Bloggers, BBS and The Rising Tide of Internet Public Opinion

Asia Times just had an article called “A blogger’s tale: The Stainless Steel Mouse.” Strictly speaking, Liu Di, the Stainless Steel Mouse, is a online writer, not a blogger. She did not have a weblog and most of her writing appeared in online forums and bulletin boards (BBS). I recently wrote a short essay about the role of BBS and the rising public opinion in Chinese cyberspace. It was published on the summer issue of the Nieman Reports.

“It is important to understand the highly distributed, decentralized nature of the online movements; none has a central leader or organizer. This means that when an issue resonates with millions of Chinese netizens, it is expressed not only on BBS’s, but also through the implicit Internet communication channels and within the growing Weblogging community. Instead of being produced by official media, these online uprising events, powered by the Internet in this distributive and immediate way, now drive the agenda of official media ”

“Emerging as an important group on the Internet are public intellectuals. The Internet has given a voice to professors, lawyers, journalists and independent writers concerned about social and policy issues. …… Although it can be difficult for them to publish in the traditional media, they write and publish on the Net and become opinion leaders in the virtual public sphere. Some have their own Web sites or Weblogs, while others create professional communities such as China Lawyers Network or Home for Reporters. The Internet has given them a place to gather, debate, communicate, publish and receive information and, finally, to collectively articulate and amplify their voices on public matters.”

One of of BBSs in which Liu Di was very active was Home for Reporters in an online community site called Xicihutong.

The PDF version is here.


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