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Blog Featured in Tempo Magazine

It’s been quite a while that I intend to comment on Tempo Magazine latest edition that carries a long reports on blog and blogosphere in Indonesia. It’s a good news and a breakthrough of sort for Indonesian bloggers in particular and Indonesian people in general that blog and blogging phenomenon being featured in the most respected Indonesian magazine like Tempo for the first time.

For those in India, Tempo can be compared to Outlook magazine or TIME magazine in the US. It has the reputation as being independent and quality editorial and for that it costs the magazine a lifetime ban in the twilight of Suharto’s regime and republished again after the regime’s fall.

The report is good as far as I am concerned. It’s well researched and beautifully written by those journalists who know well what they’re talking about i.e. those who have blogging experiences themselves. I’m sure the Tempo coverage would make a good impact to the larger audience; the conventional media readers who might not yet be aware of it or who think that blog is only part of techno savvy buzz that will come and go like any others.I believe and am hopeful that other magazines like Gatra , etc will follow talking about it sooner rather than later.Newspaper Should LearnOther than the Jakarta Post, which carries some good op-ed article (the latest written by Ong Hock Chuan) and Kompas, other Indonesian newspapers are still lagging far behind and seems to have no clue at all about blogging. And because of that ignorance they often make grave mistake on which person they should interview, what kind of angle they should cover, etc. A case in point, take a look at responses by Priyadi and Enda in this matter. I myself wrote about it here in which I clearly said that a “pakar telematika” (telematic expert) does not necessary means “pakar blog” or blog expert. For newspaper journalist and editors, please learn about blog and learn quickly for your own sake.

For Majalah Tempo and the team thank you for the good reporting, and for Mas Tulus and Mas Cahyo thank you for kind enough interviewing me. And for Budi Putra thank very much for the pdf file. I really appreciate all of your efforts. And believe me, Tempo would be remembered by Indonesian bloggers for a long long time as the first Indonesian magazine which make the first and the best coverage on blog and blogosphere.

Lastly, for those who stays outside Indonesia and wants to know and read the Tempo reports on blog precisely like its print edition you can see in the following links (in .pdf).

Tulisan Lengkap tentang Blog di Majalah Tempo

10 Blog Pilihan (I am in #1, dubbed as Dubes Blogger Indonesia or Ambassador of Indonesian Blogger)

Melebarnya Jendela Informasi

Wajah Penutur Alam Maya

Catatan Harian Pembawa Mala

Ong Hock Chuan writes a good commentary on this matter. A must read for any journalist who wants to cover blogging phenomenon in Indonesia.

What New Blogger Wants

What Blogger WantsReading Harry Sufehmi’s latest post which guides me to some other links with similar topic I come to know that there’s a case in which a new blogger got frustrated and ended up deleting her blog. The reason: none of the “elder” blogger care enough to comment in her blog.

Well, that might raise another question I consider important: what does actually a new blogger want the most from his/her more senior blogger as a show of support?

When I started blogging actively last year (May 2005), I learned and read a lot about blogging tips in English from various sources available and in Bahasa Indonesia from Enda’s blog in particular and many other Indonesian bloggers.What I needed at the time is a good and step-by-step tutorial for a really newbie like me on how to build a blog, make use of it and drive a little bit traffic and visitors. I never thought then how to get a comment although I did make a comment every now and then in other blogs. So for me reciprocal comment is not an issue. What I needed the most, as I read many SEO tips and guides back then, was a linkback. One linkback from a good blog/website will make your blog known to Google and other major search engines and good traffic should start by then. When the search engines recognise your blog and traffic flowing in, what you need is only one: good and regularly updated content. And that shouldn’t be a problem.

That’s why I was so happy when I came to know that Enda Nasution had linked to this blog. He’s the first and only senior Indonesian blogger who generously gives a link to any new blogger like me without any expectation of reciprocity, something I can’t afford to do. So, to me, giving a linkback to a new blogger is more important as a show of support than any other kind, including giving comment.

