Making Weak Ties Strong Ties- Networking in the Australia-Indonesia Community
Ever since I returned from exchange to Indonesia I have taken an active interest in the Australia-Indonesia community particularly here in Melbourne. The first step I took to continue to actively engage was to be involved with the Australia Indonesia Youth Association (AIYA) and shortly after moving from Perth to Melbourne I joined the AIYA Victoria committee as the Sports and Recreation Officer. Some of the events that we have run in the past include archery, rock climbing and indoor soccer. But, the events are not only sporting and AIYA also has been active in attending and participating in events from the Indonesian Students Association Australia (PPIA). For instance, recently AIYA members joined the celebrations for Soundsekerta 2014 at Melbourne Town Hall featuring two popular Indonesian bands.
Sheila On 7 Perform at Melbourne Town Hall
Since joining the committee and regularly attending the activities I have noticed a strong network between Australians interested in Indonesia and Indonesians either studying or living here in Australia interested in engaging with local students or reconnecting with their homeland. However, despite these strong active networks and interests from universities with strong offline networks often there exist only weak ties online. Social capital theory dictates better connected individuals have higher returns. Therefore the challenge will be to make these strong offline ties strong online ties. In his lecture John Postill outlines four main areas of interaction within the anthropology community; blogging, Twitter, Facebook and a mailing list. Already there exists a mailing list for the Australia-Indonesia community, but the other areas could be further developed.
The youth in the relationship are starting to engage more readily online as can be seen by the live Twitter feed at the Conference of Australia and Indonesia Youth (CAUSINDY) last week in Jakarta. The AIYA blog is another example of how the youth in the relationship are helping to engage the Australia-Indonesia community online. My main area of interest is sport and I would like to create further dialogue and discussion in this area with the Australia-Indonesia community.
My goal is to create more dialogue and discussion online as well as continue the offline networks involved in the relationship. I am particularly interested in engaging the sporting community and trying to incorporate people who do not normally engage in this online network. Ideally, I would like to connect both academics and laymen interested in the relationship. Inger Mewburn emphasises the key to any network is persistence as highlighted with her blog The Thesis Whisperer. It is of vital importance that I stay persistent to ultimately create an active and engaging online community.