is over for me now. It is no longer cool. It is no longer awesome as it was in 2009 when the first time I logged in and told the world I had my own stances in every thing there is.

But then again, for professional and social purposes I may still be using it. I still want to reach people with Facebook simply because most of them are on it.

It is not about the glamorous side of getting social. It is just the norm. It is a task to accomplish. It is an assignment to be done. Not more. Not less. (*/)

 

How to Be an Influencer Without Being Fake

Many millenials are tempted to gain benefits from online fame. And that costs them more than they can imagine. (Wikimedia)

IT APPEARS EXTREMELY cool to be an influencer. You’re looked upon by almost everyone around you though you know deep down inside you’re just an ordinary person. You know what’s best in you and some people give acknowledgment for that. It gives you a boost in self confidence and life seems so much easier when you’re more known and thus respected by others.

I have some friends in the yoga world who I think deserve this title. They’re well-known in a certain circle. They may not be as famous as actors or worldwide entertainers. But still, they have their own audience. And if this audience is loyal and a given influencer can sustainably build warm  and sincere ties with them, it’s not impossible for the influencer to live a more established life in general instead of enjoying a brief taste of stardom and poof! Gone with the wind.

This very morning I read a concise story of an Instagram celebrity  told on Twitter by some account whose identity is anonymous but responded to warmly by its followers because it sounds so true and real. I felt so intrigued after that to write down a perspective of mine on this highly controversial subject.

Being a selebgram (a term they use to refer to a person with an online fame especially on Instagram), a 27-year-old good-looking young man with a decent, middle-class family background. I know it sounds too surreal like a soap opera plot that the young man – let’s call him Nick – turned from a modest young man living in a small town to an idol with a huge Instagram following. Essentially, he struggled so hard to climb up the social ‘Everest’ called Jakarta.  The path he took led him to a life he never thought of living. As a high-school graduate who failed to secure a high-paying job, he made a totally wrong choice by putting off his college. He at last graduated at 26 but that was kind of late for a fresh graduate to apply most jobs offered. As a consequence, he was trapped in debts yet still never hesitated to maintain the jetset lifestyle. He knew he wouldn’t succeed in conquering the demand of such  lifestyle so he used any tactics to survive. He finally ended up being a gigolo. He sold himself to a ‘sugar daddy’ (some call this kind of elder men ‘gadun‘). He then managed to stay afloat and funded his super expensive lifestyle as an online celebrity. But the next problem was he lost this sugar daddy to a close friend. And that meant he also lost his last financial support. At the end, his Instagram account was suddenly deleted.

A fake never succeeds…

Though a fake person who fail can still look as wise, successful and glamorous as really successful people, in actuality they may be as miserable as or even more pathetic as ordinary people without fame.

So what to do if we still want to be an influencer with fame and financial stability?

Build reputation organically

Put our best self out there and introduce ourselves to as many people as possible. Make them know what we do and what our true passions are.

This takes a great deal of time. This could be years or even longer. But that’s worth the wait.

Why?

Imagine a tree growing so slowly. That means its root also reaches more deeply into the soil. In time of storm, this proves helpful to wither any blowing wind coming. The tree won’t tumble too easily. Thanks to the deeply-penetrating root down there.

The same thing applies to online reputation. The virtual world allows us to be famous overnight but the thing is such instant fame doesn’t last forever and it is mostly about negativity (people tend to rave more about bad news than good news). It fades away eventually. Some very rapidly; some others gradually. There has much to be done to maintain this level of reputation.

Make use of our best talents and skills

Expenses for making our image up are not necessary if we already know our best strengths beforehand. That way, it’s easier for us to find focus in creating content and selecting a suitable niche. If we know our best talent is cooking, find a way to cook dishes or cakes that require ingredients that cost within our budget or, even better,  ingredients that any other parties would love to supply for free or at lower prices. This way, we can avoid unnecessary expenses and thus make more money in the process.

Devise a sustainable business model

Fame is the best asset but though it’s very invaluable, it’s also very easy to vanish and temporary by nature. One may become very famous one day and soon forgotten so easily once another star is discovered or after the public is fed up.

That said, it’s advisable that an influencer set up a proper business model. It’s a design for the successful operation of a business, identifying revenue sources, customer base, products, and details of financing. Earning money as an influencer looks effortless but actually it is not. One needs to compete against any other fellow influencers. This is necessary if one wants to make a stable living from being an influencer on social media. An influencer is a content producer and to produce great quality content s/he needs a sum of money. Along with money, it also takes expertise and creativity that never drains.

