What’s wrong with social media?

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I know you guys might be astonished that I couldn’t use Facebook or Google when I’m back to my country, Mainland China, which is one of the very few countries that deny access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Google. In Mainland China you can’t access to the Chinese Wikipedia page. Even though LinkedIn has its place on Chinese networks, it’s still facing challenges of localization. So what’s wrong with social media that such a huge country like China won’t open its door to the most popular social media across the world?

Here’s my own opinion. Social media like Facebook is so open. Facebook has long been looking into Chinese market because the population of more than 13 billion can never be neglected. But Facebook gets rejected by Mainland China because Facebook won’t agree to some specific part of operation regulations in China. You might think that your Facebook environment is good, but there’s some information on this platform that is too sensitive. Such information can extend to political level which may cause to unrest within the whole country (the situation in China may be quite different from that in most western countries and thus some extreme political comments are not allowed online), and can also be social bully, which has cause a lot of losses in China. What’s more, social media like Facebook and Twitter are so open that they are even a method for ISIS to promote itself or even recruit, and it’s said that at first those social media just banned the bloody or violent model, but didn’t put them off immediately. If such thing spreads to China it will be a big threat to its safety.

Therefore, Chinese government sets really strict online regulation. To some extent, it’s indeed not open, but however it does protect a lot, especially concerning that China has such a huge population. But I just can’t help thinking what’s wrong with social media? Is it too open?

I’m not complaining that I can’t access to those social media in Mainland China even though it has its own secret sorrow, instead I quite understand why my country is doing so. However, if social media is not open as it’s right now, is it still social media of this age? We love sharing and connection, and in the meanwhile we also respect equality, privacy, and the culture of communication. But where is the future of social media? It seems flawless because we rely on it too much, so how can it be better if similar problems to China will spread worldwide?

Recently, news has come out that Facebook will step into China soon. Will the Facebook in China be the same as you guys see in western countries? Will the cooperation between Facebook and China improve social media’s drawbacks and make it better, or will Facebook withdraw just like Wikipedia and Google? Will it be open as usual? I don’t know. We don’t know.

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Home Assignment Summary for Peer production and Open source

Open source software and the “private-collective” innovation model: Issues for organization science discusses the characteristic of open source and give arguments on what exactly encourages people to contribute on the nonmonetary subjects. I find this article useful to know the most basic part of open source, but I think this article also lacks in discussion concerning the government’s influence in terms of regulation on open source behaviors and protection on the products.

The oh-so-practical magic of open-source innovation is an interview with Marten Mickos, founder of MySQL. The genuine answers from Mickos give me an insight into open source software. People making contributions in the open source community is out of personal reasons, so various ways of rewarding their efforts should be implemented in order to sustain and improve their contribution. The interview also shows the importance of interaction within the open source community.

Group size and incentives to contribute: A natural experiment at Chinese Wikipedia reveals the positive relationship between group size and people’s contribution, and also emphasizes social effect’s influence on people’s contribution. The study is rigorous with improved method applied into the data they analyzed. But there’re limitations in the study which might be improved by further and more detailed studies.

One extra article points out the problems and limitations of open source, which are not covered in this weeks assigned articles. This article show doubts on whether the open source method really provide a faster environment for the best solution, along with concerns on the bureaucracy and conflicts among developers. Open source is not suitable for everything and people should know that it is not flawless.

The other article I found is focus on the future of open source, and the author brings about the idea that open source will have a better future if it starts to improve the user experience.

One mini case I found  is WalmartLabs, the retailer’s implementation of open source in order to get quicker and more accurate data. It’s a good combination of open source and retailing, but I think the weakness is that potential competitor might also make use of the information and thus threats Walmart.

The other one is a Chinese open source platform of knowledge called Zhihu resembling Quora in western website but I’m more familiar with Zhihu. It’s a platform where people can find answers for anything from different aspects. But I concern that for those less popular questions the answer’s quality might not be guaranteed.

  • Hippel, E. V., & Krogh, G. V. (2003). Open source software and the “private-collective” innovation model: Issues for organization science.Organization science14(2), 209-223.
  • Hyatt, J., & Mickos, M. (2008). The oh-so-practical magic of open-source innovation.
  • Zhang, X. M., & Zhu, F. (2010). Group size and incentives to contribute: A natural experiment at Chinese Wikipedia.American Economic Review, Forthcoming, 07-22.
  • Bezroukov, N. (1999). Open source software development as a special type of academic research: Critique of vulgar Raymondism.First Monday4(10).
  • The future of open source is a better user experience
  • Why Wal-Mart’s E-Commerce Group Embraces Open Source

Ordinary People in Digital Market: Sharing

In today’s digital market, we can make everything go around through social media in a much faster and more effective way, and no need to design a well-organized poster, or costly advertisement on TV or radio to spread products, services or thoughts. Usually companies prefer to use celebrities because they have more followers on social media and will reach out to customers more easily, like promoting a product when the superstar use it, promoting a movie after they watch it, etc..

