China’s Online Creative Community – Part 1: Intro

October 17, 2007 at 7:29 am 7 comments

 Ju (Regional team, Mindshare) writes:

 I think Alok hit the nail on the head with the question “MySpace or Facebook or should we even care?“. The basic reason anyone joins a social networking today is to be part of a community that one identifies with. Only 3 years ago, no one really had much of a choice in selecting our preferred social networking platforms. Take me for example… I was invited into hi5 (the main social networking site in Thailand right now) a couple of years ago. Back then, just the simple fact that I connect with friends from grade school and revel at my rising popularity as I added more and more friends to my network already thrilled me. I remained on hi5 because all my friends were there. Period. It was the only network had gained critical mass among Thais. Of course you’d want to be where everyone else is, right?

Three years ago, the answer would have been a resounding yes, but today, it might be a NO. More accurately, the answer would depend on who ‘everyone else’ is, what their profiles are, and most importantly, if you are actually engaging together in similar activities or interests. Yes, it’s great find your long lost friends and show how popular you are, but the excitement over that particular feature is long over (remember how you felt when you received your first ever email, then think how you feel about emails now). Ultimately, for any social network to keep itself alive beyond the initial hype (beyond the phase where everyone invites everyone to be their friends), the social network has to prove itself useful for either a person’s career, hobbies, or social life offline. In other words, it has to provide a strong unifying PURPOSE for a community of people who actually interact with each other for more than the sake of interacting just because they are a bit bored that day.

Enabling this is the fact that the technology for developing these social networks has likely become a commodity these days, because of the open-source movement, and because of user-friendly platforms like Ning which allows non-techies to create their own social networking sites (Ning now has over 100,000 user-created sites).

On his blog theory.isthereason.com, Kevin Lim did a very interesting analysis of the ‘economics’ of social networking in his article Niche Networks // Neocha: China’s MySpace For Creative People. I particularly agree with his conclusion, copied here:

Make it Niche, Make it Damn Easy
That’s where I thought “niche social networks” should enter and hold value by being really quick to use (functional), while being extremely relevant and fiercely exclusive (e.g. offering services specific to the relevant crowd). As fragmented it would turn the social networking scene, it would serve the long tail, catering to the smaller but passionate group of users. For instance, Estee of blogbuzz.tv recently pinged me about a social networking site for professional women cleverly called Damsels in Success. While I only took a superficial look at it, I was more intrigued by how social networking sites like these weren’t about having huge populations of users (quantitative), but rather solid relevance to specific mobs of interests (qualitative).

… the value lies in how you aren’t in a huge community of strangers, but of close friends you can actually do stuff with.

It’s probably one reason why, although I have 3 times more friends on Hi5 than on Facebook, I can’t remember the last time I logged on to hi5, let alone my password (sorry hi5’ers).

Brands would be missing the point to focus only on the numbers. Business and branding potential lie as much in the richness, as in the reach of a social network.

My next post will feature a personal interview with Sean Leow, one of the four co-founders of Neocha, an online community that differentiates itself strongly from other established social network giants in China by serving specifically to the emerging, innovative Chinese creative class, as featured in Fast Company’s article ‘The Next Cultural Revolution – China’. In the article ”New Tea’ in China’, Pew Internet describes them as “China’s first website for artists to show off and share their wares, launched last week in Shanghai. Think of MySpace for creative types, then think of it channeling into groups for bands, or photographers, or clothing designers, sculptors, jewelers, bookbinders, knitters, sketchers…”

The interview touches on Sean’s view on digital media for young Chinese creative-types, his exposure to Japanese-influenced subcultures in China, and how he and his Neocha friends attracted an estimated 10,000 young people to their launch event in April this year, purely through digital means and word-of-mouth. View a clip of the event here:

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Entry filed under: media general, social media, trends.

Global digital stats report China’s Online Creative Community – Part 2: Interview

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Avi  |  October 19, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    I totally agree with your post, but there is one thing I still dont understand. While Americans or europeans buy from internet, most of the time we asians dont want to buy anything from the net. Does that mean the sites will only rely on advertisement?

    Reply
  • 2. funfacts  |  November 11, 2007 at 8:01 am

    I was searching for this kind of a blog for months now. Actually lost the hope of finding one, but here i am 🙂 Thanks for the great articles! Looking forward for a little read after dinner 🙂

    Reply
  • 3. Cheap Farmers  |  November 28, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Wish i had the talent to write such posts.

    Reply
  • […] China’s Online Creative Community – Part 1: Intro An emerging Chinese creative class resides on Neocha. In the article ”New Tea’ in China’, Pew Internet describes them as “China’s first website for artists to show off and share their wares, launched last week in Shanghai. Keywords: china, creative, class, art, web2.0, socialnetworks, for:triciawang […]

    Reply
  • 5. bob  |  July 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    the Online Creative Community

    Reply
  • 6. Truchiro  |  December 30, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Best Online Creative Community

    Reply
  • 7. Sewage Pump Dealers | Submersible Effluent Pumps  |  May 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    […] the big switch […]

    Reply

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