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Newsletter — December 2014
SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYSIS ON
RESPONSES TO FUEL PRICE INCREASE
2
Dear Valued Clients,
In our last newsletter, we highlight insights gained
from social media as a window to glimpse the l...
3
In the previous edition of Provetic Newsletter
we focused on social media conversations
related to issues that the Indon...
4
 The decision to raise the prices for subsidized
fuels by the new Indonesian government
under the President Joko Widodo...
5
Public’s immediate reaction
was overwhelming, but the
heated discussion appears to
be short-lived
The issue about price ...
6
People are divided on the
issue, but with some
indication that support the
decision of fuel price increase
As expected o...
7
Media helps people in
supporting their argument,
but it might not be the main
influencing factor
mention these accounts....
8
well as day-to-day expenditure.
This is especially obvious in the
arguments of people who are
against the decision to in...
9
One of our main objectives is to
highlight the utilization of social
media conversations to capture
public reactions to ...
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Provetic Newsletter December 2014

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Provetic Newsletter December 2014

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Provetic Newsletter December 2014

  1. 1. Newsletter — December 2014 SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYSIS ON RESPONSES TO FUEL PRICE INCREASE
  2. 2. 2 Dear Valued Clients, In our last newsletter, we highlight insights gained from social media as a window to glimpse the lives of Indonesians through conversations spanning from the most mundane individual concerns to the collective and more pressing public issues. This month, we try to highlight another use of social media as a medium that captures public reaction to government policy. We believe that social media conversations can give access to immediate and organic responses from the public by tracking the nuances of public arguments as they are related to certain government decision. Further analysis can also reveal the amplitude of people’s reaction towards certain decision or policy, the rationale behind the public’s arguments, and the impact of internal and external factors in influencing the public opinion—all of which would give valuable input for policy makers and stakeholders. This November, with the government introducing new prices for subsidized fuels, provides a valuable opportunity for us to conduct and present to you the analysis that highlight these concerns. We hope that you would enjoy this issue and gain valuable insights from our analysis. Best Regards, Iwan Setyawan, CEO WORDS FROM THE CEO EDITORIAL TEAM Board of Advisors Iwan Setyawan, Roby Muhamad, Shafiq Pontoh, Budhi Sumarso Managing Editor Smita Sjahputri Smita.Sjahputri@provetic.com Jl. Kerinci 1 no. 2, Kebayoran Baru Jakarta Selatan 12120 T: +6221 72799613 F: +6221 72799613 www.provetic.com
  3. 3. 3 In the previous edition of Provetic Newsletter we focused on social media conversations related to issues that the Indonesian public is mostly concerned about. We discovered that the issues related to fuel prices were one of the most discussed on Twitter. Last November, just a month after the presidential inauguration of Joko Widodo, the new government announced new prices of subsidized fuel. The announcement, which was delivered on Monday, 17th of November 2014 at 09.00 PM and to be made valid immediately as of 00.00 AM the next day, was one of the first big economic moves taken by the Indonesian government under the new president. The decision resulted in the increase of prices for subsidized Premium gasoline from IDR 6,500 per liter to IDR 8,500; and also Diesel fuel from IDR 5,500 to IDR 7,500 per liter. In his speech during the fuel price increase announcement, President Joko Widodo mentioned that the decision was necessary in order to save the country’s economy by more than 100 trillion Rupiah, funds that can be reallocated to boost more productive areas, such as infrastructure and welfare. Although the issue of cutting off subsidized fuel is nothing new for the Indonesian public, the decision has been known to be unpopular, always stirring up much controversy and polarized responses. Especially since the increase in fuel prices would subsequently result in the price increase for other basic commoditie especially for those with lower spending power. Social media has been the new go-to place for many Indonesians to voice out their reactions be it of support or disagreement about government policies. Hence, for this month, we decide to explore social media conversations related to fuel pricing. We believe that this analysis can be used as a case study to map out public reactions to government decision. The analysis would not only give immediate understanding about people's responses on the specific issue of fuel price increase but can also be used as a benchmark for public reactions and acceptance level of government policies and decisions in the future. PUBLIC REACTION TO GOVERNMENT POLICY: SOCIAL MEDIA CONVERSATION ON FUEL PRICE INCREASE
  4. 4. 4  The decision to raise the prices for subsidized fuels by the new Indonesian government under the President Joko Widodo elicited rather strong and heavily polarized reactions.  Social media recorded a ten-fold increase in conversation regarding “Fuels” the day following the fuel price increase announcement, however the conversation level quickly dropped off the next day.  People’s opinion in social media is almost evenly divided, with statements of support slightly more in proportion than the opposing statements.  Content analysis of the arguments in support of the fuel price increase indicated that some people trust the government’s reasoning and planning behind the decision.  Meanwhile, those opposed to the decision are basing their arguments on the stance that fuel price increase would hurt the underpriviledge and the poor.  Although news media and social media influencers have proven to hold certain power in shaping people’s opinion, however, internal factors such as value systems and moral foundations that people hold will also have a huge influence in people’s evaluation and reaction over this issue.  We found that the main value system people use in evaluating the fuel price increase are security, benevolence, and tradition. This issue is also being morally evaluated using the judgement of how it would affect people’s freedom.  