5 Types of People You Find on Social Media during Indonesian Presidential Election 2014

Disclaimer: This post is not about which presidential candidate you should or should not choose on election day.

19 days towards the presidential election, social media is bombed with Indonesian presidential election content. So far, in the timelines of all my social media accounts, approximately 90% of the content are about one candidate or the other. There’s various reactions towards this phenomenon. Some people enjoy, some others are just so sick of all the politics talk, and some just don’t give a shit. At least, there are 5 types of people that I can identify by looking in my social media timelines during this presidential election.

1. People who openly support candidate #1.

Obviously these are the people who constantly post and/or like positive articles about candidate #1 and negative articles about candidate #2.

2. People who openly support candidate #2

And these are the people who equally post and/or like positive articles about candidate #2 and negative articles about candidate #1. Surprise.

3. People who enjoy only the anecdotes of both candidates

Type #3 are those who don’t like to take things too seriously and are never short of funny anecdotes/meme about both candidates. They usually step in when a comment-war has gone too far. Most of the time, they’re very successful in breaking the tension.

4. People who have not decided whom to vote for or who decided not to vote for anybody

These are those people who either genuinely don’t know yet whom to vote for or genuinely don’t care.

5. People who have decided whom to vote for but do not want to explicitly declare it and they hate the people who openly express their support towards one of the candidates.

I think this group of people are the most “interesting”. They know exactly who they will vote for, but they have this big dislike for the #1 and #2 types of people. They just feel so sick of the continuous posts about the election and feel even sicker about the people who debate (read: comment war) on social media. The reason I call these people the most interesting is because 1) these people act like they didn’t know what they signed up for when they started their social media account, 2) they somehow seem to be unaware of the fact that Indonesia has shifted into democracy since 16 years ago.

Let me break it down for you. Social media has been like a virtual society, where the timeline becomes your “public place” and your profile becomes your “private realm”. You have full control of what appears in your profile, because it’s you “home”, but you can’t control your timeline because it’s the public place. It’s kind of like the “public park” where everybody can come and do whatever (legal) things they want. So, just like you are free to express your dislike towards the other kinds of people, they also have the full rights to express whatever it is that they want to express. If you don’t like it, you can either “unsubscribe/unfollow” or for some extreme cases “unfriend”.

The second thing is that, this phenomena is typical when you live in a democracy. Unless you want to go back to the “New Order” regime where people who speak up disappear mysteriously, you better swallow the bitter pill and deal with the fact that people have the rights to express their thoughts whether you like it or not. Don’t condemn people for doing it now, because you don’t want to regret it later on that you’ve taken freedom for granted. Just enjoy the ride and be grateful that now we are having a party for freedom and democracy, which is what this election is all about.

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