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Type: Book
Title: Social media and e-diplomacy in China: scrutinizing the power of Weibo
Author: Jiang, Y.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Publisher Place: New York, USA
Issue Date: 2017
ISBN: 9781137596642
Statement of
Ying Jiang
Abstract: Public diplomatic communication is transforming due to the boom of social media. There are more than 165 foreign governmental organizations in China that have embarked on the use of Weibo (a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter in China) to engage with Chinese citizens. Journalists and a handful of scholars in China started paying attention to foreign embassies’ use of Weibo; however, there has been no systematic study of the effectiveness and challenges of using Weibo for public diplomatic communication. Importantly, when it comes to incidents like the “Kunming terror attack” in China in March 2014, Chinese Weibo users tend to express severe nationalistic sentiments towards foreign countries’ statements, and those Weibo accounts of foreign embassies became targets. Those nationalistic comments left on foreign embassies’ Weibo pages, mainly criticizing those embassies’ “soft statements,” have caused the difficulties of e-diplomacy and are calling for immediate attention (Wu 2014). This book, based on systematic research of Weibo usage by embassies in China from September 2015 to March 2016, is the first in the academia to explore the challenges that the use of Chinese Weibo (and Chinese social media in general) posed for foreign embassies, and to provoke thoughts about better ways to use these or other tools. It is not intended as an argument against the use of local popular social media for public diplomacy purposes, but to encourage a critical look at its practice and encourage those employing it to better analyze it. This book doesn’t deny that social media provides the right channel to reach youth populations, which is one of the major goals of current public diplomacy efforts. Weibo does give embassies a great channel to listen to and understand China’s young populations’ thoughts, aspirations, information seeking, and other behaviors. But when it comes to using the spaces for interaction, increased engagement, and thus furthering the goals of public diplomacy, the power of Weibo might have been overestimated.
Rights: © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
RMID: 0030077306
DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-59358-0
Appears in Collections:Media Studies publications

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