chinese microblogging platforms ::
:: microblogs in Chinese are called 叨客 (pronounced ”dao ke”), a combination of the characters for “chatter” and “blog.” Chinese microblogging providers arose in the wake of the Twitter’s (the original microblogging platform) initial popularity, and some of them adhere quite closely to the Twitter user experience – from external appearances, like the homepage / profile layouts, to internal functionality, like using @username to reply to another user’s post, limiting posts to 140 characters, and providing support for SMS updating and one or more instant messaging services (typically QQ and MSN). However, Chinese microblogging platforms are yet to be supported by any clients (e.g. Twitterific, Tweet Deack, Twirl, etc.). If you know of any clients, please leave a comment.
Twitter itself is the choice of China’s more internationally-oriented digerati: (a) because they were early adopters, before the Chinese clones got off the ground, and (b) because there’s little interoperability among all of the different choices, so users tend to join services where there are already conversations they want to follow.
Included below is a “top 5″ review (in no particular order) of Chinese miroblogging platforms:
Tencent’s entry into the microblog game leverages its vast QQ instant messenger user base to make it one of the most popular domestic Twitter clones. QQ users gain the ability to publish snippets of text through their browser, by updating their QQ signature, or by sending a text message from their mobile phone.
Fanfou’s open API interface allows 3rd party developers to create applications on top of the sites basic functionality. Interesting examples include Gongfan, which overlays comments onto a GoogleMap of China, and Doufan, which inserts a button on Douban user pages to report their activity in their Fanfou stream.
Despite its German URL, this company is actually based in Xuzhou. Jiwaide also features a GoogleMap mashup and an open API for 3rd party developer applications. The site’s off-the-shelf functionality is among the richest of China’s Twitter clones, featuring a front-pag e search box, and a wide array of widgets for most of the popular blog platforms.
“What are you doing?” asks the name of the site, an apt description of what people use microblogs for. Zuosa has native support for including an image in each post, and offers support for video and multimedia links.
Miniblogs are also built in to other specialty social network sites. Douban, a book, music, and movie-oriented SNS, has a “broadcast” feature which reports any actions the user takes (updating their reading list, adding a friend, listening to a new song, etc); users can also write up their own mini-posts to include in the feed.
These are just a few of the many microblogging platforms in China; a more extensive list (without annotations) is available on the Web 2.0 reviews / news site THWS, which shows 27 Twitter-clones and 17 Twitter-like Web sites in China. (The THWS post is from 2007, its likely that some of these sites are no longer functioning.)