Twitter’s Impact on China’s “Dear Passengers”

“Dear passengers.” That’s the default greeting you hear nationwide on China Railways (and also the title of a travel blog — that yours truly writes as well!)

Imagine your blogger’s surprise, then, when he — on the train from Tianjin back to Beijing — saw Twitter (!), out of all “folks”, on the cover of the Passengers magazine — a mag available only to travellers on Chinese high speed rail.

The image will be uploaded soon — apologies for the delay

Tired, your blogger forgot to dip into the article, but took a pic nonetheless. The microblogosphere is certainly making their presence felt — even if Twitter is not directly accessible in China.

On rail-related matters, quite a number of railway bureaus (including the Beijing Railway Administration) have opened up their own account on Sina Weibo (Microblogs). They were quickly followed by the populace — both with and without a train ticket to head back home.

But the tweets, even in Chinese, aren’t all about “good news” (or “not-so-good news”). A recent incident where the big guy behind Dangdang (think of this as “China’s” started using the most foul, vulgar, obscene language to “let it out” on Morgan Stanley precipitated into yet another one of those Internet wars (we have already seen it “rock and roll” in action late last year, with QQ sparring 360 (when an IM company takes on an anti-virus corp). A fair number of us responded by dumping QQ (China’s biggest IM service) and heading out to MSN Windows Live Messenger or GTalk (Google Talk) instead.

Like it or not (microblogs and/or the fact that Twitter’s verboten in the PRC), microblogs are with us in the People’s Republic, and they’re here to stay. Now if you’ll excuse me while I scale the wall and tweet this out on Twitter…

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