Different value systems resulted in different public evaluations and reactions. Those who value security might be more likely to reject the decision, while those who value social harmony might be more likely to accept the decision. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  5. 5. 5 Public’s immediate reaction was overwhelming, but the heated discussion appears to be short-lived The issue about price increase as a result of the budget cutting for subsidized fuels has been one of the most anticipated decisions by the new government under President Joko Widodo. With the announcement being delivered last November, Provetic tracked the social media converation to unravel public reaction to the decision. Chart I — Daily buzz of conversation regarding “Fuel” continues to the next day when new prices took effect, in which Twitter recorded more than 400,000 tweets posted regarding the issue. Interestingly, the high level of conversation does not appear to have lasted very long. Two days after the announcement, the conversation level had dropped significantly, to around 140,000 tweets. Although this number is still higher than the baseline average of daily conversations before the price increase, the immediate drop in conversation level may signal that the announcement did not cause prolonged controversy as intially expected. People’s interest in the subject regarding fuel prices has been increasing in the days approaching the announcement of the new prices for subsidized fuels. This trend was observable when we look into the steady increment of daily conversation level recorded on Twitter, starting at from the day of President Joko Widodo’s inauguration all the way to the day before the announcement. The anticipation regarding the announcement appears to have built up a huge momentum which was translated into an extreme peak in the conversation. On the day of the announcement, conversation level had increased ten-fold in numbers, compared to the daily average on the weeks prior to it, amounting to more than 200,000 tweets. The momentum Day of Presidential Inauguration Announcement of New Fuel Prices Conversations regarding Fuel Prices contributed to 45% the total Fuel conversation, making it the most discussed topic, ahead of topics on fuel shortage and distribution N = 1,965,235 tweets
  6. 6. 6 People are divided on the issue, but with some indication that support the decision of fuel price increase As expected of such an “unpopular” policy such as fuel price increase, Indonesian's reactions to this is very much divided. The decision is deemed as the first “test” for Jokowi as the President of the People, which is reflected by corresponding heated arguments in social media conversations. Interestingly, the data show that the arguments are divided very evenly with some indication that the supporting stance for this decision is winning although by a very small gap. Futher analysis of the arguments supporting the decision for fuel price increase indicate that people are buying into the government's reasoning behind the budget cut for subsidized fuels, which is to reallocate the funds into more productive areas such as building infrastructures, welfare programs, as well as to revitalize the fiscal economy. This is an encouraging outlook, indicating the high level of trust and support given by the people to the new government. In contrast, the arguments against fuel price increases mostly mention concerns that this decision is unfair and a burden for the less priviledged or “Rakyat Kecil”. Other concerns being voiced out are increases in other commodity prices also the cost of transportation, which is also a major public concern that we discovered in previous analysis. Some also state an opposing stance against the decision because they feel that the reasoning and arguments behind the decision to increase fuel price is rather vague and there might be some undesirable effects to the decision that have not yet been taken into accounted for. Interestingly, tweets that openly stated their stance in support or against the govern- ment decision to increase fuel prices mostly contain links to news articles or quotes from Chart III— Top Hashtags in the conversation regarding “Fuel” several prominent figures such as politicians and political parties, economic and oil industry experts, as well as social media influencers. This might indicate that when people declare their stance on a complex and controversial government policy, they need to have their arguments backed by information from sources they deem credible. People also appear to use specific hashtags in labelling their stance, such as the hashtag #jokowihebat, to indicate support for Jokowi and of his brave move. However, looking at other popular hashtags used, it appears that people who are against the decision show more coordinated "attacks", especially by spinning Jokowi’s popular campaign slogans and a hashtag previously used as an attack for the former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono into #salamgigitjari and #shameonyouJokowi. N = 87,389 tweets SOCIAL MEDIA CONVERSATION IN NUMBERS Chart II— Proportion of tweets in support and against the fuel price increase
  7. 7. 7 Media helps people in supporting their argument, but it might not be the main influencing factor mention these accounts. People are generating their own arguments — which may or may not be influenced by external influence — in response to the decision. So what else is at play here? To understand people’s reactions, it is also important to view their evaluation in terms of what are the things that people value as important as well as the dimension in which they base their judgement over a certain event to be accepted as right and acceptable, or otherwise. In the conversation regarding fuel price increase, the number of tweets that directly linked or embedded news media articles apparently only accounts for less than 10% of the total conversation. Furthermore, we found that social media influencers such as individual accounts of @kurawa, @fadjroel, and @sujiwotedjo, or the “anonymous” or group accounts such as @partaisocmed have relatively more influence, because in total, these accounts are being quoted more than the online media accounts. Prominent political figures such as @jokowi_do2, @yusrilihza_mhd, and @sbyudhoyono are also having more impact in the general public conversation than the media. However, the direct influence of the messages conveyed by these accounts is relatively small in numbers because most of the tweets regarding the fuel price increase do not explicitly quote or Public opinion can be influenced by several factors, with mainstream media having most power to sway public arguments. However, in social media, prominent individuals, or usually referred to as “influencers” might also have considerable force in shaping the public opinion. Moreover, we believe that apart from these external forces, people’s evaluation might also be influenced by the values and moral foundations that they already have. Top Most Mentioned News Media Accounts @detikcom | 19,335 tweets @kompascom | 15,239 tweets @metro_tv | 10,524 tweets Top Most Mentioned Political Figures and Social Media Influencer Accounts @jokowi_do2 | 10,199 tweets @yusrilihza_mhd | 6,937 tweets @kurawa | 6,878 tweets
