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May 30, 2004
BBS in China
I know c.c. function of email can be counted as "social software." What about BBS? It certainly can function as many-to-many. Anyway, the reason I say this here is because BBS is the most politically active place in Chinese cyberspace. The number of Chinese Internet users is quickly reaching 90 million. (Already surpassing the number of members of the Chinese Communist Party. ) About one-fifth of Chinese netizens regularly make use of BBS (Bulletin Board Systems). These BBSs can be run by individuals, commercial companies such as sina.com, or government agencies. At any given time, there are literally tens of thousands of users active in these BBS and forums, reading news, searching for information, and debating current affairs. Even on official Web sites such as People’s Daily, its popular BBS, Strong Nation Forum, has more than 280,000 registered members and more than 12,000 posts per day. Together with e-mail listservs, chat rooms, instant message services, wireless short text messaging, and an emerging Weblogging community, the BBSs have provided unprecedented opportunities for Chinese netizens to engage in public affairs. I chaired a round table discussion on this subject in Berkeley last month. Here is the webcast link.
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