Let Voice be heard: the power of web 2.0 in China
Web 2.0 has created a new era. It is where all the new media, social media, social networking all happen. For me, Web 2.0 opens a door to the world, shortening the distance among people. In China, we do not really have the freedom to use pupolar social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube. They have all been blocked by the Chinese government. However, we are still lucky to have the Chinese version of Twitter and Facebook and to share information to a certain extent which is still better than nothing. I started to use Sina Weibo (weibo.com), or micro-blog, from March of 2009. The platform is designed similarly to Twitter, but with contents in Chinese mostly. The Chinese verstion of Twitter, using the technology of Web 2.0, has become a critical and valuable channel of Chinese people to share their feelings and opinion about life, love and social issues. People's voice are heard through this channel, which cannot be realized by traditional media such as television and newspapers in China. Because those above are strictly controlled by the central goverment. On July 23, 2011, a terrible train accident happened in Zhejiang province, eastern China. 49 people died, dozens injured. The information of such an accident was firstly published on Weibo, in stead of traditional media. Chinese netizens were monitoring the rescuing process after the accident. Many of them were angry about the carelessness of government's rescuing measures and the way it publishing information regarding the accident. And Weibo has ever since become the place where their voice can be heard and ideas can be exchanged. For women, it is a platform to express love and care for those victims. One of the survivors is a 4-year old girl, whose parents both died in the accident. The girl was found 20 hours after the tragedy and has drawn a lot of attention and care from Chinese netizens. Some even said they wanted to adopt the girl and take care of her for the rest of her life... This is only a very small part of the stories happening everyday on the Chinese version of Twitter. Those stories, either touching or irritating, are indeed reflecting the truth of the fast-changing here in China, and enabling people to understand or help each other by sharing their various experiences. As a television journalist, I have a strong feeling of the power of social media in the country's future. The advantages of Web 2.0 is so obvious that no one working in the tradition media can afford to ignore them. Someone says that traditional media like televion will lose their position in the near future. However, I still believe television has its strength in news broadcasting with images. The key would be how to integrate new media technologies, as well as new concepts, that have been developed on the basis of Web 2.0, into the current news production process of traditional media. Everyone has a story to tell, and new technologies has made it much easier than before for citizen journalists. I am looking forward to the future of journalism, which will be greatly changed by Web 2.0 technologies.