Yiting Mao
Snapshot of Xiaonei
I have been studying in the United States for more than one year. I still remember several times when I was working on my Xiaonei account, Americans came by and asked, "Is this Facebook?" And my answer is, "Humm.....kind of....they have the same interface but it's different. It's in Chinese..." Actually, the differences are more than just difference in language. 
As a user of both American and Chinese social media, I have thought about the differences between them and some aspects that could be developed by Chinese media professionals.
Before starting talking about the differences between these social media, I'd like to share some of my own thoughts about Facebook or Xiaonei (The "Facebook" in China). 
  • I only use Facebook or Xiaonei to connect with friends who are not very close to me. And the frequency is very low, like once in a couple of months. Social media is not the channel that I connect with my close friends. 
  • As a personal user, the good part of Facebook and Xiaonei is I can post some valuable and interesting news, articles, pictures, videos and recommend my friends to check them out. I kind of like talking with my friends about them back and forth sometimes. Especially for Facebook, a lot of news website and blogs are connected with FB. For example, I can easily recommend some news through CNN.com
  • The original reason for me to get a Facebook and Xiaonei account is because my friends PUSH me to do this. They said, "Oh...we are all on FB and XIAONEI...go get one too!!!!!!!" Sometimes, I feel like it's good to don't have a Facebook and Xiaonei, make life simpler! 
Regarding to the differences between Facebook and the "fake" Facebook in China - Xiaonei.com,  we might need to know the fact that the development of media industry in China is way less mature than that in the States. People in China have less wireless, 3G, wifi coverage. Besides, people don't regard Internet as a must in their daily lives, especially for older generation. I bet younger generation are crazy about Internet and going viral. 
  • Advertisers in China don't use Xiaonei for business purposes as often as advertisers here using Facebook. There are less business application. There are no business profile pages. The only to do promotion about products is the banner on Xiaonei. 
  • Limited demographic. Most users of Xiaonei are young generation. In Chinese, the literal meaning of Xiaonei is "living on campus". So the target is junior high, high school, college and new graduates from school. Actually, I have thought about why the developer of Xiaonei doesn't mimic Facebook to gather more advertisers and help them to do promotion. The most important reason is the less usage of social media in China. Most users of social media are young generation, who have less consumption abilities. 
  • Because of the less connection with other media, the content posted by users on Xiaonei varies a lot with those posted on Facebook. Facebook has a lot of applications and a lot of linkage with news website, blogs, and other kinds of social media. So it's relatively easier for users to share or publish information through Facebook. However, Xiaonei doesn't have any connection with other online media or companies' websites. So most content on Xiaonei are just for fun, less informative, which is more recreational-oriented. 
  • Less application. To be honest, Xiaonei actually has no application. It's less developed by third party.  
In some sense, the social media in China cannot be called social media. It is unable to go as viral as the social media in the States. But we can't think about the development of social media by itself. It's all connected with the economic and cultural environment. So far, China, Chinese people and Chinese businesses are just not ready to go viral. Now it's still their time to focus more on those traditional media.  

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Yiting Mao, Storytelling, Advertising, Public Relations, Chinese, Media, Journalism