Research seminars on Chinese Social Media

9 05 2018

Research Seminars:
Chinese Social Media and social networks
Time: 2.30 – 4.00 pm, Wednesday 23 May 2018
Location: Bankfield House, Ground Floor Lecture Theatre, 132 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7JA

This event is supported by the School of Media,Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester.

This event is FREE and open to all staff and students.

Two presentations on Chinese social media and social networks will be followed by Q&A.

Social Networks in China
By Dr. Xianhui Cherry Che, Senior Lecturer in School of Computer Science, University of Hertfordshire

Chinese scholarship and cultural idiosyncrasies in the technological context remain relatively under-researched in western education and texts. Whilst developments in the Chinese technology sector are sporadically reported in popular media, it is difficult for those wishing to obtain fuller and more detailed understandings of Chinese behaviours, attitudes and practises with respect to technology adoption and usage, not to mention aspects concerning how and the extent to which Chinese users may utilise new technologies in ways that are similar (or dissimilar) to those from western societies. The reasons for this are manifold, ranging from language barriers to cultural idiosyncrasies and from rates of technological development to political and social characteristics. In the modern digital age, such questions cannot, unfortunately, be answered in simple fashion due to vast differences in service platforms that are offered, even across identical forms of technology, which are ultimately used by audiences in different parts of the world. This is especially true for platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, whereby added complexities come in the form of their persistent bans in China due to stringent policy imposed by the Chinese Government. The development and use of Chinese social networks have thus, to date, been relative mysteries to the western world. This talk will be based on the author’s book which unlocks numerous unknown facets of the leading Chinese social networking platforms to the broader western audience. The outcomes point towards numerous salient features residing amongst the leading Chinese social networking platforms, serving as potentially vital indicators of opportunities for those wishing to embark on this relatively unknown but lucrative market space.

Engagement with Chinese students: UK Universities’ use of Weibo and WeChat
By Dr. Yimei Zhu, Lecturer in Digital Media, School of Media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester

In the higher education sector social media has been used by many universities. With Twitter and Facebook being banned in China, Sina Weibo is the most popular Chinese microblogging site. Weibo began to provide service in August 2009 and has gained popularity with oversea users which account for 10% of the total members. Many overseas universities and their agents had started using Weibo to connect and engage with potential students, existing students and alumni from China. This study will analyse the use of the popular Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo by UK universities. We compares data collected from Weibo at 2012 and 2018 from 163 UK Universities in total. It examines universities’ use of Weibo, and explores how Weibo become a bridge for communication between UK Universities and Chinese students. Through looking at the use of Weibo by UK universities and Chinese students we will be able to examine the intercultural interactions which take place in this complex social, linguistic and cultural space.

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