Sina Weibo's watershed came in 2011 after two high-speed trains crashed in Wenzhou: as officials bungled the response, and then censored news stories, netizens stormed onto Sina's microblogging platform to voice their outrage and fill gaps of knowledge with educated speculation. Four years later, just as Weibo has seemingly run its course, a different program is stepping into its place as the prime facilitator of unfettered discussion in this country of shackled exchange.
As the US and EU prepare to levy economic sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine, Russia's leaders may be growing desperate to find support wherever they can. On Tuesday at 12:14 pm, the official Sina Weibo microblog of the Russian Embassy posted a message that, in no uncertain terms, sought Chinese empathy. There was one big problem: the post contained a remarkably tone deaf reference to the "Tiananmen Incident," i.e. the 1989 student protests in Beijing that resulted in a violent government crackdown, i.e. the one event that no one here is supposed to talk about.
Ever look at social media and find yourself overwhelmed by the negativity of the content, the cynicism and choler, the splenetic outbursts and general ire? Or find yourself similarly frustrated with the state of the world and life, prone to rant and rave yourself? Turns out, there's a good reason for that. Angry posts are republished and forwarded more often and spread faster, according to a Chinese study of user behavior on Sina Weibo.
The relationship between China's central and local governments has never been linear or completely top-down. There are times of harmony, but more often, there's tension. In the recent past, thanks to social media, conflicts and disagreements usually kept behind closed doors have begun leaking into the public domain.
Several recent posts on Sina Weibo by legal organs revealed that tensions are as manifest today as they were during historical times. Many netizens have gone as far to call these posts an act of “rebellion.”
Iron Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champion of the boxing world, registered a verified Sina Weibo account on Monday, and four posts later, he's already hitting all the right spots. Check out his most recent message:
Lionel Messi endorses WeChat, i.e. Weixin, i.e. the next Sina Weibo, as some people have called it on account of its functionality and interstellar growth. You can send texts for free (pending Internet connection), start group chats, and deliver photos and voice messages. And as Messi demonstrates in the above 30-second ad, you can communicate via video, too -- Instagram, Sina Weibo, and Vine all in one.
Hong Kong University’s China Media Project already has an awesome service in WeiboScope, which preserves deleted Sina Weibo messages deemed too "sensitive." Apparently determined to bring those messages to a wider audience, CMP is now translating some of them into English with its newest service, WeiboSuite.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers’ torturous season suffered another calamity when star guard Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon, ending one of his most impressive statistical seasons on a down note. Though the 34-year-old Bryant has his detractors, his work ethic and ability to battle through injuries are legendary, moving opposing fans and Lakers... Read more »
This is interesting. Above, via the bitly blog, is a map showing relative social network usage in countries around the world. The more red a country is, the more clicks. The coloration isn’t at all surprising, considering YouTube has been blocked in China since March 2009. What about Facebook?
Peter Ho, a popular Taiwanese-American actor and singer, is successful and rich enough that he probably doesn’t need to supplement his income by selling out favors to companies like CCTV, but then how would you explain this? Check out the bottom message, posted on Sina Weibo just after 8:30 pm, according to SCMP. Pay especially... Read more »
In one his first Weibo posts, General Luo Yuan described social media as a critical “battleground” in modern society. As his first week on the service draws to a close, it seems that his comparison was spot on, though he appears to have misjudged the combatants. His use of the service for bizarre and blatant... Read more »
What do former Taiwan premier Frank Hsieh Chang-Ting, former Google president Kai-Fu Lee, and human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang have in common? Within the last three weeks, each of them has seen his Sina Weibo account suspended. In Lee’s case, he was slapped with a three-day ban. In Hsieh’s case, his account was completely trashed.... Read more »
We’re not sure when this happened, but the Black Mamba joined Sina Weibo. He hasn’t posted a thing, but more than 160,000 people are anxiously awiting that first message (that number of followers is rapidly increasing, by the way). The last time Kobe Bryant was in China, he did ridiculous things like score 68 points... Read more »
Less than a week after outing himself as the microblogger behind the super popular “Study Xi Fan Club,” migrant worker and college dropout Zhang Hongming may be calling it quits. According to SCMP: Zhang, who has more than 800,000 followers, wrote: “Goodbye. I was happy when I came here, but I’m leaving today with deep... Read more »
Who’s the person behind the most popular Xi Jinping microblog in the world, Xuexifensituan (Study Xi Fan Club [the image icon reads "Hao Hao Xue Xi," Thoroughly Study Xi]), with its 737,000 followers? Just a really big Xi Jinping fan, it turns out, who happens to be a college dropout. As revealed by Associated Press:... Read more »
A remarkable message was published recently on Sina Weibo, supposedly written by a company manager who goes by @geniune_Yu_Yang — an account that has since been deleted. Prompted by perceived public misunderstanding of Sina Weibo’s handling of the Southern Weekly story, the writer posted a screenshot of text that illustrated the how and why of its... Read more »
Brad Pitt, who is technically still banned from China, opened a verified Sina Weibo account yesterday, @Brad_Pitt. His first message, published at exactly noon, was simple and to the point: "It is the truth. Yup, I'm coming..." In two hours, according to Tech in Asia, that post had amassed more than 8,000 comments and 20,000 forwards. And now it's been deleted.
As China ramps up Internet restrictions, companies like Sina Weibo are demonstrating they’ve clearly gotten the message by passing on the consequences to you, the user. Via Tech in Asia: Users of Sina Weibo that mention things somewhat more controversial than cats or food might find their posts being delayed – by seven whole days. The Twitter-like Sina Weibo... Read more »
In the early morning of August 19, @安娜830321 of Shantou, Guangdong province posted this message on her Sina Weibo: “So drunk, but still gotta drive home."
She didn't make it home. As Tea Leaf Nation tells us:
The next day, local news in Shantou, Guangdong Province, reported that a white BMW rammed into a road barrier in early morning and the female driver was killed.