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1 DIFFUSION VS. CENSORSHIP: AN EXPLORATION INTO THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL NON GOVERNMENTAL OR G ANIZATIONS IN MAINLAND CHINA By CHEN CHEN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DE GREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010
2 2010 Chen Chen
3 My great thanks and appreciation to my family who support me spiritually and financially. My sp ecial appreciation to my grandfather who passed away while I was doing my thesis and whose funeral I was unable to attend May his soul rest in peace. I thank my thesis committee, Dr. Spiro Kiousis, Dr. Belio Mart nez, and Dr. Michael Leslie, who have generously given their time and expertise to help me better my work.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to acknowledge and extend my heartfelt gratitude to the following persons who have made the completion of my thesis possible: Dr. Belio Mart nez for hi s vital encouragement and support ; Dr. Spiro Kiousis, Chair, Department of Public Relations for his understanding and assistance ; and Dr. Michael Leslie, for his help and inspiration. Mo re importantly I would like to acknowledge my family for their under standing and financial support.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ............................. 8 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 12 Diffusion o f Innovation ................................ ................................ ............................ 12 Non governmental Organizations ................................ ................................ ........... 15 Social Media in General ................................ ................................ .......................... 18 Definition ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 18 Form ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 19 Purpose ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 19 Social Media Adoption ................................ ................................ ...................... 23 Social Media in China ................................ ................................ ....................... 24 Social Media and Internet Censorship ................................ ................................ .... 25 Internet Censorship in General ................................ ................................ ......... 25 Diffusion of Democracy and Government Internet Censorship ......................... 29 The Green Dam Censorware Incident ................................ ....................... 33 The Urumqi Riots and the blocking of social networking sites ................... 34 Research Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 34 3 METHDOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 36 Sampling ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 36 Coding Categories ................................ ................................ ............................ 37 Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 39 Coding and Reli ability ................................ ................................ ....................... 40 4 FINDINGS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 42 Organization Profile and Social Media Placement ................................ .................. 42 Resea rch Questions ................................ ................................ ............................... 43 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 47 6 CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH ..... 54
6 APPENDIX: CODEBOOK ................................ ................................ ............................. 57 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 73
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 5 1 NGO sectors categorized by NGO type ................................ .............................. 42 5 2 Number of social media types used by INGOs and CNGOs .............................. 44 5 3 Social media platforms used by I NGOs and CNGOs ................................ ......... 45 7 1 INGOs social media use fact sheet ................................ ................................ .... 55
8 LIST OF ABBREVIATION S CDB China Development Brief CNGO Chinese non governmental organization GONGO Government organized non government al organization INGO International non governmental organizations NGO Non governmental organization NPO Non profit organization PVO Private voluntary organization
9 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication DIFFUSION VS. CENSORSHIP: AN EXPLORATION INTO THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS IN MAINLAND CHINA By Chen Chen Decem ber 2010 Chair: Belio A. Mart nez Major: Mass Communication The adoption of social media among organizations is a world wide trend. Social media have increasingly been described as essential tools for activist and non governmental organizations. However little is known about whether the Chinese non governmental organization sector has embraced this trend. Through a content analysis of 22 7 non governmental organization w ebsite s, this study examines: (1) whether non governmental organizations in China tak e this opportunity to adopt new media technology, (2) how they utilize social media, and (3) whether go vernment Internet censorship affec ts the diffusion of social media. The results suggest that the social media adop tion rate among Chinese non governmenta l organizations is low and that Internet censorship has a negative effect on the diffusion. Moreover, this study sheds light on the Internet censorship strategies of the Chinese government and adds to the literature on the diffusion of social media in a ho stile context.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Social media is being adopted around the world and this represents a growing trend. Previous studies (Avidar, 2009; Gillin, 2008; Ingenhoff 2009; Seo et al. 2009; Wright & Hinson, 2008) demonstrate the diffusion of social media around the world. N o longer a buzz word s ocial m edia is an accepted practice and strategic tool among public relations practitioners (Eyrich, Padman, & Sweetser, 2008). This increase in popularity of social media is driven by its interactive and conversation building features that assist practitioners to achieve communication goals (Waters, Burnett, Lammb, & Lucas, 2009), as well as to empower practitioners (Diga & Kelleher, 2009). Social media are convenient contemporary communication tools among Chinese Internet users (Oshiro, 2009). A s communication innovations s ocial media enable ordinary Chinese Internet users to circumvent the control of mass media and information by authorities. In fact, the diffusion of social media has had a direct impact on the spread of democracy in Chinese society; that is, the spread of new media technologies empowers grassroots organizations to bypass authorities and can facilitate the development of democracy and social change in China (Chow, 2006). At this ti me t here are no empirical studies about the adoption of social media by Chinese communication practitioners, especially those who work for non governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs play a significant role in addressing social issues in support of the pu (Naud, Froneman, & Atwood, 200 4 p. 88) because of their shortage of funds for mass communication strategies. However, the arrival of social media offers them a new opportunity to accomp lish their goals as social change agents.
11 This study is guided by the d iffusion of i nnovation t heory (Rogers, 1995; 2003) to explore the adoption of social media by NGOs in mainland China and the i mpact of government censorship on the diffusion of these m edia. It contributes to enhancing our understanding of the role social media play in the day to day communications of NGOs in Chinese society. A comparative content analysis is conducted between international NGOs (INGO) operating in China as well as Chine se NGOs (CNGO) to assess: (1) the difference in rate s of adoption, (2) the social media forms adopted, (3) the purpose of social media adopted, and (4) the impact of censorship on diffusion of social media.
