Social Media Week Lands in Jakarta

Social Media Week made its debut in Jakarta on Monday following a nearly two year effort to bring the event to the country. The conference, which will be held until Friday, 27 February, will discuss the impacts and the roles that technology products and Internet-based services play on society.

Originally held in New York City in 2009, Social Media Week has been held in dozens of cities around the world over the past six years. With over 90% of Indonesia’s Internet users registered on Facebook, 74% of mobile consumers actively use social media channels, and Jakarta and Bandung ranked among the top ten cities with the heaviest Twitter activity in 2012, it’s a wonder the global event didn’t arrive sooner.

“Social Media Week isn’t all about social media sites, it’s larger than that,” said Antonny Liem, chairman of Social Media Week Jakarta. “We want to convey how technology and connectivity can help make our lives better.”

From 2011 to 2013, Jakarta held a similar event called Social Media Festival which was organized by tech blog DailySocial, the now defunct social media blog Saling Silang, and discussion forum Kaskus. The three day event drew tens of thousands of participants each year, along with dozens of speakers and sessions.

Social media networks have proven to be extremely popular channels for discussion in Indonesia with conversations ranging from the mundane to the extreme. From breakfast to international politics. From competition to collaboration. It has provided a way for citizens to become active agents of change on issues concerning the nation and society as a whole.

Businesses and brands are increasingly having to monitor and be part of social media conversations to pay attention to what consumers are talking about. Companies such as BCA and XL Axiata are among leaders in providing customer support through social media.

Advertising and promotions are also strongly affected by what’s happening on social media. It has given birth to what is called reactvertising, or creating advertisements based on what people are talking about on networks such as Facebook or Twitter. Real time campaigns such as the hugely popular Old Spice YouTube videos from 2010 was made possible due to the nature of social media.

“Social media was once seen as a tool for the elites but today, everyone can easily be part of social media,” Antonny said. “When people pick up their first smartphone, many go to social media first because their friends are already there.”

Social Media Week Jakarta is being held this week at Pacific Place shopping center in Central Jakarta, with over 80 speakers, panelists, and moderators across 50 sessions of seminars, workshops, and meet ups.

Speakers include Scott Lamb of Buzzfeed, Andrew Darwis of Kaskus, William Tunggaldjaja of Path, Twitter’s Rick Mulia, Kincir’s Giring Ganesha, Rainbow Cheung from Socialbakers, David Wayne Ika of Kurio, and Andre Rompis of Samsung.

While the master class workshop sessions are sold out at this point, the free sessions are open on a first come first serve basis. Details about the event are available from the Social Media Week Jakarta page and the mobile apps from App Store and Google Play.