“Curious but gutted”: Social Media and Youth Political Engagement in a Polarized Political Environment during Jakarta’s Gubernatorial Election 2017
Event type: Seminars25 October 2018 from 12.00 pm
This research addresses the question of how Indonesian youth used social media to engage with politics during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, an event marked by heavy political polarization based on religious and cultural identity.
Speaker: Wahyutama, PhD student in public policy, School of Government
A survey and interviews on students from three universities in Jakarta revealed that social media played a distinct role in stimulating youth’s involvement in online political conversation, often in complex ways. The two findings I will discuss are the way social media platforms facilitated youth’s “kepo” (Indonesian slang for “curiosity”) to actively monitor conversations about politics via “trending” topics and comments section while at the same time hindered their contributions by exposing them to the threat of abuse or breaking up relationships with friends. In addition, the findings also suggest that social media potentially impoverished youth understanding of the election by promoting the consumption of bite-size political information that emphasized visual (pictures and short video clips) and thumbnail-size text over more informed descriptions and debate. Finally, the discussion conclude with a discussion of the impact of the narrative of religious clash, which mainly framed the course of the election, on the way youth use social media to engage with politics.
Mass rally protested against (top; source Jakartaglobe.com) vs mass supporting (bottom; source liputan6.com) the then Governor of Jakarta during Jakarta’s Gubernatorial Election 2017.
Wahyutama is a Ph.D student in public policy in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. He is completing a thesis on the role of social media plays in political engagement for Indonesian youth. He is also a lecturer in Communication Studies at Universitas Paramadina, Indonesia.