12 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Diffusion of Innova tion The theoretical framework guiding this study is the th eory of diffusion of innovation It refers to the spread of abstract ideas concrete objects, or actual practices through certain channels over a period of time within a social system (Rogers, 1983 ; 1986; 1995 ). Rogers (1995) further state or technologies as communication messages can result in certain alterations or consequences in the structure and function of a soci al system The diffusion process occur s in any societal entity, such as individuals famil ies communities, organizations or nation s (Wejnert, 2002). The study of diffusion of innovations can be traced back one hundred y ears to on The Laws of Imitation (Rogers, 1995) In the early st age s of diffusion research, scholars from different backgrounds only focused on their own field s and paid too much attention to the distinctiveness of diffusion research. However, six ty years later, R ogers in his 1962 publication, Diffusion of I nnovations suggest ed that most diffusion studies followed two principles: (1) the shape of the diffusion process over time approache s an S shaped curve and (2) early adop t e rs have an advantage over later adopt ers in terms of social or econom ic status (Rogers, 1995). From then on, the diffusion of innovation has gradually evolved into a more unified, concerted and convergent approach (Wejnert, 2002) Diffusion research covers a wide range of fields, such as agr iculture ( Griliches 1957 ), rural sociology (Ryan & Gross, 1943), educ ation (Carlson, 1965; Mort, 195 8 ), public health (Coleman et al. 1966; Menzel & Katz, 1955),
13 and political science (Starr 1991; Valente, 1993; Volden, Ting, & Carpenter, 2008) among ot her fields. One of the most important research questions in diffusion research is whether an obviously beneficial innovation can be adopted spontaneously. Both empirical data ( Dvorak et al., 19 36 ; Molander, Reit, & Dahlen, 1996 ) and practical cases ( David, 1986 ; Holloway, 197 5 ; Mostel ler 1981 ) indicate that innovation s do not sell themselves, and are sometimes resisted by potential adopters. For example, it took over 150 years for British authorities to adopt the use of citrus for scurvy prevention in Brit ish sailors (Mosteller, 1981). More recently, public health practitioners in Peru spent two years introducing a water boil ing campaign, but only 5 % of local households actually adopted this new healthy practice (Wellin, 1955). Therefore, the recognition of an innovation s advantageousness does not necessarily lead directly to its diffusion Rogers (1995) suggests that three other elements should be taken into consideration in the diffusion process: communication channels, time, and environmental context. Co of the diffusion process is the information exchange through which one individual (2002) em phasi o n the diffusion process. He suggests that mass media due to their broad coverage and high efficiency in reach ing the greatest number of audiences and inform ing potential adopters about the existence of an innovation are highly eff ective in creating public awareness of an innovation. Conversely interpersonal channels are more effective in modifying the attitudes and behaviors that lead potential ad opters to accept the innovation Several diffusion investigations (Becker, 1970;
14 Carl son, 1965; Coleman, Katz & Menzel, 1966; Kearns, 1992) indicate that interpersonal network s are more effective than mass media in persuading individuals to accept innovations. For instance, a study of the diffusion of computers among the top administrators in Pittsburgh schools (Kearns, 1992) implied that opinion leaders play a sources do Networks trump mass media because of the very nature of diffusion, which is a social proce ss, where potential adopters refer to and imitate their peers and those they perceive to be their superiors who have previously adopted the innovation ( Rogers, 1995; Rogers & Kincaid, 198 0 ; Whyte, 1954). The diffusion of interactive innovation, such as soc ial media, can cause what Rogers (1995) called the critical mass effect. That is, the spread of interactive innovation occurs only if a sufficient number of individuals adopt it because the interactive quality determines that an innovation has no utility u ntil other me mbers in the group also adopt it With the rising number of adopters, the utility of an interactive innovation increases for the whole system (Rogers, 1995) depend so. The t ime factor in diffusion research can be measured in three different way s: (1) an individual s adoption decision process (2) different adopters adoption rate s and (3) an entire system s adoption rate (R ogers, 1995 ). D iffusion research sur passe s other behavior al science research by including time as a variable, but the measurement of the time dimension is compromised by introduci ng the recall problem in which respondents recall the time at which they adopted a new idea which has a high rate of inaccurac y (Coughenour, 19 6 5; Menzel, 1957).
15 Environmental context is a factor refer red to as 10). James (1993) proposed that the presence or absence of externalities, to some extent, has a determinant effect on the adoption of innovations, because innovations are not independent of their environmental contexts. Instead, innovations evolve in certa in cultural and social environments and their diffusion success relies on the harmony between the innovations and the contexts. For a ideological doctrine and political censo 315). I n Bulgaria f or example, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of economic and political pluralism, the changed social conditions led to individuals adoption of new communication technologies, such as home satellite TV reception equipment (Bakardjieva, 1992). On the collective level political conditions, systems, regulations and norms could inhibit or postpone the adoption of some innovations. For example, the s played crucial roles in hindering the introduction of democratic ideas and the alteration of the societal structure (Sedaitis & Butterfield, 1991). Non governmental Organizations A n on governmental organization (NGO) is the term describing different type s of groups and agencies that are independent of government cont rol, such as charities research institutes, professional associations, and so on. The United Nations Depart ment of Public Information (200 6 ) suggests that a non governmental organization is a non being and common good. NGOs have made valuable commitments to the resolution of world
16 problems in a variety of fields, ranging from poverty reduction to encouraging civic engagement ( Unite d Nations Depart ment of Public Information, 200 6 ; Willetts, 2002 ). The general aims of NGOs are to bring about political change, social well being, economic justice, or environmental sustainability (Shaw, 1996). Minear (1987) add s that development educatio n, value promotion, and policy advocacy are primary missions for NGOs. Two terms private voluntary organization (PVO) and non profit organization (NPO) need to be clarified since they can be used interchangeably with NGO. Gorman (1984) define s nongovernmental (private), tax exempt, non profit He suggest s that two terms, NGO and PVO are equivalent except that the first is more commonly used in the United S t ates while the second prevail s in the European context. Salamon and Anheier (1992) classify NPOs into various subcategories, such as charity, foundation, social welfare organization, and pro fessional and trade association. They suggest that NG O is actually one type of N PO which aim s to bring about economic and social change. Badelt (199 9 ) suggests that NGO and NPO can be used interchangeably and their only difference lies in the fact that the term NGO is mostly used in an international organization al context to make a d istinction between government organizations and private organizations while t in the Anglo S axon world, where the choice of terminology has expressed the difference between a non profit and a for (p. 12). In summary t his study adheres to Badelt s (1999) and s uggestion s that those three terms NGO, NPO, and PVO are equivalent and alternative.
17 The emergence of NGOs in mainland China is the result of the fast development and evolution of Chi nese society in recent decades. The number of NGOs ha s increased from about 6 ,000 in 19 78 to about 400 ,000 by the end of 2007 (Lu, 2009 ). Generally, Chinese NG Os, like their counterparts in W estern countries, represent numerous fields including child welf are, environmental protection, labor and migration, HIV/AIDS, women's rights, and the like D climate, h owever, NGOs in China, to some exten t, are different from those in W estern countries. NGOs in China are not typical n on governmental organizations because they are usually not independent from the Chinese government. According to Gordenker and Weiss (1995), NGOs in China tend to be government organized NGOs (GONGOs), which are founded by developing nation s governments i n order to manage aid and funds donated by other states to the domestic NGO secto r. NGOs in China are an extension of the government because these organizations need government financial and political support and at the same time have to accommodate the demands of the Chinese government Chen (2009) are founded and run by independent individuals while most receive financial and policy support s from government at different between NGOs and the Chinese government is described as (Lu, 2009 p.1 0 ). There are both merits and disadvantages to government control over NGOs (Chen, 2009). The tasks of NGOs in Chi na are limited to information and education rather than facilitating political or social movements, because NGOs have to adhere to the requirement s of the Chinese governm ent. However, the underlying merit
18 of this mechanism is that government control incre ases the credibility of NGOs since the Chinese public tends to have more faith in government credibility than ot her institution s or group s (Chen, 2009). Given the close relationship between NGOs and the Chinese government, this research divides NGOs in Chi na into two categories: international NGOs operating in China (maintaining a high level of autonomy) and Chinese NGOs (low level autonomy due to their being directly managed by the Chinese government ). Social Media in General Definition While there is no universally accepted definition of social media, most researchers agree that the following features can be used to conceptualize it: digital media, user generated content, and interaction ( Kaplan & Haenlein, 20 10 ; Marken, 2009; Seo, Kim, & Yang, 2009; Tred innick, 2006; Xiang & Gretzel, 2009). Kaplan and Haenlein (20 10 ) and Xiang and Gretzel ( 2009) agree that social media e volved from Web 2.0 technology i s a g r oup of Internet based tool s. Moreover, Marken (2009) and Tredinnick (2006) both highlight social me about people, where people share opinions, insights, experiences and perspectives with while Tredinnick (2006) emphasizes that the essence of social media is user parti cipation and user creation. In addition, s 10 p. 10), which enables users to share and exchange information or experiences with others. Interactio n is seen as an essential feature of social media, as it facilitates two way communication and dialog building (Eyrich, Padman, & Sweetser, 2008). This study f 10
19 applicatio ns that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user Form an an d Haenlein (20 10 ) divide social media into three levels: (1) such as Wikipedia are at the lowes t level, through which users can only share text based information; ( such as YouTube and Face b ook which e nable users to share multimedia content and (3) online games and social worlds the highest level which can create virtual world s that imitate to Eyrich et al. (2008) in trying to find out which one s are most popular for public relations practitioners identif y eighteen types of social media. The eighteen types are gaming, virtual worlds, micro blogging/presence applica tions, text messaging, videoconferencing, PDAs, instant message chat, social event/calendar systems, social bookmarking, news aggregation/RSS, and e email, intranet, blogs, videoconferencing, podcast, and video shari ng are the most popular applications that public relations practitioners actually use. Seo et al. (2009) examine how transnational NGO s use social media in their public relations activities. They only investigate six types of social media intranet, blog, podcast, video cast/vlog, and wiki and f ind that intranet is the most commonly used type by NGOs. Purpose Social media serve numerous purposes for non profit and for profit organizations alike. As a daptations of World Wide Web technologies, s ocial med ia contain high
20 speed, low cost, and widespread features. Eyrich et al. (2008) indicate that the largest benefit of social media lies in its potential to accelerate the speed of communication. They suggest that social media allow organizations to better ta rget selected audiences which make communication efforts more effective and efficient. S ocial media differ from traditional websites in that they can better engage in dialog and conversation between organizations and publics. The interactive and relation ship building features are core values of social media (Eyrich, Padman, & Sweetser, 2008). Several studies show that users employ social media in different ways to become involved with organizations ( Eyrich, Padman, & Sweetser, 2008; Seltzer, & Mitrook, 20 07; Seo, Kim, & Yang, 2009; Waters, Burnett, Lammb, & Lucas, 2009). N aud, Froneman, and Atwood (200 4 ) suggest that applying the two way symmet rical model of public relations to Internet based technologies can help non profit organizations build and mainta in long term and dialogic relationship with publics. They overcome such (Naud, Froneman, & Atw ood, 200 4 p. 88). Seltzer and Mitrook (2007) propose public relations pr actitio to cultivate relationship s with key stakeholders They identify three strategies in relationship cultivation that are helpful for establishing ongoing relationship with stakeholders disclosure, information disse mination, and involvement.