  8. 8. 8 well as day-to-day expenditure. This is especially obvious in the arguments of people who are against the decision to increase the fuel prices. With the fuel prices increase usually leads to increase in the prices of other commodities as well as transportation costs, they might feel that the decision is wrong or unacceptable because it is taking away some of their freedom of choice as now they have to reevaluate their financial choices. by the important things they values. Within the conversation regarding the fuel price increase, three of the most prominent values are: security, benevolence, and tradition. In our analysis, those who are against the decision to fuel prices increase appears to put security in higher level of importance, as they put more emphasis in seeking safety and ensuring the security of the society. This is reflected in how they put forward the arguments that the fuel price increase would be harmful for the people, especially the poor and less fortunate. The uncertainty of other possible undesirable effects that might occur as a result of the fuel price increase would also threaten their security, hence, making these people more likely to be opposing the decision. In contrast, looking into the arguments of those people who are supporting the decision, it appears that they belief that, instead of bringing harm, reallocating the fund would bring greater good to the society. This argument reflect people who values harmony and contributing to general welfare as of higher importance. Interestingly, people also evaluate this decision in terms of how this part of “tradition” — especially because this decision, albeit unpopular, has always been a move made by the government. As some people appear to have already anticipating this move by the new government as something that must be done and has been done several times, this might explain why the heated discussion appears to be short-lived. Understanding the internal forces that shapes people’s opinion: The role of values and moral judgements Apart from identifying the foundation of moral judgement in which people formed the evaluation of “rightness” of certain issue, arguments are also shaped People’s attitudes and behaviors toward certain issues are mainly influenced by specific motivational basis that are directed by the values system and moral judgements that they hold. By identifying these underlying themes from the arguments of the people in social media, it would help us in differentiating the evaluation of those who are in support or against the decision and understanding the rationale behind their arguments. In our analysis, we found that the issue of fuel increase prices are mainly being judged in terms of how this decision might be impacting people’s freedom, especially because fuel prices increase might result in constriction of spending power as In general, most people on social media evaluate the government’s decision to increase fuel price under three main values system: security, benevolence, and tradition
  9. 9. 9 One of our main objectives is to highlight the utilization of social media conversations to capture public reactions to government decisions and public policies. Following the announcement of fuel price increase, people are taken to social media to express their thoughts and worries regarding the decision. Interestingly, there was a considerable amount of support being expressed on social media —which is rather surprising, as the unpopular decision has been known to evoke strong rejection from the public. The level of aggreement and acceptance from the public as expressed on Twitter can be used as one of the benchmarks to indicate the level of trust that people have on the government and its policies. Content analysis of the tweets that express support for the decision can also be utilized to understand the nature of arguments and would not hurt the people The last analysis highlights the need to understand the forces that shape public opinion. External forces such as influence from news media coverage and opinions of prominent social media figures (influencers) might play significant role. Most important is to identify the internal factors of the value systems and moral foundations that people hold, which would highly influence their evaluation process and attitude towards certain issues. Understanding the content and recurring theme within social media conversation would provide an important basis for policy makers and stakeholders to construct the best public communication strategies for conveying government policies KEY TAKEAWAYS AND FURTHER IMPLICATIONS © December 2014 — Provetic Photo Credits: Cover Photo by Basibanget 1. “Senggigi Port In 1225 Seconds” by Blek 2. “Depok Bus Station 2” by Danumurthi Mahendra 3. “Fuel” by Meaduva 4. “Motor-cab Drivers Queue” by Danumurthi Mahendra All rights reserved under Creative Commons Liscense rationale behind the support. In this case, we found that content analysis futher confirms the notion that people have relatively high level of trust towards Jokowi and the new government, as they quickly endorse the reasoning and plan behind the decision presented by government officials . However, it is also important to understand the opposing point of view, as this would be beneficial for policy makers to understand the main concerns of people and address them so as to minimize further controversies. In the case of fuel price increase, it was observed that the old argument that this decision would hurt the poor and underpriviledged is still being used persistently. This might suggest that the new government has to prove to the people that the decision was necessary, well thought-out, and

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