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The story of Qi Shi Ma: Online discussion and community engagement in urban China
Unformatted Document Text:  The story of Qi Shi Ma: A case study of online discussion and community engagement in urban China By Zhengjia Liu, Doctoral student School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa 616 Hawkeye Court, Iowa City, IA, US, 52246 001-515-422-2302 ## email not listed ## ABSTRACT This case study discussed the local online forum’s potential of being a public sphere in China, using textual analysis of online discussions about a local affair in the City of Hangzhou. The analysis included 16 news stories from a local newspaper archive and 300 threads with 100 subsequent posts from the online forum hosted by the newspaper. The results showed that the online forum provided the residents with a platform to express their opinions, compared with the newspaper that worked as an organ for the government. On the other hand, the online discussions showed low levels of complexity and rationality. The social media only started to be a public space for expression rather than a public sphere for negotiations. Key words: online forum, social media, community participation, public sphere

Authors: Liu, Zhengjia.
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The story of Qi Shi Ma: A case study of online discussion and community 
engagement in urban China
Zhengjia Liu, Doctoral student
School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa
616 Hawkeye Court, Iowa City, IA, US, 52246
## email not listed ##
This case study discussed the local online forum’s potential of being a public 
sphere in China, using textual analysis of online discussions about a local affair in the 
City of Hangzhou. The analysis included 16 news stories from a local newspaper archive 
and 300 threads with 100 subsequent posts from the online forum hosted by the 
newspaper. The results showed that the online forum provided the residents with a 
platform to express their opinions, compared with the newspaper that worked as an organ 
for the government. On the other hand, the online discussions showed low levels of 
complexity and rationality. The social media only started to be a public space for 
expression rather than a public sphere for negotiations.
Key words:  online forum, social media, community participation, public sphere 

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