Organizations that deal with Old People.

Not a great title, I know, but one thing that has always intrigued me about social media is how different groups interact with it. I use Facebook TOTALLY different than my mom uses Facebook. My comment might at most be “Haha, that was funny, miss you!” But if you translate this into mom-speak you get a five paragraph long story divulging every detail of the family’s latest trip to the Grand Canyon and the Cat’s unfortunate encounter with a skunk. I think institutions all need to be wary of their interaction with their audience.

I am not sure how accurate this assumption is, but I want to say that as a whole, my generation is a bit more passive when it comes to media. I can scan through a newsfeed and pick out whats important and leave what isn’t. Older people have not had as much experience with this mass amount of information. Statistically, the older someone is, the less Facebook friends they tend to have. They have less information to scan through. This also means most of their friends on Facebook (I am using this social media just as an example) are strong ties, or at least stronger than the majority of my friends. As Tricia Wang spoke in her video, this means there is a higher sense of trust in this social network. Therefore, I believe older people have a higher sense of trust for the posts on their walls.

But how does a company break into this barrier of trust? As a person who is overloaded with Facebook friends, the chances of a company getting noticed by me is quite high. I have a large network. But, how will my grandma see the same thing? She has a total of 8 friends. I think organizations that are new and are trying to advertise to a social media audience that is slightly more conservative will have the most difficult time.

Largest Human Flag Attempt

On the 23rd of August this year, around 35000 people gathered in Tudikhel, Kathmandu to form the shape of the Nepali flag. The event was an effort to set a Guinness world record for forming the largest human flag (previously set in Pakistan in February with an estimated 29000 people), and the bulk of the organization of it – spearheaded by a heretofore little-known NGO called ‘Human Values for Peace and Prosperity’ (HVPP) – was conducted over social media; primarily Facebook.

The usage of Facebook enabled the sort of ‘viral’ flow of information that made the event possible, with participants choosing to facilitate the spread of information themselves to friends and contacts (in a sense, self-identifying in the production of information in a way similar to the commons-based peer-production of Benkler). However, it also became apparent in the aftermath of the event that the sort of information being propounded was difficult for any institution to control or regulate: the easy connectivity of the platform did allow HVPP to reach out with their intended message of calling people to gather at a certain time and place, but it also enabled the viral spread of pictures and comments regarding the public disruptions and littering that the event caused (things that were quickly called into question and never really settled). It would thus seem that in using online social media for the purpose of reaching out, the organization had to deal with the trade-off between the high levels of connectivity such networks offer and the difficulty of regulating information within those networks (perhaps in a sense the scale-depth trade-off applied to connectivity).

Hospitals in “Baidu Know”

Sorry for the late post.

“Baidu Know” is a platform for millions of netizens to ask questions about almost every aspect in their life, no matter they are informal or professional, established by Baidu in 2005. The respondents are also ordinary netizens. However, years ago, as Internet technology develops, several Chinese inland hospitals decided to adopt the online tool called “Baidu Know- Ask Doctors”, which was a tool established after long discussion between those hospitals and Baidu board. It’s a platform for ordinary netizens to ask questions about their health problems or concerns, but this time, the responders are online doctors from cooperating hospitals. They get several jiao or yuan paid for each respond. Up to now, according to official statistics provided by Baidu, more than 10 thousand doctors have participated in this online tool, but he exact number of hospitals that adopt this online tool is unknown. I’ll take Weixian People’s Hospital from Hebei Province as an example of organization, to illustrate the challenges they are now meeting.

The biggest challenge facing this hospital is that, the hospital is not able to take responsibility for what its doctors on “Baidu Know” have said online, which eventually decrease its credibility. I viewed some of the responds its doctors gave for netizens. It’s obvious that some of the responds are formulaic and even an be found on elsewhere websites easily, given by irresponsible doctors. If people meet this kind of doctor in entitative hospitals, the doctor is sure to be complained directly and seriously. He may even lose his job. However, when it comes to online tool, they become hard to be held responsible. Patients are anonymous while doctors are real-name. How can an anonymous individual has the energy to appeal to a” professional” but invisible doctor? Doctors become separated individuals from the organization —– the hospital. The online tool stretch the distance of patients and doctors dramatically, thus, people choose rather not to believe them.

A way I find practical to solve this problem is to associate the pay for those doctors with the degree of satisfaction of the patients, which can be technically achieved by interviews afterwards online. Maybe the patient in question should also become a real name user.  In my opinion, the clearer the tool is, the more possible that people will choose to believe it.



