All too often Sina’s microblog service Weibo is described as a kloon of Twitter. Sociologist Tricia Wang in Wuhan has been using Weibo for a few months and starts to report on her weblog about the differences of the two. About fun, love and entertainment.

About a regular Weibo message:

“Do you like finding interesting people? Weibo is a fun place! Hurry up and discover classmates, celebrities, and cute girls and guys on Weibo!”

One thing that I’ve noticed is how much Weibo will explicitly push the idea of finding “cute” people to follow who aren’t celebrities. Other than pointing users to celebrity’s accounts, you don’t see Twitter sending out messages to discover “cute” or “pretty” people on twitter. This message to all Weibo users emphasizes that it is a place to find interesting people, celebrities, classmages, and cute people. You don’t see an emphasis on Weibo being a place to find out good information about local and national politics and news, even though that is why many people use it.

Update: And here is a report in The Atlantic about her research.

Tricia Wang is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.

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