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Chinese social media – imitators or innovators?

Meld Magazine

Thu Oct 25 2012


ARE they imitators or innovators? Cherish Li briefly compare sites like Facebook and Twitter with Chinese social media platforms.

Facebook and Renren

Facebook is a common tool for people to make friends. It was designed for college students but turned out to be for just about everyone. Facebook users can add each other to their accounts and interact. They can send messages to each other, and share photos and announcements.

“Renren” means “everybody” in Chinese. Renren is the Chinese version of Facebook with a few big differences. To register for a Renren account, you have to use your real name, and state the schools you have attended and jobs you have been in. Also, Renren is more localised and mainly targeted at university students.

Twitter and Weibo

Twitter is a microblogging service. Users can post tweets consisting of 140 characters or less. Initially, Twitter was only for news updates. Now, the service is used to spread all kinds of information.

Weibo is a social media platform which has elements of Facebook and Twitter. But unlike Twitter, Weibo posts can accommodate up to 140 words instead of characters. Weibo users can also “secretly follow” each other’s updates on the platform. Overall, it has more functions than Facebook and Twitter combined. It is also China’s most popular social media platform with users from all backgrounds.

Instagram and Tuding

Instagram is a free programme which allows users to digitally edit photos and then share them with each other. Users can even upload the altered photos onto their Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter accounts. Instagram users can also like and comment on each other’s photos, and follow each other on the social media platform.

“Tuding” means “thumbtack in Chinese. The free programme works like Instagram but does not require registration to use. Users can log onto it using their Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo accounts details.