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Think Global, Act Local: Social Media Training for Web Interns in China

Social Media Training for Web Interns in ChinaA social media training delivered by Codrin Paveliuc-Olariu, YPARD Steering Committee chair, was held for YPARD web interns on June 16th in Beijing, China. Labeling himself as a “social media nerd”, Codrin shared with YPARD staff as well as with different young professionals not only his “art of live blogging” but also his ideas on using social networks in order to educate, engage and empower the youth. It was a very timely training keeping in mind that YPARD China is developing its own online social channels with the Chinese version of Twitter (‘Weibo’, meaning ‘microblog’) and Facebook (‘Renren’, meaning ‘everyone’).

Audience is the Master

“The more people there are, the stronger we are.” said Chairman Mao Zedong in 1949, when China's population was about 540 million. Now, the slogan could also be applied to the cyberspace. During the training, the web interns learnt that, to spread useful information among those who may be interested, we need to attract a large audience. Hence, instead of putting our readers aside, we should get to know them by finding out who they are, where they work and what they want from us.

Besides this, we need to interact with them and answer back their replies, so in order to reach out more and better potential public, the style of our official SNS account should be follower-friendly. For example, tweets at a fixed time help followers learn when to follow, and the same thing happens with the use of common hashtags which enable followers find all related tweets with only a mouse click.

World in 140 Characters

As each paragraph of The Analects has less than 140 characters and uses simple words to provide a profound message, some people believe Confucius may be the first person who tweeted. All joking aside, Confucius’ way of writing coincides with the “Twitter Strategy” introduced by YPARD Steering Committee chair.

Codrin instructed the web interns to make the best of the 140-character platform by well-organizing the content, using a URL shortener when posting a link, etc. Moreover, he provided four principles for tweeting or blogging: be funny, be human, be open, and be courageous. An inspiring story is more eye-catching and moving than a simple correspondence, while pictures and videos attached provide more reach. The message, however, should be simple and honest and never a piece of fake news or even a seemingly-trivial inaccuracy.

Best Platform & New Stream

A right platform is essential for a successful networking when nowadays various SNS platforms are dazzling. Therefore, YPARD Steering Committee chair suggested we should carefully select the platform based on what we want to achieve by reaching our target goal, better than working on multiple networks. Likewise, he also recommended the use of live streaming in combination with live blogging when reporting on a conference or an event.

YPARD China uses mainly two different SNS platforms: Renren and Weibo, but each one has a different target audience. While Renren has more popularity among college students, Weibo is reaching more users within the professional sector. Besides, as WeChat becomes more and more popular in the country, YPARD China discussed as well whether to start a WeChat official account or not.

To sum up, the two-hour training triggered deep thoughts and hot discussions around the communications strategy that was applied to YPARD China’s work. But as Shi Mengxue, team leader of YPARD China Web Interns, said after the training: “think global and act local, we will find a better way to promote YPARD in China.”

Picture credit: Social media training for Web Interns in China, by YPARD China. 

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