Tag Archives: twitter

China state media’s Twitter account excites Sina Weibo users

China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency has recently been teased on China’s largest microblogging platform for its Twitter account being discovered by users.

Xinhua’s official Twitter account was discovered by Sina Weibo users on Dec. 5 and soon attracted a lot of attentions.

With 3,000 posts and over 6,000 followers, the account @XHNews describes it “a multimedia group,” and “delivers the most authoritative China news as well as fast and objective global news.”

It has been established on Feb. 9 this year and started posting reports from Xinhua English news website since March.

Many Weibo users teased it by asking “why don’t allow us to open the website of Twitter” or “I am wondering how Xinhua ‘climbs over’ the ‘Great Fire Wall’.”

China has long blocked websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube through the “Great Fire Wall,” for the fear of free information circulated online which the government thinks would threaten social stability.

@XHNews has been not interactive with others, as it only retweets ten posts by other accounts including Media tycoon Keith Rupert Murdoch, the Associated Press and the New York Times.

@XHNews has once followed over 400 accounts, however, Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily reported, it has gradually unfollowed them since October. Now it has follow no accounts.

Actually during the party congress last month, Xinhua’s English news site promoted @XHNews with an article “Xinhua tweets changes in China.”

The article argues that “China’s attitudes and moves attract global eyes.”

“@XHNews reminded @BarackObama and @MittRomney of the fact that both presidential candidates distorted for earning favor from voters in the October 22 debate,” it says.

Tencent aims to be China’s Facebook, Twitter and Google

encent Holdings Ltd is the third largest internet firms in the world, headquartered in China and planning to diversify its services so that it can become Facebook, Twitter and Google all in one.

The future is promising for Tencent, despite de world economic crisis. The company has been estimated at 50 billion dollars on the stock market, four times than the price it was valued at two years ago. It started as an online gaming producer, but over time its aim followed a more diversified path: e-commerce, social networking and search engine. The new services put Tencent in the position of a gambler, risking to be swallowed up by strong competitors like Baidu Inc, SINA Corp and Alibaba.com.

Analysts like Hover Xiao, from the technology research firm IDC, believe that the company should not waste its forces on so many sectors, for it will not be able to sustain its economical power gained so far. “Tencent needs to look for other gold mines to counter slowing online gaming growth. Otherwise, they won’t be able to maintain the strong growth they’ve had over the past few years” Xiao said.

So far, Tencent, who’s mascots are two cute penguins wrapped around in scarves, has been relying on the online game business, which brings the company 60 percents of the revenues. In 2010 it summed up the equivalent of 3 billion dollars. This June, the company opened the Q+ platform, an open system meant to attract foreign software developers. At this point, Tencent’s strongest rivals are Facebook and Apple.

Tencent has other developing plans as well. It is now seeking to enter with a boom on the Chinese e-commerce market. It also plans on launching into the search engine sector, aiming at the number two spot in the following years. At this point, the company ranks third in the wireless search engine sector, after Baidu and Easou.com.

Half of the company’s staff works now in research and development – near 6,000 employees – and 10 percent of the revenue goes to the research sector.

Are you in the Google+ circle?

The current times might be a watershed moment in the social media world, not just in Pakistan but all around the globe. The company that may or may not cause this revolution is Google.

In the past, Google has eliminated whatever competition came in its path of it’s search engine to the extent that “Google it” has replaced “search for it” in our vocabulary. It did the same when it integrated photos via Picasa and documents via Google Docs.

It has however not been able to make a place for itself in the social networking world but then the company’s only attempt was the half-baked Google Buzz. Now, Google has decided to take on the giants with its latest project Google+, a complete social networking stream and site, the likes of which we have never seen before.

Although it is closed for the general public right now, I received an invitation to check out its Beta version.

So, what is the difference between Google+ and Facebook? I think we can limit this down to three broad areas:

1. Google+ Hands on and Circles

The basic content stream may look Facebook-ish, but the approach is entirely different under the hood. First of all, instead of categories among friends we have ‘circles.’ You can add and subtract your contacts to these circles.

What is really cool is how you can target different circles and share different content streams with them without going crazy with privacy settings ala Facebook. For instance you can say “I hate you all” in a status update and share it with a circle called ‘losers’ – very streamlined.

The ‘like’ button has been replaced by the ‘plus one’ button and there is a separate box aggregating this in your profile as a ‘brag it’ badge.You can add the usual pictures, videos and all that jazz to any content stream and they show up in a much wider space as well – so less scrolling, more ogling.

2. Hangout

Not being satisfied with taking Facebook on, the brains behind G+ have thrown a challenge at Skype as well.

