UCC in Chinese social network sites

Ziyuan Luo


Time: Tue. 5.00 – 7.00PM


With the emergence of web2.0 age, the interaction between audiences and content producers have tight increasingly. Web 2.0 provides a significant opportunity for online audience keep away from mass media and have more freedom and empowerment to express their voices (Hinton, S, 2013). These voices not only contain commenting the current news, expressing the opinions for the particular event, rather creating their original content or generate a new topic. As Hiton, S and Hjorth, L (2013) claim that the audience on the internet has shifted from the singular information receiver to the producer who receives and create information concurrently. The action of this reaction and interaction happened on social network work site could seem as online participation which is a fundamental element of online social media to operate normally. User-generated content (UGC) and user create content (UCC) are two essential form of participation. According to the article of Hinton, S and Hjorth, L , there is a slight difference between these two terms, UCC is more likely to represent that every online user can create their content and UGC are more likely to express user generate according to exit content created by the organisation.  Crawford (2009, cite by Hinton, S and Hjorth, L 2003) points out online participation has a broad definition which not only directly engages online events like UCG and UCC but also is a ‘lurker’. Llucker’ is a representation of users who do not actively post and comment in the online community, but they continuity pay attention to online topical events (Preece, J. et al. 2004).

This article will explain the development of UCC and UGC on Chinese main social network sites from two parts. The primary part of the article aim to point out the features of UCC content in Chinese social media including traditional social media and new application using UCC, and the second part is a unique example of UCC happened in China, which appearing because of the great firewall.

The features of UCC and UGC on Chinese social network sites

According to OECD (2007) report, there are three primary elements of UCC: Firstly, UCC is the content posted on the public internet sphere, rather than for a private content; secondly, it is a creative and innovative content to a certain extent; Thirdly, these contents were created by general online users, which means the news or reports reported by professional media companies may not can be categorized in UCC.

Expect these three key features, the UCC in Chinese social network sites have another five features.

1.the qualifies of UCC are different. As for professional news websites, such as CNN which provide information with high quality. However, the social media website, like Weibo, result from the source stem from various ways and users, the quality content can not be ensured in an excellent standard. It is evident that there is some high-qualify content inspired users’ reaction.

  1. UCC contains lots of internet communities and different field. Social media websites have various and massive online communities, the users from each group could create their content based on their cultural background. UCC can not be defined to a certain extent or aimed to specific audiences, which means it cover multiple fields.

For example, ‘Moji Weather’ is an app forecasted weather. It has a function that users could post the pictures of weather on your location every time to display the real view of that place and other users can comment and like your picture. On the one hand, pictures have stronger expression than words to represent the weather condition, on another hand, this app combines a traditional singular information to encourage users to create their content. Indeed, it is more like UGC.WechatIMG1.jpeg

  1. Creating and spreading quickly. Comparing to traditional media, the social media do not need to the long-term strategy to create content, which involves interviewing, processing and reporting, and sometimes, the contents were always set up by a term and, members need to cooperate with each other. As for social media, it is easy for users to create content by themselves and post them by ‘click’. Moreover, the speed of spreading is more quickly.
  2. the reliability. Each user on the internet can create content, and there are not a rigid limitation and requiring of the source of information they post. At the same time, the users lack professional news skill such as judging with strong personal emotion, which will enable misleading followers. Therefore the reliability of information is a significant problem.
  3. Participation. Social media is a radically participative medium(Hinton, S and Hjorth, L 2013). The spread of UCC base on the participation of other users.

There is a unique model of UCC in Chinese social media – the ‘carry man ’, who translate the interesting news and exciting information about Western social websites such as Buzzfeed, Radio and Tumblr. This phenomenon is from the data block established by The Great Firewall. Before the popularisation of social media, people receive the oversea information only from the mass media controlled by the government and these traditional mass media such as television, magazine and newspaper translate and report in a system. With the development of internet and social media, people are not longer only rely on traditional media to provide information, and they have more opportunities to touch the news from all over the wall. However, The Great FireWall become a block for some people who do not have the ability to receive western news directly. These ‘carry man’ can use VPN to browse extensive information from out of the wall and translate them into Chinese to post on their social media account. This UCC lacks original content.However, because of the Great Firewall, it is easier to use others’ content to lead a hot topic and attract more follow. For example, ‘英国报姐’ , a webo account, has 13.5billions follower and focus on ‘carry’ oversea interesting news and translate into Chinese to post it. It has been one of the largest new media accounts had an influential ability in China.

As mention before, the reliability of information and news is a problem of UCC. Especially in ‘carry man’. This problem is obvious in this model which is because the audience within the wall always can not face the original news and only can rely on the information that ‘carry man’ offer. Moreover, some of these accounts do not belong to a single person, and there are massive editors behind the accounts to operate, which means each user who can use VPN and have an advanced level of English skill could be a ‘carry men’. Therefore, they can not report news like a professional journalist. Meanwhile, in order to inspire more participation and interaction on the internet, they more likely to add inflammatory detail to the report to increase the readability.

these accounts give general users an opportunity to watch the world out of The Great Firewall, the topic what people concern about worldwide,  the information that barely to receive inside the wall.

The emergence of these ‘carry man’ is fundamental because of the information block in China. Currently, there are a lot of similar accounts on weibo use these model to create their content. Some of them have been a professional team as a bridge to above the Wall.

Reference List

Preece, J., Nonnecke, B. and Andrews, D., The five reason for lurking: improving community experiences for everyone. Computers in Human Behaviour. 20 (2004) , pp 201-223

Hinton, S. What is web 2.0,Understanding Social Media.SAGE Publications Ltd. 2013

Hinton, S and Hjorth, L. , Participative Web and User-Created Content, Understanding Social Media.SAGE Publications Ltd. 2013


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