Social Media and Politics: Netizens’ Engagement in Indonesia’s Participatory Web
Since their appearance, social media and more generally Web 2.0 have significantly influenced the modality of social and political participation (Fortunati, 2009). Social media have changed different aspects of mass media communication in terms of distribution, production, media power, media content and producer-consumer relationships (Flew, 2009). New opportunities are provided for people to collaborate and share information in new ways (Cox et al., 2009).
Internet usage in Indonesia has significantly increased since last decade. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the internet users were 0.44% of the whole Indonesian population in 1999. This figure climbed to 8.70% in 2009 (ITU, 2010). Not only the general internet usage has risen since ten years ago, but also the use of social media has become very popular in this country. According to Alexa.com six participatory websites including Facebook, Blogger, Kaskus, Wordpress, YouTube and 4shared are among the first ten popular websites in Indonesia. Currently Facebook is the first most-trafficked website in this country (Alexa, 2010). The increasing trend of internet usage has provided a great potential for political participation for ordinary people, political groups and politicians in this country. Accordingly, the primary objective of my research is to provide an insight into political uses of social media in Indonesia.