Chinese Social Media in Times of Crisis

Speaker: Guobin Yang

12 p.m. Central | Thursday, May 2, 2024


In the mid-1990s, private internet firms spearheaded the commercial development of the internet in China. Since then, the internet has evolved into the world’s second largest digital economy, with sweeping influences on culture, society, and politics. At the same time, Chinese and global political economies have undergone profound transformation. The increasingly complex social and political environments in China and the world have exacerbated the difficulty of understanding the cultures and politics of Chinese social media.

In this talk, Professor Guobin Yang from the University of Pennsylvania puts Chinese social media in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to explore what a global crisis might reveal about their meanings and significance. In particular, Professor Yang will discuss how ordinary users take to social media platforms to share stories of their daily lives and why such digital storytelling is important in times of crises.

Register for the Webinar

This program is part of the Considering China webinar series.

About the Speaker

Guobin Yang is the Grace Lee Boggs Professor of Communication and Sociology at the Annenberg School for Communication and Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is director of the Center on Digital Culture and Society and deputy director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China. He is the author of The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online (2009), The Red Guard Generation and Political Activism in China (2016), and The Wuhan Lockdown (2022). He has edited or co-edited seven books, including Pandemic Crossings: Digital Technology, Everyday Experience, and Governance in the COVID-19 Crisis (with Bingchun Meng and Elaine Yuan, 2024) and Engaging Social Media in China: Platforms, Publics, and Production (with Wei Wang, 2021).
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