Shanghai City blog off to fast start
Updated: 2011-12-13 07:25
By Shi Jing (China Daily)
SHANGHAI - The Sina weibo account of the Shanghai municipal government's press office has attracted more than 410,000 followers in the two weeks since its launch - outnumbering that of the Beijing account, which was launched about a week earlier.
In addition to Sina, the municipal government also started operations on other major micro-blogging websites such as Tencent and Eastday weibo, attracting more than 1 million followers altogether.
"The aim of Shanghai City is to release prompt authoritative government information, provide practical information to local residents, interact with netizens and respond immediately to the most hotly discussed social issues," said Zhu Yonglei, director of the city's press office in a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency.
The topics that Shanghai City covers range from everyday vegetable prices, traffic, weather forecasts and registration policies to creative recipes.
"The municipal government's official weibo is providing a direct, large-scale and simultaneous communication with residents," said Liao Shengqing, director of the Communication Department of Fudan University.
"The team working on Shanghai City is, as far as I am concerned, working in the interest of the local residents, which they should keep focusing on in the future," said Liao.
Jiang Zhenwei, an IT technician in Shanghai, started to follow Shanghai City the day the account was launched. He finds it a convenient way to find out about the most recent news in the city.
"It is novel to see government release news in this way. But the thing is, I can get the news in other ways. It is better that the government can engage its followers through more interactive activities such as Q&A sessions and consultations," said Jiang.
The popularity of Shanghai City has also attracted the attention of people from neighboring cities. Liu Fan, a translator of the Foreign Affairs Office of the provincial government of Jiangsu, hopes that a similar account catering to Nanjing residents will come out soon.
"I have noticed that Shanghai City is conducted in a relatively light-hearted way. It signals that the government is gradually getting rid of its previous image of superiority to ordinary citizens," said Liu.
"To me, weibo is like a battlefield. You have to occupy it in advance, otherwise other people or organizations will take the preemptive opportunities."
Similar to Jiang's advice, Liu also suggests that the government should take in more interactive activities with followers.
"Releasing the most updated news is something that can be accomplished in the traditional ways, like releasing news on the government's official website. There should be more activities such as the 'micro interviews'." said Liu.
Apart from Shanghai City, the official weibo account of Shanghai Metro has also been listed as one of the 10 most popular government weibo accounts, according to a report released during the the 2011 Government weibo Annual Summit in Beijing on Monday.
Chen Tong, chief-editor of Sina.com, marked 2011 the year of government weibo.
Liao said that the popularity of this kind of weibo can be largely attributed to the change in government administration.
"The administration used to follow the hierarchy structure, coming down from the top to the bottom to be more specific. But nowadays, we have noticed that the administration is becoming flat, indicating that some previous barriers are being removed and messages can be spread faster," said Liao.