Microblogging is such an ugly word. So is facebooking I suppose. Maybe there’s a cuter way to say it (like tweeting is to twitter), but I’m not sure.
In China, everyone has microblogs, aka 微博 (wēibó), so even before I left the U.S. I tried to create accounts across the important channels. Of course, social media isn’t very fun without knowing people that are on the same tools.
Not long ago, Mashable published 5 Chinese Social Networks You Need to Watch by Yin Mei. It’s a good place to start.
1. Sina Weibo – This is usually what people mean when they just say “weibo.” Everyone equates it to twitter (with a few added bells and whistles), but I am still finding it incredibly hard to use as a listening tool. I never use twitter by going to twitter.com — instead I use hootsuite to set up streams and organize different types of voices that I like to follow. I haven’t found a Chinese hootsuite yet. There seem to be ways to make lists, but that’s really not enough for me. Will report back later. You can find me at weibo.com/elizaj.
2. Renren – I don’t have this one yet, but it’s supposed to be the Chinese facebook. Hm.
3. Tencent – This is the company that made QQ. QQ is an incredible chat system that everyone uses — personal and business too of course. Most people list their QQ number on their business cards along with their phone and email. It’s that essential. I have a QQ, but I’m not posting it here.
I have a Tencent Weibo account at t.qq.com/elizaj, which works a lot like Sina Weibo.
4. Douban – I’ve heard discussion that Douban is dead, like the myspace of American social media, but I went ahead and created an account at douban.com/people/elizaj. Seems friendly enough. Also very similar to Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo.
5. Wechat – This is an app by Tencent. I installed it on my phone from the iTunes store. Allows free texting and chatting. Also has this goofy thing where you shake your phone and can find people physically nearby to you. You can share a limited profile and chat without officially “friending”/”following”/”connecting.” I guess it’s kind of like the Grindr app!
You can link your Wechat to your QQ account. And you can link it to your Tencent Weibo account. All this linking confuses me. I have at least 3 different Tencent accounts (QQ, Weibo, and Wechat). I’m not sure if having these separate accounts is a feature or just a byproduct of their development process.