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.
The WeChat-Facebook conflict, a battle for hearts and minds that has simmered for months around hotpot tables where expats and exchange students boast about their respective weaponry, has turned hot.
A series of ads recently released on the Youtube channel WeChatSouthAfrica poke fun at Social Network Boy Mark Zuckerberg. The ads -- currently three of them -- are set in the study of a German psychiatrist who prescribes "ze WeChat" to a despondent Zuckerberg.
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.
Those who use Momo and, to a lesser extent (but not much lesser), WeChat probably already know this, but social Apps are great for finding new and -- how shall we say -- temporary friends. However, if you are cruising around in the great murky sea trawling for bottles or booty, you open yourself up to getting hooked, too. Really open yourself up, actually, because you're going up against professionals.
China’s Internet censors are really outdoing themselves with the Southern Weekend scandal. Not only have they blocked searches for “Southern Weekend” on Sina Weibo and other microblogs, they’re making some attempts to block discussion within the Chinese diaspora.