According to the “2012 Government Microblog Evaluation Report” [zh], the Chinese state drastically increased its use of microblogging platforms to interact with the public last year. Caixin summarizes the government report:
The survey by the Chinese Academy of Governance found that by December 20, 2012, a total of 176,700 weibo accounts had been opened by government organs and officials on the four major domestic weibo service providers.
The figure is a 249.5 percent increase from the end of 2011.
[…]The accounts were opened by Communist Party committees, government departments, courts and prosecutors, as well as committees of local people’s congress and political advisory bodies. Some of the accounts were opened by cadres and officials under their real names.
The report said government organs opened 113,400 weibo accounts, up 250 percent year on year. The number of officials’ accounts rose 248 percent to 63,300.
At the end of last year, Danwei covered a similar report focusing more narrowly on the government use of Sina Weibo [zh], one of China’s most popular microblogging sites. After summarizing the report’s findings, Danwei translates its predicted government microblogging trends for 2013:
1. Government microblogging will become more scientific and more standardized While 2012 could still be characterized as somewhat of an experimental phase for government microblogging, 2013 will see more standardized microblogging practices with the implementation of rules and standards on how to use Weibo and exactly what content can be uploaded by whom.
2. Government microblogging to become more youth-oriented Young people are clearly the major users of new forms of media such as Weibo, and the operators of government Weibo accounts will strive to better harness the participation of energetic and passionate youth. This will change the style and operational procedures of government Weibo accounts.
3. Government microblogging to deepen and expand to new areas 2012 not only saw a vast increase in government microblogs to more than 60,000, it also saw an expansion of microblogging engagement both at the top level ministries and at the very bottom of the use of social media in the grassroots. In 2013, in terms of quality we can expect government microblogging to expand further into new areas such as industry and administration and other areas to expand the government’s provision of information and to strengthen social management of innovation.
Also listen to a recent China Radio International broadcast covering government use of microblogs and websites.