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Can Weibo Become the Next Twitter?

Essay by   •  January 25, 2014  •  Case Study  •  1,519 Words (7 Pages)  •  950 Views

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Content

Introduction 4

History 4

Twitter vs. Weibo 5

Can Weibo become the next Twitter? 7

References 8

Introduction

When Jack Dorsey and his co-workers created twitter in 2006, only a few people were optimistic about this weird online text message service, even within their 20-some-employee startup company, Odeo. Six years later, the evolved version of twitter has become one of the leading social media platforms in the world: Twitter. According to the data from Semiocast, Twitter reached half a billion registered accounts globally in June 2012 and is increasing that number by one million accounts every day.

While Twitter was creating its legend, a tech giant across the Pacific carefully observed this new, growing social media star and created its counterpart in China. The tech giant was Sina Inc., one of the top four online media companies in China. The Twitter counterpart's name was Sina Weibo (now named Weibo). Started as the Chinese version of Twitter in 2009, Weibo now thrives on the Chinese semi-open internet, where some websites are selectively blocked, like Facebook and Twitter. As a regional social media platform, Weibo recently attracted global attention because of its massive user base and large number of active users. According to a report from Xinjing News, in 2012, technology professionals in China believed that the number of registered accounts on Weibo had passed 300 million only three years after the launch of the platform, while it took Twitter six years to reach the same number.

History

Twitter

In 2006, the management of a startup company named Odeo Corp. had to stop and think about the company's possibly bleak future. After a few days of discussion, the managers asked the employees to divide into small groups to brainstorm and work on their best ideas for salvaging their beleaguered company. In one of the groups, a young Web designer named Jack Dorsey "had an idea for a completely different product that revolved around "status"--what people were doing at a given time." ("The Real History Of Twitter").

"One day in February 2006, Noah Glass, Odeo's co-founder, Dorsey, and a German contract developer Florian Weber presented Jack's idea to the rest of the company. It was a system where you could send a text to one number, and it would be broadcasted out to all of your friends, and Glass named it, Twttr."("The Real History Of Twitter")As mentioned earlier, Twttr was later renamed as Twitter. It was originally created as a text message service. Years later, however, web usage on Twitter became dominant. There are still a few legacies from the "SMS era." One of them is the 140-character limit. There was a legitimate reason for it, "because 160 characters were the SMS carrier limit and the founders wanted to leave room for a username." (BusinessInsider.com)

Weibo

Unlike Twitter, which started from an original idea, Weibo is about innovations and strategic thinking based on existing products. In the Chinese "semi-open" internet, where some of the internet websites like Facebook and Twitter are selectively blocked,Weibo was not the earliest adopter of the microblog service. In May 2007, Fanfou, the first Chinese microblog service provider, was launched in Beijing, mostly as a Chinese version of Twitter. In the following two years, Fanfou was the most influential Chinese microblog, whose users increased to 1 million by the middle of 2009. However, after the July Urumqi riot in the summer of 2009, the Chinese government shut down most of the domestic microblog services, including Fanfou. Sina, as one of the traditional "big four" online media sites/companies in China, quickly detected the opportunity and launched its microblog product, Sina Weibo in August, 2009. In less than one year, the "big four" in China all had their own microblog services. Sina, however, as the first adopter after the microblog shuffle, occupied an advantageous position.

Twitter vs. Weibo

Similarities

Weak Social Ties

As microblogs platforms, Twitter and Weibo have similar social connectivity systems. The relationships between users on microblogs are extremely loose. Rayne called them "weak ties." The social connections are not as strong as on Facebook, and users are able to follow any other individuals or organizations on Twitter and Weibo based on their interests. Rayne mentioned in the interview that he would like to follow a person on Weibo if he met him or her personally at an industrial event: "It's more acceptable to follow him or her on Weibo instead of a social network platform like Facebook because we just met and we are not as close as to add each other on Facebook."

Media Features

Both Twitter and Weibo have strong media features. Microblog users are able to

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