21 Another merit of social media is the potential they offer for empowerment. Empirical studies (Diga & Kelleher, 2009 ; Porter, Trammell, Chung, & Kim, 2007 ) support that digital media use, such as blogs and Facebook can affect p ublic relations in d it to be a gradual process from the lowest level seeking information, doing research, a nd identifyi ng issues to the highest level building relationships. They suggest that public relations practitioners become increasingly active within organizations as their blog usage evolves. Diga and Kelleher (2009) survey 115 members of Public Relations Society o f America and discover that frequent use of social media improves public relations enhances their prestige and impel s some practitioners to establish their own companies and even achieve industry leadership. werment feature has greater meaning for individuals than for corporations. The vital benefit of social media is to empower under represented groups or individuals politically, as well as financially. Wattam (2010) suggests that social media contribute to i ndividual empowerment through any or all of three manifestations of power : psychological power, economic power, and political power. Regarding psy chological empowerment, he argues that social media use can help individuals make new friends or get better in volved in communities, which enable them to build self confidence and overcome senses of isolation or depression. Concerning economic empowerment, he suggests that social media use can encourage individuals to pursue employment or to further education. Reg arding political empower ment he sta tes that using social media enable s grassroots organizations to influence the decision making
22 process, to challenge authorities, and to participate in mass ive mobilization s t o bring about social change s NGOs and activi st groups witness their power growing due to the arrival of new (Naud, Froneman, & Atwood, 200 4 p. 88) compared to big corporations because of their shortage o f funding for investing in a wide range of advertising or public relations measures. However, new media technologies have changed this situation. The to activists (Coombs, 19 98, p. 290); that is, by using new communication technologies (Naud, Froneman, & Atw ood, 200 4 p. 88). Naud et al. ( 200 4 ) investigate how NGOs in South Africa with limit ed resources employ new communication technologies in their public relations efforts. They suggest that new communication technologies can be used for environmental scann ing client research issue management, and relationship b uilding A survey conducted by Seo et al (2009) reveals that social media as inexpensive and interactive commu nication channels can help transnational NGOs better fulfill the following objectives: (1) improv ing organization al reputation (2) fundraising (3) publicity (4) interacting w ith the general public, and (5) building relationships with other NGOs. Waters et al (2009) argues that non profit organizations use social media for three purposes: disclosure, information dissemination, and
23 interactivity encourages publics to get involved with the organization, which is the most important reason for NPOs to engage in soci al media use. Nonetheless social media utility has a negative side Gorry and Westbrook (2009) suggest that digital media can Internet users and organizations (p.195) On the one hand, by using social media, users are often overwhelmed with a vast amount of information, fac ts, reviews, and ratings, which wastes their time and may distract them from the useful messages (Gorry & Westbrook, 2009 ). On the other hand, social media can increase an organization s cost to m anage its online information. S ocial media s widespread and high speed features are vulnerable to spread rumors or negative comments that may threat en an reputation and image. Social Media Adoption Social media adoption is a worldwide trend In the U.S., Wright and Hinson (2008) social media have changed the way their organizations (or their client organizations) survey, 57% of the respondents reported that profit organizations, Curtis et al. (2009) found that among 409 respondents, nearly all (n = 404) indicated that they used at least one of the 18 types of social media that were identified in the study. In summary, the acceptance ratio of social media has witnessed a steady growth among U.S. communication practitioners. adoption of social m edia. Avidar (2009) investigate d the situation of Israeli public
24 relations practitioners' use of social m edia. A web based sur vey reveal ed that Israeli practitioners we re familiar with social media among 400 respondents, 78% use d social medi a but the application wa s still at a low level since 60% of respondents only ha d limited experience using social media. As for non profit organizations, Seo et al (2009) survey ed 230 communication representatives of transnational NGOs, finding that 54.7% of participants said that they use d social media, and that promoting an organi we re the two most important functions for social media usage. Social Media in China Although the exact date of social media emergence in China cannot be identified, for most Chinese, 2005 represents the beginning of the social media era. This is the year when two important website s Xiaonei.com Facebook replica) and Sina Blog (the most famous blog site in China) were established (Rand, 2009). The birth of these two platforms implies that social media were no longer buzz words in China, but communication tools accessible to the general public. Chinese social media, like their counterparts in W estern countries, exist in a wide variety of categories: social networking site s (Xiaonei.com Renren.com ), v ideo s haring (Tudou.com Youku.com ), m icroblogging (Fanfou ), p hoto s harin g (Yupoo.com ), b logs (Sina is no less than in other countries. China has the greatest number of Internet users (3 60 million), accounting for 31.6% of the Chinese population and 2 1.4% of the world In ternet user popula tion (Internet World Stats, 20 10 ). 90% of Chinese netizens report they use social media compared to 76% of US a chat room and three times more
25 likely to micro Another example showing the prevalence of social media in China is that the Chinese Facebook Xiaonei.com has over 40 million registered users and 22 million daily visi ts (Rand, 2009). Social Media and Internet Censorship Internet Censorship in General Attempts to censor m edia ha ve existed throughout the history of human civilization Almost all types of media, ra nging from printed to digital, are subject to censorship to some ex tent. Cyber space is not exempt from the practice of censorship. In fact, Internet censorship is a globally prevalent phenomenon, not just limited to certain countries, such as China and Iran. Villeneuve (2007) argues that the number of countries that censor and monitor their citizens' use of the Internet has increased (p. 71) He identifies three mechanisms by which Internet censorship is practiced legal and regulating mechanisms, filtering and blocking technologies and Internet surveillance and suggests that most governments strategically combine these three methods to execute Internet censorship. Internet censorship exists for several reasons T hese include social support, maintaining a nation s culture and value independence, economic co ncern, and legal and political reason s First f ro m the perspective of the general public Internet censorship acquire s certain social support Public opinion surveys (Anderson & Reinhardt, 1 987; Erskine, 1970; McClosy & Brill, 1983; Wolak, Mitchell, & Fin kelhor, 2007; Zellman, 19 75) have repeatedly demonstrate d accept censorship as appropriate in specific situati ons, such as pornography, c yberbullying and h ate
26 speech. Lambe (2004) suggests that attitudes toward censors hip are influenced by demographic, psychological, and sociopolitical variables. For example, older people are more likely to agree with censorship in the case of pornographic content, whereas y oung people are more willing to support censor ship of hate speech (Lambe, 2004). In addition media censorsh ip can be used to protect and maintain developing nations culture value s, and independence. S ome developing countries including China, bel ieve t hat media are the key culprit s in promot i ng Wester n popular cultures that harm tradition al values and cultural identity (Ambekar, 2008) Therefore, media censorship is considered to be a useful tactic to p revent communication imperialism and cultural synchron ization (White, 2001) A nother reason that Internet censorship occurs is economic Digital space is a n enormous big market. For instance, YouTube s 2010 annual revenue is estimated to exceed $1 billion (Kafka, 2010). However this thrivin g market is dominated by Western countries, especially the U.S., as most digital applications originate in and are owned by U.S. interests. Limiting certain international applications accessibility in China enables domestic alternatives to gain market sha re which is just like using tariff s to control import to protect domestic markets. The Google China standoff is a good example. When Google announced that it would exit China, plenty of Chinese search engine companies lin ed up to replace Baidu th e Chinese version of Google is one of the biggest winners as its stock price soared 50% after announcement and its third quarter revenue increased by 124% reaching $165 million ( Zhou, 2010).
