On January 14, 2015 one of the busiest business areas in Jakarta went down in mayhem when an explosion occurred not far from the Starbucks café in the downtown. The perpetrators of the attack also wreaked havoc by aimlessly shooting in random directions with the ammunitions they carried claiming 7 lives and 24 others injured. Among the seven, five of them were terrorists, one a Canadian and the other an Indonesian.
The bombing across Sarinah Plaza in Thamrin, Jakarta unleashed panic and pandemonium among the inhabitants of the largest city of Indonesia. The news of the untoward incident spread like a wild fire because of its magnitude and its impact on the everyday lives.
The omnipresent social media enabled the dissemination of this terror incident with Twitter being the top amongst them. People were updating live photos and videos of the site on Twitter, a few moments after the detonation.
Netizen Indonesia has a tendency to make hashtags that associate closely with any event to make the topic more focused and go viral. Indonesian netizens believe that the presence of an appropriate, precise hashtag will facilitate the dissemination of information on a large scale. In this case, hashtags #prayforindonesia and #PrayForJakarta were used to get the information reach across the globe in a matter of few hours. Since the explosion at 10:55 AM (Western Indonesian Time / GMT), the hashtag #prayforindonesia has been mentioned 401,982 times in less than half a day and this number doesn’t include the mentions on Instagram and Facebook.
#Prayforindonesia total mentions on January 14, 2016
There were also other hashtags other than #prayforindonesia and #PrayForJakarta. Like #KamiTidakTakut that brought the attention of the world to Indonesia.
#KamiTidakTakut means “We’re not afraid” and this hashtag campaign expressed the solidarity of the Indonesian people to the world that Indonesia is not afraid of such cowardly acts. In less than 3 hours the hashtag #KamiTidakTakut became viral. The hashtag emerged as a supporter of the main hashtag that was created instantly after the event.
The same phenomenon on Twitter also happened in India and France. In India, after a heavily armed group attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station on January 2, 2016, the hashtag #pathankotattack appeared followed by #pathankotterrorattack. While in France, that hashtag #porteouverte that means “open door” went viral after #prayforparis, as a way to offer shelter to the victims after dozens died and many reportedly taken as hostages in multiple attacks a cross the nation.
The popularity of #KamiTidakTakut was enhanced by the influencer community that participated voluntarily supporting the campaign and condemning the attacks. The hashtag was firstly used by tweeps including @fadjroeL, @dianparamita and @_VinoGBastian, that have many followers.
One of the latest trends in the behavior of Indonesian netizens is being avidly responsive in providing visual design to support a hashtag content. Indonesian netizens have always loved works of art and infographics, making them a part of their content, making the penetration to the community much deeper. It was not until two hours after the tragedy took place, these images quickly circulated on the web and became viral.
Indonesian netizens’ brave stance on social media also seized the attention of the world community. One of the international news sites, NPR, published an article titled “Terrorists Hit Jakarta, And Indonesians Say” #KamiTidakTakut “- We Are Not Afraid” (Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/14/463018742/terrorists-hit-jakarta-and-indonesians-say-kamitidaktakut-we-are-not-afraid) with the uploaded image of an Indonesian celebrity drinking Starbucks coffee with the hashtag #KamiTidakTakut. The picture received huge number of likes and support.
The hashtag #KamiTidakTakut reached an estimated 8.4 million impressions from 7,291 Twitter mentions by 7,176 users by the end of 15 January 2016. Hashtags, the result of collective response from a huge user base signify a very strong positive message at the time of dismay against unaccepted and uncultured acts of violence. Indonesia stood strong together and the phenomenon of hashtag spelled its magic once again in uniting the netizens against global terrorism.