Social Media Behind the Great Firewall
With government regulations of websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, Chinese netizens have had to find new places to connect in the social media world. Companies like Sina have taken advantage of the gaping hole behind the great firewall, and a new breed of social media platforms specifically designed for Chinese users has been born. Even though these sites have been popular for a few years running, they have been largely ignored by the U.S. social media population, so here’s a run-down of what profiles you would need to create to be “in the know” in China.
Lack of copyright laws in China has led to some social media sites copying almost the exact layout and structure of other popular international social media platforms. RenRen for example is practically a double of Facebook, and even has the iconic blue bar at the top of their page. It has pretty much the same capabilities as Facebook; Chinese users can connect with friends, use RenRen chat, post pictures and status updates, but most importantly gain “star status”. RenRen grants “star status” to some of its users and awards points for conducting activities on the site.
Douban is the music lovers paradise; art students, musicians, bookworms and the culturally savvy are drawn to its unique focus on all things pop culture. Users can connect with each other according to their interests, learn about the latest music and book releases, and post offline events for this more artistic audience.
Kaixin001 is a LinkedIn mimic; the network is filled with a more professional crowd and most users can be found in first and second tier cities in China. Posts found on Kaixin are usually more news-related or informational, with hardly any photos or videos.
QZone, also known as QQ, was the first mover in the Chinese social media field, and is by far the largest social networking site in China. Unlike other social networking sites, its users come from not only first and second tier cities in China, but extend out into third tier cities and the countryside. Migrant workers are among the largest population on QQ, and use the platform to connect with family back home. Its messaging service in particular is one of the most popular ones on the Chinese web.Continued on the next page