Indonesia Expat
Featured Observations

Social media Speaks Louder than Mainstream Media

Social media Speaks Louder than Mainstream Media

How do you find out what is going on various protests against the recently passed Job Creation Law in Jakarta or US presidential election at the moment?

More personally, how are you sure about the cities you are about to visit for your holidays, such as Bandung, Bukittinggi or Dubai? You may find some information from official websites of hotels or government agencies. Or you can look through TV channels. However, for sure, a lot of people are going online and exploring their social media to search for their needs.

Public perception is shifting into more personal, straight, and uninterrupted thanks to social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, which signals that any ideas expressed should be seen from the users’ perspective of a particular context. Unlike writing for a newspaper or a magazine which gets into editorial screening for journalistic purposes, a lot of social media posts are made on a regular basis in response to the latest breaking news, particular issues or even to extend the previous comments.

Representing media for the popular articulation of thoughts, social media could stand against mainstream power, which is crammed with a certain interest and full of weak points. Not all are capable of writing op-ed pieces. Moreover, spaces available at daily or weekly are really limited not simply for op-ed pages but also for letters to the editor. That is why social media turns to be the answer because they offer more spaces for people to say over anything on the spot.

Such personal and direct traits of social media get them free from vested interest on the one side and pressure of any party or group on the other. Sincere heart and clear mind would welcome notions, pictures, and comments posted genuinely away from particular interest, while the feeling of being pressured brings on a biased message to be delivered.

That is why many social media users are preoccupied with getting information updated with great haste, providing many with alternative and colourful perspectives about anything. Owing to their handy gadgets, for example, they could take pictures and let the public take a look at them with undisguised vision.

Unlike social media, mainstream media have been long known for their certain stance in spite of their commitment to and claim of independence while reporting and publishing news. Due to ideological pressure from the owner or financial dependence on certain clients, journalistic report and editorial decisions at times would be forced to go through extended editing and rewriting.

It makes sense as the editing process is to do with journalistic need, however, it is always a job as it is done for non-journalistic drive such as pressure. It is lamentable that both have contributed to framed report and publication. Some idealist journalists resort to walking off the conflict of interest. Still, it is hard writing against that flow.

Amidst the complexed nature facing the mainstream media, social media appear on popular stage with their more genuine voices. Netizens would find countless testimonial statements or pictures posted by assorted segments of society witnessing true occurrences on the street. The “from the ground” voice is a testament to the faith that locked mouth and manipulated creed will never vanquish sincere heart and clear mind.

There will be no more mainstream media that can dictate people’s beautiful mind today. The genuine social media is indeed a powerful tool to counter the biased media framing. I have no doubt that the truth will finally prevail. Through loud voice on the street, provocation and lie will be crushed because nothing can be manipulated even more.

Given their limitless global personalisation, social media might uncover the struggle for sacred meaning as arising from abject, powerless, unsolved conditions, which are out of the reach of mainstream media.

The writer is a lecturer at Faculty of Humanities at Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra

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