China / Society

Govt blogs remain active amid shift to new media

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-09 09:55

Governmental departments and officials continue to use their micro blogs as channels to listen to residents and publicize services, despite a slowdown in the growth of accounts, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The number of micro blog accounts operated by government departments and individual officials increased by only 46 percent in 2013, the report said, a mild rate compared with the 249 percent growth seen in 2012 and 776 percent in 2011.

The report was issued by the E-Government Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Governance, which has provided such data annually since 2011.

Verified government accounts hosted on the four top micro blog service platforms in China - Sina, Tencent, and - totaled about 258,700 at the end of 2013.

About 70.8 percent of the accounts were operated by government departments, and the rest were from individual users whose identities were verified as government officials.

The report attributed the slowdown in micro blog growth to users shifting to new social networking tools such as WeChat, an instant messaging application claiming around 400 million active users.

The reduced popularity of micro blog services among ordinary Internet users has dampened governments' enthusiasm for launching blogs, said Wang Yimin, the research center's director.

Wang said slower growth was to be expected and doesn't indicate that governmental entities had paid insufficient attention to micro blogs.

Each year, the report recognizes the top 100 government-affiliated micro blog accounts considered to be the best maintained. In 2013, those top accounts averaged about 10,000 posts, or 28 posts daily, up 30 percent over 2012.

The accounts averaged 737,000 reposts annually, up 166 percent over 2012, and an average of 206,000 comments, up 182 percent.

"We saw a notable tendency in 2013 for these government accounts to become much more interactive with Internet users than in previous years," Wang said.

Departments of the government and various officials have gained valuable experience in managing micro blog accounts that can be applied to WeChat accounts and other emerging tools as they come along, Wang added.

The report suggested that more efforts should be made to integrate different communication platforms, including traditional media, websites, micro blogs and other social media.

It also highlighted the continuing disparities between different regions and governmental departments.

The governments in wealthier regions and in bigger cities were more inclined to communicate with residents through micro-blogging, it said.

Of the various governmental bodies that employ the online tools, the police have been the most active bloggers, the report said.

Four out of the top 10 micro blog accounts maintained by governmental bodies were operated by police departments, it said.

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