On the introduction of OrgSync

Organizations such as educational institutions, greatly benefit from creating a sense of community among its members. They also need to have an effective way to broadcast information to everyone. This school, NYU Shanghai, is attempting to use OrgSync as a platform for business-related conversations withing the school, but it seems the attempts are only mildly successful.

There are two major obstacles to the full integration of OrgSync into students’ lives: lack of utility and a pre-existing network. For NYUSH, OrgSync is essentially little more than a broadcast service. There is a certain sense of community in that each member is asked to join an “organization.” This very action, however, has done more harm than good. Because the “organizations” include both student clubs AND groups that cannot be opted into, like “Residence Life” and “Student Government,” joining these groups is equivalent to being put on the mailing list. Whenever an organization sends a message or adds a new item, it gets sent to the emails of the users (unless they have disabled the notification). Though an email-like messaging service exists on OrgSync, people rarely use it because it is inconvenient. To get to it a user has to log in with his or her NYU information then separately navigate to the NYUSH community before being able to access the right contacts. The site also fails in that it does not have a forum, or a place for discussion, outside of a comments area under each post.

Had OrgSync been introduced before the NYUSH Facebook groups, it might have had a chance to survive. Unfortunately, Facebook is a mammoth of a service that is not easily replaced. Facebook fulfills all of the functions of OrgSync in a familiar, relatively streamlined way. If a club wants to announce an event, it will post an advertisement in at least one– though most usually post in all– of the groups. The four groups have a combined total of over 600 members. These groups also allow discussions in a way that feels awkward on OrgSync. Both sites host discussions through comments, but Facebook caches comments after they have reached a certain number. This keeps particularly long discussions from impeding the flow of the infinite scroll. Users can flick through the posts with ease.

NYU Shanghai, then, faces the challenge of getting more people to use OrgSync, because OrgSync is the official platform for official business (submitting rooms requests and filling budget forms). Most importantly, NYUSH plans to use membership data on OrgSync to extrapolate information and determine budget allocations. Club leaders recognize this predicament, but they are also very aware of the limitations of OrgSync. So far, this has been a problem without a solutions. The NYUSH students are fairly faithful to Facebook. NYUSH admin is challenged with either figuring out a way to use Facebook, or creating a system that’s simply better.

Storm Electronic Music Festival

Better known as Storm, the electronic music festival in Shanghai that has been in existence for two years so far. They have brought in many big name artists in the Electronic Dance Music scene and have built up a lot more from the first year. As it is growing, it is trying to reach a much larger audience and establish itself as one of the premiere EDM festivals for people to yearn to go to. One of its biggest advertising agents is their facebook page with currently about 6000 fans. Facebook is a great way to reach out to fans and promote the festival itself. It aims to hit a large international population because of the ban on Facebook for Chinese citizens, so a large part of this marketing technique relies on its ability to step into the Facebook community. This in itself proves to be much easier said than done. Storm mirrors a lot of companies/organizations that try to break into the facebook scene in that they share many similar challenges.

When spending money on advertising, Storm has to sink money into their advertising in many different facets and facebook is one of them. But there is one particular problem that is proving difficult to justify spending for the advertising. When taking a look at the number of likes on the page and its consistent posts, the number of likes on posts doesn’t seem to have even a close relationship with each other. With around 6000 fans, most posts are barely pulling in more than 10 likes. That is a huge discrepancy in numbers. That doesn’t even get to talking about the raw data of the page. With such a huge discrepancy, one can assume that there are internal problems with the advertising via facebook. With so many fans and so little likes, it doesn’t make sense. It likely boils down to the reach of the page. How many people are actually seeing the posts. No matter what Storm’s facebook page does, it cannot control its fans and whether or not people will see their posts. Storm can only control what they post, but they cannot choose whether or not users will unfollow their page (a feature available allowing users to like the page but not see the posts of the page). People don’t have to see the posts which render the advertising moot. This is where Storm has to decide because there are certain tradeoffs with using Facebook. They can reach out to many more people and have more people see it, but that requires promoting the post so everyone who likes it  can see it, but that requires payment to Facebook. Often times, many of Storm’s posts go unnoticed and it appears to just be a page with consistent promotion without much reach to any audience in particular.

