ASEAN summit meeting will be held in Bali: 17 – 19 November 2011. Paralleled with this, it will be held ASEAN Blogger Conference (16-17 November 2011) as well. The theme is the New ASEAN and Its cooperation with Dialogue Partners. It is predicted to be attended by around 200 participants from 10 ASEAN member countries and representation of blogger communities in Indonesia.
What does it mean to blogger around ASEAN countries in general and especially Indonesian blogger?
Indeed it was fully supported directly by Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, that stated to provide his fully support to the idea of developing ASEAN Blogger Community. He added that this idea was a brilliant and innovative idea. He expressed this statement in the 44th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 2011 that was held in Bali.
My memory then flew away to the venue I attended in Jakarta, 6 August 2011 at Mandiri Museum Jakarta. It was related to the ASEAN Blogger Community gathering and photo exhibition. The meeting was attended also by Director General for ASEAN Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Djauhari Oratmangun and Special Adviser ASEAN, Europe Union Delegation Jan-Willem Blankert.
In the discussion time, I raised question about which was any evidence of government put their real concern to feedback provided by bloggers. Mr. Oratmangun gave his definite answer: Yes! He stated that based on his experiences, he recognized bloggers’ postings in their weblog (social media in general) were the representative of community dynamic. It was an inspiration for decision makers as well. The decision makers were able to absorb those feedbacks. Of course, only feedback that was supported by adequate data that was valuable. He added that the reason behind why Indonesian President, SBY, provided his fully support for the development of ASEAN Blogger Community was that he already recognised the important feedback from bloggers.
On the other hand, Mr. Blankert showed different opinion. He had never had any experience using bloggers postings as a direct feedback. However, he realised that bloggers were potential to provide feedback for decision makers in any field. He pointed out what happened in China. China was a closed country but people around the world were able to ‘see’ what happened in China from China bloggers’ eyes – through their postings. This information then was used as information for decision makers or any parties that needed information of China from different angle.
Based on examples above, and I am sure from bloggers’ experiences as well, become a blogger is significant, posting feedback for government or decision makers will have the similar positive value, and we – bloggers – need to be aware that people out there are looking at our posting as the representative of community dynamic and source of information as well.
Back to my question above: What does it mean to blogger around ASEAN countries in general and especially Indonesian blogger?
I am confident ASEAN Blogger Conference will guide ASEAN Blogger Community, through a proper conference agreement, to prepare for facing ASEAN community in 2015 that will be more in people oriented and people driven.
In this circumstance, I would like to provide suggestions for ASEAN Blogger Conference, i.e.:
1. ASEAN motto is one vision, one identity, one community. Is that reliable for ASEAN Blogger Community? This needs to be evaluated due to, perhaps, it might work for its mother organisation – ASEAN that already have a robust structure or governance. While blogger community, it is a compilation of blogger as individual and independent body. ASEAN Blogger Community possibly needs to set up a unique format, could be paralleled or not to its mother, more to show that blogger organisation is an independent organisation, despite it has a mother organisation or not and of course without losing their identity as bloggers from ASEAN countries.
2. If we consider two aforementioned statements from Mr. Oratmangun and Mr. Blankert, it is apparent how bloggers are potential to be ‘heard’ by government or decision makers. This reason indicates the existence of ASEAN Blogger Community is potentially to be significant as well. As a consequence, this organisation needs to contribute properly through following up to date issues in ASEAN region. I would like to suggest one issue that need to consider properly, i.e.: environmental and forestry issue. This issue is significant and has been concerned internationally. ASEAN 10 countries cover around 213 million hectares of forests. These forests and ecosystems also become source of products and services for local livelihoods.
3. ASEAN forests currently cover approximately 213 million hectares of land across 10 countries. Their diverse composition consists of tropical lowland forests, mountain forests, coastal mangrove forests, and peat forests, as well as the remnants of what is believed to be the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. It is well recognized that these forests and their ecosystems provide both products and services for local livelihoods (source: RECOFTC).
4. My last suggestion is that ASEAN Blogger Community is able to persuade ASEAN leaders to be blogger as well, personally, not under official website. I have no data whether they have already had a personal blog or not. But by developing their own personal blog, it is able to create better communication from them to other bloggers and to open community. And in my opinion, it is not forbidden for leader from any country to manage their blog. It is able to motivate people to be a blogger too.
Those are my suggestions as a blogger. Success for the ASEAN Blogger Conference and hope this conference is able to provide a valuable contribution for ASEAN Blogger Community and ASEAN in general.
Bogor, 16 November 2011.
Posted too @ Kompasiana