This post is by guest blogger and digital native, Joel Wilson.
(We-a-bo: Chinese for ‘microblog’)
Everyone has heard of social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (#nofilter); these companies are iconic businesses that dominate the social media market. For example, Facebook has over 1 billion users1 (that’s roughly around 1/8th of the world’s entire population), Twitter’s most active country is the Netherlands2, and 13% of the World Wide Web uses Instagram3.
But what are the other options for social media sites? MySpace has fallen by the wayside and other current sites, such as SnapChat have a strong fanbase but a weak influence when compared to sites such as Facebook. But what if there were no options, what if there was only one social media site that could be accessed or, god forbid, no social media sites at all?
Well in China its citizens aren’t really spoiled for choice when it comes to social media. Since the Chinese government has banned almost all forms of online communication, with the exception of emails and a select few chat rooms all of which are moderated by government officials there only exists one option and that option is Weibo.
Weibo is the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, albeit a more watered down version of it. It was formed in 2009 by the SINA Corporation and has over 500 million users. While other versions of Weibo exist, SINA Weibo is the dominant blogging site in China.
But Weibo is not a place of free-speech, like other Chinese blogs and chat-rooms Weibo is under constant surveillance by the Chinese government. As a result, anti-political and other taboo topics are not allowed to be posted, and will be deleted by an administrator if posted as well as certain words (such as Big Yellow Duck, Google it) being blacklisted, meaning that the words can be used in a search, but no results would be shown.
Here is the link to Weibo, but keep in mind that it is shown in Chinese and that you must be a Chinese citizen to create an account: