Initially trying to experience the site is difficult and confusing given it is published in Chinese and I do not know the language, but to overcome this barrier it is necessary to use a translator. The appearance of the site includes the original logo in the left hand corner, with the English name for the site written underneath on both the original and translated version. There are a variety of tabs based on topics to navigate the site, clicking each produces posts including images and videos about that topic. It differs from Twitter by breaking the posts up, whilst Twitter just gives us one home page feed with everything together. I can only assume these posts are ordered based on popularity or what’s trending on the site, given the top of the page defines them as ‘Twitter Highlights’ on the translated version.
The posts include many more videos and photos than Twitter, because this is something that’s only just starting to take off on the Western site. However amongst the posts there are sponsored links or advertisements, which is a familiar aspect of both sites. There are names I recognise in the posts because I clicked entertainment, so there are celebrities, whilst there are multiple names I don’t recognise and many that are not English names.
Overall, the translated site was relatively easy to navigate and understand, however it wasn’t an authentic experience because in order to do that I would have to learn Chinese.
Describing Sina Weibo as China’s hybrid version of Twitter and Facebook is the only way the Western world can understand the concept of the website, but it is also interesting to note that Twitter was launched before Sina Weibo.
It was also interesting that the translated version mentioned Twitter, but it makes sense, as it’s the only way I would think of describing it. How else do you describe Twitter to someone without using the word?