While this problem may or may not exist forever, participatory media still changes/has the potential to change the way Storm goes about its business on Facebook. It can change because if the page responds as the official page to comments or posts by others, it can try to rely on word of mouth or suggestions by users to like the page, upping the potential of more people seeing their ads. The big way that participatory media changes Storm is the required consistent posts by the page to maintain relevance. That is due to the ability of users to unfollow a page, while still liking it. It changes the techniques that a company could try to employ, or might be forced to when needing to accomplish something.

the Wechat Account of News Simulcast

News Simulcast is the most official news in China provides by China Central Television. It usually broadcasts on 7 o’clock every day night, which almost every Chinese who gets back home for dinner will watch it. But since Wechat gets more and more popular in China, News Simulcast finally sets it own Wechat public account.


This account brings a lot of problems for other news account online. Wechat itself has its own online news called Tencent News, which is belong to Tencent company as well. If the Wechat public account of News Simulcast appears, it will not only became a powerful competitor to Tencent News, but also influence other online news. Besides Wechat public account, News Simulcast sets up Weibo account and client at the same time. As the huge influence News Simulcast has, CCTV introduces online news is not an irrational decision. As the outlook for the online news market is promising, most people have good prospects on this action. Since the followers number on the Wechat public account of New Simulcast cannot be seen by common users, I make two screenshots show the number of followers on Weibo and Tencent Weibo.

屏幕快照 2014-10-28 下午9.59.44 屏幕快照 2014-10-28 下午9.59.30 屏幕快照 2014-10-28 下午9.59.14

But after the introduction, the output does not seem as a good introduction. The challenge that New Simulcast is facing comes from different parts. First, the Wechat users. Most people who use mobile frequently still use Tencent News to get latest news as usual. The influence that News Simulcast has on the television is not same to which it has online. The users see online news are accustomed to use Tencent News, because most of their time are spent out of the door and do not have the habit that see News Simulcast every day. So when News Simulcast set up online, they are used to Tencent News. Second, Tencent News is different other public accounts on Wechat, people who use Wechat follow Tencent News at the first time they set up a new Wechat account because they belong to the same company. But if you want to see the online news which provided by News Simulcast, you should scan the QR code of it first, which do not like Tencent News, is enforced by the background program of Wechat. Third, News Simulcast cannot make the news they provide online same to those on TV. The news provide online also need to be entertained, or there will be no users follow them. This is quite different from the news that CCTV provides at every night. But when the news provide online different from News Simulcast style, they lost their feature and make the public account same to the other online news public account.

The Contract Plan on Bilibili

It is a common phenomenon that when you want to watch a video on Chinese video sharing websites such as Youku and Tudou, you are forced to watch very long advertisements first for at least 60 seconds, which really dampens users’ watching experience. However, Bilibili team comes up with a project called The Contract Plan on October 1st this year. This project is basically about buying the copyright of animations by users themselves and Bilibili team promises that there will be no advertisement on any animation of which copyright has already been bought. That is to say, Bilibili team buys the copyright of animations first, promises not to add advertisements, and then collects money from users. Users can voluntarily pay a certain amount of money (even 1 kuan) for the animation which they like.

Through this participatory media, Bilibili team actually used a very smart strategy. Before the team put forward this project, a survey about “how much time of advertisements can you stand before each video?” on Bilibili on September 29th horrified the users by expressing a message that Bilibili would also add advertisements just as what other video sharing websites do. However, only two days after the survey’s coming out, Bilibili team announced The Contract Plan mentioned above, making a sharp contrast to stimulate the users’ appreciation and motivation for this project. It avoids users’ possible natural negative feeling when it comes to money to a great extent. The online survey helps Bilibili team to be characterized as more a figure that sacrifices itself to fulfill the users’ watching experience than a figure of a businessman aiming at money.

Besides, making full use of the platform, Bilibili team also changed the interface of “Contract area” in a very smart way. There is a list of Contract at the end of videos, indicating that the more you pay for the animation, the higher you will rank on the list. Also, after you pay for the animation which means you have contracted into this animation, you can share the relevant information on several SNS such as Weibo and Baidu Tieba. This can also arouse users’ self-fulfillment and motivation to pay for The Contract Plan. Apart from the interface and the sharing function, the way of payment attached to this project is Alipay and online banks, which are very convenient for people to make payment.

The organizational challenge of Bilibili team’s carrying out this project is that the average age of the users are relatively low. Bilibili is a specific video sharing website aiming at ACG culture, resulting in the fact that most users’ age ranges from 15 to 25. In this sense, most users on Bilibili do not have sustainable incomes. So the amount of the money paid by users has limits and thus this project can not be a long-term source of incomes for Bilibili team.

government administration weibo

As Weibo become more and more popular in China as a platform for broadcasting information, a lot of government administrations opened their Weibo account to broadcast information online.

