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Just a year ago, no one could have expected that “micro” would be one of today’s hottest words: microblog, micro movie, micro interview, micro novel, micro travel∼ The term “micro” has become so common in China that the “micro era” may have already dawned.
Fruit of the prevalent “fast-food culture,” the micro era refers to the phenomenon of the microblog-based lifestyle gaining popularity with ordinary people. It meets the needs of those who maintain a fast-paced life. Millions of tiny whimpers of the micro era can be combined to create a single thunderous voice.
140 Characters of Influence
In 2011, the microblog witnessed unprecedented growth in China.
As a new medium, the microblog, which is limited to 140 Chinese characters per post, has become one of the most popular internet applications in only a few short years. According to the Report on Internet Development in China released by China Internet Network Information Center in mid-January 2012, microblog users in China had eclipsed 250 million by the end of 2011, increasing by nearly 300 percent over the previous year.
Nothing has ignited the public’s desire to express themselves and participate in public affairs greater than microblogging. The popularity of microblogs coupled with the ubiquity of smart phones has made the concepts of “citizen journalism” and “we-media” a reality. Owing to the popularity of microblogs, many incidents that would have previously remained in the shadows have stirred up nationwide concern. Microblogging has become a magnifier for social events, enabling wider concern. In 2011, led by microbloggers, such social events as the “rescue kidnapped children” campaign, the high-speed train crash in Wenzhou, and the school bus tragedy in Gansu Province inspired outpourings of public concern. Although every individual is merely a bystander to those occurrences, their miniscule mumbles converge into booming thunder through microblogs. By participating, they transcend the role of spectator to become active players in the improvement of the country.
Now, many government departments and officials have also joined the microblog wave. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs once recruited employees through its microblog. The microblog of the Information Office of Shanghai Municipal Government, Shanghai Release, once helped farmers sell their surplus vegetables. The tally of governmental microblogs is approaching 20,000 in China. Some even dubbed 2011 the birth year of governmental microblogging.
Today, an increasing number of microbloggers are dedicated to spreading news throughout the country. Due to their unparalleled convenience and tremendously large user base, microblogs give every ordinary person a voice, which may influence the country.