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Chinese Twitter

I started out designing and developing flash websites in London, worked my way up through a media agency until escaping in 2003. Freelancing paid for my travels until curiosity eventually lead me to China. In 2006 I co-founded Thread Design, now one of the best known independent foreign agencies in Shanghai. I get asked a lot what’s it’s like to create and run a design firm in China, the answer changes every week.

Weibo, pronounced 'way-boar', is China's answer to, or copy of, Twitter. Unlike Twitter, which only has a meagre 20 million users Sina's Weibo has boasted over 140 million, with anything up to one third of them active users. For those of us who can't read Chinese (myself included) Google Chrome is the best way to check it out. Reasonably accurate, but translating social media is somewhat of a stumbling block for any system.

So what's happening, like twitter, Weibo has it's fair share or rubbish.

RainieJun just posted "I was not hungry but need to eat sweet".

It's worth noting that Chinese words are generally only one or two characters, giving the opportunity to say much more about your hunger in the allotted 140.

Blue Moon laundry detergent have their own page for you to follow, "Blue Moon light Baizeng Yan liquid detergent using diphenyl vinyl biphenyl fluorescent whitening agent, fluorescent brightener such full compliance with national regulations and technical standards." Sorry Rainie, what was that you said about not being hungry?

As in the west there is a lot of political discussion on the platform, though it's unclear what is real, what is planted, and how much has been deleted by the huge censorship team that monitor the posts around the clock.

Aside from annoying your government with political discussion or entertaining your friends with what you're not eating there must be more this country can do with a network of millions. Finding lost children is a daily hot topic, with many success stories, but undoubtedly it's slow release of power to the people, a public voice. Join the movement, jump on Chrome, get an account and start Weiboing, just be careful you don't say the wrong thing and end up in jail.

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