27 S ome who study the topic (Gelb, 2010 ; G rij pink & Pr ins, 2001 ; Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2007 ) argue that governments should employ legal means to regulate cyberspace and punish those who cause harm T hompson (2007) suggests that t he need to p rotect individual privacy is the primary reason to legislate and censor cyberspace He states that information published online can affect a person's public persona and career, and that it is privacy. The second reason is the effort to create a safe Internet e nvironment, as online hara ssment, cyber hate and cyberbullying are becom ing increasing dang er s for Internet users. Cyber hate is always described in the context of political extremist groups that encourage anti social engagement. Online harassment refers to any online misbehavior that hurts or embarras ses another person, while cyberbullying focuses on school related incidents (Wolak, Mitchell, & Finkelhor, 2007). The detrimental effects of these three phenomena are evident not only i n the large number of v ictims, but also in the frequently severe cruelty of these acts. A survey (Zhu, 2010) conducted among over 600 Hong Kong elementary school children reveals that about half of them said they were victims of cyberbullying. In America and China alike, t here a re known instances where young people have killed themselves due to cyberbullying or online harassment (Fang & Yu, 2009; Gelb, 2010) Given that the reasons given above are positive aspects of Internet censorship, in the final analysis, the negatives outw eigh the benefits because p olitical concern is the primary consideration for governments which can suppress freedom of speech and society as a whole Callamard (2006 a ) argues that freedom of speech is an empower ing human right which allows individuals t o obtain other rights such as rights
28 to satisfy physiological or psychological needs (p. 3) Therefore, he suggests that freedom of speech must be unconditionally protected regardless of whether or not th is freedom is practiced ethically or responsibly, because limiting this right can damag e fre edoms pertaining to human rights. In addition, Internet censorship blocks the free flow of information, which in the long term, damages the advanc ement of technology and information exchange. Jimmy Wales ( 2007), the founder of Wikipedia, indicates that there are increasing challenges imposed on the Internet industry concerning the implementation of censorship by governments worldwide. In his opinion, the Internet offers users various advantages which include easy access to information and informal education, and Wikipedia is one of the numerou s services established in cyber space that offer opp ortunit ies for individuals to acquire information for free ; however, action s carried out by governments to limit Internet a ccess will hinder the public from access ing free information. Fu rthermore, censorship can be used by government s to watch over Internet users. Although some scholars insist that reasonable regulations on freedom of expression are necessary to prevent diss eminating unfair discrimination, pornography or hate speech (Anders on & Reinhardt, 1987; Lambe, 2004), the question is what is reasonable ? For example, the defini tion of cyb er hate varies from country to country, making it impo ssible to reach a consensu s, let alone a universal agreement on Internet content regulation. Theref ore government s may mis use cyber hate regulations to exercise censorship. Article 19, an international NGO against censorship, suggests that e usually and effectively used to muzzle
29 opposition and dissenting voices, silence minorities, and reinforce the dominant political, b p. 4). G overnment s can also use Internet censorship for inform ation control and to persecute activists. Activists historically have been labeled as powerless stakeholders ( Naud, Froneman, & Atwood, 200 4 p. 88 ) But their contributions should not be ignored They raise public awareness, shape public opinion and e ncourage actions against authorities. With social media, activists have new tools that can make their message more potent Coombs (1998) has used stakeholder theory to explain how Internet based communication technologies empower activists to work to chang e what they perceive to be irresponsible behavior by big organizations. Zheng (2008) suggests that new media technology provides new sources of information and a n environment for civic engagement, and the linkage between new media and civic engagement is a good example of partic ipatory communication, which can bring changes to a society. There is, h owever, a negative side to all this communication. F or instance, if governments were entitled to regulate hate speech an often nebulous concept on the Internet, some activist organizations would be deliberately categorized as illegal or dangerous groups. Then, communication practitioners who post anti government materials on the Internet especially those who work for human rights organization s coul d be hara ssed, arrested, interrogated or even jailed on the grounds of cyber hat e regulations. Diffusion of Democracy and Government Internet Censorship Diffusion of innovations is not limited to the dissemination of concrete objects, such as certain technolog ies Rather, abstract ideas, models, values and even ideologies can also be widely introduced and adopted. Democracy exemplifies this kind of innovation. The diffusion of democracy occurs when the concept of democracy
30 n, 1995, p. 41) to other countries or societies And when successful democrati z ation is established in one nation this may encourage democratization in other countries (Uhlin, 1993). D emocratic diffusion has been given various labels, such as on effect has been studied several times (Huntington, 1991; Ray, 199 5 ) s Media pla y an important role in the process of diffusing democracy Historically, social movement groups have incorporated a wide variety of communication technologies ranging from newspaper s and radio, to television and film, into their social change struggles (M cCaughey & Ayers, 2003). Since the mid 1970s, a steady growth has occurred in information and communication technologies and their application in development (Rogers, 1986). In the 1990s, Internet technology was extended to developing countries including China. Digital media promoting civic engagement and participation in activism ha ve become a new communication oppo rtunity for NGOs, because cyber space, in many countries, is under less strict government control and censorship (McCaughey & Ayers, 2003). Rec ently, th e number of Chinese Internet users has soared to the highest in the world, reaching 338 million ( China Internet Network Information Center 2009). With the rising popularity of the Internet, many new terms have risen up in Chi n ese cyber space, incl uding digital [binding] the Internet and democracy
31 2008, p. 15). That is, the digital media per se can be regarded as th e catalyst for democratization. More recently social media have assert ed their rising power around the globe. For example, real time communication platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have beg u n to demonstrate their political impact, as they played s ignificant roles in the election of Bara c k Obama, the Iran election crisis, the Haiti an earthquake, and the China standoff. The CNN journalist Ben media have spread the word about what's happening within these natio ns, long before the mainstream media prints the story. These tools have also created a level of technology invented by Western countries, which maintain ideologies and political systems that are distinct from those of Chinese society. The interactivity, quickness and omnipresence of social media make them beneficial communication tools for ordinary u ndermine the Chinese government s position as of social media in Chinese society has encouraged the adoption of new media technology, as w ell as the diffusion of democratic practices. When s tudying social media adoption in mainland China, it is inevitabl e that the topic of Chinese government s Internet censorship comes up According to diffusion theory, the diffusion process does not occur in a vacuum, but in complicated social contexts, and its success depend s on the cooperation between the environment and the innovation (Wejnert, 2002). The g can increase the cost
