Chinese Twitter! What Copy?

Have you ever heard about Twitter? As a Chinese digital marketer it is not something that is obvious unless you read the English language trade magazines or work with Western marketers, all of whom seem addicted to this micro blogging application. I first read about Twitter when doing research for an SEO’s blog post I was doing … then after reading a lot of English language marketing news about Twitter, I found the West had embraced this new marketing “killer app” .. So I signed up and got my Twitter account.

At first, it is not as exciting and special as I expected. However, day by day, while I learned to share feelings and my favorites (website links or articles) with other Twitter-ers (with the 140 character limit), and with more and more people following me and me following others, I began to fall in love with this amazing little bird. The power of conversation had started to emerge.

Last Wednesday, when I was introducing Twitter to a colleague and he told me about a Chinese-version of Twitter named FanFou (m&). With my interest aroused, I wanted to check this out and understand what where the similarities and differences.

The first impression was that FanFou gave me was that it was just a copy of Twitter, same layout, same style (just like how I found Xiaonei is the duplicate of Facebook). My colleague also told me if I thought the registration steps of FanFou is not convenient enough, TaoTao is much easier. As long as you have a QQ id, you can have a TaoTao account. Then I acquired a list of Chinese copies of Twitter: Jiwai (ýj), Komoo, Zuosha (Ze)…all which offer Chinese Internet users the same fun, yet without language problems reading the interface.

From a functional aspect, micro blogging is just “a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates (say, 140 or fewer)”, something unnecessarily important or logical, and share the “stream of consciousness” with others. I wonder whether those various copies can play any unique tricks. As a product of Tencent, theoretically TaoTao got more financial and technical supports than FanFou, which is founded by four young people. Therefore I expect TaoTao can give me a pleasant surprise. Nevertheless, by now, I haven’t found obvious advantages or specialties of TaoTao, except that it can make use of QQ’s gigantic user group. Though TaoTao has “TaoTao Q-bar” as an inner community, “my holiday” for users to make travel notes, and “my secret” where users can keep accounts or anything private, these additional functions seems to try to change a “micro” into a “shrunk” blogging rather than helping users explore and taste the fun of using micro blogging; even though 東京物業 the original motivation of such “innovation” might be trying to get rid of being labeled as Twitter’s duplicate. If users cannot recognize the meaning of using micro blogging, it is very likely that they will put it aside soon.

But can micro blogging be meaningful? Of course. In the future, it can be used for news reporting. When journalists cannot arrive at the scene where news happens at the very first time, especially accidents, their readers may be there and can take photos or write a short report (as a micro blogging) then submit it to the newspaper office through cell phones. It can bring great changes to news industry. In this sense, micro blogging is also useful to professionals such as authors and play-writers. Whenever and wherever, micro blogging can help them write down the transient inspiration and share with friends immediately. If you have no interests in news reporting and writing, micro blogging can also be a platform for you to know lots of interesting people. Even though I only tweet at most four or five times a day, by now, averagely there would be five Twitter-ers following me every day, a large proportion of them from western countries, and some of them are CEOs, founders or chairmen…elites in their industry.

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