With the development of technology, the global Internet penetration rate has reached 53%, equivalent to 3.82 billion people. The number of users of global social networking platforms is also increasing, and there is no end in sight. It is estimated that by 2021, the number of social network users will exceed 3 billion.(“What is Sina Weibo? Know Your Chinese Social Media!”, 2021)
In order to promote the local economy and provide its citizens with politically correct content, China has established the Great Firewall of China and an Internet censorship system. Therefore, since 2008, the top social media platforms in the Western world such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have not been accessible in China. Because of this, China’s social media has been better developed. Sina Weibo, launched by Sina in 2009, is the first beneficiary, with more than 300 million monthly active users. It is China’s largest social media platform after Tencent’s WeChat.(“What is Sina Weibo? Know Your Chinese Social Media!”, 2021)
WHAT IS WEIBO?
Weibo is a microblog, which is a platform based on the sharing, dissemination, and acquisition of user relationship information. Update information with about 140 words for real-time sharing. Similar to the famous American social platform Twitter. In August 2009, Sina.com launched “Sina Weibo” and became the first portal website to provide Weibo services, and Weibo has officially entered people’s field of vision.
PRIMARY FIELDS OF OPERATION
Weibo is a good communication platform that can bring together strangers who have common hobbies. Secondly, through big data analysis, Weibo will push different messages to people of different age groups or hobbies. Finally, Weibo is a tool for personal presentation. You can find like-minded people by posting some of your views, and you can also post some of your own works to gain fans. To a certain extent, Weibo can be used as a social network.
REASONS FOR SUCESS
As a social media second only to WeChat, Weibo has the following advantages:
In March 2009, Sina launched the Sina Weibo app version, which allows you to log in to Weibo on your mobile phone, realizing its slogan ‘discover new things anytime, anywhere’ you can publish and browse anytime, anywhere.
Weibo provides a platform that can be used as an audience to browse the content you are interested in, or as a publisher to publish content for others. This platform is widely distributed in multiple systems such as computer desktops, browsers, and mobile phones. There are no thresholds. Only mobile phone number registration is required. Anyone with citizenship can join.
On Weibo, the limit of 140 words, even if it is Shakespeare, it is difficult for Shakespeare to fully demonstrate his writing skills within 140 words. This also narrows the gap between ordinary people and many “Shakespeare”, resulting in the production of Weibo. A lot of original content.
Figure3. “Weibo.com Logo” by bfishadow is licensed under CC BY 2.0
HOW TO USE WEIBO?
First of all, everyone can apply for an account and choose a favorite ID for themselves. You can see your ID in the “me” column. Weibo recommends some high-quality bloggers to users by adding v. Weibo will add a v to these high-quality bloggers. When the blogger’s monthly page views reach more than 10 million, then the yellow v is It will turn red. In addition, the account of a company or company will add a blue v to the blogger. This is to facilitate users to find the official account. The next display is the number of articles posted or reposted by the blogger, the number of videos posted, the users you are interested in and follow, and the users who follow you because they are interested in your posts.
Figure 4. Screenshot on Weibo app
In ‘message’, you can receive likes, comments, forwards and private messages from other bloggers on your Weibo.
Figure 5. Screenshot on Weibo app
In ‘Discover’ you can search for the content you want to inquire, and you can also view today’s hot searches on Weibo and hot searches in your current city. The following is a blog that judges the interests of each blogger through big data analysis and pushes it.
Figure 6. Screenshot on Weibo app
In ‘video’ you can see videos posted by bloggers you follow, and big data will still push users what they might like.
Figure 7. Screenshot on Weibo app
The last one, ‘weibo’, here you can view the articles or videos posted by people you follow, or click on the upper right corner to post a blog. There is a very reassuring feature in Weibo, which is called “visible to followers only”, “visible to friends only” and “visible only me”. When there are some blogs that do not want to be seen by strangers, this function is given to users greatest privacy space.
Figure 8. Screenshot on Weibo app
HOW DOES WEIBO MAKE MONEY FROM ITS ACTIVITIES?
