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Indonesia's First Full-Time Blogger
Budi Putra, 34, quits respectable day job to devote himself to blog
Lily Yulianti (myfawwaz)     Print Article 
Published 2007-05-08 04:20 (KST)   
When he circulated an e-mail declaring that he had resigned from his job as a journalist and was now dedicating himself to being a professional blogger, many dubbed him Indonesia's first full-time blogger. After five years working for Tempo Group, one of the most respected media corporations in Indonesia, Budi Putra, 34, a Jakarta-based journalist took the decision to kick off a new career as a full-time blogger.

"I resigned from my job from March 1, to become a full-time blogger. I will be dedicating my time to developing an Indonesian blogosphere...," said Budi Putra, in a phone interview last weekend.

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He has taken his blog as a serious matter for years. If many bloggers in Indonesia acknowledge blogging as a fun social activity, where one can maintain an on-line diary, personal journal and upload things of interest, Budi has embraced the idea of blogging as a serious business with three main fields to be developed: as a publisher, a writer and a consultant.

If many bloggers in Indonesia repeatedly complain about slow and expensive Internet access, as well as the lack of spare time, as the main hurdles to maintain their blogs, from the beginning Budi has regarded good writing as the biggest challenge for a blogger. He has put in his best efforts to boost his writing ability in English, as he believes that to attract more people visiting his blog, he needs to write in the international language. He admitted that he is still far from perfect in English, but that is not a reason for not doing it.

"Having a good blog means having an excellent writing ability. I have always asked myself: "What do people expect when visiting a blog?" My answer is: current news, worthy content, valuable information, and at the same time also a space for writers to highlight their personal perspectives."

Since the first time he blogged in March 2001, he has focused on IT-related issues, consistently posting his reviews on the latest trends in communication technology, the development of on-line media and blogs, and last but not least, information about journalism, ranging from producing his own articles, referring or linking to other articles and Web sites and also redistributing job vacancies and writing contest announcements. Budi has been posting his writings and other stuff on at least five different blogs.

"Later I realized that I never have sufficient time to produce good quality contents if I keep doing it part-time. Previously I blogged in the early morning before going to work. In the office, I blogged between work, and when I came home, I still blogged sometimes until midnight. I managed to blog routinely, but it is hard to maintain the blogs in a very sophisticated way when your energy has been absorbed at work..."

Budi has been thinking about the idea for a year, before declaring the decision two months ago. For many bloggers who are close enough to him, the decision was only about time, as he has already got the whole package as a professional IT-related writer by focusing on blog and online media outlets as his target. As for other journalists, his colleagues at work, the decision was a great loss, as he has been acknowledged as a well-versed journalist in communication technologies and their trends.

"I am surprised with the great positive response so far due to my decision; however, there are still quite a lot of people who doubt the prospective career that I will have in this field. I`m telling them, the prospect is unlimited and unexpected," states Budi.

Interestingly, when he tried to emphasize to his colleagues about the unlimited potential in online media and blogs, he left his previous job before securing another permanent job. The opportunity landed just a month ago, when www.slashphone.com, a Dallas-based IT-related Web site offered him a position to become a managing editor and writer five days a week for the site. He also blogs for CNet Asia and several IT-related Web sites.

He describes his typical day as a full-time blogger as follows: waking up in the early morning, doing blog surfing and collecting information for his upcoming articles, without needing to think about what route he should take to the office in order to survive amids the horrible traffic jam in Jakarta; around 10 o'clock he'll be starting to write some pieces for one or two blogs or Web sites; having more time to read the latest technology-related books and catch up with the new trends in the blogosphere and Internet.

"My family is really happy because I have lots of time with them now while doing my jobs from home. I have more time to go to the movies, play with my kid, and it's all good..."

Now, while continuing to blog, Budi, who has already written five IT-related books, provides some consultancy for a Jakarta-branch office of an International IT vendor and a bank which are preparing so-called corporate blogs. He is also in the final stages of launching a professional blogger network which is expected to be released this month. He mentions the rate for one session consultancy is around US$1,000. As for the articles he posts in several blogs overseas, he might get a minimum payment of $300-500 per piece. The amount is more than enough to put his family financially secure and also to pay all the expenses for Internet access at home.

Budi has decided to make a living from blogging alone, a move that inspires many bloggers in the country where the Internet penetration is still less than 10 percent, with slow access and expensive rates.

"I am dealing with the world, with a full-scale capacity as a professional. I am not the kind of person who dreams of getting rich instantly from the Internet. I can't rely on Google ad sense and the likes to earn good money in cyberspace. I have to acquire the ability to be an excellent writer with a thorough knowledge and commitment. I traded in my previous job with unlimited possibilities and freedom, and from now on, wherever I go, I'll introduce myself as a full-time blogger..."
Budi Putra's Web site.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Lily Yulianti

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