32 of adopting social media, and eve n renders so cial media unavailable in specific regions or during certain periods of time. In the past, the Chinese government completely controlled the production and t he dissemination of information because the government owned all media institutions. Since 1994, th e introduction of media commercialization to mainland China has given people hope of reduc ing the most or all media. However, the process has fail ed to change the passive role of the media, which still need to adhere to government requirements and demand s Nowadays, China is undergoing a cyberspace revolution. The huge number of Internet users who have unprecedented access to worldwide information inevitably exerts a tremendous impact on the evolution of civil society in mainland C hina by creating a bottom up force against the top down propaganda and censorship (Chow, 2006, p. 9) By acknowledging the enormous powers and potential threats of social media, the Chinese government has implemented a series of measures and techniques t o enhance Internet censorship. The government blocks w ebsite s that discuss the Dalai Lama, the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protest and certain spiritual movements (Lee & Wang, 2009) Zhao (2008) analyzes the which is gu ided by the he Internet (p. 37). He review ed the history of the Internet s development and the history of Internet regulati on in China, and state s that t he government on the one hand seeks to benefit fro m the economic advantages offered through openness to the global information, on the other hand it intends to guard against the harmful influences that the [digital media] may have upon social values and national integrity (p. 37) Two event s the Green Dam C ensorware
33 Incident and the Urum qi Riot that took place in 2009 represent the Chinese rts to exert control over cyber space. The Green Dam Censor ware Incident O n June 1 st 2009, the Chinese government announced that a censo rware system would be mandatory on any new PCs sold in mainland China. The system, called Green Dam Youth Escort, helps to filter out what the government deems unhealthy information from the Internet, such as pornography and violence. Although the governme nt insist ed that the censorware aim ed to prevent you th from accessing unsavory information online many voice d the critici sm that the software was a government effort to extend its s because the filter automatic ally updated by t he government see m ed to target political topics more th an pornography (Rebecca, 2009 ; Wolchok, Yao & Halderman 2009 ). s announce ment strong public resistance took place domestically and internationally. Onli ne polls conducted by the top four Chinese web portals including Sina Netease Tencent and Sohu all revealed Chinese For instance 85 % of the respondents who participated in the online polls on Sohu said t hey would never consider using the software ( Weng 2009). Meanwhile, international concerns were aroused. The U.S. government delivered a formal critici sm on the compulsory installation of the system and big transnational corporat ions including Microsoft and Google expressed their concerns about the censorware (Claburn, 2009) Finally, on June 30, China's industry and information technology minister, Li
34 leaving users free to the Chinese government indefinitely delayed the compulsory installation of the filtering software. The Urumqi Riots and the b locking of s ocial n etworking s ites On July 5 2009 r iots be tween Uyghurs, an ethnic M usli m minority and Han the ethnic Chinese majority broke out in Urum qi, a sizable city in northwestern China. The riot s left 197 people dead and more than 1,7 00 injured (Hu & Lei, 2009). After the July 2009 Urumqi R the Chinese government blocked access to several social media networking sites, including Facebook and because Facebook was regarded as the trigger for the riot s. Even though Western governments and other international organizations protested that blocking social networking sites represented a violation of freedom of expression, the Chinese government insisted that the action was necessary to maintain security and peace in Urumqi. The good use of its control over the nation's technological infrastructure to stop the spread of As of October 2010 Facebook and are still not available in mainland China. Research Questions Previous literature suggest s that the adoption of social media among organizations is a world wide trend (Avidar, 2009; Gillin, 2008; Ingenhoff 2009), but very little research has invest igate d social media adoption in the context of strong government censorship. In order to examine the adoption of social media by the Chinese NGO sector, the following research questions are proposed to explore the following : (1) the adoption rate of social media, (2) how NGOs use social media, (3) if there are any differences
35 between international NGOs and Chinese NGO s and (4) the impact of censorship on social media diffusion: RQ 1: What percentage of international NGOs in China adopt social media? RQ2: What percentage of Chinese NGOs adopt social media? RQ 3: What forms of social media are they using? RQ 4: Are there any differences in social media forms between international NGOs in China and Chinese NGOs? RQ 5: For what purposes do they use social media? RQ 6: Are there any differences in purpose of social media use between int ernational NGOs in China and Chinese NGOs? RQ 7: What forms of social media used by NGOs are censored by the Chinese government? RQ 8: What kind s of content present in the social media tend to be censored by the C h inese government? RQ 9: What NGO sectors tend to be censored the most? Past research suggests that the diffusion of innovation is dependent on the environment in which the innovation spreads (James, 1993; Wejnert, 2002). Chinese society ex is ts in a strong government censored context, which is a crucial element that may inhibit the adoption of social media. Domestic NGOs and in ternational NGOs differ in the independence level. All domestic NGOs are under the direct management of the government, whereas international NGOs may have more freedom. Th us, the following hypothesis is developed to examine whether NGO type is a reliable factor to predict the social media adoption rate H 1: International NGOs have a higher adoption rate of social media than Chinese NGOs.
36 CHAPTER 3 METHDOLOGY Research ind icates that not only is social media adoption a growing trend all over the world, but that this trend is of particular importance for th ose NGOs that aim to bring about democracy and social change to Chinese soci ety. In addressing this issue, c ontent analy examine the content of reco & Dominick, 2006, p. 150), is used as the research method. On the one hand, analyzing information and content present i n NGO w ebsite s can easily determine : (1) what forms of social media NGOs use, (2) for what purpose they use social med ia, and (3) what forms or content are blocked. On the other hand, Internet censorship is such a sensitive subject in mainland China that other re search methods, such as survey s and interview s cannot guarantee a sufficient number of respondents or reliable results. Sampling The sample of Chinese NGOs has been selected from China NPO.org one of the largest and most reliable government run evaluat ors of NPO s in China. According to the China NPO.org, there are 2 025 government certified NPOs in mainland China. Among these, 144 are foundations and 42 are private ly run NPOs that get no funding or direct management from the government. These 186 organi zations have been chosen as the sample because in accordance with the concept of a n NGO, they are non government al organizations that aim to promote the public good with no direct control from the government, whereas the remaining 1 839 organizations are a typical NGOs excluded from the sample because they are either trade or professional associations that promote business or professional interests of an industry or are under direct
37 government management organizations with website s are included in the final sample. Consequently, only 110 organizations 96 foundations plus 14 non government funded organizations that have website s are included in the Chinese NGO sample. The sample of international NGOs operating in China is drawn from the China Development Brief (CDB) E stablished in 1996 CDB is an independent, non profit publication organization devoted to strengthening constructive engagement between China and other countries ( CDB 2009 ). It publishes the China Development Directory, a database of international NGOs operating in China which is the most comprehensive web based index for searching international NGOs ( CDB 2009 ). According to the China Development Directory, 232 international NGOs are op erating in China, but only 186 have websites that can be accessed i n mainland China. The 117 organizations co mpose the samples because they either have Chinese language websites or at least have a specific web section or web page presenting their programs and events in China. Coding Categories In general, there are five main coding categories and 33 variables (see Appendix ). The five cat egories are: (1) g eneral information, (2) social media p lacement, (3) social media form, (4) social media purpose and (5 ) the accessibility of social media. General information is the category that comprises such information about an NGO as NGO name, URL, type (domestic or international), and sector. The Directory ( CDB 2009 ) classifies NGOs in China into 17 sectors which include : child welfare, disaster prevention and relief, education, environment, ethnic minorities, gender, health, HIV/AIDS, labor and migration, law and rights, microfinance, NGO
