No, Sina Weibo is not a Twitter wannabe

Do you think Sina Weibo, one of China’s popular social networking websites, nay, actually one of China’s popular websites – period -, is just another Twitter clone or Twitter wannabe? Think again! The truth of the matter is – Sina Weibo has a different “purpose” and “use” for most of its Chinese users. How different? Let us count the ways.

First off, according to a study led by HP Labs, Sina Weibo is more useful for its users in terms of entertainment – meaning its users like sharing jokes, videos and funny images. Twitter, on the other hand, is more for news – meaning factual, serious, formal stuff. Case in point: Remember that tweet sent via Sina Weibo whereby the user shared photos of him “wrapping” his shoes with the use of a condom in order to fight rain and road puddles? Nothing CNN-ish there but it was a hit in the Sina Weibo world.

Secondly, and this has something to do with the earlier example, Sina Weibo creates fame unlike Twitter which enhances “pre-existing” fame. Now if you’re Lady Gaga or Beyonce or Britney Spears, you can use Twitter to amp up your fame and interact with your fans. On the other hand, if you’re that guy who wrapped his shoes with a condom and just want your 15 minute spotlight and share something light and funny with others, then Sina Weibo is the better option.

Thirdly, according to the HP Labs study, retweets are “several orders of magnitude greater” on Sina Weibo. This means that people on Twitter have this penchant of sharing their own thoughts, news, images and videos more than sharing others’. In this regard, people on Sina Weibo can be considered “more socially friendly” since they do not really mind sharing another person’s thoughts and what-nots. We’re guessing that this could also mean that unless you’re really influential and really popular, it would take a whole lot more effort for people to retweet you on Twitter!

Given these 3 points, one can truly spot the differences between Sina Weibo and Twitter. So, no, Sina Weibo is not Twitter and is not certainly a Twitter wannabe. We think it will still have its own distinct charm and that will be the very reason why it will continue to flourish.

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