No Access – still 92% of internet users use Social Media

by Deepika Bajaj on December 8, 2009

BeijingDay3 153_webpgI was recently in China and got to see the majestic ‘Great Wall of China‘ and the magnificent ‘Forbidden city‘. I took a lot of pictures and when I returned to my hotel, I went online to share my pictures with my family and friends – and suddenly I was surprised that I was not able to access Facebook. For some time, I thought that it was my internet connection and kept kicking my laptop for poor wireless connectivity. While I was fretting over this, I realized that I was able to access some sites like Google and Yahoo! but was not able to Facebook and Twitter.

Well! that meant that I was not able to share my pictures on Facebook and tweet about them to my friends and family. So, I went around inquiring about this ban.

A recent article on ReadWriteWeb states that while China’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the government employs a “subversion of state power” clause to punish those who are critical of it. This is why some social networking sites like Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and Bing are blocked. Nevertheless, censorship in China is not new. I was confused because I was not convinced that all the Chinese internet users had stopped using these site. When I spoke to some people they said that inspite of the ban they knew how to go around it.

BeijingDay2 040_webpgSo, how are Chinese leveraging social media:

1. In China the adoption of social media has more to do with the career development, with the development of opinions of professional ideas, of sharing with others more than just a social engagement that we find in the U.S, said Josh Crandall, president of Netpop.

2. The social media landscape in China is vital. 253 million use the internet, over 107 million have a personal blog. Since blogging is so powerful. Often information from blogs gets picked up by mainstream media. Many companies share information on their blogs.

3. Tencent QQ, generally referred to as QQ, is the most popular free instant messaging computer program in Mainland China, and the world’s third most popular IM service. Even the hotel staff were surprised to see the icon on my computer. Since its entrance into Chinese households QQ quickly emerged as a modern cultural phenomenon, now being portrayed in popular culture. Aside from the chat program, QQ has also developed many subfeatures including games, pets, ringtone downloads, etc. Needless to say, it is a billion dollar industry in China.

And you thought, that social media only meant social engagement. I learnt it can also be used to share information.

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