Asian Social Media Exploration…

What is social media?

Well, media is an instrument on communication, like a newspaper or a radio; therefore, social media would be a social instrument of communication. Simple concept right? When I say social media I instantly think…


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These are the top trending social media platforms in Australia. But I am thinking beyond that. I know all about Australian social media, I use it everyday. I am using it right now in fact as I look at my tab menu with Facebook open *guilty*!

What about Asian social media? Now that is an unknown phenomenon for me to fathom. I firstly don’t speak the language, secondly I don’t even know what Asian social networking sites are all. This calls for some help from Google!

China is one of the most populated Asian countries and its internet base is heavily protected. So protected that the Chinese population haven’t got access to the same Facebook that we have!! Due to these restrictions they have a Chinese alternative that only the Chinese can use called Renren.

So what is Renren?

Renren is very similar to Facebook in the fact that it allows users to connect and communicate with each other. Renren is the largest Social Networking site in China and has an active user base of 178 million people which is constantly growing. The site mainly caters to college students. An interesting fact about Renren is that it has cooperated with academic researchers to understand the growth and structure of its online community in helping the site become better and user friendlier.

Renren highlights the cultural barriers between Australia and China. A case study on
Social network sites comparison between the United States and China: Case study on facebook and renren network” (2011) talks about the difference between the Facebook and Renren network, it aims at finding the gap between China and the US. A few note worthy facts from this case study are that:

  • ‘Facebook users diversify the sources, while Renren network users have a single source’
  • ‘Facebook and Renren network users, who are mainly young people, but Renren network users focused on 18-34 years old, while Facebook have more widely user groups than Renren’
  • ‘Facebook users is similar to men-to-women ratio, and Renren users are mostly women, which may be due to the two sites provided different application, whose attractiveness is different between men and women’

Renren is a simple layout, easy to navigate – minus language barriers.

chinese english

So translated the page as Google gave me that option (which was incredibly helpful). I tried to make an account but you have to put in your phone number that I thought was a bit odd so I didn’t go any further. I found it funny that during the application process one of the questions is “Real Name” instead of simply “Name”. This definitely highlights the cultural differences from Western to Eastern cultures in the way that we label things.

This experience of Renren made me realize how different Asian cultures are. There are distinct differences between privacy and protection between Asian society’s compared to us. It is interesting to note that they filter a lot more content than we do. Not even letting them use Facebook (which I thought was everywhere) is bizarre but understandable if they want to keep all the Chinese together.


IEE, 2011 “”Social network sites comparison between the united states and China: Case study on facebook and renren network” [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed  30th August 2014]



  1. I had a quick look at RenRen and to be honest it actually looked kind of confusing! I guess the different language is a massive barrier for they, hey? haha
    If I compare this to my own experience of social media and I think it all really depends on whether or not you are a digital native or not. I’m interested to see how you develop this idea!


  2. The fact that i didn’t even know this existed surprised me as usually most people know about social media sites in this day and age but that seems to be very constrictive in the way that enhances the gap between cultures. I do like that it includes academics in it though. Also with the filtering i find that to be a culture specific thing in a way but also i feel like ours is edited and monitored without us knowing.


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