Public Governance in the Era of Social Media

April 8 Sunday


April 8, 2012, 9.00 - 16.30





On April 8th, the KAS | Shanghai and the Shanghai Jiaotong University jointly organised a workshop on „Public Governance in the Era of Social Media“.

Also available in Deutsch

A growing number of Chinese no longer use blogs and microblogs solely for private communication. An increasing number of these blogs develops into platforms, on which an exchange of political and social questions can take place. This exchange is limited within the traditional media. Therefore, the role of the new media is increasing in its significance.

Blogs enable internet users to issue news themselves, instead of simply consuming news. Political actions are increasingly initiated through online platforms. A prominent example constitute the protests against the building of a chemical plant in the north Chinese harbour city of Dalian in August 2011, which were to a great extent organised through “Weibo” (the Chinese counterpart of Twitter).

The Chinese government and the CPC are increasingly using these media themselves. Thus they analyse the discussions in the social media in order to be aware of problems. Based on e-governance, public authorities are increasingly directly interacting with the citizens through new media. The Shanghai municipal government and subordinate authorities have installed electronic platforms for the concerns of the citizens. A growing number of online polls, measuring the satisfaction of citizens with the local administration, are carried out. Additionally, Chinese politicians increasingly use forums, such as Renmin Wang (People’s Net), to network among each other. In contrast to that, censorship and control of those communication platforms is strengthened when politically sensitive topics are concerned.

In the eyes of the Chinese population, reports in social media are increasingly competing with official news. This enables the citizens to access a significantly wider spectrum of information and views when forming their personal opinions.

During the workshop, the impact of social media on traditional media and its impact on NGOs were discussed. The „NGO 2.0-Project“ of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which teaches NGOs how to utilize Blogs and microblogs to attract attention to their work and collect donations, was presented. It resembles a low cost option for many small organisations to e.g. contact possible corporate sponsors, without maintaining a complex and expensive own website. Through the growing impact of social media, the definition of “media” in general is changing, because news is increasingly issued not only through newspapers, TV and radio but through society as a whole. Nevertheless, professional journalism remains an important addition to social media, as it can verify the reliability of information in a professional manner and deliver its interpretation. In order to fulfil this function, the independence and credibility of professional journalism has to be strengthened significantly.

Public Governance in the Era of Social Media

The participants of the workshop: Professors and students of different universities from Shanghai, Nanjing and Beijing, journalists and the team of the KAS|Shanghai.

Contact person

Dr. Peter Hefele

Head of the Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia and Pacific

Dr. Peter Hefele
Phone +852 28822245
Fax +852 28828515
Languages: Deutsch,‎ English,‎ Français,‎ Magyar