Social Media in Contemporary China: A Transformative Public Sphere?
- 10.2991/essaeme-17.2017.344How to use a DOI?
- Weibo, public sphere, public space
Weibo is a Chinese invented social media platform integrating key features of Facebook and Twitter, which make it a seemingly freer channel for individual to individual communication, so bypassing the gaze of authority. It has been extolled by its supporters as offering a vital public sphere, as a space for the free exchange of public opinion. However, as a medium, it faces a number of significant limitations, which undermine its ability to offer a true "public sphere". First there is a clear imbalance in the demographics of Weibo users that prevents it from being truly representative of the Chinese people. Second, it is understood by scholars that a "public sphere" offers a forum for exchange of citizen's views on issues of the day based on a level of rationality. By comparison, Weibo is dominated by trivia, personal expos, and gossip. Finally and most importantly, Weibo does not evade the gaze of authority, which has simply adapted in order to monitor any postings on the site. Weibo may give the illusion of being a free speech platform that transforms China's public sphere, when in fact it is simply another public space for social communication within the permissible discourses of the state.
- © 2017, the Authors. Published by Atlantis Press.
- Open Access
- This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
Cite this article
TY - CONF AU - Bei Guo PY - 2017/07 DA - 2017/07 TI - Social Media in Contemporary China: A Transformative Public Sphere? BT - Proceedings of the 2017 3rd International Conference on Economics, Social Science, Arts, Education and Management Engineering (ESSAEME 2017) PB - Atlantis Press SN - 2352-5398 UR - https://doi.org/10.2991/essaeme-17.2017.344 DO - 10.2991/essaeme-17.2017.344 ID - Guo2017/07 ER -