Dove: Real Beauty Sketch

Dove: Real Beauty Sketch

There’s another way to advertise something, which invites ordinary individual to participate and share. Dove is doing a good job. They invite, say, a group of ordinary women (if different age, jobs, etc.) to show their definition or attitude towards beauty or themselves. It’s more than a soap advertisement, to simply promote a product. It’s spreading some positive attitude towards beauty to women, about how to make themselves more confident and beautiful in a healthier and more natural way, using Dove as their basic daily necessity. Although it’s using the most traditional way, shooting a commercial or something, but it posts the video on YouTube and sets some hashtag on FB or twitter and encourage people to share their own story.

It’s all about sharing and connection. Dove is making an emotional connection between the brand and the product, also among the customers to share their own experience.

There’re two parts I like about the sharing. First, as a customer I will not focus on the soap itself (how good the quality is, how much it is or something), but the message the video wants to convey as natural beauty or being confident as a female. It’s like that the brand cares for their customers and support especially female customers, not only focusing on the revenue of the company. It’s also a sign that the company is a responsible one for the society. Second, after watching the evocative video people would share story with the brand through social media, which will help the band to collect information about the market, predicting the sales and planning for the next campaign.


(Four Generations, one of Dove’s beauty story)

But is this sharing free of risk? Will it apply to all brand in all industry? I will say no. Sharing does not always mean good comments. There can be some problem which people will have bad experience using some product, and once bad comments arise, people would focus on the quality of the product, because, not like other advertisement introducing the new technology applied in the product, this kinds of advertisement only show people the most surface part of the product, so people will question the credibility of the company and will less like buy the product anymore. If it comes to the food industry, such things will be tougher for the company. So is it worthwhile to take the risk of sharing?

Encouraging everyone to involve in the products has the effect that tradional way will never reach, especially connecting people. However it’s an opportunity as well as challenge for every brand. How to build up the connection with customers on social networks, how to make the sharing more natural, and in the meanwhile promote the product and sales, these marketing parts really need a second thought.

The Real Story Behind the Success of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty Read more: http://www.marketingprofs.com/7/dove-pro-age-primetime-women-barletta.asp#ixzz3m0Rc2LJV

WeChat Business – Typical Chinese Social Commerce on Overseas Purchasing

We have talked about a lot of big companies making a fortune through social commerce. Here I want to introduce what’s more common in China – Some people make their life through social commerce, even though they don’t have a company. And more than 1 million RMB (U.S. $156,000) is brought in every day on WeChat, a popular social messaging APP in China (see the blog attached).

WeChat was designed as a way to communicate, but right now it has developed as a social commerce platform.

WeChat was designed as a way to communicate, but right now it has developed as a social commerce platform.

WeChat is a Chinese socializing APP through which people can send message and share their personalized. It’s widely used within China and some parts around the world, but mostly among Chinese. There’s part on WeChat App that’s called ‘Moment’ where one can post what they want to show people, and here’s also where WeChat users begin their WeChat Business.

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In ‘Moment’, people can sell things to every part of the world once a deal is made, and such C2C pattern is really popular among Chinese people.

In general, there are two types of WeChat Business, one is B2C and another is C2C, and I want to emphasize the C2C pattern on WeChat, since it’s more commonly seen around us.

So what can be sold from person to person? Here’s some typical purchases. Luxuries bags and clothes, for China has high income tax on those things, and people want to buy it from overseas at a much lower price. Baby formula milk powder, since the quality problem of main Chinese milk powder companies occurred a few years ago, more and more new parents would choose to buy milk powder from overseas.

We usually call the selling mentioned above ‘Overseas Purchasing’, and the seller are usually people who stay overseas for a long time, like international students. Chinese international students are more likely to run one or two business when they go on their studies overseas, and what’s surprising is that some of them even make their living expense out of it.

On WeChat Business, two things are important: one is that, you don’t post what you want to sell, but you sell what your customers need. And the other is that, you need to use you social relationship to promote your sales. People usually post where they live overseas and their WeChat account on their Moment, and their friends will repost the information with some words to show how this friend is trustworthy or the quality is good or the price is low, etc. And the potential customer will contact the seller in person to personalize the purchase with special need. The reputation then spreads, and if everything goes well, it indeed can make a good fortune.

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Commercial posts on ‘Moment’

It’s not always successful, however. Basically speaking, those business people are not real business people, since they don’t have some legitimate license to run the business, and the tax is also a problem. Sometimes, people who focus too much on their business online may get defriended by some of the friends, for it seems so strange that a place for friends’ sharing lives becomes a trade market.

WeChat business is indeed blooming in China and a lot more people can’t wait to jump into it. What’s the future of this C2C social commerce? It’s hard to say. In the long term, when the policies is getting more strict and the competition becomes more fierce, maybe this industry may go down, but another social commerce will definitely show up, as social commerce is a trend, it’s just the way how people do the things in the future.

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