Popularity of Chinese version of Twitter growing in China
A Twitter-like platform in China has surpassed 400 million registered accounts, generating 150 million posts per day and serving as a "vigorous virtual public square" and "steam valve for discontent" for the world's most populous country, said David Wertime, co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation, an English-language online magazine that synthesizes and analyzes Chinese social media.
"It's the closest thing to a free speech platform for debate about the issues of the day in China," said Wertime, who spoke Jan. 22 at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. "It's a platform for breaking news and stories and it provides a window into Chinese attitudes and Chinese life."
Called Weibo, the Chinese word for "microblog," the platform has a number of features that Twitter does not such as an automatic scoring system for comments posted and ad hoc discussions embedded in a tweet, he said.
Athough there is a 140 character limit for both platforms, Wertime argued that because the Chinese language is denser a user of Weibo can communicate a lot more detailed thoughts than their English counterparts on Twitter with the same number of characters.
- go to a Berkman Center webpage with an archived copy Wertime's talk
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