Engaging Social Media in China

Yang, Guobin; Wang, Wei

Introducing the concept of state-sponsored platformization, this volume shows the complexity behind the central role the party-state plays in shaping social media platforms. The party-state increasingly penetrates commercial social media while aspiring to turn its own media agencies into platforms. Yet state-sponsored platformization does not necessarily produce the Chinese Communist Party’s desired outcomes. Citizens continue to appropriate social media for creative public engagement at the same time that more people are managing their online settings to reduce or refuse connection, inducing new forms of crafted resistance to hyper-social media connectivity. The wide-ranging essays presented here explore the mobile radio service Ximalaya.FM, Alibaba’s evolution into a multi-platform ecosystem, livestreaming platforms in the United States and China, the role of Twitter in Trump’s North Korea diplomacy, user-generated content in the news media, the emergence of new social agents mediating between state and society, social media art projects, Chinese and US scientists’ use of social media, and reluctance to engage with WeChat. Ultimately, readers will find that the ten chapters in this volume contribute significant new research and insights to the fast-growing scholarship on social media in China at a time when online communication is increasingly constrained by international struggles over political control and privacy issues.