Popularity Explained (or Why We Enjoy Tweeting about Where We Eat Our Red Velvet Cakes So Much)

For a person who was born with average talents to a common family, being known by strangers can sometimes be creepy. One day I attended a Philosophy of Social Science course just to find out that a group of girls were sending messages to one another on a piece of paper—talking about me. Of course I did not ‘intentionally’ peek over their shoulders (I did), but it nevertheless was embarrassing to discover your name jolted down by juniors you never met before. Or the word awkward might be more like it.

(Okay you might start thinking that I’m trying to say that I’m quite popular, but believe me—that’s not the case. Well at least that’s not the main case. HAHAHA.)

One of the stupidest things a journalist can ask to public figures would be this: “How does it feel to be popular?” If you ask me, I believe they deserve a punch in their face to ask such a lazy, pointless question. A worth-trying alternative would be, “Do you aim to be popular?”

Most people would say—or lie, to be exact—that popularity is just an inevitable outcome of their doing something good (or bad, in some cases). It is to my regret that the trend always demonstrates otherwise: youngsters crave to be popular. This is not morally incorrect indeed, but changing one’s point of view in seeing popularity might increase their productivity level in a significant manner
(and plausibly otherwise).

(Oh and please be reminded that I am by no means an exception to this premise. You see—I’m still naively 20, for God’s sake.)


“We have the power to be heard at the click of a button, and you choose to let the world know where you’re eating your red velvet cake.” @darlol, one of my most favorite accounts.

For one thing, I regret how social media create a bunch of overly self-interested individuals. Take Mother Theresa, for instance. Shall there be Twitter back then, would she tweet the number of poor children she helped? Would your parents care to tell the world that they have been accepted to work in the country’s most bonafide company more than they wanted to make their parents proud?

Twitter and Facebook have indeed broadened our network reach, but they failed to deepen the existing connections we had before we signed up for an account. While our close friends used to be the first ears to know about how we feel that day, the internet deceived us to skip them and go directly for the bigger audience. We started creating false images of ourselves just for the fun of popularity. What good can we earn from these showing-off tweets?

“Headed to a meeting with new clients. Excited!”
“Kuta beach, here I cooome!”
“Thank you for the past two years, love. Waiting for more…”

I mean, I will still buy personal tweets as long as it gives me certain benefits: be it stupidly funny ones, extensively informative ones, or anything alike.

For the record, I do not declare myself free of any guilt. I, too, sometimes have the urge to let the world (or a particular person, most of the time) know what I’m currently doing, and damn, nothing can be more effective than Twitter.

So what we should blame on is solely the system of social network.
Its mere existence grows people’s insecurity, facilitates us to compare ourselves to others and, when we’re not lucky enough to have self-control, makes us feel rather ‘less’ than ‘thankful’.

Here’s an easy example: when tweeting about how you volunteered in one of the most respected hospitals in town does not even visit your mind, reading someone else’s announcement about how they happily work abroad will stimulate you to outpopularize that person by tweeting about it.

So, yeah. I’m looking forward to when our society gets maturer and cares to share ideas more than places they visit. Until that day, folks.


What Makes a Princess Queen?

This thought came accross my mind during the trip back home from HNMUN training earlier this afternoon.

To my limited knowledge, outside the philosophical realm, you’re a queen when you’re either: a) regnant: an official female heir (daughter) of a King inheriting his land and people, or b) consort: a normal citizen who weds a member of the royal family who is or, later, becomes the King.

But then, does a little girl deserve the prefix of queen as soon as she’s institutionally engaged (read: married) to the man with throne, or shall she not be entitled to such powerful jargon before she could prove to people in her country that she does possess wisdom, trained by the merciful teacher named ‘experience’? Does a princess need to acquire certain qualities, traits, or level of tangible skills in order to be a queen? In a world with meritocracy system, what can justify her higher position in the societal structure?

Linguistically speaking, (meaning: to include certain amount of subjectivity) how can the word ‘princess’ so oftenly correlated to an image of a kind yet spoiled girl in a luxuriously spacious room who is obliged to simultaneously study statesmanship and sewing lessons whereas ‘queen’ constitutes a completely different persona of exceptionally sound and sensible woman whose people worship and love?

My first attempt of answer was: time.

Time forces you to age. Time adds extra height and weight to your body, as well as extra wrinkles to your previously smooth face. But that’s not merely it. Time lets you undergo a sequence of problems and unhappy endings from which you can extract big lessons. Time allows a princess’ mind to grow and discover new emotions. Time permits you to be familiarized with different situations, and thence understand different strategies to deal with different issues.

