Monday, June 8, 2009

Exploring China SNS, MicroBlog environments and their differences to the west, Ch. 4

Netizens expectation difference between China and the west

Micro blogging service is like a phone line. By itself, it doesn't do anything. What it gives us is a reliable, simple, infrastructure to communicate with members of our community. Hence, the more terminal device it supports, the more useful it is for the users.

Netizens in China generally expects to go online and the service would come with a bunch of content and services to entertain them.
Netizens of the west has a history of regarding online services as "tool" and they are quite prepared and happy to create their own content and community as long as the online service make things easy for them.

Digu, a Chinese twitter service, has added my name to the recommended list a couple of weeks ago. In the first few days after the list goes online, I have 1000+ new followers. I made a point to visit their home page, and find that many new users ask things like "What's there to do here??"

It is like you enter a very clean, well constructed room, in the middle of nowhere by yourself, and you ask the wall "What kind of fun can I have here?"

Imagine a different scenario...
A college student in United States is told there is a empty house available in town for anyone who likes to use it. You just have to bring your friends and activities there.

The difference is: In the west, netizens are used to look at online services as a platform; and they expect themselves to come up with creative ways to make use of the platform to generate benefits that suit them. The expectation that it provides built in entertainment is very minimal.

French Open, Digu 和 Twitter, Photo Blogging 不同的体驗 (from 白社会 diary)

1. 其中一項分别是上載相片工能. 这一点足以給用户不同的体驗.

Photo integration into the message makes Digu more fun and easier in photo blogging.

前兩天是法國网球公開大賽總決賽, 我剛開始實習用Digu wap 做 photo blogging (相片嘀). Nokia 5800 攝拍LCD电視萤幕的 效果真不錯. 照片幾乎有現場的感覺. 今天的智能手机加上方便的相片嘀工能, photo Digu 有推動寫生日常接觸到有趣味的事物. 昨天晚上帶一鼓跟大家分享的熱誠, 又緊張地捕足 Federer 和 Solderling 特殊的表情,希望能容納到这場法网的精絮. 雖然 Twitter 平台有 Twitpic, 但是在 Twitter 不能同時看到大家上載的相片在條文裡,不爽.

The past two days were French Open finals. I have just started to play around with the Digu WAP site and its Photo Digu feature. The Nokia 5800 takes pretty good pictures of my Low Defintion 30" LCD TV. If you don't know I am watching it on TV from home, you may think that I am watching it live in Paris as some of the photos looks as if taken live at Roland Garros.
Check out the photo digus here:
The in message photo feature offers a very different photo micro blogging experience because when you see the list of photo messages shown list on the same page, the story telling effect is much more powerful.

2. 中國微博文化處於 Twitter 早期的用户皆段

Micro blogging in China is similar to the early days of Twitter.

先前雖然知道 Fanfou 这个微博平台, 但先入為主在短短兩个月在 Digu 平台累积了不少聊天和分享的朋友. 这群朋友形成了現時研究的核心, 也是每參舆新SNS服務時都希望邀請的朋友. 人本就是群体動物, 是常理吧.
Fanfou 已上綫兩年. Digu 只上綫三个月, 还在 beta 階段. 新上綫的 social media 平台都需要提供主动和新用戶聊天,幫用戶盡快組織黏度,務求達到不斷更新的習慣.

Even though I know Fanfou has been around, my first experience with micro blogging in China is with the latest entry, Digu. In two months time, I have accumulated a lot of 'friends' in the service and I have become very comfortable in using it throughout the day to chat with and share things with this community. This community has also become the 'core' group whom I will invite when I venture to explore other SNS services in China.

Fanfou has been around for about 2 years and Digu has only been live, still in beta, for about 3 months. The China micro blogging service industry is at a very infancy stage much like Twitter's early days. Again, because of the netizens cultural difference from the west, the Chinese micro blogging SP needs to provide more hand holding to the majority of the users to engage them to develop the habit of publish messages

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