Category Archives: Social Media

Media (Studio)

All-New: Chang’anjie Media Notebook

If you still thought the media of today here in China was more like this


I’m sorry to say that — you need a software update. For the brain.

My main job here at the Communication University of China, now as an academic, is in scholarly research. My most important project right now is to further research Chinese media. And my “academic portfolio” is full of things very much related to that main involvement — I lectured (and continue to lecture) about both media in general and also media in China, and one of my academic side gigs is Lecturer of Chinese Media Analysis at Hebei University, about 60 miles or so southeast of the Jing.

Whenever I’ve time, I head straight to either the Media Museum or the university’s library. My main involvement right now is chronicling media in China, especially social media. But I can’t really focus solely on “media studies” and “social media in China in the 21st century”. None of you wants to be left out in the dark when it comes to the full story, so I’m taking an interdisciplinary approach in my research. Throughout my hours of research, I’ve discovered more than a few tasty morsels of media history and development in China, and that’s why I’ve dedicated my research a whole new blog on its own — the new Chang’anjie Media Notebook.

As to the name of the blog — as I put it, Chang’anjie is what many locals refer to as the “combo avenue” that goes from the western suburbs through via Tian’anmen all the way into the Beijing CBD. Literally Chang’an Street or (for its size) Chang’an Avenue, it is both a symbol of political power in China, and is home to many a Chinese media organisation: CCTV (Colour TV Centre), China Radio International, China National Radio, Radio Beijing, Beijing TV, People’s Daily (just a few blocks away from the main avenue), and the new and still-oft controversial new CCTV “Big Pants” building, as well as China’s “number one” media university, the Communication University of China. The national and local media authorities also have set up shop on this avenue. It is as of there was no better name to call this site given its focus.

Updates will pour in on weekdays and, at times, over weekends as well. No money is made or sought in any way from the blog — indeed, it was high time the so-called “public intellectuals” of China actually stopped hiding their secretive lucrative interests in every Weibo tweet they post!

Long Weibo Posts Coming Soon…

The Chinese Weibo and, indeed, social media world, has been taken by storm by the invention of the Long Weibo (長微博, chang wei bo). In essence, you can think of this as a super-long tweet as a graphic attached to a post on Weibo.

Try as you might — in particular super-long Long Weibos (pardon the pun) won’t work on Twitter. I tried one where we had this super-long pic of the Shanghai Metro connections out of Hongqiao station being posted on Twitter. In essence the thing was too long, waaayy too slim (width-wise), and of too poor a resolution once uploaded — not even investing in a massive microscope would’ve done the deal.

Long Weibos are a big thing in China. First, especially if you create them on your own (without going through an “official Long Weibo maker”, you can post just about anything you want, including stuff that might have Zhongnanhai s@—#ting bricks (excuse me please). A text post is always checked by an “e-censor”; if it’s problematic with the CCP, you simply can’t post unless you mod the text — by, for example, inserting dashes, just-li-k-e-th-i-s — so you dodge the censors. With a graphic Long Weibo (I didn’t mean it that way), you can indeed post anything — including graphic content (ahem).

Second, you can make the thing as long as you want. You can spend minutes, even hours, going through a Long Weibo, if you’re so inclined. Even the Chinese Communist Party’s official news system makes extensive use of Long Weibos, where text and pics co-exist “in a perfectly harmonious e-society” (so to speak).

Probably because of these two reasons, Long Weibos have taken on a life of its own. Weibo’s deep-seated integration of pictures (and because the Weibo repost mechanism preserves Long Weibos in the original post, if there is one) makes these things popular — actually, popular here might be too weak a word. They also work great on WeChat (although WeChat supports super-long text-based entries as well), so you can easily take a Long Weibo from Weibo (see where I’m getting at?) to WeChat. It worked great for me; I get Likes and Comments all the same, be it a Long Weibo-included post on Weibo or WeChat.

As a result, because Long Weibos are content-rich, they qualify for a blog article in their own right (including those that contain nothing but cutesy kitty pics, which has long been a favourite of Shanghai Rail’s official Weibo account). Beginning in a few days’ time, you’ll soon see the text of what used to be (solely) Long Weibos appear here on my site — and you can spot them easily, as they’ll be in the Long Weibo category. I’ll try to translate stuff that started out life originally in Chinese as well.

This Long Weibo thing can get quite addicting. To the world outside of China, Long Weibos probably aren’t documented that well. If there was an e-samzidat, of kinds, in e-China, Long Weibos might have provided the first such platform for these…

Little note about adding Friends…

9 December 2009 at 10:11

…I check all Friends applications as on this site I have “sensitive information”. No, nothing reactionary, just that I’ve my phone number and stuff…

…which really doesn’t bother me a lot. But there’s something to be said about “SPAMMERS”, who’ll gladly fill on that bit of info and wake me up at 1:45 AM…

Here’s the deal: I add:

  • EVERYONE who writes me a message telling me where they met me

  • people I *might* know with 6 or more mutual friends
  • people with 15 or more mutual friends in any case (special exceptions are special cases)

I might, at times, just simply ask you “hey there —who do you know me from”? Don’t become all scared and feel like this is the Department of National Security breathing down you… I just want to know that our ties are real, legit and that there’s none of this spamming between us.

Sound cool? :-)