Yet again, can time guarantee that you will be able to rule a country, or be completely relied by the ruler himself?


Dear Queen, what makes you deserve all the respect?

Another contributing factor, I believe, is experience.

I strongly negate the idea that ‘experience’ is inherently embedded in ‘time’. I believe that a 9 year old kid can be wiser than somebody in their 40s, evidently because he’s got through certain calamity or story that gave him valuable lessons.

Growing up with the royal family, a princess has the limited access to broader understanding and information upon all the intertwined problems that her father has encountered in his incumbency. But then again, don’t the other royal staff perceive (see, hear, meet) the same events that she does? Why don’t they deserve the same title?

What’s left on the table now is, per se, marriage with the King.

Simply put, to be married with the King means being his Queen. No matter how reckless or self-centered or obtuse you are, the institution of marriage makes your title as queen official. I believe that this is the saddest way to see queens i.e. relating it to the existence of bigger power, a man, that is utterly external to her own being.

However, this does not mean that queen-by-marriage does not deserve the same respect. Bear in mind that, behind a great man there will always be a great woman, and vice versa. Thus, having gained trust from the perceivably wisest gentleman in the whole country as his lifetime partner, such woman must have a prodigious heart and mind.

The most idealistic way to fathom the gap between princesses and queens is then based on three keywords: wisdom, leadership, and elegance.

If a princess cries over her people’s suffering, a queen takes necessary measures to mitigate her nation’s level of poverty.
If a princess wishes to have some fancy dresses, a queen knows the condition of her country’s tailor industry.
If a princess is admired for she cares about her people, a queen is loved precisely because she’s brave enough to take risk for her people’s good.

I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king. Queen Elizabeth I

What makes a prince king, then?

The Thing about Brainy Guys

Half an hour ago, I tweeted a simple sentence–which has been one of the main principles I uphold in life—“Intelligence is sexy.” To my surprise, it got retweeted by at least 10 accounts, and this fact simply confirms that there are people who are not pretty enough and in need to create another justification to label themselves ‘sexy’! Sad, no? Kidding.
Second surprise: our mighty dictionary has actually reserved a spot for specific terminology on ‘one who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature”, namely sapiosexual. Basically, they are the kind of people to whom philosophical debate is more intriguing than physical dating. We might translate that as me, and any of you who nod while reading this post.
The sexiest part of a man is their brain.
The quote originally came from a fiction piece whose title I can’t recall. Let’s just focus on the essence of that premise. Some girls’ attention can be caught by expensive perfume or decent suit, but you can’t buy their heart with just outer appearance.
The King needs not to move a lot, but he has to possess certain aptitudes as well as the skill to lead. To think.
Such conclusion is very, very subjective–as there might be ladies who find less intelligent guys as cute–but the case goes like that to me and most girls with whom I’ve been discussing this with. Most of them agree that the definition of ‘brainy’ can vary in multitudinous ways, but the point is, to win her heart you have to beat her brain.

This condition may yield in two possibilities: a) smarter guys marry smart women and they’ll have genius kids, or b) smart guys prefer to take the easy way and marry someone less clever and have average kids. Bear in mind that ‘beauty’ and ‘cleverness’ are not mutually exclusive. Also, be aware that the sexiest part of a girl is not her brain. As a matter of fact it hardly is.

There is this hypothesis which stated that:

  • How girls rate guys: intelligence + humor + money + look
  • How guys rate girls: look (intelligence x humor)
This means that a woman who scores ‘0’ on look gains a total score of ‘0’. Girls who ranked high in ‘intelligence’ usually should be happy with admirers and not lovers. Oh. I should also add that a man’s intelligence must have the biggest coefficient compared to the other variables.
The problem mostly rises because men with brain are usually heartless i.e. lousy in emotional expressions. Let’s take a look on Dr Watson’s quoted remarks on one of the brainiest guys I’ve ever known, Sherlock Holmes:
It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise, but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world as seen: but as a lover, he would have placed himself in a false position.
You see, all the aforementioned statements stand to my disadvantage. I highly tend to fall for guys with brain who hardly admits when they have a crush on a certain woman, and I scored higher on brain compared to beauty–which is not very strategic. This is just a random rambling, don’t take anything too seriously.
Have a great night!

How International Relations Theories Affect Us

Since there are many people who misperceived me as a literature student, I’d like to reaffirm that no, I’m not that lucky to be able to study languages. Instead, I’m happily trapped in the major of international relations. I sometimes pay unequal attention to the textual aspects in my papers, but still, the issue in my hands involve or more two state/non-state actors e.g. France and Japan–not French and Japanese (as a language).

