Official Microblogging and Social Management by Local Governments in China

Schlaeger, J. & Jiang, M. (2014). Official microblogging and social management by local governments in China. China Information, 28(2), 189-213. DOI: 10.1177/0920203X14533901

26 Pages Posted: 1 May 2013 Last revised: 15 Aug 2014

See all articles by Jesper Schlæger

Jesper Schlæger

Lund University - Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies

Min Jiang

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte; University of Pennsylvania - Center for Global Communication Studies

Date Written: May 30, 2014

Abstract

How does the Chinese government’s adoption of microblogs affect local governance and social contention it is tasked to manage? This case study explores the extent to which government microblogging could serve as: 1) a battering ram to spearhead reforms; 2) a virus bringing unexpected consequences; and 3) a reinforcer of authorities’ existing power, i.e. politics as usual. After studying a Chinese municipal government weibo in depth from the perspective of local governance, we find that official microblogs do not in the short run lead to organizational change. Instead, Chinese local government microblogs function largely as ‘beta-institutions’ experimenting with ways to interact and negotiate with their microblog publics and microblog service providers aimed at improving social management and political legitimacy. Local governments are also evolving gradually from service providers to ‘service predictors’ with enhanced capabilities to deliver individualized services and institute state surveillance via commercial service providers. These developments warrant further studies of the long-term implications of microblogs as part of the government information ecology.

Keywords: Microblogging, China, governance, e-government, politics, negotiation

Suggested Citation

Schlæger, Jesper and Jiang, Min, Official Microblogging and Social Management by Local Governments in China (May 30, 2014). Schlaeger, J. & Jiang, M. (2014). Official microblogging and social management by local governments in China. China Information, 28(2), 189-213. DOI: 10.1177/0920203X14533901. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2258565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2258565

Jesper Schlæger (Contact Author)

Lund University - Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies ( email )

Sweden

Min Jiang

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte ( email )

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

University of Pennsylvania - Center for Global Communication Studies ( email )

3620 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA Pennsylvania 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.linkedin.com/in/minjiang

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