Having said that, I am aware of the fact that different person has different priority on what they expect from their relatively more senior blogger as a sign of fraternity and support. If any new blogger really cares about this thing, you may care to write in the comment box below of what you expect from any more senior blogger as a feedback for them. Let me give some choices in case you’re in a blank mood. Mind you, this ‘questionnaire’ applies to any new blogger, not only confined to Indonesian blogger:

1. Commenting on your blog regularly in every post or once is enough;
2. Linking to your blog;
3. Say Hi! in your shoutbox everytime you say Hi! in their shoutbox;
4. Giving tutorial blog;
5. Responding to your comment in your own blog, not in a blog you’ve commented on.
6. Giving advice and opinion in your blog on what should and should’nt be done.
7. Other.

Update: Cosa Aranda feels that comments is important, even indirectly suggest that many comments is tantamount to a recognition and even the very “existence” of a particular blog. That’s why he feels blogging in Bahasa Indonesia is necessary for him to drive readers’ comments as blogging in foreign language, such as English, make Indonesian bloggers are reluctant to respond for language barrier. For me, as stated above, comment is not important at the same time am grateful if any.

PostGlobal: Washington Post Blog

I’ve just received an invitation to contribute to Washington Post Blog called PostGlobal. It’s moderated by David Ignatius (columnist for The Washington Post) and Fareed Zakaria (editor of Newsweek International), PostGlobal hosts weekly discussions among leading editors, journalists, and thinkers.

Frankly, I’m not in the best mood lately, so I decided not to contribute for sometime. If you have a bit serious thought and/or have posted one in your blog, you may send it to the PostGlobal as well. One important thing: your piece will have to go through an editorial desk, hence it’s not automatically published, but since it accept reprinted article, nothing to lose though to give a try. Below is the invitation, just in case you’re interested (the editor’s email is not disclosed here, email me at fatihsyuhud-at-gmail-com if you really want to contribute).

Dear Distinguished Journalist,

I work with PostGlobal, an online International forum created by The Washington Post and Newsweek Interactive. I came across your website and I was wondering if you would care to contribute a small opinion piece? A brief description of our site is below, but regarding the piece, it need only be 250 – 600 words and may be either new or reprinted. I would be very interested to read your thoughts on any current events and issues in your nation or internationally.

Below is a brief description of PostGlobal:

Moderated by David Ignatius (columnist for The Washington Post) and Fareed Zakaria (editor of Newsweek International), PostGlobal hosts weekly discussions among leading editors, journalists, and thinkers from around the world, such as Bill Emmott, former editor of The Economist; Hu Shuli, editor of Caijing; Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy; Mikio Ikuma, deputy international editor of Yomiuiri Shimbun; MJ Akbar of the Asian Age; Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express in Delhi; as well as novelists and playwrights such as Miklos Vamos of Hungary and Ibsen Martinez of Venezuela.

I very much hope that you will agree to take part in this project. Our goal is to create a space for collaborative journalism; a global conversation where ideas from across the globe can be both disseminated and contrasted immediately.

Please contact me if you are interested.
With best wishes,

How Long to Write a Booker Prize Novel?

blue seaHow long does it take to make a Booker Prize novel? “Seven years.” If you ask Kiran Desai, the 2006 Man Booker Prize winner with her novel The Inheritance of Loss, that will be her answer. Here’s the excerpt of her interview with India newspaper The Hindu during her South Asia tour for promoting her book:

How has the Booker changed your life?

There has been a total transformation. I kept my mouth shut for seven years [during which she wrote The Inheritance of Loss]. Now all I do is talk. (laughs)

The last time we spoke — which was a few days before you won the Prize — you had said that you planned on working on another novel by the end of the year. But a recent reported datelined Galle, suggested you were worried that there may not be another novel in you.

