Fame, Fantasy, Fanfare and Fun: The Blossoming of the Chinese Culture of Blogmongering

Fame, Fantasy, Fanfare and Fun: The Blossoming of the Chinese Culture of Blogmongering

Zixue Tai (University of Kentucky, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-744-9.ch003
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Abstract

Phenomenal growth in recent years has made the Chinese blogosphere the largest blogging space in the world. By embedding the blogs against the backdrop of the broad context of the Internet communication environment in China, this chapter offers a panoramic overview of the fast-evolving Chinese blogosphere and critically assesses its social, cultural, and political ramifications. The chapter starts with an examination of landmark developments and milestone events in the historical trajectory of blogging in China in the past decade, followed by an in-depth analysis of major trends, popular practices, and dominant blogger groups. Finally, the chapter evaluates emerging platforms and themes unfolding on the horizon, and discusses their future implications.
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Background

The sheer size of the gargantuan Chinese blogosphere is awe-inspiring: statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (2009; 2010) indicate that as of June 2009, the blog community (i.e., encompassing those who publish their own blogs) reached 181 million, and that number jumped to 221 million by year-end 2009. Meanwhile, over 50 percent of the Chinese bloggers run multiple blog sites, with an average of 1.82 sites per blogger, while about 44 percent of these bloggers report updating their blog entries weekly or more often. That the blogs play prominent role in Chinese cyber life finds corroboration in the results of the four waves of cross-national “Power to the People” survey of global Internet use from 2006 through 2009 by Universal McCann, a New York-based global media-marketing consultancy firm. In its 4th global survey conducted between November 2008 and March 2009, Universal McCann revealed that Chinese netizens are leading in the blogging experience, with 90 percent of Chinese Internet users reporting reading the blogs and 81 percent of them claiming writing blogs of their own (Universal McCann, 2009). These patterns are highly congruent with the observation that the Chinese Internet population generally displays a higher tendency to rely on user-generated content (UGC) found in bulletin board systems (BBS), online forums, Internet chat rooms, and blogs (Tai, 2006; Yang, 2009). Tai (2006) attributes the skewed dependency of Chinese netizens on UGC to the predominantly controlled nature of the Chinese online environment in which state-sanctioned information dominates major legacy and Internet media outlets, thus channeling user interest to the unconventional, user-generated platforms.

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