Do you know Indonesian Travel Bloggers (ITB)? It’s a community of, well, travel bloggers from Indonesia who aim at generally becoming ambassadors of the country’s tourism and specifically helping drive it toward sustainable practices. You’re probably one of those of who have liked its Facebook page, and loved its updates of its members’ latest posts. But if you visit the page now, you will see that it has ceased any activities since October 15, and its profile and cover photos are now black. So is the avatar of its Twitter account, which no longer makes any updates other than the automatic ones from its website applications, and those have stopped as well. What about its website? Check it out to see that it has somewhat been vandalized.
I may be one of the co-initiators of ITB. However, I never consider it as mine. It belongs to the community and, due to its great vision and agenda, feels like it belongs to the people of Indonesia. Sadly, one of the other co-initiators thought that he could do whatever he wanted with it or drove it to whichever direction to meet his own agenda. It felt that way not just to me, but also to those who have become part of this community for over a year or less.
The conflict within the community reached its peak two days ago when ITB members found out that their personal email addresses have been used by this person to gain more blog subscribers. Our warnings regarding the violation were replied with either silence or nonchalant comments. Harsh words became inevitable, which led to those things I mentioned in the first paragraph. ITB members, followers, and fans have been blocked from its social media units by one of its own co-initiators, who thought that he had the right to say: “As of October 17, I am disbanding ITB, okay?”
It certainly is not okay. Eka Situmorang-Sir of Cerita Eka and I thought that desperate measures were called for. Believing that all the other members of ITB do not agree with one man disbanding a group of 58 people, we co-initiated the formation Travel Bloggers Indonesia (TBI). That’s the link to our website, by the way, which is still being filled with contents. While waiting for our website to be ready, you can like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter account. TBI’s admins are calling for members of ITB to replace the old logo on their blogs with the new one, and reply to a mailing list thread to supply them with data for the new website.
So there you have it. TBI is basically ITB minus one. It’s the same group you and I love, only with a slightly different name. We are going to be better and stronger, because its formation was supported by the whole group, minus one person. We will be fine, because we have awesome members with different skills who, as I am writing this, are building our website and social media units back from scratch. We will have a new vision that I personally hope will not disregard its old one. We will have a healthy communication with all of its members respecting each other. And we will not stop offering you updates of our members’ experiences and perspectives on the country’s wide array of tourism destinations, with all of their wonders and problems.
We are Travel Bloggers Indonesia, and our new journey together is going to be awesome.