When I was picked as the fellow for Social Good Summit in New York, I have some concerns.
The fellowship encourages attendees to blog in Facebook and do tweets in Twitter. However, as you might know, Facebook and Twitter is blocked in Mainland China due to some reasons. So I couldn’t help wondering, how can I deliver the message to some Chinese readers via SNS (Social Networking Service) platforms?
Actually, Mainland China has its own Facebook and Twitter. Back in 2009 when I was a reporter, I wrote a story for our newspaper Caught in the Net, reporting the rise of China’s first SNS platform, Kaixin.
Literally translated as “Happiness” in English, Kaixin was one of the earliest SNS platform. It became super popular among China’s white-collared workers because they could get a peak into their colleagues’ personal life and interacted with them at work. During the same time, Xiaonei, “Inside the Campus”, was also popular among college students. These two were like Chinese Facebook.
With the rise of Twitter, Sina has launched its “Weibo” service. Weibo is an interesting Chinese term. It means “micro-blog”, which limited users to publish a story within 130 Chinese characters – sounds like Twitter, right?
“Weibo” became popular since 2009. Many Chinese people used Weibo to discuss social issues. However, there were still censorship among Weibo, and some sensitive topics were not allowed there.
Now, the most popular SNS tool used in China is Wechat. Wechat is a chatting tool like Whatsapp. But it has a function that users can publish their stories and photos. It becomes so hot, because it is even effective: it first is a message/txt tool, which means you most have your closest friends in Wechat, and when you publish your stories/photos, only those intimate friends can read.
So, from the history of China’s SNS platforms, we can see that the trend is 1) it is becoming more intimate, among friends, exclusive; 2) it is becoming more convenient, from computers to mobiles.
In all, the SNS in the future will become trustful with more intimacy and more convenience. It is true in the world, and it is also true in China.