Indonesians and Westerners part 1: Social Media


“Honey, why are you still busy with your gadget? Don’t you realize that we’re in the middle of romantic date in this beautiful beach?”

“Just a moment, babe, I’m just editing our picture on Instagram, and then I’ll upload it to twitter and facebook.”

“Oww, that’s totally cute. But the picture is still lacking, let’s take more photos! Don’t forget to share those pics to my facebook, twitter, Instagram, Path, Pinterest, Flickr, bla bla bla…”

The conversation seems to reflect the phenomenon of young people in Indonesia, in my opinion. Or does everyone in the world is being affected by the narcissism in social media? For example, I think when people are traveling or in vacation, the internet connection is more important than the beauty of the sights they’re visiting.

However, I think narcissism in social media is more prevalent in Indonesia, because in our culture, the desire to be noticed and praised is very big.

It reminds me of the movie Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, which show the two main characters spend their unexpected ‘picnic’ without taking photos everywhere. That’s so intense; there is just the real world in front of them, regardless of the virtual world full of uncertainty.

I had never lived abroad, but because the film was set in Europe, specifically in Paris, so I think the film represents the real life of people there. They keep privacy; even I feel that their lives are so exclusive, not think much about what anybody else says. They’re free and peaceful.

Clearly, that phenomenon reminds me of one lesson in my journalism training. Since I have to write in English, I had to learn about west culture, including Europe or America, because culture affects the way of thinking.

I learned a lot about differences between Indonesians and bule (White Caucasian) or Westerners, i.e. when traveling, Indonesians are more concerned with their photos, and the views just become the background. While Westerners enjoys the atmosphere, taking photos and trying to get the best angle for scenery and cool photos of tourism spot.

In recreation, Indonesians joint large group, go to a bustling and crowded place, although they would hard to breathe, the most important is to be exist. While Westerners prefer to enjoy the holidays alone or in small groups, sometimes there are crowds, but not sought out.

Are Indonesians people more narcissistic than the west? Or maybe The Westerners does, because they are the creator of social media, from facebook, twitter, to Path, a social media that tells ‘my life from wake up to sleep’. Maybe they are tired of living without narcissism, gossip and drama. And some Indonesians also start to feel bored if life is too dependent on social media and need new relationships that more personal and exclusive.

I also don’t deny that I used to be, or may still be a narcissistic and crazy over social media. But I try to reduce that, because there are things that are too private to be shared on internet. I call it the “private media”, such as writing my ideas and feelings in a diary, collect family photos and the loved ones on the real photo album-which I think could revive my memory about them better than see it on a facebook page. Or maybe chit-chat with my lover in a quiet and comfortable place (this is romantic, not nasty, you have to be careful, because somebody could record your activity and share it on social media: p).

I just love to collect some old stuff from the past and reflecting where I’ve been and look where I am now. Personal life is too cliché to share, isn’t it?


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