Hu Yong (胡泳): The Potential of Microblogging to Become a Milestone

A Beijing News interview with Beijing University Professor and Internet pioneer Hu Yong about microblogging has been translated into English and posted on Hu Yong’s blog. An excerpt:

BJ News: You have long been concerned about the development of the Internet; how do you view this emerging microblogging communication tool?

Hu Yong: Microblogging is a new form of communication, with four characteristics, I believe.

First it is speed-oriented. This represents a new trend of Internet development. Traditional media have the issue of “news cycles”, for example, newspapers go by the day; while microblogging is almost without the limit of a cycle. It is a real-time network. In the amount of information, transmission speed, etc., traditional media cannot compare.

The second is fragmentation. This is a big impact on the thinking; in the past, mass media disseminated information from the centre and outwards; for example, say a certain unexpected event occurs, the media need to send reporters to investigate and then publish the information in the newspapers, which is then reproduced on the network, followed by online reproduction by peers. In this case, the initial media is the “centre”. But now, there might happen to be microbloggers at the scene of many unexpected events, who can instantly transmit information. Perhaps they were previously unknown, insignificant citizens, but suddenly they may become the hub of information, resulting in the greatest impact in an instant.


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