To begin with, I’m not the most brilliant student in the class–we have someone way smarter to bear that title, but I need to reveal that I score quite amazing in our the theory class(es)–because I have a fond, very fond interest in the subject. I believe that everyone else should also experience the same excitement, so here go examples of international relations (IR) theories–traditional ones–that explain human traits:


1. “Great powers will ally with weaker ones.”

Or, to inverse the premise, “great powers will not ally with other great power.”

The case happens with leaders who seek for influence and glory (two main interests that states as well strive for). In simpler words, when your alliance gets stronger and threatening, you’ll instinctively leave him and find a weaker person.

Remember when Wiranto created Hanura or when other political leaders separate and build their own squad under a new party? They might defend themselves with the notion of ‘principal-differences’, but the basic objective is clear–to seek for feebler actors whom you can control and induce with your own ideas and concepts. Just as Schweller says, weak actors tend to be opportunist and willing to bandwagon.

Another model to explain this: when the staff of an organization have increased their level of scrutiny and send protests to their boss’s policies, these employees are actually gaining their strength. Their boss, the great power, instead of getting his hands dirty with problems and difficulties, will prefer to search for new people.

2. “The more number of states is, the more likely dyadic relation to happen.”

Most people will reject an invitation to join a dinner of two lovers. In Indonesian language, we call this third party as obat nyamuk or kambing congek, and it does not sound so nice. (Tell me about that.)

However, with a little (too many) experiences, I can tell that you’re not actually ignored when you go out together with a couple. Because, ladies and gentlemen, with only 3 states existing, a bilateral interaction between any 2 states will be seen by the other person, and it will make them feel uneasy about it. In the end, the situation will yield in a decent multilateral relation between the 3 states.

Yet again, when the number of actors increase to 4, 5, or 6, the number of dyadic relations will also rise along because they know that other actors are also performing a dyadic relation with another actor–yielding a perspective of ‘we’re cool here’. You see–when there’s a couple hanging out with a number of friends they’ll most likely reserve their own seats and private talk instead of bothering to talk with the other folks.

This dyadic relation is stronger especially when 2 states have a similar interest, a huge one to each other, be it romance or whatever. If the number of actors has reached dozens or hundreds, indeed these connections will occur to every possible direction.

3. “International agreement will never, ever, work.”

So back then I made an agreement with Kiki to stay up all night and finish our international relations theory paper. If you expect us to completely fulfill this agreement–you’re wrong. We’re both deadliners by nature (just as states are evil by nature), so it is just easy for us to break the ‘law’ which was based on such bilateral agreement. That night, instead of keeping an eye to Microsoft Word, we chatted and Tumblr-ed. Kiki even forgot the regulations we agreed upon. Thenceforth, agreements or laws that need a ratification from states will never be effective. I can guarantee you that.

Here I am, amazed by the study of international relations that can explain almost every phenomenon in our lives. Those three examples are picked because they happened lately. As a matter of fact, there are many other examples that I’d like to share. Later, readers.

People Talk About Themselves on Twitter

so what?

Homo sapiens is the most self-centered creature living on Earth. We’ve witnessed with our eyes how there are killings ordered for the sake of own-survival. We’ve also seen ‘ibu-ibu hamil tak berdosa’ on the train forced to stand up because there’s no single man who would give up his seat for the mere sake of helping these women.

Twitter, my friend, is just another form to manifest the self-centered nature of ours.


Some accounts are indeed designed to be jocular or informative, but most–I can’t give you the statistics, though–are private accounts which tweet about their activities on a daily basis. (This includes my own and am not to be ashamed of.)

Let me show you the problem to this notion: yes, we do seek for attention even before Twitter was there, but it doubles–sometimes triples our pretentious behavior. These sentences will never make any point when spoken, but somehow acceptable when found on your timeline:

  • Pagi ini aku mau beres-beres kamar! Yak!” (Oh yes honey I wish you luck on that, but isn’t it a habit everyone else commits?)
  • “Gue orangnya suka ngomong sama diri sendiri.” (Seeing what you usually tweet, you obviously are.)
  • “Makan siang ah…” (Whoa, is your lunch a kind of news that everyone needs to listen to?)

Again, so what? In the end the liberty to follow or not-follow these accounts are up to you. People might end up following each other just to read updates from your very-very-important regular schedules because they want to catch up with you.

Since I’m willing to make every post on this blog, at least, a bit useful for everyone, kindly absorb the following imperative to your mind: before you tweet anything, bear in mind that it’s gonna be nicer if there’s at least someone benefitting from what you share–be it a crispy noon laugh, or an opportunity to go abroad.