An Australian woman has suddenly found herself with a substantial Indonesian following on Instagram, thanks to her handle, which means “difficult” in Bahasa Indonesia.
Susan, a graphic designer from Melbourne, Australia, had no idea her nickname and Instagram username “Susah” was the Indonesian word for difficult until she realized she was being tagged over and over by Indonesian app users.
She joined Instagram in 2011, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that she made the connection after being tagged so much in “seemingly random photos.”
“I didn’t understand it at first, but when a lot of them seemed to be Indonesian, and a lot were photos of homework or tests at school, I started to suspect something was up. I asked a few of these people why they tagged me in their photos, and someone replied that my name in Indonesian means difficult,” Susah explained to Coconuts Bali in an email.
In the past few weeks, Susah has experienced a surge in followers gaining around 7,000 new ones, likely the result of several local news outlets covering her story.
Susah embraced her Indonesian followers, even writing “Still difficult”, along with “Selamat siang” (the greeting for good afternoon) and “Saya tidak bicara Bahasa Indonesia” (I can’t speak Indonesian) in her Instagram bio.
But she wasn’t always so easygoing over all the tagging when it first started, because of all the time-consuming manual “untagging” involved.
“I was a bit frustrated, because I didn’t understand that you could turn off tagged photos being added to your profile. I had been manually untagging myself in more and more photos! So I wrote that little bio ‘Dear Indonesia, stop tagging me in your photos’. I didn’t think anyone would actually read it!”.
Susah even resorted to setting her profile to private, tired of all the tagging.
“I finally figured out you could turn off being tagged, and then forgot all about my bio comment. Until one day I was at work, and in about one hour I had 20 friend requests because I was on private.”
All the interest came after she got turned into a meme—or rather, a screen capture of her profile telling Indonesians to stop tagging her.
“It turns out someone had posted my profile and comment to an Indonesian meme site! I kept getting requests throughout the day until I went public and suddenly had 2k new Indonesian friends!”
Ironically, it happened right before Susah and her husband traveled to Bali, where they would go on to post pictures of their honeymoon—which were of course very popular with her Indonesian followers.
“It was perfect timing because i was just about to get married and we had booked our Honeymoon to Bali.
“We had such a nice time in Bali! Lovely people, beautiful scenery and such good food! When we got back, I didn’t have any ore requests for 6 months, until just a few days ago when all of a sudden… 4k more people followed me because it went even more viral!”
Overall, it’s been a positive experience, Susah tells us.
“It’s been really nice replying to some people who have sent me messages, Indonesian people are so nice and positive!
“I’m happy I’ve been able to make some new Indonesian friends and my husband and I really want to come back to Indonesia to explore more.”