Imagine a life without Facebook. I'm sure some of you just got an uneasy feeling in your stomach after reading that. Social media has become so tightly woven in many of our daily lives that it is difficult to imagine what we would do without it. Although social media is a part of our routine, in several countries with different circumstances this isn't the case.
The people of China have embraced social networking as a means of personal expression that they are not used to. Being able to share your contesting opinions in a public arena is something many Chinese have never been able to do until the rise of the Internet. Many American social networks are not allowed in China, but counterparts such as microblogging site Sina Weibo have been gaining popularity. Another big player Renren, heralded as the "Facebook of China", announced their IPO back in February 2011.
As social networking continues to grow in China, the country seems to be torn between two sides. Government officials want to embrace domestically created social media sites as another step towards becoming a global technology super power. On the other hand, these same officials are frightened by the potential destabilizing power and loss of government control that could result.
Social networking is great for China in terms of breaking down authoritarian boundaries for citizens, but is not always easy. The Chinese government puts many measures in place for monitoring Internet activity including an advanced firewall and scanning...