Name: Hangmian Zhang
All across China, the worlds two largest networks, Facebook and Twitter are blocked by the government. Instead of using Facebook and Twitter, Renren.com and Weibo are popular in china. Renren means everybody with English translation. These networks quickly catch up with Facebook and Twitter.
There are some subtle differences in how Weibo is being used, particularly with the type of content being shared. HP research into Weibo reads like an introduction to the microblogging market in China, based on a 30-day analysis of 4,411 keywords on Weibo and comparison to 16.32m messages on Twitter.
The most commonly shared content on Weibo is jokes, images and video, most of which are retweets. The effect is less comment on shared comment, but there is also less sharing of news stories.
Marketing is taking off in a very big way; 60,000 accounts of Weibo are verified accounts for celebrities, sports stars and major brands.
Actor Yao Chen has 8.9 million followers and is turning down offers of 100,000 yuan ($16,130) per promotional tweet, while marketing professor Ye Feng predicts Sina’s ad revenue will grow 50%a year due to enhanced marketing for brands and products using promotions and videos. He told China Daily: “Until now, the top 100 ‘grassroot’ accounts have created profits of about 20m yuan ($3.23m) from advertisements since they opened their accounts.”
One of the Sina Weibo’s features that most microblogging users praise about is its ability to insert rich media like images, videos, music, emoticons, and even polls without any plugin required. This sparks a really interesting debate between bloggers, do microblogging service really needs these features? The answer is absolutely yes, as if you’re the Sina Weibo’s user, you can probably see the images and videos pretty much existed in most tweets.
The rich media offers far more than what you can imagine. By just looking on the emoticon feature, it has over 400 emoticons for you to use! Youngsters in China have particular interest on playing emoticons, so this is a cult feature for them. There are also fun images provided by Weibo in image feature, which also pretty much serves like emoticons.
Sina weibo encourages all users to tweet more and have more fun, but the war has just started. According the news from Huffington Post, Sina Weibo is planning its English version platform to compete directly with U.S. based Twitter. I think the war is pretty hard for Sina Weibo, as Twitter is already a greatly established microblogging service throughout the world, but hey, MySpace was once the social media behemoth that was ultimately taken by Facebook.
So what do you think about the competition between Twitter and Sina Weibo? Do you think that heavily censored yet feature-rich Sina Weibo will take over the Twitter as the mainstream microblogging service? Or Twitter will ultimately defend its realm with, may be, new feature?
These social networks are created based on cultural differences. Twitter and Weibo are similar but still different, it is hard to say which one is better.