I read an article in local news today.  It said, as soon as the 9 magnitude earthquake shook Japan Friday, posts on Sina Weibo (or the Chinese Twitter) shoot up in China.  4.5 million messages related to the earthquake were posted on Sina Weibo, as of 6pm of Mar 11 or four hours after Japan’s earthquake.

Out of which, 300,000 were sent from micro-bloggers in Japan, possibly, from Chinese students or workers living in Japan. Moreover, 12,000 Sina Weibo users have set up a group called “Japan’s earthquake helps and contacts in Chinese” to facilitate people seeking missing family members and other information related to the relief efforts.  (Here is an article in the local media: http://tech.sina.com.cn/i/2011-03-14/21465283908.shtml)

Social impacts of microblog has well been documented.  Twitter has played some important roles for people seeking their family members or looking for helps, in the times of disasters.  Unsurprisingly, Sina Weibo is playing a similar role in Japan’s earthquake, given the proximity of the two countries.

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Sherman So

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. (http://redwiredrevolution.com/) She previously was the lead China technology reporter...