On the one hand, it is a great improvement in terms of the policy transparency. Weibo is a platform where government administrations should be able to post information quickly and conveniently and then ordinary people can easily get access to these information. Supervision over the administration is supposed to become more effectively to product than before as well as the communication between the officials and ordinary people.

On the other hand, it is these expectations of the accounts that make ordinary people very critique towards them.  Following are several problems existing in these administrations accounts.

Firstly, there are official taking the account not seriously. They have a handful problems such as rare update, rare information and all empty but official words.  This will damage the image of government as a irresponsible and incompetent one.

Secondly, voices like  “we’re on the Internet! Hey, keep pace with us!” are often heard on Weibo. Netizens expect the image of these accounts to be fresh and friendly instead of keeping the air of bureaucracy.

Once these accounts broadcast informations in a popular way like using popular terms or styles,(such as “那么问题来了” :)) they do catch the eyes of netizens, increasing the speed and expanding the area of the broadcast as well as  promoting the reputation of government. However,at the same time, more people will be more particular about the content of the Weibo. Officials who run the platform have to be extremely cautious about what they gonna post, ensuring the authority of government and the truth of the information. Their responsibility to every single words or even emoji is inevitable and significant all the time.

The White House

Sorry for the delay.

The White House has quite a history of making an effort to connect with the American people, with the first example popping to mind being FDR’s famous Fireside Chats that all third grade American kids learn about in school. But in this time of ever-evolving social media, this interaction with the White House and the president of the United States has become more direct than ever. Take for example President Obama’s AMA from two years ago that, to my frustration crashed the website multiple times, but also broke records for Reddit pageviews: it gave citizens the opportunity to interact directly with one of the most important people in American politics.

However, I think the most important thing to take away from the increased effort on the part of the White House to be engaged with younger audiences through social networking platforms (evidenced by the eight sites linked out in the footer of their website) is that in reality, it really isn’t an effort to engage with younger audiences, but it is really an effort to get young voters into the voting booth. All it takes is a few replies every month to a few youngsters on public websites to perpetuate the illusion that the American people are in conversation with the government online. However, the thing is, no matter how many times I mention the White House on twitter or comment on Youtube videos, the likelihood of me actually affecting policy is pretty much null, the White House presenting us information on these two way channels simply gives the illusion of dialogue when in reality it is more closely resembles a broadcast network where the station occasionally takes calls from viewers. In this way, I think it is important to look at the White House in the same way that we look at designers of social networking sites: we shouldn’t take what they say at face value but instead question why the “features” of their “participatory nature” work the way they do.

Online Magazine

In this blog I want to talk about the publisher’s bad attempts to make magazines online-available.

In 2006, a brand new methods of reading came into the public’s view in China, online magazine, which we called e-magazine later (there may be a little different between these two). Online magazine is just a web-version of magazine with beautiful vision and contains a lot of images or even music or video in. Online magazine is accessible in many ways, that is to say you can read it online or download it. Sometimes you are capable to subscribe a certain magazine and get it in your e-mail inbox weekly or monthly. And there will be situation where you should pay for an e-magazine, but it is usually at the reasonable prize. So online magazine seems to definitely go viral and win a place in the market. However, things didn’t happen in that way. Leave alone to be beneficial, online magazines are on the edge of  survival. Why would this happen? What’s the problem?

Sometimes, those print magazines have online version with pruned content. Since it has been cut in the content and people are still accustomed with paper magazines, print magazine is still the main stream in this competition. Additionally, there exists another kind of online magazine, which is originated by group of people. This kind of online magazine faces another problem that their content is not rich enough and they always have strict requirements in format. What’s worse, there is its strong rival, blog, which is easy to write and open to everyone. In blog, you can discuss anything you want and never have to worry about format. Blog has everything online magazine has, such as celebrities, beautiful visuality, rich content, except advertisements. Therefore, when we have blog why do we bother to read online magazines. No matter online magazine costs money or not, it must have advertisements, or it can not survive. Full of advertisement is another reason why online magazine can’t get gain its user. According to all these situations, online magazine is facing a big problem in China.

So what’s the countermeasure to this dilemma? Here comes the individual custom-made magazine online. Users can choose their interested topics and select writers or forums, then the operator will make it to a custom-made magazine for the person individually. This new form for reading really works well. It avoids boring articles and suit the readers’ appetite, at the same time, it has fewer advertisements and is totally your read book. Similarly we can see what online magazine should improve in the future from its succeed.