Indonesia is the globe’s most populous Muslim nation. It is also the second-largest Facebook market, the third-largest for Twitter. Many of the country’s teens own mobile phones. So how does the U.S. Department of State seek to win the young hearts and minds of Indonesia? It gets digital with a new cultural center.
The State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy recently opened @America in Jakarta’s Pacific Place shopping mall, home of Bvlgari, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co. Indonesian kids who manage to wander up to the third floor get to play with amazing digital displays and try out iPads and other American wonder gizmos made in China.
We have it on good authority that Indonesians love shopping malls, but security is as tight at @America as it is at the nearby stock exchange. Attendance is said to be 5,000 a month, mostly kids who are brought in from school by bus.
@America is said to be a pilot project in the search to replace the few remaining American cultural centers abroad, victims of post-9/11 security concerns. So far, the handsome @America Web presence seems to be in the “Enough about me; what do you think about me?” mode, The site doesn’t inspire interest in America, let alone the @America center. It is seriously content-deficient. Our advice: hyperlinks to Science and Technology, Environment, and Arts and Entertainment features from the Voice of America site until more substantive content is developed.
Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com
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