- Weibo VIP
Weibo VIP, after the user recharges Weibo VIP, he will get a lot of special rights, such as changing his ID multiple times, changing the background of the homepage, placing his favorite Weibo on the top, decorating his homepage, and blocking users who are not interested Or information and so on. Therefore, people who are keen on using Weibo will make themselves Weibo VIPs. And these virtual goods are not cheap, their prices are between 12-118 yuan, which is a zero-cost profit for the Weibo platform.
Figure 9. Screenshot on Weibo app
This model is very similar to Facebook advertising. The community-based Weibo will help Sina better understand users, including their online behavior and user characteristics, thereby helping advertisers better discover target users. Sina Weibo also provides a large number of valuable visits to third-party websites. For example, clicking on an advertisement before entering Weibo will automatically jump to the product purchase interface.
Figure 10. Screenshot on Weibo app
Weibo still drives huge e-commerce consumption, especially through celebrities whose Weibo profiles have become promotional mediums that can dictate hot topic trends, increase exposure and traffic, and improve sales.(Gao, 2019)
The daily hot search list will be updated, and the system will push the frequently searched news to the hot search list, so many users will learn the daily news by watching the hot search list. And every day there will be an ad spot on the hot search list, which will greatly increase the exposure of the ad.Many entertainment companies will also increase the exposure of their artists by buying hot search list.
Figure 11. Screenshot on Weibo app
- Fandom fight
56.3% of Sina Weibo users are male and 43.7% are female. The largest proportion of Sina Weibo users (38.6%) is 23 to 30 years old, followed by 18-22 years old (27.6%) (Weibo, 2017 )And most of the 43.7% of them started to use Weibo for star chasing, because almost all celebrities will register a Weibo account for themselves for future promotion, so fans can directly interact with their idols on Weibo . However, more fans will lead to conflicts caused by different concepts. Some more radical fans will harm other fans by slandering their idols. As a result, the content of Weibo began to appear a lot of abusive and slanderous blogs, and other users would stay away from Weibo. So that in August 2021, in order to correct this malformed fandom culture, Sina conducted a “harmful content clearance movement”. Sina Weibo banned 1830 users for 90 days, including some well-known fan accounts with millions of fans.(“Sina Weibo silences nearly 2,000 fandom user accounts for insulting posts – Global Times”, 2021) The purpose is to prevent the abnormal culture of the fandom and to surf the Internet peacefully.
- Strong opponent：
The rise of short video software has had a great impact on Weibo. The Chinese version of Douyin, a popular short-video sharing app TikTok, has 600 million daily active users. The emergence of Douyin has posed a threat to Weibo to a large extent. . TikTok reports that in July 2020, monthly active users will be close to 700 million, and global downloads will exceed 2 billion. (Choudhury, 2020)
This is a height that Weibo cannot reach, because as an alternative software, weibo emerged because of Chinese policies prohibiting the use of facebook, twitter, instagram and other software as alternatives, and it cannot achieve global popularity.
In general, Weibo used to be a social platform second only to WeChat. No one knows real identity here, and everyone wears a mask to communicate. On Weibo, you don’t have to face the lessons of your parents or courtesy in the workplace. Just be yourself here. But recent years Weibo is gradually going downhill. The previous Weibo’s ability as a platform for strangers to communicate with each other began to gradually decline, and it began to gradually tend to satisfy the fandom culture. More are used by fans to control comments. You may see all kinds of KOL fighting with fans on Weibo anytime and anywhere. This is why most people leave Weibo.
- Gao, C. (2019).Weibo: Unique Advantages in Content Creation, Consumption + Engagement | The Egg Company. The Egg Company. Retrieved 11 October 2021, from https://www.theegg.com/social/china/weibo-unique-advantages-in-content-creation-consumption-engagement/.
- Choudhury, S. (2020).The Chinese version of TikTok now has 600 million daily active users. CNBC. Retrieved 14 October 2021, from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/15/bytedance-douyin-has-600-million-daily-active-users.html.
- Sina Weibo user report on 2017. (2017). Retrieved March 10, 2018, from
- What is Sina Weibo? Know Your Chinese Social Media!. Tenba Group. (2021). Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://tenbagroup.com/what-is-sina-weibo-know-your-chinese-social-media/.
- (“Sina Weibo silences nearly 2,000 fandom user accounts for insulting posts – Global Times”, 2021)