Water Blogging: Twitter V. Weibo

By Katie Tsang 10 December, 2012

Katie Tsang on whether environmental bloggers more active on Twitter or Weibo?

Environmental bloggers represent a very small piece of the blogosphere
There's a higher % of environmental bloggers on Weibo than Twitter
The number of water bloggers are lower than expected considering the water crisis

We have being tweeting and facebooking for over a year (if you are not following us already …please do on Twitter and Facebook!) With the rise of Weibo and Renren in China, social media has become a common way to let of steam and highlight issues outside mainstream media … so we decided to take a quick look at how the environment and water topics are doing in the space…

Environmental Blogging: West v. East

Environment is undoubtedly a hot topic in the Western social media. Bloggers tweet about eco-news and share new ideas in the platforms. Among the 517 million Twitter users in July 20121, only a measly 1,019 (0.00019%) of them identified themselves as environmental bloggers, nowhere near the traffic generated by reality TV gossip.

How does this compare to China?

In China, albeit with limited access to the Western social media  tools, its social media has been booming since the launch of several localized equivalent microblogging platforms. such as Weibo (微博)in 2007 with Sina Weibo being the largest of them with 274 million active users2. Diving deeper into Sina Weibo’s 274 million users, we find that only 1,000 users gave themselves an environmental tag.

Interestingly, this accounts for 0.00036% of the total amount of users in Sina Weibo meaning that there are 1.9x more people who are blogging about environment in China! Does this mean that the Chinese are m0re environmentally friendly than their western counterparts? Or does it just mean there are more frustrations on environmental issues that need to be vented? We think it’s the likely the latter given that there are over 500 environmental protests every day in China (read more about that here).

What about #water … Blogged down or not?

Given that there is an ongoing water crisis, in China, we expect a larger portion of China’s environmental bloggers voicing water issues but in reality water issues, despite the urgency to solve them, tend to go unnoticed. This is where a search on “water” led us …

Only 209, representing  17% of the total environmental bloggers, turned up for a search in 水资源(Chinese equivalent for “Water Resources”) on Sina Weibo.  The sames search on Twitter pulled out 449 representing  31% of the total environmental bloggers on Twitter. So water is under-blogged in China despite the crisis and the government’s focus in its 12th FYP (see a list of government reports here).

In general, we notice that water becomes a key focus topic during times of extreme weather as evidenced by the frenzied sharing of photos when Beijing experienced landmark floods in the summer when Tiananmen Square was under water. Amongst the popular posts were  “#Come to Beijing to watch the sea”  … click here to see some of the photos posted.

Despite the low numbers of environment and water bloggers, there are some important and interesting blogs that have surfaced in the past year. Here are some that we’ve been keeping an eye on:


  • Leila Chan:  Author of “We Got Rice”, “Our Low-Carbon Future” among others.  Leila is a HK independent reporter focusing on sustainability issues. She believes that waste is resource misallocated, and is interested in low-carbon living, green life, food waste, renewable resources and water. Also follow her on weibo @chanhiului
  • China Beverage News: is a weekly report that aggregates the latest news shaping China’s Beverage industry. It is managed by infoseekchina, which is dedicated to encourage the development of English content about the country. It aims to provide a platform for discussing up-to-date China related news and information utilizing reputable & reliable sources in China.
  • Evironmental Law Professors Blog: a member of the Law Professors Blog Network, this blog is all about environmental laws and regulations, with a series on one of the editors’ China environmental experiences.
  • NRDC Greenlaw: Staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council (China) that features water in China as a natural resource so critical not only to its local citizens but also to every aspects in the world.


  • Ma Jun: is a Chinese environmentalist, journalist, consultant, founder and director of Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, and winner of the Goldman Prize Award 2012. He is also one of our panel advisors.  Follow him @公众环境研究中心马军
  • Guo Peiyuan: Founder of Syntao, a consulting company that focuses on promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investment (SRI) in China.  Follow him @郭沛源_商道纵横
  • Wu Heng: Founder of “Out Of The Window”- website which identifies lack of food safety and incidences in the country. Follow him @吳恆也
  • Ma Tianjie:  Project manager at Greenpeace China, currently working on pollution prevention and treatment. Follow him @隐形污染慢性中毒

A longer list on environmental blogs can be found on our website here. Otherwise,  if you are in a rush or don’t read Chinese, you can follow us on Twitter @ChinaWaterRisk (and thank you if you’ve been following us already!) … 如果不看英语的话也不用担心,我们很快就会开通微博,和大家见面! Stay tuned.

1 https://semiocast.com/publications/2012_07_30_Twitter_reaches_half_a_billion_accounts_140m_in_the_US

2 https://www.chinanews.com/cul/2012/10-04/4226551.shtml
Katie Tsang
Author: Katie Tsang
Katie creates editorial content in China Water Risk’s social media platforms to raise awareness on China’s water issues, as well as manages and analyzes trends and statistics arising from these platforms. She is also responsible for translating China Water Risk’s interactive slides “Big Picture” into Chinese. Previously she lived in Canada for six years, and the nature loving country made her realize that we can all do our parts to make the planet a better and more sustainable place to live.
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