Blogging is fighting for its image in the US, where one web influential after the other declares the medium dead. These statements by Calacanis and the likes seem rather odd, as blogging is the communication channel in thousands of niches. In China however, blogging might be really dead.
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In the west, blogs ousted bulletin boards and forums from the market. This never happened in China, where the bulletin boards still flourish. Better yet, the discussion platforms keep growing. According to author Andrew Lih, there are two main reasons for this phenomenon.
- BBS are anonymous. Well, actually, semi-anonymous since people do have nicknames and build up reputations. For reasons well known, anonymity comes in handy in China.
- Users get more comments on their BBS writings, sometimes thousands. As for blogging, it can be lonely out there.
When Web2Asia‘s George Godula gave a presentation about Chinese social networks, he mentioned the following numbers about BBS. There are three billion registered BBS users (users can be members of multiple BBS). More than 60 percent of the users log on to at least three different BBS more than three times a week. Every day, ten million posts are published which manage to attract a total of 1.6 billion page views.
Source for journalists
No wonder Chinese journalists use BBS to see what the public opinion is like. Especially in the occurrence of breaking news. When the disastrous earthquake rocked Sichuan in May this year, journalists scouted the BBS to see what the Chinese people were really thinking of the disaster and its implications. “Because,’ said Lih, “that’s where the honest conversations take place”.
Photo credit: CN Reviews