The preacher talked to me and he smiled / Said, come and walk with me, come and walk one more mile

This is an inter­est­ing, and I think fair­ly per­cep­tive overview of Chi­na’s pos­si­ble media future, from jour­nal­ist and media observ­er Charles Mabbett:

When China’s most pop­u­lar blog­ger Han Han had his recent post about a spate of vio­lent attacks in Chi­nese schools tak­en down, it wasn’t the first time that he had court­ed con­tro­ver­sy and it is unlike­ly to be the last.

The post enti­tled “Chil­dren, you’re depress­ing grand­pa” was crit­i­cal of a media ban on report­ing the lat­est attack in Taizhou, Jiang­su Province, at a time when the Shang­hai World Expo was due to get under­way. Evi­dent­ly,, the web­site that hosts many of China’s most pop­u­lar blogs deter­mined it was too sen­si­tive to keep online.

Han Han rep­re­sents a rel­a­tive­ly recent phe­nom­e­non in Chi­na, one that com­mands mil­lions of read­ers and is high­ly influ­en­tial as both social com­men­tary and barom­e­ter of pub­lic sen­ti­ment. As of April 2010, his blog had attract­ed 350 mil­lion hits, mak­ing him by far and away, the king of China’s blogosphere.

[From Blog­gers and Chi­nese Twit­ter, China’s new media wave | Asia New Zealand Foun­da­tion]

The under­ly­ing fact that should nev­er be ignored is that Chi­na is only 30 years into the post Mao era, and the mas­sive social momen­tum that Charles saw in-coun­try is hard to describe unless you see it first hand. And nev­er under­es­ti­mate the Chi­nese pragmatism. 

This fair­ly rad­i­cal revi­sion of the bound­aries of twit­ter, which I did­n’t know, fascinates:

While Chi­nese Twit­ter can accom­mo­date up to 400 char­ac­ters, it is more com­mon for users to post mes­sages up to about 120 char­ac­ters. Com­pared with Eng­lish, Chi­nese char­ac­ters allows between two to eight times more infor­ma­tion to be packed into the same num­ber of characters.

Which makes it vast­ly more pow­er­ful as a social net­work­ing and news dis­per­sal medi­um. Twit­ter has played a huge part in the bloody polit­i­cal head-butting that hope­ful­ly reached some res­o­lu­tion yes­ter­day here, and I’m keen to find out the Thai script limitations.

Update: Shorty after I post­ed this, I found this post on the Bangkok protests and the rise of Moblogging:

About the same time as my first tweet, I also post­ed my first “moblog”. This is an abbre­vi­a­tion of “mobile blog­ging”, which, as the name sug­gests, is blog­ging from your mobile phone. This was the most excit­ing devel­op­ment for me. For the first time I was able to post blogs while I was still on loca­tion and my thoughts were still fresh. If you vis­it you will be able to see some exam­ples of my moblogs. The main dif­fer­ence between the blogs here at and those moblogs are obvi­ous­ly the num­ber of words. How­ev­er, if you com­pare my ear­li­er moblogs to the ones I do these days, you can see that I am now typ­ing longer moblogs on my iPhone. Some­times, I post about the same event on both blogs, but the moblog is def­i­nite­ly more laid back and relaxed and has more of my dai­ly life that I don’t write about at Even if the events are the same, the pic­tures are always dif­fer­ent. This is because I use my big DSLR for this blog and my iPhone cam­era for the moblog. As I car­ry my iPhone around with me all the time, unlike the heavy DSLR, you will find the I write moblogs more fre­quent­ly. And I also now find it eas­i­er to process pic­tures and video in my iPhone and then use a Word Press appli­ca­tion to write my moblog. These are then uploaded up onto the Inter­net. When­ev­er pos­si­ble, I try to post while I am still at the event.

[From Pak­nam Web: An iPhone, Twit­ter and the Red Shirt Ral­ly — (Thai­land Trav­el, Cul­ture, Food and Life)]

Although I did­n’t for a moment feel threat­ened going about my dai­ly busi­ness in the city, and I think the same goes for just about every expat here, there being absolute­ly no out­flow of res­i­dent non-Thai and an ongo­ing dai­ly arrival of 20,000 tourists (down from the nor­mal 30,000 a day) which is still an incred­i­ble num­ber, the live twit­ter stream on google, which in my office I kept open on my sec­ond mon­i­tor, was pret­ty much the live news stream I need­ed to car­ry on in a fair­ly nor­mal way.

The world, how we approach it and how we draw infor­ma­tion from it has changed just that lit­tle bit more in the past few weeks.

Share your thoughts