Net in Nusantara

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A week from today, on July 8, Indonesia, the largest Muslim democracy in the world, will host its Presidential elections. While the power elite will vie for office, the Net is playing an increasingly important role in mobilizing information and youth demographics. While not yet pervasive, Indonesia’s 13M online accounted for the second-largest regional stronghold of Google search interest during the Iranian elections, across Sunni and Shiite beliefs. In fact, on a basis relative to all Bahasa Internet traffic, Bahasa traffic on Iranian terms trailed only to Farsi as the language of choice for queries on Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. The greatest use of the net in Nusantara during the period was to gain information about Iran.

One week before their own presidential elections, search volume data yields interesting information. While incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono leads by 10 points according to a June 11 poll, aggregated search on iterations of his name –sby, boediono, budiono, pd (after his party)– show him leading by 6:1 over Megawati, and by even wider margins over former VP incumbent Jusuf Kalla.  Putative opinion in Indonesia is that “Mega” –as first Indonesian President Sukarno’s daughter is known– is out of the running.  In certain regions such as Jawa Timur (East Java) “SBY” leads both in search and in political stronghold. Online “Mega” appears to have a chance, until one realizes that queries on her name are by “Breakout” proportions “say no Megawati.” On July 8, it appears as though it will be smooth sailing in Nusantara for incumbent SBY.

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