38 development and capacity building, older people, rural and community develo pment, sexuality and rep roductive health, social needs/ disability, and volunteerism. In fact, the to some extent confusing as several sectors overlap, such as health, HIV/AIDS, and sexuality and reproductive health. Some Amer ican fundraising profes sionals (Charity Navigator, 2009 ; Salamon & Anheier, 1992 ; Waters, Burnett, Lamm, & Lucas, 200 9 ) suggest that non profit organizations should be classified into six categories (arts/humanities, education, healthcare, human services, public/society benefit and religion). Combining the American non profit classification system and the Chinese NGO classification system, this study categorizes NGOs into ten sectors: Culture and recreation Education and research Health Social services Environment and ecology Development and poverty reduction Law, advocacy and politics Voluntarism Religion Multiple purpose Social media placement is used to determine : (1) the location and the transparency of social media, (2) whether they are located i n obvious places such as a homepage or a specific social media section, or (3) whether the social media locate on certain platforms, which are independent from the NGO w ebsite which can only be found using search engines. Social media form the variable t o determine what kinds of social media are used by NGOs has two dimensions : social media platform and social media type Social media platform differs from social media type because it is the name of a concrete content provider. For instance, YouTube is a specific platform of multimedia sharing
39 while multimedia sharing is a social media type. The literature review suggests that 18 types of popular social media are commonly used in the U.S., which include blogs, intranets, podcasts, video sharing, photo s haring, social networks, wikis, gaming, virtual worlds micro blogging/presence applications, text messaging, videoconferencing, PDAs, instant message chat, social event/calendar systems, social bookmarking, news aggregation/RSS, and e & Sweetser, 2008, p.413). In order to by the author these 18 types, NGOs in China prefer only seven types, which are: blog, comments email, social networking site, microblog ging multimedia sharing, and news aggregation/RSS. The several others categories are added to guarantee that n o form of social media will be overlooked Social media purpose is th e variable that examines how NGOs use social media. Drawn from the literature review there are five main purposes for which NGOs are most like ly to use social media : (1) informing and educati ng (2) get ting involved, (3) donation, (4) organization publici ty and (5) establishing stakeholder relationship s Also, several other categories are added to guarantee that all purposes will be covered in this study. The final part of the codebook is the variable of social media accessibility, which examines which ty pes and platforms of social media are not r eachable by the general public i n mainland China, as well as what kinds of content in social media are censored. Analysis This study focuses on the use of social media by Chinese and i nternational NGO websites at several levels. It explores the presence, form and function of social media and the level of censorship imposed. In order to determine the level of censorship,
40 social media used by NGOs need to be viewed by two coders one in China and the other in the United States, who can examine which forms of social media are not acce ssible in mainland China, and what kind s of contents are censored. The unit of analysis in this study is a n that a n NGO use s Coding and Reliability Coders from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders are desirable for inter coder reliability. However, since this study is a dual language content analysis, language ability becomes one of the priorities for choosing coders. Moreover, the As a result a female Chinese graduate student located in mainland China was included as the coder. To determine the overall agreement among variables for this stud y, a four hour training session was cond ucted and a random sample of 10 % of the organizations was coded to establish the inter reliability of each variable. Four variables social networking s ites (0.648), stakeholder relationship s (0.679), organization publicity (0.537) and get ting involved (0.648) were below 0.7. Discussion among the coders followed regarding the choices coders made and final corresponding revisions were made to the codeboo k. Then, t wenty five additional random ly selected organizations from the sample were coded. In total, 20 % of the sample was coded to establish inter coder reliability. coder reli 0 702 to 1.00, and 0 731 to 1.00.
41 After establishing the inter coder reliability, the author and the coder wo rked together on variables 2 8 to 3 3 and coded all 227 cases t o explore the accessibility of social media in mainland China.
42 CHAPTER 4 FIN DINGS Organization Profile and Social Media Placement Before addressing the research questions, a descriptive review of organization s and their w eb sites that comprise the samp le used for the content analysis is helpful. A total of 227 NGOs, 117 international NGOs (INGO) and 110 Chinese NGOs (CNGO) were analyzed for this research. Table 5 1 provides a breakdown of the various NGO sectors. Health (23%), environment (18%), social services (17%), and education and research (14%) are the most common sectors for international NGOs that operate in mainland China; while education and research (32%), social services (20%), culture and recreation (15%), and health (15%) are the top four s ectors f or Chinese NGOs. No Chinese NGO focusing on religion was identified. Table 5 1. NGO sectors c ate gorized by NGO t ype NGO s ectors INGO 1 CNGO 2 Culture and Recreation 3 (2%) 16 (14%) Education and Research 16 (14%) 35 (32%) Health 27 (23%) 16 (14% ) Social Services 20 (17%) 22 (20%) Environment & Ecology 21 (18%) 4 (4%) Development & Poverty Reduction 9 (8%) 10 (9%) Law, Advocacy & Politics 6 (5%) 2 (2%) Volunt a rism 2 (2%) 1 (1%) Religion 2 (2%) 0 Multiple P urpose 11 (10%) 4 (4%) Total 117 ( 100 % ) 110 (100%) 1 International NGO 2 Chinese NGO The content analysis reveal s that less than 38% of the 227 organization web sites display social media on their homepage. For 32 CNGOs that actually use social media, all integrate social media into their homepage. While 54 out of 65 INGOs display social
43 media on their homepage. Further, the majority (63%, N = 227) of these organizations do not yet have a separate section that display social media. Finally, based on this content analysis, it takes an avera ge of 0.25 clicks to reach the first appearance of social medi a among the 97 organization web sites that utilize social media. Research Questions RQ1 and RQ2 explored the adoption rate of social media by NGOs. The results show that 56% INGOs (n = 65) use so cial media versus 29.1% CN GOs (n = 32). Going beyond testing to identify significant relationships, H1 asked how well the NGO type predicts their social media adoption rate. Chi square analysis supported t his hypothesis that the media adoption rate differ 2 (1, N = 227) = 16.226, p < 0 .01, t hat is, INGOs have higher adoption rate s than CNGOs. RQ3 addressed what forms of social media are used by NGOs. As discussed previously, in this study, two dimensions, type and platform, have been applied to explore social media form. Generally speaking, 227 NGOs applied 11 types (see Table 5 2) and 22 platforms (see Table 5 3) of social media. The types used by CNGOs are more text based, such as comments (23.6%, n = 26) and blogs (8.2%, n = 9); while INGOs a re more apt to use content community level social media, such as social networking sites (33.3%, n = 39) and multimedia sharing (33.3%, n = 39). In reference to social media platforms, CNGOs are more reluctant to utilize them, as only 7.3% of CNGOs (n = 8) use four platforms. In comparison, the international NGOs use of platforms is more diverse, as 46.2% of INGOs (n = 54) use 20 platforms. For RQ 4 this question asked if there wa s any difference between CNGOs and INGOs in the average number of social me dia forms used. T test analysis indicates that they differ in media types, t (225) = 6.272, p < 0 .001, with INGOs using more types than
44 CNGOs. On average, each CNGO uses 0.43 types of social media (SD = 0.829), whereas the mean of INGOs is 1.86 (SD = 2.263) Concerning platform number, t test analyses also suggests that there is a significant difference between them, t (225) = 6.444, p < 0 .001, with INGOs using more media platforms than CNGOs. The average platform number for a CNGO is 0.08 (SD = 0.307) whil e the mean for an INGO is 1.09 (SD = 1.606). Table 5 2. Number of s o cial media types u sed by INGOs and CNGOs Social M edia T ypes INGO 1 CNGO 2 Blog 23 9 Comments 13 26 Multimedia s haring 39 5 Social networking s ites 39 2 RSS 37 1 Email 32 2 Microblog g ing 27 1 Game 0 1 Intranet 2 0 Smart Phone 5 0 Wiki 1 0 1 International NGO s 2 Chinese NGO s RQ5 addressed the functionality of social media. For both international and Chinese NGOs, the majority use social media for information and education purposes (37.9%, n = 86) (CNGO 20.9% vs. INGO 53.8%), followed by encouraging involvement (27.8%, n = 63) and building stakeholder relationship (24.2%, n = 55). However, there is a little difference in the sequence of the other two purposes. Donation (5.5%, n = 12 ) has a higher percentage than organization publicity (3.6%, n = 4) among CNGOs, whereas INGOs pay more attention to publicity (33.3%, n = 39) than encouraging donations (21.4 %, n = 25).
