Microblogging for love

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Shanghai Daily, January 30, 2011
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Microblogs have become the newest dating platform in China, attracting thousands of single young men and women.

Different from online dating websites, microblog dating channels put women in the spotlight, giving them space to "advertise" themselves with real-time pictures, videos and blogs.

Some men who follow women are even referred to as "zombies" because they don't post any of their own personal information on the microblog. They open the account solely to watch women.

These zombies believe this allows them to learn more about a particular woman, including her likes, dislikes and habits, before they decide if they want to initiate contact with her.

"At least you don't have to spend a couple hours with a girl who is no good to you," said Tom Xu, a microblog zombie who has followed several girls at once to see who is most suitable for him.

Xu said microblog blind dates have made his search for his dream lover much more "efficient."

A lot of the women on micro-blogs volunteer to advertise themselves.

'Daily Star' clips

On t.sohu.com, thousands of women have joined its dating channel, which built up about 220,000 fans within two weeks of launching.

The channel offers women the chance to upload a simple video clip as an introduction. Each day one woman's clip is chosen as the "Daily Star." The video is placed in a prominent spot so that more users see it.

A woman nicknamed Galaxy said she received thousands of messages in one night from men asking to be her friend after she was chosen as a Daily Star.

Tens of thousands of other men now follow her on the microblog.

Yu Hai, a sociologist with Fudan University, said he was optimistic about the emerging dating platform and was happy that young people are trying different ways to find love on their own, instead of relying on their parents as was common in the past.

Yu said young people should spend more time getting to know each other and microblogs can definitely help in that regard.

Nonetheless, Yu said he was concerned some young men were focusing on the "efficiency" of finding true love. The sociologist said love should not be linked with such utilitarianism.

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