Social Media and China

China is now officially the worlds largest online population. Under strict communist regime, China has had to contend with the development of new technology and social media which brings about both challenges and opportunities for the country.

With the majority of Chinese favouring Instant Messaging sites over using search engines, it portrays a very ‘social’ population, bringing with it a huge opportunity for growth. However not until China opens up to the world.

The Chinese government banned the use of Facebook and Twitter but instead use they’re own strictly controlled sites. These are:

  • Sina Weibo – The Chinese version of Twitter with 300 million registered users
  • 51.com with 200 million registered users
  • And Renren – The Chinese version of Facebook with 160 million registered users.

These sites provide a tool for activism and social resistance, however with the government having strict control over what is said, they are able to delete posts and prosecute if necessary. There are even rumours suggesting the government hire thousands of people to search through content.

Can you imaging if the UK was like this?

World’s First QR Code Exhibition

Mashable today reported that the worlds first QR Code exhibition and conference will take place in London at the Royal Horticultural Halls on October 24th, 2012.

Adam Leese, Head of Operations at QR Worlds Expo  said: “We hope to bring industry specialists, service providers and users of the technology together to share ideas, discuss experiences and promote innovation. London will be our first event with a US and Far East event planned for 2013,”

The exhibition will feature speakers and exhibitors from around the world who provide or utilise QR Code technology.

For those unfamiliar with QR (or Quick Response) Codes, they are generated images of matrix barcodes and can be found printed on almost anything from paper cups and magazines to  huge billboards located in city centres. These codes are used for encoding information in two-dimensional space which then makes it easily to link content to smartphones.

The square codes are a shortcut to accessing information and can easily be integrated with various services, and incorporate geo-location data.

There are a number of apps in the iPhone App Store that can read QR Codes, including the free QRReader. Blackberries and most Android phones can automatically read them a well as the most new Nokia phones.

However, having never really caught onto the craze myself, I am dubious of how long QR codes will last, I see them more of a barrier to accessing information and often the reward doesn’t measure up to the effort taken to scan a code.

What are your feeling towards them? Please feel free to leave a comment.

How will the Olympics embrace social media?

With the 2012 Olympics coming to London in 72 days, how will the rise in social media over the past 4 years change the way we receive coverage over the two week event?

This year, the Olympics are being branded ‘the social games’ as the evolution of media continues to grow. This is demonstrated below which is taken from the Official Olympic Movement site.

The ‘Olympic Athletes Hub‘ is a site The International Olympic Committee launched designed to serve as a social media platform enhancing the digital connection between fans and competitors With the use of gamification, the hub is there to incentivise fans to interact with the site. Users will be able to watch training tips posted by verified athletes and be able to win prizes.

The site will provide a platform for not only fans to interact with the athletes but  other athletes to interact with each other during and after the games. It essentially becomes a tool for bridging the gap between fan and athlete.

Finally, here are some notablefaces to watch out for using social media this year:

News Flash: Twitter confirms 10 million users in the UK

In the past few hours @TwitterUK has announced that 10 million people within the UK are tweeting regularly. Meaning that one in six people are now using the site in the UK and this this therefore makes for the forth largest tweeting nation, just behind the US, Brazil and Japan.

Now with 140 million users worldwide it continues to grow, but what do you think the future holds for Twitter?

Who uses social networks?

With more than half the adult population connected to social networks around the world, I though it would be interesting to look at who these people really are?

To begin with, I thought I’d share this infographic I found on Mashable created by Online MBA.

It maybe a little hard to understand at first but this infographic has broken down the demographics of social media users and from this you can compare the facts:

  • It is apparent that sites are seeing gender splits with more women using them than men (Twitter shows 59% female user population with 57% on Facebook).
  • Women are the main users of Pinterest while young tech savvy men make up the majority of users on Google + with 50% of all Google + users being under 24.
  • Whereas LinkedIn shows an even ratio of men to women.
  • Most people use social media to stay in touch with friends and family. More are doing so while on the go and about 200 million Facebook users check their site from their mobile devices every day.
  • In terms of education 50% of LinkedIn users have a degree compared to only 24% of users on Twitter and Facebook.

These statistics become of interest for organisations who need to specifically target and market their product or service in order to interact and build relationships with  a particular demographic.

Play Your Tuition Bills!

Grantoo is a new unique social gaming platform in the US that lets you play amazing games and win educational and charitable rewards – all for free.

Here’s how it works:

Grantoo was first brought to my attention on For Immediate Release‘s podcast (#651) posted on May 14th 2012. Listening back to the previous podcast on May 9th Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson interviewed Dimitri Sillam the co-founder and CEO of Grantoo. Dimitri describes how he’s recognised the economic problem in the US, that the student loan debt has reached a record of a trillion dollars lately and the rates are ever-increasing. He states “it’s about time for the private sector to step in and try to solve the problem with their solutions”.

He mentions that “gaming is very popular amongst students, so why not merge something students already do with something they need, which is money for their education”.

The way it works is by having online gaming tournaments, so far there are a choice of three games; a quiz game, a scrabble game and a poker game and these games are customised for brands and sponsor them. All the money will go to students tuition fees and a proportion of the money will go to a charity of their choice because the core value of Gantoo is to teach how to give back.

The company charge $1.25 per brand and guarantee a full 45 minutes exposure on a customised game, students then have the opportunity to win anything from $100 to $5000 per tournament and recently one student that won $5000, donated 30% to a charity of his choice.

The games run every hour and there’s one tournament per day on weekdays with more on the weekend as the tournaments get bigger due to the amount of people that play online at this time eg. It’s $1 per user and if there’s $100 up for grabs your playing against 99 other people.

With companies lacking ways of showing CSR in the US, Grantoo provides a great platform to showcase what brands are doing in terms of demonstrating the extra things they do. Considering all of this, could this concept  happen within the UK?

Pinterest losing users?

The business insider has recently reported on the slowing growth of Pinterest – a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboard.

Both celebrities and politicians have rushed to join the thousands of media savvy ‘pinning’ on the web’s latest hit social network but after a meteoric rise in previous months Pinterest just seems to be losing users. Take a look at the graph posted by the Business Insider:

It clearly shows that its active users are down from 11.3 million on March 1 to 11.15 million on April 1 and continuing to fall. But why?

The site has previously been endorsed by Mark Zuckerburg and Barack Obama and saw explosive growth between January and February this year but now it has been speculated that numerous people who signed up for the site could have lost interest and decided the site was not for them.

Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson from For Immediate Release posted a podcast (#648) on April 23rd, talking about the news of Pinterest losing users. They state that interest in the site would have been motivated by try out the latest thing type of thing and by people checking out what the Pinterest hype is all about. But they state it’s the norm something you’d expect from any service that gets hot or a lot of publicity.

Whatever the case it’s clear that this speculated media craze of 2012 so far, seems to have been short lived.