45 RQ 6 ask ed if there were any difference in the purposes for which NG Os use social media. T test analyses indicates that CNGOs and INGOs differ in the number of purposes for usage, t (225) = 5.729, p < 0 .001. On average, each INGO uses social media for 1.83 purposes (SD = 2.069) while each CNGO uses social media for 0.57 p urposes (SD = 1.036). Table 5 3. Social media platforms u sed by I NGOs and CNGOs 1 International NGO s 2 Chinese NGO s RQ 7, RQ 8 and RQ 9 focus on social media censorship. Analysis of social media use by 227 organizations suggests that Chinese government censorship is focused more on certain platforms instead of media types or content. That is, the government blocked three social media platforms Yo uTube Facebook and Social Media Platforms INGO 1 CNGO 2 Facebook 37 0 YouTube 27 0 27 0 Sohu Blog 3 1 Sohu Microblog ging 2 0 Flickr 9 0 Youku 5 4 MySpace 4 0 Friends 0 0 Group 1 1 Tudou 2 0 LinkedIn 1 0 Photo Shelter 1 0 Blog Bus 1 0 iPhone 3 0 Sina Space 1 0 Sina Video 1 0 BlogSpot 1 0 Wiki 1 0 Type Pad 1 0 QQ 0 2 Sina Blog 1 0
46 regardless of content and usage. As no CNGOs used any of these three platforms, there was no censorship of CNGOs. However, as the three platforms were the top three most used platforms among INGOs, 41 INGOs (35%) were cens ored by the Chinese government. Since the government only blocked three platforms, regardless of what kinds of content are on them and what NGO sectors use them, this content analysis found no evidence to answer RQ 8, what kinds of content are blocked, and RQ 9, what NGO sector s are censored most.
47 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION This study examined the web sites of 227 NGOs in China and their usage of social media for the purpose of determining: (a) the adoption rate of social media by NGOs in China, and (b) the impa ct of government censorship on the diffusion of these media. A comparative content analysis was conducted between INGOs and CNGOs to assess any differences between them. The w ebsite s of each of these organizat ions were then content analyzed to assess the p resence or absence of a series of social media as well as the level of government censorship among them. Basic demographic information, such as organization type and sector, was also collected for each NGO. Previous literature suggests that the number of NGOs has surged in recent years and that Chinese NG Os, like their counterparts in W estern countries, represent numerous fields ranging from chil d welfare to HIV/AIDS (L u 2009 ). The study demonstrates that CNGOs like INGOs address v arious issues, includ ing education, health, social services, culture, and so on. However, CNGOs and INGOs differ in their emphasis on environmental issue s Environment protection is a heated topic among INGOs (18%), while only 4% of CNGOs address this issue. Jiang (2006) argue s that the environment has traditionally been neglected in China as great attention has been devoted to industrial development. The results of this study show that CNGOs do not take environmental sustainability as seriously as other issues, such as educati on (32%), social services (20%), and health (14%). Given that pollution is one of the biggest problem s and one of the most negative consequence s as the top ten most polluted cit ies
48 (Malone, 20 06), more and more concentration should be given to address ing environmental issues. Another aspect that deserves our scrutiny is that CNGOs cover almost all fields except religion. Among 110 CNGOs, not one is funded by a religious group a nd none work for religious causes In comparison, among 117 INGOs, there are ten organizations related to religion, with eight of them funded by religious groups, such as Islamic Relief and Hong Kong Christian Service, while the oth er two organizations dir ectly perform missionary work in China. on freedom of religious belief (Eckholm, 1998 ) beginning in 1997 religion is still a sensitive topic in mainland China, as the Chinese government has been accused of engag ing in campaigns to harass or arrest certain religious participants (Myers, 2008). While on one level, the absence of any CNGOs working for religious causes raises questions about the autonomy of CNGOs and whether CNGOs are subject to certain restrictions from g overnment policy that prevents the public from enjoying real religious freedom, at a nother level, there are still ten INGOs that can be used as communication channels for the general pu blic to access certain religious information. For th e Chinese public, h alf a loaf is better than none While social media have generated significant buzz among communication practi tioners all over the world, fewer than 43% of the 227 NGOs in China have adopted this trend. A mong CNGOs only about 29% have adopt ed it compared w ith 55% of INGOs Previous studies provide empirical data to help us understand the social media adoption rate in various contexts. The study by Curtis et al. (2009) suggest that among 409 American NGO respondents, nearly all (n = 404) indicated that they used at least
49 one of the eighteen types of social media. From a global perspective, Seo et al. (2009) surveyed 230 transnational NGOs and found that the social media adoption rate was 54.7%. American adoption rate is almost 100%, while internationally it is 55%. By comparison, in mainland China it is just as low as 29%. In addition, besides adoption rate, Chinese NGOs are also limited in social media types and the platforms they use. A mong the thirty two CNGOs that actually incorporate social media, the m ajority (n = 26) prefer comments, the type that include forums, BBS, or other kinds of online interactive posts, and nine of them utilize blogs. Multimedia sharing, microblogging, and social networking sites, which are the top types among American practiti oners (Curtis et al. 2009) and in international contexts (Seo et al. 2009) are seldom incorporated by CNGOs. Concerning platforms, CNGOs seem to be reluctant to use them, as the platform adoption rate is as low as 7%. For those who have actually utilized social media platforms, the majority of them prefer domestic one s, such as Youku ( the Chinese version of ) and QQ ( the Chinese version of Messenger) to popular international platforms, such as and Facebook The results of thi s research concerning INGOs are similar to those of previous studies (Eyricj et al. 2008; Seo et al. 2009) in the following ways: (a) the social media adoption rate of international NGOs is about 55% (b) multimedia sharing, email, microblog ging blog, a nd social networking sites are the most frequently used social media forms among communication practitioners in organizations regardless of whether they are for profit or non profit and (c) stakeholder relationship building and fundraising are important f un ctionalities social media serve
50 Nonetheless in this study the finding s concerning social media functionality are not in complete agreement with diffusion theory and previous social media literature. First of all, diffusion theory indicates that mass m edia are high ly efficien t at inform ing and creating awareness for a great number of potential adopters about the existence of an innovation, while interpersonal network s are more effective at modifying the attitudes and behaviors that lead potential adopte rs to accept the innovations (Rogers, 1995; Wejnert 2002 ) However, the results of this study suggest that both Chinese and international NGOs use social media for inform ation al and educational purposes the most (37.9%, n = 86), which is the original key function of mass media, followed by encouraging involvement (27.8%, n = 63), then relationship building ( 24.2%, n = 55) which interpersonal networks are particularly effective in delivering The fa ct that NGO communication staff devote more energy to usin g social media to disseminate information and education instead of other purposes does not support the diffusion theory. Second even though many researchers ( Eyrich, Padman, & Sweetser, 2008; Seltzer, & Mitrook, 2007; Seo, Kim, & Yang, 2009; Waters, Burn ett, Lammb, & Lucas, 2009 ) acknowledge that interactive and relationship building features are essential values of social media the usage of these features by communication practitioners work ing in the Chinese NGO sector is still in its initial stage s an d its potential ha s not yet been realized because social media have most commonly been used to distribute information or educate the public about certain issues. The empowerment and relationship building potentials of social media can help NGO s better enr oll volunteers and raise funds. Social media such as blog
