Publication Date

2013-05-06

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2013-05-06

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Public Relations (Communication)

Date of Defense

2013-04-08

First Committee Member

Don W. Stacks

Second Committee Member

Cong Li

Third Committee Member

Donn J. Tilson

Abstract

The current study aimed to examine how the Chinese government agencies adopted Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging platform used by majority of the Internet users in China. Through a content analysis of 270 tweets from 27 governmental accounts, this study tried to understand what the government agencies tweet about, how they tweet, and what citizens think about these tweets. The differences among accounts at the federal-, state-, and local-level were revealed, in terms of basic status, utilizing of multimedia tools, desired content types and comments received. The federal-level agencies were seldom utilizing Sina Weibo, in spite they usually launched earlier, had more followers and received more comments and re-tweets. The state-level agencies were more active, following more accounts, and in favor of emoticons and other multimedia tools. Even though a great deal of the local-level agencies operated Weibo accounts, accounts from this level distributed fewer tweets every day, more likely to re-tweet, had fewer followers, and rarely obtained comments or re-tweets. The accounts from three bureaucratic levels also had different preference for content type. In general, Service Information was more frequently tweeted by those governmental accounts, which distinguished from previous studies about Governments’ use of Twitter. Most of comments were neutral, and in overall the comments were positive over negative.

Keywords

Microblogging; Sina Weibo; Chinese government

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