Monday, 28th January 2008
According to a CNNIC report released in December 2007, there are more than 47 million bloggers in China and 36% of them are active. Given the Internet users totaled at 182 million, this is saying that one of four Internet users in China is a blogger. The numbers indicate a massive amount of user-generated contents. More interesting is to see how the blogs look like and the stories being blogged. There are a number of characteristics that differentiate Chinese blogs from the typical western blogs. Here are some examples:
- Millions of views: Sina.com.cn's 2007 ranking chart of top blogs shows the number of page views each of the star bloggers receive. The number 1 is a blog by a Chinese movie star, with 137 million page views so far, who was also mentioned in Wikipedia.com as the most popular blogger on the Internet in 2006. While the No. 1 is all about personal stories and daily life snapshots, three of the top ten blogs are news and commentaries of the financial markets - these bloggers skillfully turn the analytical world of stock markets into everyday's sense in life, which is very representative of the Chinese way of using information. The two blogs by one of the stock market bloggers, Shaminnong's Blog, received a total of 195 million page views in the first eight months after they were launched in the end of April 2007.
- Few links: Chinese bloggers like to offer personal insight or tell stories using their own words rather than linking to other sources. It is very common that there is no single link in the whole post. While Technorati http://www.technorati.com uses link popularity to rank the authority of blogs, the Chinese give honor to the most visited blogs. The difference in metrics is culturally "programmed". It reflects the different communication styles and even perceptions on information authority.
- No ads: Even on the most popular blogs there are usually no advertising banners flashing as it is common on most popular blogs in the West. Does this tell that the Chinese have not discovered how to make money while freely sharing their knowledge and insight with the world? Questions like this may not be simply answered from the economic point of view. Culture norms might have influenced the choices of the bloggers. Yet to see is, whether this might change in the future.
No doubt that blogging will continue to grow its popularity. It is interesting to think ahead what kind of impact and to what degree that blog contents might have on our society and especially the information behavior of our netizens.
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