Knock-off Twitter

Awhile back, I often got Facebook messages that would say, “Ryan, why are you always twittering?” As it happens my Facebook status messages were simply automatic forwards with “Ryan is twittering: [status message].” Similarly, my blog is updated with my twitter status in the second column on your right. Twitter, for the uninformed, is a microblogging site that has taken a bit of slack recently for its frequent downtime.

Today, I finally took the plunge and tried the Chinese knock-off version of Twitter: Fanfou. Part of my latest project at work is trying to figure out if Fanfou or a similar microblogging site will be successful in China or not. Yes, they have plenty of users already (as in tens of thousands, apparently) but that means nothing in China where you need millions to create a mass movement. Right now, some argue that microblogging might be a little unnecessary in China where everyone you know is already on QQ or MSN with you. Why do you need to read up on someone’s latest microblog when you can just IM them? But the very fact that microblogging sites like Fanfou can be updated by QQ, MSN, Gtalk, etc. means that the access points are more than open in China. SMS texting in China is also dirt cheap (compared to the high talk-rates). My feeling is that in China microblogging will grow from IM status messages (on QQ, MSN, Skype, etc.) rather than from actual blogs.

Either way, come Olympic time, I will be using Fanfou to post updates here on this blog — it’ll give me the ability to post from my mobile — calling things as I see them.

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