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Title:Social Inclusion or Exclusion? When Weibo (Microblogging) Meets the ���New Generation��� of Rural Migrant Workers
Author(s):Zhang, Pengyi
Subject(s):Weibo
Social media
China
Migrant workers
Abstract:The rapid development of social media has had a profound impact on how people access and share information in China. Some researchers suggest that the new social media has broken through the monolithic propaganda of traditional Chinese media and brought a diversity of topics and perspectives into view. Others argue that platforms such as Weibo (microblogging) largely privilege the opinions of well-educated, middle class individuals, keeping working class industrial and rural workers’ voices on the margins. The question remains: has the development of social media bridged or deepened the “digital divide”? In an effort to address this question, this paper explores the appearance of members of a “new generation” of migrant workers on Sina Weibo, the most popular microblogging service in China. Drawing on the results a study of Sina Weibo posts, reposts, and authors, this paper offers three main arguments: (1) Weibo is not only a means for sharing information and expressing opinions, it is also a platform where users mobilize to improve the lives of migrant workers in cities; (2) Weibo provides an emotional outlet, offering members of the “new generation” of migrant workers the opportunity to express dissatisfaction with the bitter reality of their lives and a longing for a better life; and (3) The most influential users of this microblogging platform tend to be media figures, scholars, government officials, and other individuals from outside the community. The author concludes that more effort needs to be made so that, instead of creating new inequalities, social media technology can be of assistance to members of socially marginalized groups.
Issue Date:2013
Publisher:Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:In Library trends 62(1) Summer 2013: 63-80.
Genre:Article
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/46091
ISSN:0024-2594
DOI:10.1353/lib.2013.0026
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-11-21
2015-09-21


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