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October 9, 2012
Chinese 'Twitter' Causing Digital Downdrafts There, Too
 
Oh, dear. We no sooner wrote about "Twitter as the New Press Release," than we come across a variation of micro-blogging madness in China — Sina Weibo, "weibo" being the Chinese name for microblog. The Holmes Report chronicles how Siemens, the global engineering giant, was brought to heel by Sina Weibo, with Chinese consumers smashing their Siemens-made refrigerators.  

It's brought Siemens grave embarrassment in the Chinese market. "If you have a problem with one of our products," Roland Gerke, president and CEO of Siemens Home Appliances in China, belatedly wrote to his refrigerator customers, "you deserve our full attention. If your refrigerator door is not closing properly, the failure rate from your perspective is 100%." Gee. 

Sina Weibo is not a direct knockoff of Twitter. It's more a combination of Twitter and Facebook. "Unlike Twitter, for example," a Holmes Report writer explains, "comments on Weibo are threaded under an initial post, helping spark more engagement and interaction than you are likely to see on the English-language service."

But whatever else it is, Sina Weibo is another example of how digital deftness is transforming the communication and consumer-relations scenes worldwide. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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