Wicaksono’s Twitter account @NdoroKakung has more than 115,000 followers. While he was by no means an instant celebrity when he jumped on the Twitter bandwagon in 2009, the journalist was relatively famous within the blogosphere.
Wicaksono cultivated his savior-faire writing style as a freelance writer when he was a communications student at the Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, the city where he was born.
He then relocated to Jakarta in 1990 to begin his professional journalism career at teen magazine Mode Indonesia before moving to national newspaper Media Indonesia in 1993. Wicaksono soon found his true calling and cemented his journalism career at Tempo magazine in 1998.
Virtual world of words and pictures
His desire to share information on the net prompted Wicaksono to create his own blog, ndorokakung.com, in 2006. The writer decided on the pen name “Ndoro Kakung” because it was catchy and unique.
“Someone else owned the domain of wicaksono.com,” he told the Jakarta Globe at his modest office in Pancoran, South Jakarta.
“I chose this name as my online persona because I used to hear my pembantu [maid] call my grandfather Ndoro Kakung , ”he said.
In Javanese, ndoro translates to “mister,” while kakung means “male.”
In the blogosphere, Wicaksono is known as "Lelanganing Jagad", Javanese for “man of the universe,” a term which carries a connotative meaning of heartthrob.
His writing style is unique and kicks straight to the heart of his readers. One of his recent blog posts, entitled “Capres Pecas Ndahe” (“Presidential Candidate Pecas Ndahe”), was about the nobodies who voiced their interest in competing in next year’s presidential election.
While he holds a reputation as a man of words on Twitter and his personal blog, Wicaksono is also known as an aspiring photographer.
His interest in wildlife, social reality and nature photography is displayed on the photo-sharing application Instagram, under the same username.
“As a digital immigrant, I move from one medium to another, just following the trend,” he said.
Tweeting around the clock
From the moment he opens his eyes in the early hours of the morning, Wicaksono is glued to his gadgets all day long.
“If it seems like I tweet all the time and never sleep, it’s because I tweet right before bed,” he said.
Wicaksono, who posts in three languages: Javanese, Indonesian and English, said one of his strategies to encourage more Twitter followers is by playing to people’s interests.
Wicaksono regularly monitors Klout, an application to measure one’s online influence. He explained one of his top moments the previous week was when he tweeted BlackBerry’s plan to launch its messenger service on Android system.
“BBM is like a first love that is hard to forget, right? It’s useless to use iPhone or Android if in the end [you’re] still using BBM. Please move on :)),” he tweeted.
Political analyst Fadjroel Rachman told the Jakarta Globe that the reason he followed @NdoroKakung on Twitter was because “he’s the grandfather of social media. If you don’t follow him, it means you’re nobody in social media.”
But Wicaksono’s former colleague at Tempo who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “I follow him only because I know him in person. I’d feel bad if I unfollowed him.”
While he has tens of thousands of followers, Wicaksono follows less than 500 people, saying that he only wants to engage with people who make him feel alive and inspired.
“I will unfollow people whose tweets are not interesting, or if they make me dizzy by complaining every day,” he said. “It’s tiring to have friends that complain every day about bad food or low salaries.”
Due to his journalism background, Wicaksono often expresses concerns and criticism in response to current affairs.
“It’s probably because I’ve been taught and learned that journalists should always be skeptical,” he said. “Journalists ask questions and questioning is the beginning of knowledge, and it is the way to truth.”
Asked why he often tweets vaguely, he said he enjoys seeing how his tweets are misunderstood by others.
“A Tweeter dies once he has finished tweeting, it’s up to the reader [to interpret it],” he said, slightly changing the famous quote of Italian semiotician Umberto Eco.
Want more Twitter followers? Tips from @NdoroKakung
Wicaksono offered some tips for the social media savvy who want to attract more followers. Try them and tell us if it works for you using the hashtag #JGFF.
1. Don’t tweet too much about yourself, such as what you do or worse, what you eat. It’s better to tweet commenting on certain issues, such as the president or lawmakers and ranting on endless traffic jams.
2. Don’t complain. People will get tired reading your constant complaints over nothing.
3. Tweet something funny or melancholic — most popular topics among Indonesia’s youngsters.
4. Write something in a smart way. Use metaphors.
5. Share useful information.
The Jakarta Globe’s new column Follow Friday is a series of interesting profiles on the characters who make up Indonesia’s ever-growing Twitterverse. Each week we feature one person whose tweets are either informative, funny or controversial. Follow at your own risk.