Saturday, 5 April 2008

What is a Blogger Day?

When I first heard about the British Council Blogger Day, I thought it would be more than the National Blogger Party. I knew after the party (by an unintended browsed) that there were a lot of expatriates who are blogging from Jakarta regretted that they did not have the invitation to come to the meeting. I was a bit surprised that the invitation aimed only for Indonesians, but it was “National”…so perhaps they were looking to map the number and the location of Indonesian bloggers. I did see some expats (at least some Caucasian visitors, as some other Asian journalists –either blogger or not- couldn’t be guessed only from their physical appearances) in that National Blogger Party.

I think a blogger day is the chance to meet as many bloggers as we can meet in that offline meeting. It is a chance to enlarge our network and exchanging views with new acquaintances that could be continue online afterwards.

Recently an Indonesian who claimed himself as a real techno-savvy has made a statement that made some Indonesian bloggers’ very crossed! He called bloggers as hackers, and also as somebody who doesn’t have works to attend to, who do like to copy-paste others’ piece of work. I did not hear or read this statement myself, but I did read it in a lot of postings.

Last year the Jakarta Post printed in its front page (October 28, 2007) the headline “Blogging party gets official stamp of approval”. The Communications and Information Muhammad Nuh gave the Indonesian bloggers a special day (October 27) as the National Bloggers day. This year, because Indonesia is fighting against pornographic materials in the internet, there might be chances that we would not able to enter international sites. The government will block risky sites, they will produce a list to give to the ISP providers to be banned. Now, all Indonesian internet users are nervously waiting for that list to come. We are also afraid of the impact of pornographic sites to our children, but closing links can also closing our chance to be the part of the global world. So, the British Council’s invitation to perform a special British Council Blogger Day, is like a confirmation for bloggers (mostly to Indonesian bloggers) to do the right thing…continue blogging…yet, keep it on the right track! I did hope that it will be also a chance to meet international bloggers.

Today, I found a post by Jakartass about this British Council Blogger Day. He’s got a lot of interesting points that I would like to copy the whole blog post in my blog (he….he…he…kidding, I’d like to keep this blog as my personal journal of a citizen reporter), and the comments are also showing that the expats are (again) uninvited. Is it going to be true? We’ll see on Sunday!

He pointed out “famous blogger” (in parentheses) perhaps because he did not know these bloggers who write their blogs in Bahasa Indonesia. He admitted in the comment that his readers are mostly outside Indonesia. He stated the probability that Indonesian Anonymus is more popular here in Indonesia. This blog is also written in English, so is it English is the only language that can suit the label “famous”?

I’m a new in the blogosphere, I came to blogging through the Citizen Journalism websites. I’ve seen different characters of readers through the CJ websites. Indonesian readers are different with the International readers. I've chosen deliberately to became a bridge blogger. I don’t have enough time and energy like Mer, who can blog in three languages…English, Indonesian, and Sundanese (local dialect)! I don’t really care about being famous or being the celebrity blogger, as long as I’ve got good friends around the world. Friends who share the same concern as I do, friends who will support me when I am mentally down in writing, and friends that will enriched my way of seeing things! Thank you friends!:)

“Quantity is more important than quality?” The same questions popped in my mind when I saw the British Council Blogger Day's competition. How would we go to a meeting and ending up just writing in front of our laptop computers? (Actually I only have PC, but I’m going to ask my friend to bring along her laptop so I can borrow it…he…he…he…what’s friends are for?) No, that meeting is the chance to be mingling with new friends. I’ve got my lesson in Seoul, and from all the bloggers meetings that I attended lately…get in touch with others! But think of creativity…How could we make quantity and quality work together? Be creative! Isn’t that what British Council is promoting through their activities? Be a creative person!

I do need to quote these long sentences from Jakartass’ blog as it has something important for a citizen reporter. For longer reading go straight to his blog.

Writing is not easy. Yes, we can all rant, but if we post in haste, then we generally regret our utterances. The only times I have ever posted more or less on the spur of the moment are when I have reported earthquakes, sometimes before the official media. Enda Nasution, the moderator of the session on 'tricks', has my respect for setting up the Indonesia Help blog in the immediate aftermath of the Aceh tsunami. I joined him in posting various links, and the site was resuscitated following the Yogya quake.

Apart from those few times, I have generally ruminated and cogitated for some time before posting. This one, for example, has been worked on since Monday, albeit in my head, and subsequently re-edited. That old adage about 'sleeping on it' works wonders. I keep folders of notes which I probably won't use, yet are available as resource material if a spark of literary creation is ignited. Good writing isn't easy, and making it easy to read is even harder.

I do think it is important to write that long sentences down here, as I often found myself confused between blogging and citizen reporting. Editors in OhmyNews International would like to have the report as current as it is, while I do not want to challenge my credibility (even as merely a housewife) to write something that I’ll regret. I have also seen that misunderstanding can easily came out of misperception in the way readers read our writing, so there are times I did have friends helping me out by making their comments on my article before I am able (and confident enough) to publish it.

When I read the challenge given by British Council to write online during the meeting, I was thinking of Seoul again…when we were asked to submit our articles on that International Forum of OMNI Citizen Reporters. I am not able to do it yet. I think the best way is either to do it later or to cooperate with another friend who will receive the whole story, editing it, and work on it while we are still engaging in getting direct information. There should be a way to improve cooperation in producing better news. Be creative…see you on Sunday!

1 comment:

Jakartass said...

Hi Retty.
You write: the British Council’s invitation to perform a special British Council Blogger Day, is like a confirmation for bloggers (mostly to Indonesian bloggers) to do the right thing…continue blogging…yet, keep it on the right track!

My argument, as someone who once had a healthy respect for the Council (especially through its library and examinations programme), is that it now has minimal relevance in Indonesia and its trivialising of blogging is a further disservice. They are definitely NOT keeping blogging "on the right track" by having a simultaneous uploading.

I have no argument with them regarding an invitation or the lack of one - it was a matter of 'first come, first served' and I'm glad that it has been over-subscribed.

There are a number of blogs written in Indonesian that I read, but my blogroll, bar a couple of exceptions, contains links to those written in English because that is the language my intended readers use.

The key to successful writing is to have a readership in mind. I sincerely hope that the Indonesian blogosphere goes from strength to strength and it's 'citizen reporters' such as yourself who will contribute the most to the sharing of information which will guarantee reformasi.

I trust you find the event useful, and please pass on my regards to Enda N.