Sangat Pedas

A Reckless Simplification And Uncool Provocation


Sangat Pedas, a blog that loves the use of exaggeration and sarcasm. We love controversy, provocation, discussions, drama and an occasional confrontation.

Some of you might remember the post in with the snappy title “Social Media Marketing is a HOAX!” in which I personally argued, amongst others, that the value of Social Media is highly over-rated. Well, people got upset, big time!

When waking up with a hangover this morning quickly checking my Twitter there was an unusual amount of mentions. Lucky for me no “Red Square girls” and after quickly disregarding the mentions by the Tokobagus team members fishing for a salary raise (not even when I’m drunk guys) there were 28 MENTIONS left. All came from the same person whom I’ve never heard of before.

A reckless simplification“, people who know me will probably not be surprised when I say I take that as an ultimate compliment. Even better, I’m seriously considering to use these words in a new payoff for this blog. The Indonesian part of this tweet loosely translated means: “Uncool provocation! Poor you”. First observation is that student Viranti would be wise to attend the lessons in Bahasa a bit more. Yeah, you know I like to focus on semantics in a discussion. Anyway, clearly Viranti is somewhat bothered by my opinion considering she spend 1 hour and 20 minutes on producing 28 tweets directed at me.

So besides bold and slightly upset who is Viranti Mustika Sari? Well she herself tells (mirror) that she’s not a social media specialist but a student majoring in marketing concentration. Pretty impressive, a study that can be pretty much summed up in one, but pretty awesome and cool function:

On her Twitter page she describes herself as being a Rational perfectionist, realistic idealist, strong-willed learner, strongly committed partner. This followed by an appropriate smily. That’s an ambitious characterization which for sure didn’t apply to me during my college days. So what else can we find out about Viranti? Well, her Facebook page tells us she likes “Step up 3″, Celine Dion, Oprah Winfrey, football, Barcelona (cool!), Leo Messi, chocolate and of course she loves Indonesia and hates smoking.

The reason why I’m “profiling” Viranti is to see who I’m talking with and if I actually want to engage in this discussion. You know: “choose your battles wisely”. For all I know she could be responsible for the most successful social media campaigns ever done in the universe. But it doesn’t look like that’s the case and it seems she’s not too interested in any contradiction from my side considering her last tweet:

Sheer brilliance. BOX! But dear Viranti, are you not familiar with Sangatpedas? We use scientific journals for toilet paper, just because we can. But seriously, I like reading the theories but obviously most of these writers are making their money writing and not with monetizing their incredible social media marketing skills.

Besides that, the last thing we want you to do is apologize (mohon maaf jika anda tidak berkenan)  because you’re afraid you’ve upset me. I applaud, welcome and reward anyone arguing me, but expect a reply, Sangat Pedas style!

The thing is, if economics could be compressed in an absolute science Greece wouldn’t be on the verge of bankruptcy. If business would be a fail-safe science with proven models everybody who has mastered that knowledge would own at least one successful business. Unfortunately theory doesn’t equal success in business but can surely be useful.

Secondly, you either have difficulty reading or fail to see the difference between advertising and a social media activation campaign. When you want to outsource the last you don’t go to an advertising / media placement agency but you find a “Social Media God” (mirror).

Sarcasm and exaggeration to explain something are styles I like to use in writing. You on the other hand don’t seem to be familiar with these styles because you’ve completely missed the points. Everybody is talking and writing about the incredible powers of social media marketing but “show me the smoking gun please!“. Meaning, give me some good examples of social media marketing campaigns (don’t confuse this with plain advertising again please) which were a big hit, preferably in Indonesia but anywhere else is fine too.

My point being that social media marketing is far from being an exact science. The same can be said about TV advertising but at least you know what you get, x TARP with an y frequency for z amount of money. When doing online advertising you either get a certain amount of impressions for your money or even better, you pay per click and have a no-risk and no-surprises situation. Especially the last one can be made to an almost exact science. But when engaging in a social media activation campaign the question “what do I get for my dollars?” always remains unanswered. It can’t be answered because it’s sheer impossible to estimate your reach on social media since that depends on how wide your base reach is, how appealing your campaign is and if it will be picked up by your target group at all.

When doing a social media activation campaign one of the objectives is to trigger “conversations” which then hopefully go into the right direction. As you pointed out conversations happening on social media are outside the control of the brand and can backfire. Actually, chances are people rather talk about companies screwing up then sharing f.i. how nice the taste of Coca Cola is. My point being that the amplified effect in social media will be much bigger on scandals then on positive things, people generally don’t like to be used as billboards.

Next, there are way too many self-proclaimed social media experts, which is not only my personal observation but an opinion shared by roughly 373.000 others people. As you can read in the end of the article, the post was also meant as a way of challenging social media marketing experts, because if someone can come up with a great idea and chances for success are feasible I’m the first to give it a try. Just like we’re the first e-commerce website to advertise on TV in Indonesia. No guts, no glory but I never like to start an expensive campaign without having some feasible predictions or expectations on the outcome.

So I’m completely open to people proving me wrong, but in practice, not in theory even if they bring along a thousand scientific journals or a million social media gurus. When someone will prove me wrong I will be happy to swallow my pride and appropriately bite the dust.

Now anyone thinking that I don’t respect Viranti for going heads on with me is completely wrong and would be wise to immediately leave this blog because you’re not getting it. I LOVE Viranti for doing this! I’ve been complaining about the passiveness and the lack of discussions in the Indonesian startup market and then to see a student speaking up and challenging me is the ray of sunlight in my digital life. Viranti has the guts, the brains and the ambition to speak up where most keep silence.

So dear Viranti, if you think you’re the person that can prove I’m wrong in practice I will immediately reserve a desk for you at Tokobagus. And based on your twitter style I would advice you to start blogging, we could certainly use a bold, gutsy academic writer like you to lift the level of this blog.

NOTICE: Due to the original version of this post being lost in a recent web hosting disaster I had to re-write this post so the content is not the same as the original anymore.