2014: “Social Media”, “Little Secretaries”, Blogs, and the big Trend for 2015

1. Getting Started

To get started, here’s one of my most recent sketches:

And if it isn’t self-explanatory, I’ll come back to it under item #4.

2. “Social Media”

I’m not studying the annual WordPress statistics too thoroughly, but what struck me this time is that, compared with 2013, “social media”, i. e. Twitter and Facebook, have become major referring sites to this blog. that said, maybe 2013 was an exception, because in 2012, too, Facebook and Twitter mattered a lot.

That makes me feel kind of sad. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate Tweets that link to this blog, and I appreciate links from Facebook, too, even if I usually won’t find out what you are writing about there (I’m not facebooking). But the trend seems to indicate that the internet turns from a more public into a growingly privatey-run business. That’s probably not the internet the founding fathers dreamed of.

Woeser found out in December that running an account with Facebook doesn’t make you the owner of that account – well, maybe she knew that all along, but her post came across as somewhat alarmed when she found that what she had reposted on Facebook –  a video of Tibetan Buddhist monk Kalsang Yeshe’s self-immolation that occurred on December 23 […], accompanied by an excerpted report explaining that self-immolation is a tragic, ultimate protest against repression,  had been removed by the company. At any rate, she couldn’t help but suspect that Facebook might be employing “little secretaries”, i. e. censors, just as Sina Weibo does.

Her belief that Chinese dictatorship is manipulating freedom of expression elsewhere, too – i. e. in the West – is understandable, and true to an extent. But internationally, Chinese dictatorship is only one source among several, of censorship and repression, as totalitarian as it may be.

3. Blogs

There’s still a lot of writing going on in the – what was the name again? – English-language Chinese Blogosphere. The nicest surprise this year was the return of EastSouthWestNorth. Obviously, I have no idea if the recent posts, mostly about “Occupy Central”, mark anything more than a stopover, but they are what makes the internet great: raw material, but made intelligible to every user, to work his way through, without easy answers right at his fingertips.

Then there’s Sino-NK. Articles finished and polished, but from a sober perspective, and plowing their way through the past and present of Sino-North Korean relations, rather than leaping at every headline.

Some blogs I used to like are beginning to look like mainstream media, but here is something I’d recommend, to make this three blog recommendations: China Copyright and Media. They do what really needs to be done: they look at the CCP paperwork. That’s no yadayada, that’s the decisions the party is actually taking and never fail to surprise our media when carried out, even though they’ve usually been communicated long before.

I can’t close the blog compartment of this post without a link to that blog post there in Shanghai: the Mother Teresa of the blogosphere, musing about the whereabouts of the legendary Dalai Lama of China blogging.

4. The Big Trend for 2015

It’s not terribly original, but it seems to be obvious. China’s totalitarian skeleton is being refitted with flesh, after a few years of what looks (at hindsight) like a thaw, during the days of the Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao collective troupes. This is now turning into a blend of modernization and personality cult. The slaughterhouse scene heading this post refers to the political death of Zhou Yongkang, and the Great and Impeccable Leader who brought it about. To lose your CCP membership is probably worse than death. If you are a truly faithful Communist, anyway.

Happy new year, everyone!

5 Comments to “2014: “Social Media”, “Little Secretaries”, Blogs, and the big Trend for 2015”

  1. ESWN is active again? Great, always loved the work that Roland did. Thanks for the head’s up mate!

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  2. Miss placed metaphor JR. Mother Teresa was the Ghoul of Calcutta, at least according to Christopher Hitchens.

    Your latest on My Loawai. Is 2015 to be your Year of Renewed Combat?

    (Crikey, I’d like to continue baiting Richard Burgin?PD, but cannot even gather the energy for that small life-mission.)

    Just belaboured another blogger for opening a FB account in order to improved their traffic. Privacy once lost is never regained, and that little toad Zuckerberg didn’t go to China to simply regale his smug urban audience with some bon nots in Mandarin.

    And people think Rupert Murdoch is an arch scumbag.

    2015 should be the Year of Anti-FB. Now there is an appropriate target for the Anonymous brigade. Hopefully that day will come with Zuckerberg’s slimy correspondence for world domination will be outed for all to read.

    The real positives arising from the Occupy Movement are yet to see the light of day….say another ten years when participants enter the work force and into positions of power and responsibility. Okay, this view is a bit Hegelian and teleological, but its the best 2014 had to offer.

    Finally, the biggest threat China offers to the West at the moment (the influence you note) is its ability to subtly influence Universities, part. the Harvards, Yales etc in the US. Lots of stuff online about his insidious process.

    The average Australian uni is not even worthy of this attention, due to their abysmal standards/degree mills.

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  3. @MyLaowai: yes, Roland seems to be back – the month of December is crammed with posts. Let’s hope he’ll continue.

    @KT: I have no idea about who Mr. Zuckerberg is, except for a vague idea that he must be an IT talent. He and Mr. Gates both seem to look a bit childish. Anyway – a now dead German-speaking singer and big womanizer used to say that infidelity isn’t just a matter of character, but a matter of opportunities, too.
    If so, there may be a similar truth about being an asshole. Your most decent and cooperative neighbor may be a sociopath during working hours.

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  4. Crikey JR. Is 2015 to be your year of the elliptical response, plus a bit of mudslinging and baiting on my loawai.

    I’ve already written for the concept of agency on Beijing Cream in opposition to FBs insistence that one should be registered under ones real name.

    So agree with the possibility of the decent and cooperative neighbour, who is also a world renowned expert on orchids becoming a full blown axe murderer every full moon.

    Highly possible given some of the Deliverance-type neighbours I have out here in the piney woods.

    Anyway, enough of my nonsense.

    Having Googled Ellul, I am now waiting for your lengthy and erudite book review.

    Anarchism is okay, but I have reservations about the Christianity component.
    Liked his views on technology and how it shapes and forms human “subjectivity” …. similar, if not derived, from Foucault.

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  5. Not baiting at all, just spreading encouragment through the English-language Chinese Blogosphere. Those who write shall be read.

    A post on Ellul may take a while, probably until some time during the summer vacation. But the topic won’t go away.

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