How Diverse is China’s Social Media? Three Sites Give a Peek

Chinese memes.  They’re not all serious.  I’m drawn to the way memes are used to effect political and social change, but with over 500 million Chinese online, the majority of Sina Weibo is fun, fun, fun.  Indeed, as Tricia and I discuss in our recent op-ed in Wired, the danger of real name registration extends beyond those making sociopolitical critique.  It affects everybody, including those just using the site to relax.

What’s at stake here?  Just how diverse is China’s internet?  One of my favorite reports online is ChinaSmack, an irreverent, often controversial look at some of the more powerful memes online.  And then there’s Tea Leaf Nation, a new blog offering detailed reports from the world of China’s microblogs.

But now there’s a show.  And it’s so quirky I love it.  It’s called Weibo Today (above), and it’s put together by Hong Kong-based Elle Lee, who bills herself on her Twitter account as a “Stylish globetrotter from Shanghai & London. Social Digerati & Consultant.”

There’s only one show out so far but it’s worth a watch.  Hopefully it will continue.  Here’s what you can expect to learn about the magical world of Sina Weibo:

* Paris Hilton goes online

* Potatoes go viral as farmers sidestep distribution channels and sell potatoes directly online.

* A look at “TMD”.  Hint: it’s not for the faint of heart.

All of these sites offer insight into the wide world of China’s microblogs, from the serious to the irreverent to the quirky.  They’re all worth a look-see, as they each offer a glimpse into the wide wide world of China’s internet, which is much more diverse and quirky than stories about censorship would have you believe.

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