I did not say anything close to that. What I said is that I don’t know what I am going to do next. It’s always true for me … the process of writing reveals the book to me. I have to sit on my desk and the process reveals the book. I never know in advance. And this is always a risk. You don’t know what is going to come out. I may not work. So I probably said something to that effect.

I didn’t know whether this book [The Inheritance of Loss] would work … whether there would be enough material to put it all together. And surely any writer worries what is going to come next.

Is there a germ of an idea already?

Not really. But a shadow of something that is perhaps pretty much unconscious. But I do want to sit at my desk again. Kiran Desai Kiran Desai Photo by Bhagya Prakash K./the Hindu
I kept my mouth shut for seven years [during which she wrote The Inheritance of Loss].

Blog Threat to Conventional Media?

Indonesia “conventional” Media seems to start seeing blog with a bit more respect. Not again regard it as a teenage tool-kit or IT geeks playing ground. Kompas, the largest selling national newspaper, carried an article on May 18, 2006 with an interesting title: Pewarta Warga, Ancaman bagi Editor? (Is Citizen Media a Threat to [conventional] Editors?

From that very title we can assume what lies beneath. And that’s important: Indonesian mainstream media has already regarded blog the citizen media at par with them. A big departure from previous years of outdated assumption that blog is only a temporary trend; a teenaged communication tools just like friendster, MiRC, YM, etc which will evaporate once it’s followed by a more advanced gadgetry.

I think, the departure of opinion among conventional media towards blog culture are because of several reasons:

First, the facts that some prominent figures and celebrities with national and international stature like Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono, PR guru Hermawan Kartajaya, celebrities like Angelina Sondakh and Tiara Lestari all start blogging several months back.

Second, the facts that some journalists and intellectuals also start blogging which in turn increase the quality of blog content.

Third, the fast growing of Indonesian blogs nowadays.

Speaking of the article in Kompas, however, I think the writer would have made a better and more comprehensive piece if he (she?) had supported his research and interviews with the right person. Like for example someone who has experience in blog and blogging.

See the opinion quoted by the writer which indicate that the interviewee, named Dedy Nur Hidayat–a mass communication “expert” of Universitas Indonesia– just doesnt have a clue about blog:

“Blog, situs pribadi atau mailing list hanya efektif dalam kasus tertentu untuk sumber alternatif yang luput dari pengamatan media massa.”

Blog or personal website or mailing list is only effective in certain cases for alternative sources which are uncovered by mass media.

In other words the expert want to say that blog, like mailing list, will only be used in a country where freedom of expression is limited like Indonesia during Suharto regime.

Another shortcoming in the article is that the writer thinks blog is like a forum when he refers to News and Record warga Greensboro as a blog.

Take a look at this quote:

“Berdasarkan penelusuran Kompas, di News and Record warga Greensboro dapat saling sapa, saling bertukar cerita dan pengalaman sehari-hari di lingkungan mereka. Dalam rubrik Public Record, misalnya, orang yang menikah atau bercerai bisa mewartakannya di blog tersebut.”

All in all, I feel it’s encouraging sign for the good departure of opinion as far as Kompas–represent mainstream Indonesian media– is concerned regarding blog.

But if I could give a little advice to you and other media who want to write anything about blog, here’s my words:

1. Mass Communication expert doesn’t mean he/she also have expertise in blog unless and until he/she has his/her own blog. In another words, talk to blogger if you want to discuss about blogging stuff. Merlyna Lim, Enda Nasution, Priyadi, Budi Rahardjo and Ong Hock Chuan to name a few, could be the right persons to talk to. Indonesia has many pseudo-expert of mass communication and telematic who are talking rubbish all the time, mind you.

2. Consult Technorati, the biggest blog search engine. You’ll find many information about blog. Don’t forget to read its blog written by its developers to know the latest info on blogging technology.

3. If you want to make a report or an op-ed piece about blog, ask journalist who already has a blog.

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