What impressed me most during my trip to Paris two weeks ago? It’s a tweet from Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, french Minister of Development of the Digital Economy, who I met in person in Forum NetExplorateur. First, I did not expect she, as a Minister, is using twitter daily; Secondly, when I was told her twitter id (@nk_m) then sent a tweet asking her for the possibility of tweeting in English (as she usually tweets in French) so that Chinese users can be getting in touch with her, unbelievably, she replied in a very elegant way (tweet here). In the panel, China, the Super Web Power, I said “I would not expect our Minister can be on microblogging service in near future”. But things are changing.
People’s Daily Online’s microblogging service (t.people.com.cn), aka People’s Microblogging is open to the public since 1st February. Despite the fact that it is the first microblogging service launched by a key state-owned news website in China, as a tech blogger, I did not pay much attention to it, until Today.
Premier Hu Jintao’s account
Yep! Premier Hu Jintao has an account set up on People’s Microbogging. And it seems it’s not a fake one, as we found a icon appended to the username, which is basically meaning this account has been verified by the service operator. In other words, our President and more likely his delegate will be using this service (we hope so). So far, he has got 10719 followers, followed zero with no tweet.
Some interesting features
Although I heard that many microblogging service users were not happy with People’s Microblogging, its team definitely wants to introduce some new ideas/strategies. Several features I found are interesting:
1. Identity Verification – If you want to make sure your account can be retrieved when it is hacked, malfunctioned etc, you need fill in your real name and National ID number/Student ID number/Passport Number in your profile for the use of identity verification;
2. Four ways to follow other users – On Twitter, if you want to follow anyone, just click the Follow button then it’s done. On People’s Microblogging, you are required to decided on a further action: How to follow him/her. (see screenshot below) You are given four options: via web, via MSN, via Email and via Gtalk, i.e. you are able to see other’s message on web or directly on your MSN, Gtalk or email.
3. The binding services – The service also allows users to read the content on Qiangguo Forum (bbs.people.com.cn) and other interactive communities on People’s Daily Online. And as it is reported here, it also offers “Opinion Polls,” “Journalists,” “Cool Media” and other characteristic columns. Especially, the “Opinion Polls” focuses on microblogging written by government officials at all levels, as well as officials from local Party and government departments.
People’s Microblogging is still in beta test. Will it become a commercial service in future? And will we see more government officials who are ready for social media? We are waiting for a Reply in microblog-format from our beloved Premier Hu Jintao!