Interesting to see how Twitter is catching up on the main news [Google Trends data] portal in Indonesia, detik.com. (Although actually detik.com has the largest number of followers in Jakarta, at least according to twitaholic. (With only 87,755, that doesn’t sound right somehow. Surely there are more popular Indonesian twitterers out there?)
Twitoaster, which collects data on where people are twittering from, suggests that Twitter is pretty active across most of the major cities. Back in January Sysomos listed Indonesia as 6th in terms of the number of twitter users, the biggest in Asia. Their previous report, in June 2009, didn’t feature Indonesia in the top 17. There are more twitterers in Jakarta than in Houston or Boston. Given the rise since, Indonesia must be higher still.
This piece by Hera Diani looks at the impact this is having on Islam.
It’ll be interesting to see how this kind of thing pans out: An Indonesian publishing company run by an expat American has launched a catalogue of Indonesian pop music on iTunes (declaration of interest: the guy, Mark Hanusz, is a friend of mine). Could this kind of thing change the way this kind of music is distributed, and, perhaps more interestingly, define a musician’s fan base and therefore their definition of success?
There are plenty of examples of music already crossing boundaries. But moves like Equinox Publishing, which claims its “catalog forms Southeast Asia’s largest selection of music to arrive on the digital music landscape”, represent a significant step forward. Until now it would have been nigh impossible for Indonesians living outside Indonesia, or anyone else for that matter, to get their hands on anything other than a CD of gamelan music. Now they can zip their way through 30–second previews of dozens of Indonesian artists on iTunes. Perhaps more significantly, it levels the playing field a bit: Now anyone browsing iTunes is as likely to stumble on an Indonesian band as they are to find a U.S. or European act.
Already Western bands make their way to a place like Indonesia — from Deep Purple and Procul Harem to more, er, contemporary acts like Foo Fighters, Mariah Carey, Alanis Morissette. With a potential audience of 200 million people, it pays for itself. But maybe the tide could change. Mark likes to see himself as slicing off a thin wedge of the Long Tail, catering to a small but significant market. But what may prove just as intriguing is the possibility that an Indonesian band, via something like iTunes, could become just popular enough in certain places overseas to justify a tour or two. Could we be seeing the likes of Homogenic, Netral and Dewi Lestari playing Boston or Bristol?
An interesting battle is going on in Boston over airport WiFi. If one side wins it may spell the end to WiFi in airports — at least those not operated by the airport itself. The Boston Globe reports that Logan International Airport officials’ ongoing quest to ban airline lounges from offering passengers free WiFi Internet services is angering a growing array of powerful Capitol Hill lobbying groups, who say Logan could set a dangerous nationwide precedent for squelching wireless services:
Soon after activating its own $8-a-day WiFi service in the summer of 2004, the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan, ordered Continental and American Airlines to shut down WiFi services in their Logan lounges. Massport also ordered Delta Air Lines Inc. not to turn on a planned WiFi service in its new $500 million Terminal A that opened last March. […]
Massport has consistently argued its policy is only trying to prevent a proliferation of private WiFi transmitters that could interfere with wireless networks used by airlines, State Police, and the Transportation Security Administration. WiFi service providers are free to negotiate so-called roaming deals, Massport officials say, that would let their subscribers who pay for monthly access use the Logan network. But major providers including T-Mobile USA have balked at Massport’s proposed terms, saying the airport authority seeks excessive profits.
It all sounds a bit lame to me. My experience of Logan’s WiFi in late 2004 was woeful, although perhaps that has changed, as Massport’s PR later said they were having teething troubles as it had just been installed. But it seems weak to argue that one WiFi service may not affect communications whereas others might;to charge excessively for it seems to suggest the real motive. If interference is the problem, will all those in-office WiFi networks in terminal offices be closed down, and will all onboard WiFi networks be banned too? What about buildings close to the airport?
The scary thing is that if Massport win this other airports are bound to leap aboard. And not just in the U.S. If airport authorities think they can make money out of this, I’m sure they will follow suit. I’m worried. Unless it means better and free WiFi in airports, in which case I’m all for it. Let’s face it, sometimes WiFi services are so bad in airports you feel as if it’s too important a commodity to be left to small bitplayers. More discussion of the issues here and here.
Further to my post about the perils of offline browsing and online buying, here’s a possible solution, from Wi-Fi Networking News: Software that lets PDA users check out details and reviews of a book while in the bookstore. SmartWorlds’ free software lets PDA users (customers can borrow a PDA and scanner from staff) shop and learn more about books while they’re in a bookstore: Users are connected to Amazon.com’s site where they can read reviews of the book, check pricing, and see other books recommended by readers.
Here’s the neat bit: In Boston, where the service is in place, the Trident bookstore is considered an affiliate of Amazon so if users of this service later buy one of the books they browsed for on Amazon, Trident earns a commission. Whether other bookstores are brave enough to do this I’m not sure, but it’s a possible answer to the problem outlined in the earlier post. The beauty of it is that the bookstores play to their strengths: a great, comfortable place to browse and hang out, and the unmistakable allure of allowing customers to have that book in their hands, right now.