Indonesians love to create communities. Name a product, any product, and you’re very likely to find a community of people using or owning the product in Indonesia. From the days of CB radios, to mailing lists, to message boards, and even Facebook Groups and Pages, there are thousands and thousands of communities and they’re always looking for the best way for their members to communicate with each other, and perhaps, in the near future, MindTalk might be that tool.
MindTalk has been one of the most promoted Internet products out of Indonesia since it was officially launched in November 2012, however, despite the heavy push as a locally built social network, it has yet to catch on among many Indonesians who far prefer to use other services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Path.
For consumers it’s really never about the origin or the creator of the product because if it is, everyone would probably be using Koprol right now to discuss about neighborhood matters but instead it was killed because its purpose was never obvious enough to be a hugely popular product. Products and services must solve specific needs and have their purposes clearly communicated for consumers to understand before they are willing to use them.
When it comes to internet services that rely on user generated content, the value comes from not only the creators of the service but the users as well. This is something that MindTalk seems to have failed to acknowledge or realize until recently. It has almost always been promoted as an interest based social network made in Indonesia by Indonesians.
Okay, so what’s the point of using MindTalk? What’s in it for the people? How well does it work? Does it make people feel better in using it? What difference does it make? From the consumer standpoint, none of that had been clearly communicated whether through its advertisements nor in how its website and mobile applications are presented.
Finally, a light
Fortunately, this may be changing. Danny Oei Wirianto, co-founder and principal of MindTalk, has hired community and social media expert Abang Edwin Syarif Agustin as the vice president of operations for MindTalk. Agustin, better known as Bangwin, will be leading the development and direction for the platform from this point forward and injecting his years of understanding and expertise in building communities from his days at Yahoo and his insights into social media behaviors.
Bangwin said there’s a deeper potential in MindTalk that could be developed even further to turn it into a major product. For him, the community aspects that have been fostered within MindTalk and brought forward in the newly released SoccerTalk app can be harnessed even better. For example, the team is already working with the city of Bandung to create a place online for residents to discuss Bandung-specific issues.
MindTalk’s future as a communications platform may be more in line with corporate communications apps such as Yammer, Convo, or Slack instead of the general purpose service that it is today. As demonstrated through SoccerTalk, the team has shown that the MindTalk engine can easily be adapted for different needs. It already has features that can be implemented in similar ways as those other apps such as status updates, broadcast messages, channels, image sharing, and private messages, and it doesn’t take too much to turn the service into a platform.
According to Bangwin, refocusing the service will allow MindTalk to deliver a clearer vision and open the possibilities of collaborating with brands that would love to be involved with communities. He also mentioned that the door is absolutely open to the idea of implementing MindTalk-powered apps in schools for students, teachers, and perhaps even parents to communicate with each other regarding school activities or student progress.
Instead of competing head on with major online social networks which already deliver better value to their users for having far greater selections of sources and the latest range of content, adapting MindTalk as a group communications platform with more clearly defined features, functions, and purpose may finally present itself with the opportunity to actually shine.
September 21, 2016
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