How Chinese Weibo has Changed China
Weibo is the chinese name for “Micro blog”, which was born two years ago, but now has already reached millions of users. Because of the strict censorship in China, the birth of weibo is the same as the birth of “Xiaonei”, “kaixin”, which fills the vacancy of international social network sites like “facebook ” “twitter” in China. However, with the development of Weibo, Chinese internet has indeed brought lots of changes to Chinese social media landscape so far.
Social network is a highly free sharing network, which has never been real built in China. Chinese government keeps eyes on all tweets that Chinese tweeted in Chinese weibo. It has happened many times that “sensitive” tweets were deleted by the Sina weibo authority. Compare with the press freedom of Twitter, Weibo’s topic limitations are ridiculous, nevertheless, Chinese netizens are deeply impacted by the development of social media.
1. Chinese realizes that social media could be a first platform for them to receive news. Everyone can be a reporter through social media and the existence of traditional media in China (which is highly censored by Chinese authorities) is not highly trustful anymore.
2. “Sharism” is an important concept to be realized. “Sharism” is connected closely with the work “collective intelligence”, there are people from different careers in Weibo, politicians and celebrities might lead normal netizens to some different worldviews. Weibo is becoming the most popular site for chinese netizens to share knowledge, especially on current society news. With only 140 characters limit, Chinese people are so happy to discover a land that could spread the word. After the happening of Chinese train accident in the spring of 2011, Weibo even begins to own the “political” features: lots of Chinese netizens start to believe that the more they share, the better society will be.
3. Social Media could help business. Social media online campaign is still quite new for Chinese people. And in fact the online campaign has really set up yet, but it is still easy to see that a lot of companies are beginning to use weibo to communicate with their audience. A lot of business people are beginning to use weibo to do advertisement for their productions. Chinese market is becoming more and more active and colorful.
When I first came to Netherlands, every time my Chinese friends ask me what is my major, it is always tough for me to explain what is New Media. Once I mention the name of social media, they will wonder that why social media needs to be studied. But now, there are more and more people begin to do take part in the research of social media, a lot of companies in China begin to have social media department for their online marketings.
Although social media in China is still under an un-freedom environment, with the development of social media and the increasing realization of people, I hope the “free” day will come soon.