This feature is not available everywhere in Pakistan at the moment (do we have to wonder why?) but will involve your name showing as online and ready to “hang” if allowed. Through this an audio/video conference can be initiated between the parties. Don’t ask me how I tested this but I found it very fast and streamlined.

The feature also offers YouTube integration, letting users collaboratively watch videos and create running commentaries in the chat, or verbally using the new Google Voice Search technology. Imagine live cricket match replays on it – with all of your friends.

3. Huddle

To me, the best feature of the new G+ social network is its ability to cross platform chat. Yes, Facebook has its chat but then that’s just plain annoying and this module is very similar to Gtalk and even faster in its mobile version which is available in the G+ app for android. So, as soon as it’s available for Nokia, Blackberry and iPhone, we can say “bye bye” to Whatsapp and that cave to cave… umm… Blackberry to Blackberry network known as BBM.

With: Path Inc’s Own Take On Mobile Photography

Path, the developers of the eponymous app for the iPhone, has come up with a mobile check in app with a focus on who you’re with. In their original app, Path, the developers focused more on sharing a picture or moment privately with a select group of friends. At a recent hackathon, the company saw that their users also wanted to selectively share their moments on public social networks, such as Twitter. They also saw a great demand for users tagging who they were with when sharing these moments. This is where the idea for With was born.

The core concept of With is as if you took the main features of Foursquare, Twitter and Instagram and combined them in a streamlined app. When you first install the app on your iOS device, it automatically asks for your Twitter login so you can post to your account and tag friends you are with. It also suggests friends who are also using the service.

When you’d like to share who you’re currently “With”, you are presented with a simple screen to tag who you’re with and what you are doing. You are then presented with the option to take a picture to document the moment. The picture is optional. It seems the developers are emphasizing who you are with. This then gets posted to your Twitter feed with a link to your picture.

This clearly takes features from other social networks, so why use With? The company says the service rewards friends who you are with the most often. They rise to the top of your profile when viewed from within the app. The company also has a couple of features coming out soon that will reward these close friends.

With their original app, I had a hard time grasping the appeal of Path, but with their latest project, I feel they have the right features, interaction and simplicity to keep users interested and using their service. It combines the check in features of Foursquare with the photo sharing features of Instagram in a simple app. You can read their announcement of With on their website and download the app on the iTunes App Store.  Let us know if you like it in the comments below and tell us if this is something you could stick With.

Facebook, Skype keep Japanese citizens in touch

Facebook, Skype, and Twitter are proving to be the best way for people living in Japan to communicate as the nation struggles to deal with the effects of a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake in northern Japan and subsequent tsunami.  At least 300 people have died in the disaster so far and there are more than 500 people missing.

Telephone networks were extremely congested so carriers like NTT DoCoMo are severely restricting incoming voice calls, particularly in the northeast which was hit by tsunami waves that reached 30 feet (10 meters) in height.  Subscribers say they have been able to  contact friends and family using DoCoMo, but not on other networks.  Residents say they can’t send text messages or make voice calls.  Carriers like Au and Softbank were also affected by the disaster.  NTT DoCoMo restricted its incoming telephone calls by up to 80 percent.

“Facebook and Skype are proving to be the best ways to stay in touch” said Brian Chapman a journalist living in Tokyo.  Chapman said a lot of people forced to spend hours walking home because subways don’t work can be seen talking on their mobile phones, but there are also long lines for every pay phone that functions.

Twitter, Tumblr Copycat Sites Gain Popularity in China

As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s true, Twitter and Tumblr should be very flattered by the Chinese copycat sites Sina Weibo and DianDian, which have plucked ideas and designs from the microblogging networks. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Sina Weibo has eclipsed Twitter as China’s leading microblogging site. Mirae Asset Securities estimates that about 87-percent of the microblogging done by China’s 450 million Internet users is with Sina Weibo.

Just like “tweet” is now a verb in English, “zhi weibo” is being used as a verb by the Chinese. CEO Charles Chao makes no bones about the inspiration for the site, which also caps users’ posts at 140 characters. “We learned much from Twitter,” he said. DianDian, on the other hand, didn’t really “learn” from Tumblr; it straight-up swiped the site’s dashboard layout and color scheme. According to The Next Web Asia, DianDian is currently in private beta testing, and there’s no word yet on when it will go public.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the emergence of Twitter and Tumblr’s Chinese counterparts will be how these sites censor users’ posts, as required by the government. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof already had his Sina Weibo account deleted for posts referring to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, so don’t expect a free-speech movement to be born on DianDian, either.

Diandian.com is similar to the US-based Tumblr.com, which is blocked in China, in offering a simple, lightweight blogging and social service. Users can create new posts or share content they like with the click of a mouse. The site offers “Text,” “Photo,” “Essay,” and “Video” blogging types. Diandian is currently in closed, invitation-only beta.