Sina Weibo – the Chinese twitter

The microblogging website Sina Weibo (Wei = micro, bo = blog) is the equivalent version of Twitter in China. In less than two years the Chinese website gained 140 million users, exceeding all other microblogging services in China according to Hongkiat.com . Weibo actually recently broke the record of tweets with the ringing in of the Chinese new year, which inspired over 32,000 tweets per second.

Weibo grows in a rapid speed, and will probably soon be even bigger than Twitter. So the natural question to ask is: can twitter adapt and learn things from Sina Weibo to stay competitive?

When having a closer look at Weibo it is clear that it definitely has some fancy features that twitter is lacking and should look out for. Here are a few examples:

  • Threaded comments: How many times have you missed an @response on twitter? This is actually one of the things that I find most annoying when using twitter. To see what people have said about your tweets you have to browse the ‘mentions’, where all comments are mixed. So it shows comments on you latest tweet, but also on all other tweets you’ve posted. Not the most effective way to communicate in my opinion. Weibo, however, offers threaded comments, where you can see all the comments sorted under the tweet with one simple click. Genius.
  • Rich media: On Weibo you are able to insert images, videos, music, emoticons and other kinds of rich media into you tweets, and it will show up as a thumbnail, making it a little more exciting to scroll the tweets.
  • Micro topics: While twitter uses hashtags to indicate a topic, Weibo uses micro topics. Micro topics enables users to create a unique page where they can discuss the topic. So say for example that Kony2012 is trending on Weibo, you won’t just be able to see that it’s trending, but there will also be a website where people are invited to discuss the topic.
  • Trend categorization: Speaking of trends; I often look at the top ten things that are trending on twitter and think: ‘Wow, I care so little I almost passed out’. However, if twitter had a feature where you could categorize trends after your interest, I might actually start enjoying it. On Weibo there’s a feature called ‘Board of Fame’ where you can browse different categories of trends, like music, travelling, gaming, film etc.
  • Medal reward system (usable in Public Relations!): This is a function that brands like Nike have used to promote their products. It’s basically a reward system that gives users ‘medals’ when they take action and retweet about events amongst other things.

Overall, Weibo can be regarded as a better platform for direct two-way symmetrical interaction, as it facilitates the process of interacting through these features. And twitter had better watch out since Weibo are planning to launch an English version of the platform according to the Huffington Post.

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2 Comments

Filed under social media

2 responses to “Sina Weibo – the Chinese twitter

  1. Very interesting post! It’s always nice to get inputs from the other side of the globe. I especially like the micro topics bit, and I really think that Twitter could learn a trick or two from this service. Do you know what Sina means? I can’t really figure out what the logo is supposed to be.

  2. Rather helpful post on how micro-blogging is developing, especially in China which is clearly the economic powerhouse of the early 21st century – it’s been running unprecedented levels of economic growth of 8 – 10% for some time now. And although there has been a slight decline with the Chinese Gov’t revising projections for 2012 to 7.5%, (as per link below) it’s clearly one to watch, especially with innovations in media.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-gdp-economy-slows-8-090600299.html

    I like the idea of these additional functions, for simply organising the information and responding to stuff. They offer a lot for public communications/PR for making micro-blogging more interactive and therefore, more able to steadily establish relationships with your audiences (as part of a wider communications strategy). Though I suspect this is about strengthening Twitter’s (and others) best ‘sell’ in that it’s about distributing content.

    The one thing that would worry me though and as pointed out in the Huff Post, is the Chinese Government’s restrictions on social media. It’s been well documented that social media’s played a significant role in a number of major world events. If this tool isn’t able to fully represent the world around it, you’re only ever going to have half the story.

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