A Study on Job Cognition of Internet Pushing Hands

A Study on Job Cognition of Internet Pushing Hands

Mei Wu (Department of Communication, University of Macau, Macau, China) and Zhiqun Chen (School of Journalism and Information Communication, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICST.2014070102
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The so-called “Internet pushing hands” (wangluo tuishou) are participants of promotional information propagation specific to Chinese cyberspace, which is based on a pay-per-post business model and viral marketing. Internet pushing hands operatives utilize paid commentators who under multiple identities post coordinated messages to social media sites according to a prearranged strategy of commentary production and distribution. If the campaign grows through the electronic word of mouth and goes viral, it draws attention of print and broadcast media and creates national news centered on the promoted product, service, or person. This study examines the phenomenon of Internet pushing hands through cognitions of its workforce, i.e., how wangluo tuishou feel about their jobs. Using Q methodology, the authors identify four types of workers employed by Internet pushing hand operations, namely: peripheral, hype-oriented, career-minded, and task-oriented workers. The analysis explicates the ambiguous status of the unregulated Internet pushing hand industry in China and its uncertain future.
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“Internet pushing hand” (wangluo tuishou2) is a colloquial Chinese term referring to a type of organized Internet marketing and public relations business operation, which uses paid commentators who, using multiple online identities, launch promotional and marketing campaigns on the Internet, particularly on online forums, message boards, microblogs, and other social networking sites. Therefore, Internet pushing hands can be defined as individuals working for online marketing and PR companies in China (Wu, Jakubowicz, & Cao, 2014). They should not be confused with paid Internet commentators known as the “fifty cent party” (Katz, 2009) recruited by Chinese authorities to create a favorable online public opinion.

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