Microblogging becomes mandatory course for Zhejiang officials

By An Wei
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, May 12, 2011
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How to write an official microblog? How to attract followers? How to deal with negative comments? How to adapt to attention from netizens? In the last month, all Party schools in Zhejiang Province have made a course in microblogging mandatory for full-time student officials.

The microblogging course is a new one offered this year for the first time. Its contents include "Current situation of microblogs," "How to set up a microblog" and "The relationship between microblogs and public opinion."

Microblogs have become a popular method over the past year for officials looking to publicize their side of the story. Besides offering a platform for the owner of the blog to post his thoughts, it also allows for a large gathering of online users, becoming a gauge for public opinion.

"Officials should go into 'glass houses,' be supervised and create conditions for onlookers," said Cai Qi, a member of the Zhejiang provincial Party committee.

So far, dozens of Zhejiang officials have launched microblogs under their real names. Officials have been praised for setting up microblogs, but they have also drawn concern. Some people question whether the microblogs are written by an official himself or by his secretary, while others say such microblogs would follow the route of official websites and become useless decoration for officials.

But the biggest challenge for many microblogging officials is not their choice of words, but balancing their roles as officials and being a normal, modern citizen.

"Officials need courage to open microblogs, and this courage comes from having an open mind and self-discipline," said one commenter on a microblog.

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