It’s interesting to me that one of the media blurbs praising the new social networking platform, Koprol.com reads, “Beat it, Facebook! Jakartans are about to get their own local networking website…” Because the mobile-intensive, user-generated site seems — if anything — to be providing a way for social media brats to ensure that their Facebook sites are constantly updated and that their friends know where they are at any given microsecond.
Two things struck me about this site. The first was how crisp, clean and simple it is: there’s not a lot of fat and — for the time being –it’s not massively overpopulated with users. It kind of has that, “huh… is that all there is?” feeling that a lot of folks felt towards Twitter in the beginning. The second was the “secret sharer” vibe I picked up. Biznet, a Jakarta-based ISP and content provider is doing the hosting. When I read the fine-print of the service and privacy agreement — which was clearly concocted by a team of international intellectual property lawyers — I recognized the stamp of “The Big F”. I don’t mean to suggest a nefarious conspiracy. It’s just interesting to see all these small Facebook competitors spring up that are actually feeding more people into — and enhancing the market share of — Facebook.
Conceptually, it’s pretty straightforward: 1) log in on your mobile, 2) see who’s around you and what they’re doing, 3) take/share a pic or comment. Finger-tap your way to topicality!
When you sign up as a member, Koprol gives you the option of syncing the info from your Facebook into your new profile. I entered a couple lines of info about myself and, wham, bam, was welcomed into the fold. One interesting thing was that I had identified my hometown as Bangkok and found myself suddenly linked to a half dozen people who had been to Bangkok and posted comments about their trip there. I reckon if I had identified my hometown as Semarang, Java, or Medan, Sumatra, there would have been many more people on the site actually from those places. In Indonesia, where regional origins are extremely important community bonds — especially for newcomers in a city as daunting as Jakarta — I could see this feature making Koprol extremely popular.