Accepted Paper:

Doing nothing, making discourses: from online chatting to social engagement - a case study of internet practice in Indonesia  


Ario Seto (Goethe-University Frankfurt.)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses how digitality and discourses grow in Indonesia during uneventful times. As Indonesian ‘play’ (main) internet during their waiting time, the play itself has grown into a constituent part of everyday life experience.

Paper long abstract:

"We have to wait for everything; bus, red lights, service in banks, and nothing is better than chatting or browsing.", said my informant in the small city of Solo, Indonesia. Daily life in Indonesia is characterized by waiting time, presenting uneventful possibilities during which most cell phone users in Indonesia would rather go online and chat in their virtual community. This is their conception of 'doing nothing'.

Internet arrived in Indonesia in the 1990s as part of education and modernization programs, and with the rapid development of information and communication technology (ICT), it has blossomed into a popular medium of personal communication and leisure. The 2011 ICT National Survey illustrates that most Indonesians access internet for social mediating. In a culture where personal communication is a vital cultural need, uneventful time is filled with 'playing' (main) internet and online chatting.

Here, the word 'play' and conception of 'doing nothing' represent a simple practice, however, the new media communication via Twitter, Facebook, Blackberry Messenger Groups, and online communities now are also filled with social debates, opinion exchanges, and social action. Politics, economics and other social concerns are becoming part of these simple chats and part of mediated emotion. Online chatting is actually shaping something new; either discourses or something tangible such as social movements. The paper and presentation will describe how inactivity and uneventfulness provide an opportunity for social engagement which emerges from online chatting and wasting time on the internet in Kaskus online community in Solo, Indonesia.

Panel W095
Waiting for Godot & Co: modes and moods of the uneventful