Thought I’d share this online interview I gave to Azim a couple of years ago. Do share your thoughts and comments on the issues.
Azim: With the ubiquitous use of social media now, what are your thoughts on the importance of the public knowing what and not to say – social media etiquette? How to manage it?
Examples of bad socmed etiquette:
- Sarcastic comments and negative sentiments towards the governments.
- A comment on Cerita Panas Brunei saying: “Mentri brunei ane talor2″, the person perhaps not realising that His Majesty himself is the Prime Minister, Defence and Finance of Brunei.
- UBD students on a Facebook page venting out on a lecturer.
Me: Although I am a keen supporter of the Internet as a platform for free speech, the key word here is decorum. The problem is people believe that the internet is some place where they can be anonymous and so behave in ways they would never dream of doing in real life. We all know this is often not the case. But what’s important here is that the public should be educated on taking responsibility and being accountable for their actions online.
Azim: Why do you think that interest in blogging has faded over the years?
- A lack of love to write in Brunei?
- A lack of understanding of the importance of blogs that it can be read by everyone and our legacy is cemented so long as the internet/web is not replaced by something even more sophisticated.
- Or Bruneians prefer the simpler ease of Twitter and Instagram to express their ideas or arguments?
Me: I think blogging is just another tool for people to express their views and ideas. Tools evolve and become better and more efficient. But not everything can be expressed in 140 characters or less. So there will always be room for long-form expression like blogs. For all we know, twitter and instagram may go the way of blogs pretty soon.
Azim: Do you think that the only path for blogs to sustain its course is by means of making a commercial value out of it?
- Is there no social or academic value for blogs in Brunei?
- Can blogs be an infant industry or platform to an academic think tank such as http://www.e-ir.info/?
Me: I disagree. Apart from reaping some commercial value (if any), bloggers also post entries with a view towards collective recollection for the public at a future point in time. For example, my posts on Brunei’s National Day celebrations have become a visual and historical record of the atmosphere during those events, which will allow future generations of Bruneians to see how National Day was celebrated in the early 21st century.
Azim: Can the country rely on bloggers to uphold new aspirations regarding MIB or the Syariah Penal Code?
- Or are bloggers or social media users entitled to challenge their legitimacy?
- Because some Bruneians are constantly rocked over any online articles without even realising that these stories are not of concrete reports or proper research papers such as thewww.miricommunity/com.
- Perhaps proper blogs on explaining these things can pave the way for a better understanding and act as a standardised source of national information.
Me: Yes of course bloggers and the social media can be harnessed as a tool for upholding any sort of ideology. But they must always be prepared for opposing views and opinions. Healthy debate and conversations are always the best way to steer public opinion in a particular direction but it must be done transparently in order to maintain credibility.