[PRESS RELEASE] Buzzer: How Does It Affect Society’s Psychology?| Difussion #53

August 9, 2021 6:27 pm || By

Google Meet, June 15th, 2021 – The presence of a buzzer is no longer a new thing in social media. The buzzer, used initially as a marketing strategy, is now changing its function as a political strategy used by movements, organizations, and political figures. The goal is to shape public discourse and views on an issue. Responding to this phenomenon, Center for Digital Society (CfDS) collaborated with BEM Psikologi Universitas Ahmad Dahlan held Diffusion #53 titled “Buzzer: Big Influence on Community Psychology?”. This event invited two speakers, Wisnu Martha Adiputra as a lecturer at the Department of Communication Science, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UGM, and a member of Japelidi, and Sri Handayani Nasution as Project Officer Research CfDS (link: https://youtu.be/jRuNeCtKPb8).

Buzzers, Disinformation, and Narrative

Starting her presentation, Sri Handayani Nasution explained that the buzzer phenomenon in Indonesia has existed since 2009, while political buzzers began to appear in the 2012 Jakarta Regional Head Elections. Initially, the buzzer was a marketing strategy in business that aimed to promote the company’s products/services. However, currently, there is a shift in the use of buzzers, where a political buzzer becomes a marketing strategy for the nomination of leaders of government institutions. A political buzzer is a group of organized people to spread hoaxes and hate speech, especially about the opposition. According to Sri Handayani, the characteristics of the content distributed by the buzzer are: the source of the account’s identity is unclear; citing news whose sources are not credible; the account only appears to respond to political news from untrustworthy sources. Sri Handayani believes that the high internet penetration in Indonesia, which is not balanced by digital literacy skills, provides space for buzzers to lead narratives easily. Closing his presentation, Sri Handayani said, “The buzzer phenomenon is not only present during the election period, but also every day. Therefore, we must be more careful in identifying issues that have been interfered with by the presence of the buzzer.

The Importance of Digital Literacy and Ethics in Social Media

Wisnu Martha thinks that buzzer can be influential or not depending on the issue on the agenda because not all problems can attract everyone’s attention. On the other hand, the success or failure of the buzzer also depends on the type of community. Since there are still many people who cannot even read, do not use social media, or still get information from conventional media.

Therefore, according to him, what can be done to combat buzzers are: strengthening digital literacy; strengthening normative ethical and legal rules, especially in society down to the micro-level; producing quality content; interacting healthily; and protecting vulnerable groups. According to him, “The buzzer is not only about the culprit, but what he brings and what effects it causes,” closed Wishnu.

Author: Firya Qurratu’ain A.

Editor: Ruth Simanjuntak & Aridiva Firdharizki