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The Power of Social Network in China: How Does Microblog Influence the Way of Expression
Unformatted Document Text:  The Power of Social Network in China: How Does Microblog Influence the Way of Expression Figure 3. The Tree-Structure of the Information Flow in Microblog Figure 3 shows the information flow path of a hot topic on microblog. Its structure resembles branches on a tree, as main posts branch off into smaller posts. If a topic is to become a „hot topic‟, it would need a key opinion leader to disseminate, in order to ensure that there is enough exposure to spark the online conversation. Hundreds and thousands of forwards and comments could establish the pseudo-environment that makes one feel like everyone around is talking and caring about the same topic. Eventually, the third-person effect works, as more people spread the news, making the issue more popular. Acting as Part of Government Function With the supervision of the new media, more and more hot issues about societal problems came into citizens‟ awareness. Citizens are so excited by the new types of exposure, and are expecting that it will solve more difficulties in daily lives. An example of this is the campaign called “Saving begging children on your way by taking photos”, a project initiated by a microblogger is acting as part of a police function of looking for missing children. As we discussed above, opinion leaders who have over 100,000 fans wield a lot of power in the microblogging world, as they often can decide which topics become „hot‟ topics through their topic selection and posting frequency. A desperate mother asked Professor Jianrong Yu, who works at The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Rural Development Research Institute and has over 531,000 fans, for help to look for her missing child Weixin Yang on January 17th, 2011. Professor Yu posted the information and the photo of the missing child. One day later, one of his fans pointed

Authors: Xu, Linjia.
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The Power of Social Network in China: How Does Microblog Influence the Way of Expression 
 
 
Figure 3. The Tree-Structure of the Information Flow in Microblog 
 
Figure  3  shows  the  information  flow  path  of  a  hot  topic  on  microblog.  Its 
structure resembles branches on a tree, as main posts branch off into smaller posts. If 
a topic is to become a „hot topic‟, it would need a key opinion leader to disseminate, 
in  order  to  ensure  that  there  is  enough  exposure  to  spark  the  online  conversation. 
Hundreds  and  thousands  of  forwards  and  comments  could  establish  the 
pseudo-environment  that  makes  one  feel  like  everyone  around  is  talking  and  caring 
about the same topic. Eventually, the third-person effect works, as more people spread 
the news, making the issue more popular. 
Acting as Part of Government Function 
With the supervision of the new media, more and more hot issues about societal 
problems  came into citizens‟ awareness.  Citizens are so excited  by the new  types of 
exposure,  and  are  expecting  that  it  will  solve  more  difficulties  in  daily  lives.  An 
example  of  this  is  the  campaign  called  “Saving  begging  children  on  your  way  by 
taking  photos”,  a  project  initiated  by  a  microblogger  is  acting  as  part  of  a  police 
function of looking for missing children. 
As we discussed above, opinion leaders who have over 100,000 fans wield a lot 
of power in the microblogging world, as they often can decide which topics become 
„hot‟ topics through their topic selection and posting frequency. A desperate mother 
asked Professor Jianrong Yu, who works at The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences 
Rural Development Research Institute and has over 531,000 fans, for help to look for 
her  missing  child  Weixin  Yang  on  January  17th,  2011.  Professor  Yu  posted  the 
information and the photo of the missing child. One day later, one of his fans pointed 


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