At 4.52am on Wednesday, Dr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho tweeted a dramatic black and white photo of Bali's erupting Mt Agung volcano bathed in the light of a full moon.
"Nature is telling its story: the mountain, full moon and human beings. There is harmony between humans and nature. Bali is safe," posted Sutopo, the head of public relations at Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency.
Bulan purnama menyaksikan fenomena hembusan gas disertai pantulan cahaya api dari lava (glow) di kawah Gunung Agung terlihat pada 5/12/2017 pukul 22.27 WITA. Alam sedang punya cerita: gunung, full moon dan manusia. Harmoni antara alam dan manusianya. #Bali#balisafepic.twitter.com/0PIHDQUPHl??? Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) December 5, 2017
The tweet is poetic and whimsical, a world away from the dry, jargon-laden announcements typical of PR flacks from government departments.
But Sutopo is no ordinary media spokesperson. A professor, whose PhD was on carbon in the main rivers of Java, he was seconded as spokesman of the agency after the devastating eruption of Mt Merapi volcano in Central Java in 2010, that killed more than 300 people.
Sutopo refused three times, believing he was unsuited to the role given he had no experience in communications. "The head of the agency at the time said, 'You hold a PhD so people will believe you'. Those words convinced me."
Sutopo has his work cut out for him. Indonesia is notoriously prone to natural disasters - floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. This year alone there have been 2175 natural disasters that have claimed 335 lives and left behind 3.2 million refugees.
Sutopo is prolific on social media; providing 24/7 updates on emergencies on Twitter and Facebook and press releases via messaging app Whatsapp, since 2014, the most popular form of social media in Indonesia. In the first hour after a crisis hits, he says, disaster information spreads via social media and SMS. If there is no quick official statement, the vacuum is filled with rumour, gossip, false information, myths and hoaxes.
"I have to be very quick because otherwise there is hoax news," he says. On September 24, for example, he leapt onto Twitter to refute claims that Mt Agung had begun erupting, pointing out scaremongering photographs that were being posted were of a different volcano entirely - Mt Sinabung in Sumatra.
"I have greatly appreciated Sutopo's daily updates, providing comments, video and photos that show the development of Mt Agung and the associated hazards," says New Zealand volcanologist Dr Janine Krippner.
Sutopo prides himself on being accessible. "If journalists are left in the dark it will result in chaotic information, different numbers of casualties etc," he says. "The information I pass on to people through social media and press conferences is always based on solid data. I always use this philosophy, 'who controls the information, controls the world'."
Sutopo has held impromptu press conferences at the airport and his home (to the chagrin of his neighbours) and tweeted updates from a funeral and, dramatically, from a hospital bed.
Ini bukan baper dan caper. Mohon maaf rekan-rekan media belum sempat jawab wa dan angkat HP. Tadi baru diperiksa tapi pikiran tetap erupsi Gunung Agung dan siklon tropis Cempaka. Alhamdulillah sehat. Siap melayani 24/7 kembali. Merdeka !! #Bali#agungvolcano#GunungAgungAwaspic.twitter.com/YhuIo8jT86??? Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_BNPB) November 29, 2017
"Apologies to media colleagues for not answering whatsapp or my hand phone," he posted alongside a photo of himself hooked up to monitors. "I was just getting examined but my thoughts stayed with Mt Agung and tropical cyclone Cempaka."
This prompted a deluge of well-wishing. Sutopo is popular with journalists, not just because he is accessible and his frequent updates feed a hungry 24 hour news cycle, but because he is funny.
At an otherwise grim press conference on Tuesday, a room of reporters erupted into laughter when Sutopo urged them to keep an eye on tilted electricity poles because they could indicate a landslide. While this is true, it was also an allusion to an Indonesian politician being pursued over corruption allegations whose car crashed into a electricity pole. The saga sparked the satirical hashtag #SaveTiangListrik (save the electric pole), which Sutopo also included on his Instagram post about landslides.
Other memorable posts have included a pre-wedding photo of a couple in front of an erupting Mt Sinabung, suggesting the potential for volcano tourism (from a safe distance) and a monkey looking out over the water ("Stay alert and don't be careless").
"In general, typical bureaucrats are boring because sometimes they do their job not out of passion but as a routine thing," Sutopo says. "So I often write things with a fun flavour. In fact they are more interesting. Sometimes I write with a poetic style because it bores me too to write things with solid data. I myself get bored let alone the people."
Helen Brown, a digital economy fellow at the Australia Indonesia Centre, says social media in Indonesia is a much more active space than that found in Australia. "Indonesians relay information they find interesting and amusing," she says. "Social media is a tool that has taken hold in the young democracy, and being able to cut through the noise and gain attention, when there is much happening, is no small feat."
Sutopo has certainly captured the popular imagination. This month he was profiled by Indonesian news website Kumparan: Nine interesting facts about Sutopo (he grew up dirt poor, he was bullied at school, he studied geography, he was inspired to write by famous Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer etc).
It's the sort of treatment usually reserved for a sinetron (soap opera) star not the spokesman for an emergency services organisation.