Micro blogs a means not an end

By Li Xing
China Daily, February 11, 2011

Those harboring doubts about micro-blogging should now be convinced that micro blogs can play an effective role in mobilizing society for a just course.

But professional journalists, while celebrating the great achievement of micro blogs, should double their vigilance over hoax news.

Around Jan 27, Yu Jianrong, professor of rural development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, posted a micro blog message on Sina.com, calling on netizens to take pictures of child beggars so as to help rescue them.

In less than two weeks, netizens uploaded more than 1,000 photos on several popular websites. From a photo taken in Jiangsu province, Peng Gaofeng, a Hubei province native who runs a mobile phone shop in Shenzhen, was able to identify his son, who was abducted three years ago. With the help of the police in Shenzhen and Jiangsu, Peng was reunited with his son on Feb 8.

There is every reason to celebrate the Pengs' reunion and the rescue of at least five other kidnapped children with the help of the micro blog.

Major domestic print media have published editorials and commentaries highlighting the assistance that the micro blog rendered.

Chen Shiqu, who heads the national campaign against people trafficking at the Ministry of Public Security, promised via his micro blog that his office welcomes the public providing clues and would maintain communication with the public via micro blog services and other channels.

"Our office will have every clue investigated," Chen wrote.

By Thursday, Yu's message had garnered more than 160,000 fans with more than 2,500 people posting follow-up micro blogs.

China's first successful micro blog website Fanfou.com was launched in 2007. The past year saw the micro-blogging population swell to more than 63 million, accounting for 13.8 percent of the total online users in China.

Today, micro blogs have become an important new medium for people to obtain news, express their opinions, engage in social networking and participate in public campaigns.

For journalists, micro blogs are a source of news and a platform for spreading news. However, the increasing popularity of micro blogs has become a double-edged sword.

1   2   Next