In the progress of Chinese social media development, there are four major kinds of social media appeared. The first one, also the earliest one appeared on the Internet is the Bulletin Board System (BBS). The second one is Social Network Service (SNS), which is also the most important and popular part of the Chinese social media in recent years. The third one, micro blog (Weibo), was introduced firstly in 2009 is gaining more market shares in recent years. The last kind is based on the usage of the mobile devices is starting a new era of Chinese social media, the ‘vertical’ social media.
BBS is the first social media used by Chinese Internet users. It’s the mainstream of Chinese social media before 2006, the era of Web 1.0. BBS is considered as the original stage of SNS. Compared with Blog and instant messaging, BBS has its advantage on bringing down the cost of sharing information. Information is posted by the users and integrated by the BBS platform, and at the same time the information can be shown to lots of users right after it was posted. The traditional online messaging, such as email, is point-to-point communication. However, BBS realized point-to-side online instant communication.
The most popular BBS platforms in China nowadays are Baidu Tieba, Tianya, Mop, etc. Built based on the concept of Web 1.0, these platforms started at the comparatively early stage gained their advantages by the technology they own. As BBS gaining there popularity, the concept of SNS was attracting more attention from the capital market. However, the concept of SNS had not been totally realized and understood by the social media users at that time.
SNS has the most market share in the social media industry and is the most popular form of social media industry now in China. The growing popularity of SNS opened another new era of the usage of social media. The era is marked with entertainment. New social medias gained popular in this period are aimed at providing entertainment functions to the user. The most obvious difference of the BBS users and the SNS users is that SNS users have their special social purpose while involving in the usage of SNS.
(1). Six Degrees of Separation
The realization of SNS was achieved basing on the theory of Six Degrees of Separation, which was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy. The theory believes that, as the world is shrinking, people can reach anyone or anything with in six steps in this smaller world. This theory promotes and accelerates the Internet world moving forward to the real world and the combining of the two worlds.
Some researchers believe that the interpersonal relationship integrated based on the theory of Six Degrees of Separation will be a more reliable one, since the relationship is built based on the relationship in the real world. Such kind of networking could satisfy the need for real name and reputation, which are really important in business transactions. Therefore, SNS will have potential business value with this reliable network.
(2). The Development of SNS
Unzone, the first SNS in China, opened to the public in 2003. It aimed at promoting interpersonal relationship by the Internet. It hoped the users could build high quality and trustful friendship and extent interpersonal relations by making new friends with “the friends of friends”. However, because its for-profit model was not clear, it didn’t survived in the upcoming severer competition. Unzone finally ended all of its services in 2009.
In 2005, 51.com opened to the public. Its targeted customers were the students in universities and colleges. 51.com aimed at providing stable and safe data storage platform and convenient communication platform for the students. As the number of the users growing larger, 51.com changed its target to online games with social features. Before 2006, the development of SNS was still in its infancy. After 2006, the