A Look at Chinese Bloggers
09 Nov 2005
Micah recently did a summary of the Chinese Blogger Conference. Then he updated it with a link to Rebecca MacKinnon’s thoughts on the matter. Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed her post, and was glad to be able to read a condensed list of key ideas. I recommend you read her whole article (blocked in China), but here are some key quotes to represent what I considered the most interesting ideas:
- Web2.0 is potentially a very Chinese thing.
One of the most important words in the Chinese language is “guanxi.” It means “relationship.” Whatever you think about the term “Web2.0”, the point is that social networking and relationship-building are at the core of today’s most exciting web innovations. The Chinese happen to be the most natural and skilled social networkers on earth.
- Individual empowerment with Chinese characteristics.
A key theme of the whole conference was how the semantic web empowers and amplifies individual voices. On Sunday afternoon, Blogger “zuola” described how his blog is his personal platform for his own ideas. Blogging, he believes, helps us understand our lives better. Chen Xuer, one of the bloggers who volunteered to work on the conference, said he started blogging and reading blogs because he wanted “to hear the truth and speak the truth.” Sound familiar?
- Web 2.0, just like Web 1.0, is not going to spark a democratic revolution in Chinese politics any time soon.
People here find it annoying that the Western media keeps framing the Chinese internet story within the question of whether the internet will or won’t bring down the communist party. The real story is about the cultural and social implications of the semantic web as it continues to spread among China’s fast-growing pool of internet users. In the very long run, cultural and social change may have political implications, but to people here any attempt to speculate on that is counter-productive.
Just read the whole thing. I can’t quote it all.
P.S. If you don’t know what Web 2.0 is… well, sorry. You’re just not geeky enough.