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Sharing is key to web success, says leading Chinese blogger *VIDEO*

Oct 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: Featured Article, Front Page Layout, News

THE man some call China’s first blogger has been lecturing to Whitireia journalism students about the global spread of blogs, social media networks, Twitter and other new media technologies. BONNIE TAI talked to him (pictures by CARL SUURMOND, video by KYLIE KLEIN-NIXON):

 BREAKING down the “great firewall of China” is an ambition of the country’s leading media blogger, Isaac Mao.

He is working on a project aimed to help Chinese people blog freely online, because at the moment websites such as Live Journal, Blogger and WordPress have been blocked by the Chinese government’s censorship laws.

He calls Chinese internet law “the great firewall of China”.

“I can get across the firewall in China easily because I’m a geek,” he says.

But for those who do not have an in-depth knowledge of the internet, the Digital Nomad Project will act as an outlet for Chinese bloggers to express themselves freely.

Although Mr Mao estimates that there are almost 40 million active bloggers in China, “bloggers are still a minority”, as many blogs are removed on a regular basis.

He says many bloggers choose to use both their real names and computer IP addresses while online, but the more controversial bloggers opt to use IP-hiding programmes such as TOR.

IsaacMain2Mr Mao regards bloggers as community watchdogs and believes a small country like New Zealand should actively participate in citizen journalism.

“Just think, if every street had three or four bloggers – it would make it safer for the community,” he says.

Mr Mao initially started blogging in 2002 to help Chinese youth compete in the global market. He believes that in order to effectively compete, you must first “learn how to use the internet properly”.

His theory on “sharism” (his invention) relates to the sharing of information on social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

He believes that the more you share online the more your social capital will increase.

He says traditional media in China need to “adapt to using social networking sites”.

In doing so he believes that “our society will become more intelligent and better organised”.

Mr Mao was brought to New Zealand this week by the Whitireia Journalism School in conjunction with the Asia:NZ Foundation.


WEB PIPELINE: Isaac with his complex diagramme of how elements of the internet interact.

He had dinner with leading bloggers and web journalists in Wellington on Wednesday and will meet Chinese officials and local representatives of Xinhua, now the world’s biggest news media agency.

Mr Mao spent the early part of the week speaking at Auckland University of Technology and Waikato Institute of Technology. He has been interviewed by various NZ media, including TVNZ and RadioNZ.

He was due to be interviewed by Kim Hill this weekend.

He flies back to Shanghai on Saturday night.

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