Dare to be yourselves

We might not give it a thought from the very beginning but are we ready to allow us to be ourselves later on? This is not an easy question to answer. Decide how much of ourselves can be exposed throughout our career as an influencer. Would we reveal almost everything of our private details to the rest of the world or would we retain most of privacy and only give out most profesionally relevant parts of our personal life to audience?

Build network and be humble

Once we rise to peak of stardom, it won’t hurt to stay down-to-earth along the way. Bear in our mind that to stay on top forever is impossible and it’s only made possible if we have a tightly-knit network and friendship. People with unfit personalities will soon meet their fall from top. That’s the universal law that applies also in the influencer world. (*/)

Making Money as an Online Buzzer

Gain fame and bucks through social media. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Gain fame and bucks through social media. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Believe it or not, as a terminology, “buzzer” was, I suppose, coined and is only used in Indonesia. Why so? So here’s my story. Sometime ago, I mentioned this in a question I aimed at  a foreign social media practitioner. He seemed perplexed upon hearing my question and this seemingly novel word (to his ears), making me explain in such a length so as to make him understand what a buzzer really means.

In short, a buzzer is defined roughly as “a person getting paid to promote or endorse brands or products on the jungle of social media”. Here’s what you may need to know about how to become one and of course, how to make money — a great deal of money — of it as told by Kartika Putri and Elisa Koraag. Both are bloggers and avid social media users.

First thing first, get your Klout score up! You have got to be famous in some sense, not necessarily insanely famous but you need to find your audience on the web. Because once again, it’s all about getting social, getting messages across. What matters most is the amount of interactions made by a potential buzzer. Go visit klout.com where you can easily measure your stardom level on the web. You’ll have to connect it to your social media account. In general, it does crawl and quantify your social media presence. To be a legitimate and highly promising buzzer, you’re strongly required to score 60 or above on klout.com. If you only score lower than the threshold, don’t bid farewell already. That means you just need to try a little bit, or much, harder to win more audiences by building more interactions.

Besides your Klout score, brands or corporations usually take your level of interaction into account, which means you really have to speak with people there. You can’t tweet all the time, on your own, without caring about others. Don’t be a cocky douchebag, thinking you’re the one and only important person on the web. If no one responds to your tweet, likes your Facebook statuses, or love your Tumblr posts, please try to engage with them at first. And there’re a lot of things you can do to connect with people with the more and less similar interests. So brands or companies will be interested in social media users who can make people interact voluntarily and naturally with each other.

A blogger may become a buzzer as well. What it takes to be a buzzer blogger? I don’t mean to be geeky but start paying more attention to your page ranks so companies acknowledge what you’re doing on your blog, which is worth paying and means something to their online image building. Having a higher page rank of a blog translates to a better opportunity of securing a buzzing gig. Another metric used to determine your blog’s authority and worth is Domain Authority.

Wait, what if you only keep a blog on a free platform such as Blogger or wordpress.com? Would that be an issue for you to be a buzzer. It’s lucky of you who don’t keep a paid, self-hosted blog, but to be a blogger buzzer you don’t have to buy a domain. But in some cases, you may need to upgrade later on. For those who blog on free platforms like this, the most common measurement to use is page views of the blog.

Other than that, Alexa rank of a blog plays a relatively significant role for a buzzer blogger to attract brands. I sometimes think it’s ridiculous to use Alexa rank as the sole parameter of a blog’s performance but well, that’s the fact. Deal with it.

Speaking of rates, it’s not an easy task. You have to really know yourself and your level of experience, skills, and also your strengths and weaknesses, so you can set up a quite fair rate card by yourself. A rate card basically tells those brands how much you want yourself to get paid after publishing a piece of writing on your blog concerning their products or brands or company events, you name it. So if you have a bigger scope of audience, you’re more likely to win.

It’s not always about money, however. A buzzer may decline to provide her endorsement or publish advertorials on her blog(s) whenever she feels decent to do so. For instance, if you’re known to be a health blogger, it’s very unlikely that you’ll accept an offer from a fast food brand. No to mention promote their nutritional values in the foods!

Conversely, if you get an offer by a brand you like so much, you may ignore the financial rewards of it and focus on the satisfaction of introducing it to a much wider audience. But I’m not sure many people would do that.