Podcast Ep. #17: Virality and Social Media in China

Viral Videos & Social Media in ChinaNote: There are embedded Youtube videos below the show notes. If you do not have a VPN open, those videos will not be playable and the page may open more slowly than normal. 

There is no shortage of viral videos in our lives, but it feels like there was a particularly large volume of them this summer. It feels like a good time to talk about viral videos and internet phenomena vis-à-vis WeChat, since WeChat is now the way these videos and news events reach people in China and shapes how we interact with them in many ways. In this episode, we talk about a couple major events as well as some more light-hearted pop culture culture moments like the “duang” phenomenon, the Tianjin factory explosion, the Uniqlo sex video, the Sanlitun stabbing, and the death-scalator.

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Topics Discussed

  • 01:00 Recent viral videos: Tianjin explosion, Uniqlo sex video, and Sanlitun stabbing
  • 04:30 Viral video sharing on Chinese social media
  • 07:15 Deep dive into Uniqlo sex video
  • 11:00 The distinction between viral videos and memes, “the changing room” as a meme
  • 17:30 The light-hearted nature of the Uniqlo sex video
  • 22:00 How videos spread now on mobile
  • 23:30 An electrical engineering and Christmas analogy
  • 24:30 The duang phenomenon
  • 28:20 ChinaSmack, Shanghaiist, and sensational China stories going viral abroad
  • 30:30 Description of Tianjin explosion
  • 34:00 Components of a viral video coming out of China
  • 42:00 Graphic video sharing on WeChat
  • 44:00 Is this graphic video sharing unique to WeChat, or our ability to share media freely?
  • 50:15 The CNN video incident, reflection, and reflexive reactions to sensational videos
  • 59:00 Donate blood

Multiple-angle video of the Tianjin explosion

Duang

Songs Featured in this Podcast

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Charlie

About Charlie

Having lived in Chengdu for ten years, Charlie has traveled to every corner of China and back again, calling the Yulin neighborhood of Chengdu his adopted home.

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