Here, there, everywhere
China Daily now has more than 38 million social media readers, and with those numbers comes more pressure to be first with the news, but also a greater duty to be vigilant about the way we execute our journalistic mission.
The way in which we are handling it was well illustrated by the heart-rending story of Dorian, the young American with cancer who had a dream of becoming famous in China.
After we became aware of Dorian and acted on what we knew, the story reached 4 million readers on social media, domestically and internationally. China Daily was the first media to report the story in China, at least 24 hours before most other national media such as CCTV, Xinhua News Agency and Global Times.
Social networking websites started to flourish in China in 2008 when Beijing hosted the Olympic Games that began with an opening ceremony that astonished the world. This inspired us to embrace a more global presence. A year later, China Daily’s social media campaign took off, starting with the launch of our official Weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) account in November, which publishes posts in both Chinese and English. Our official Facebook and Twitter pages were launched soon after.
The official China Daily Weibo account attracted more than 22 million followers, generating nearly 10 million page views daily in the first quarter of this year. In international cyberspace, we have more than 5.3 million page likes on Facebook and 420,000 followers on Twitter. According to figures for the first quarter, our posts on Facebook and tweets on Twitter reached an international audience of 1 million people a day, on average.
Witnessing the unprecedented shift and explosive growth in online communications, the internet giant Tencent released WeChat, an instant messaging application, in 2011. Its now burgeoning Official Account function was introduced a year later and China Daily began to publish bilingual stories on the platform after registering several verified official accounts. We now have more than 1.2 million subscribers who receive a daily digest of selected stories that generates 300,000 page views.
In 2014 the official China Daily Weibo account posted an article about 120 million yuan in cash found in the home of a Party member in Hebei province. The exclusive news on corruption at lower levels shocked the public. China Daily’s Weibo account had about 3 million followers then but the post was read 800,000 times and reposted by mainstream media.
The writer is director of China Daily’s new media department .