51 microblogging, and social networking tools also provide new ways for organizations to connect and build relationships with their stakeholders. However, the results of this content analysis of 227 NGOs in China indicate that the majority o f organizations (57%) are not enthusiastic about embracing the social media trend. Even worse, Chinese domestic organizations lag far behind not only the United States, wh ich is the main source of popular social m edia technology and the reference society but also the global av erage level The analysis reveals that 18% of NGOs in China (n = 41) are affec ted by Internet censorship, and all of them are INGOs. These NGO s use of social media is blocked because of the ir usage of three platforms, consisting of Facebook and which CNGOs do not utilize. That is, NGOs in China will be censored as long as they use any of these three platforms. For example, two INGOs, Environmental Defense and Internatio nal Bridge to Justice, post videos on their homepages, but only the autho r in the U.S. can actually see the videos while the coder in mainland China just sees white boxes in the Web page layout. The results of this study are consistent with news reports about the Chinese government s Internet censorship (Ansfield, 2010; Helft & Barboza, 2010) claiming that the three major social media platforms are in accessible in mainland China. Internet censorship as an ine vitable aspect in Chinese cyber space p lays a significant role in the diffusion process of social m edia. According to the theory, t h e diffusion of innovations depends on the harmony between the environment and the innovation (Wejnert, 2002). Government Internet censorship, as an irresistible fo rce,
52 media unavailable in specific regions or during certain periods of time. Hence, given multiple factors contributing to the low adoption rate of social media among N GOs in China, government Internet censorship has severe negative effects on the adoption process Therefore, the results of this study support the diffusion theory that a hostile environment great ly hinders the diffusion of innovations. The strategy that the Chinese government use s sites is interesting. Due to the overwhelming amount of information available through social media, the Chinese government does not waste energy on filteri ng content; instead, it implements a more pragmatic ap proach that blocks major social media platforms. News reports (Ansfield, 2010; Helft & Barboza, 2010) suggest that Chinese officials consider social media tools, including social networking sites, microblogging and video sharing sites, which are major cha nnels for the proliferation of subversive information. They attempt to suppress these platforms while promoting the use of domestic alternatives that they believe are more cooperative with authorities needs, such as Youku (Chinese version of ), QQ (Chinese version of Messenger), and Sina Microblog ging This study demonstrates that the Chinese government has blocked the use of the three major U.S. platforms, which helps the domestic alternatives gain popularity among NGOs. Although some news agencie s suggest that the Chinese government has implemented mechanisms to police unregulated comments online, this study fails to find any evidence of the content that is available in the U.S. can also be access ed i n mainland China, except for those three major platforms. For example, three CNGOs and two INGOs have an abundance of harsh
53 displeasure toward government injustices, and three INGOs use Flickr to show the misery in which the poor in China live o r the highly polluted environment. Authorities dislike all these contents, but none of them are subject to any blocking. However, it is questionable to conclude that the Chinese government does not monitor c ontent, because perhaps these contents have not reached the government tolerance red line, or perhaps what we see on NGO w eb sites is already filtered by certain m echanisms that we are unaware of In addition, whether or not NGO staff members are subject to cyber attacks on their email accounts o r even Internet surveillance is also beyond the communic ation representatives to help us truly understand the impact of Internet censorship on them and their social media utility. NGOs in China, especially INGOs are facing tough choice s They could follow Chinese government suggestions to use domestic alternatives to converse with the public, or they could maintain their autonomy and dignity by co n tin uin g to us e the three global platforms, but at the expense of their ability to communicate with Chinese Internet users. An INGO both domestic and global platforms and let Internet users choose which one to use. For example, Act ion Aid posts videos on its web site and users can decide to watch the video either on or Youku This strategy guarantees the delivery of information and at the same, make s Chinese users aware of go vernment Internet censorship.
54 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH As social media have increasingly been described as one of the essential tools for activist and non governmental organizations (Diga & Kelleher, 2009; Water s, Burnett, Lammb, & Lucas, 2009), this content analysis is an exploratory study that examines: (1) whether NGOs in China take this opportunity to adopt new media technology, (2) how they utilize social media, and (3) whether gov ernment Internet censorship affe cts the diffusion of social media. This study provides a fact sheet (see Table 7 1) for communication practitioners to better understand the status quo of social media utility in the Chinese NGO s ector Furthermore, it provides insight for diffusion r esearchers by helping fill the gap regarding the diffusion of social media in a strong Internet censorship context a hostile environment. Meanwhile, the findings of this study may directly help social media providers who wish to do business in strong cen sorship contexts, because this study sheds the light on pragmatic strategies employed by the Chinese government to censor cyberspace blocking major international platforms while promoting domestic alternatives. C ontent analysis h owever, does not provi d e insight regarding the effects of social media censorship on Chinese Internet users. Future s tudies that give Internet users a voice regarding how Internet censorship influences their perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors should be developed and administered. In addition, multiple research methods, including survey s focus groups, and in depth interview s should be involved in investigating whether there are other strategies that the Chinese government uses to censor the Internet. For instance, re search ers c ould interview NGO staff members to examine whether they are subject t o cyber attacks or surveillance Moreover, this study
55 Table 7 1 INGOs social media use fact sheet Insights Twice the adoption rate of CNGO s More forms use d More purposes serve d Are more likely to use the three major social media platforms Challenges Are more vulnerable to government Internet censorship The use of the three major U.S. social media platfo r ms is blocked Are facing the difficult choice of whether to f ollow the Chinese government's move to block international platforms while promoting domestic alternatives Strategies Use international social media platfo r ms as well as domestic ones is a one shot research project, but future work could be extended to longitudinal studies that include time as a variable to measure the spread speed of social media among NGOs and which NGO sector adopt s social media first. Social media offer NGO s good opportunities to empower the mselves, to express themselves and to c hallenge government control A s social media gradually become s preferred mainstream communication vehicles, t he NGO sector in China should take advantage of th is trend If C hinese NGOs do not move aggressively to embrace this trend, they could e nd up marginalized and isolated from the rest of the cyber communities who use them for information or entertainment, the NGO sector in China has not embraced the trend and still engages in one way online communication as the adoption rate of CNGOs (29%) is only abo ut half of that at the international level ( 55%). In addition, CNGOs are also limited by the media forms and the purpose s for which they use social
56 media With the popu lari ty of social media rising in academic research as well as in the communication industry, governments tend to be more vigilant and alert. As the Chinese government has steadily toughened its Internet censorship, the digital space in which social media diffuse is becoming harsher. Therefore, communication practitioners and media researchers need to pay more attention to the us e of social media to better build dialog with the Chinese public, and to help reduce the impact of Internet censorship on their or ganizational communication efforts.
57 APPENDIX CODEBOOK Introduction 1. Coder Number: numeric 2. Coding Date: mm/dd/yyyy NGO Profile 3. NGO Name: string 4. NGO URL: string 5. NGO Type: CNGO 1: organizations selected from CNPO.org INGO operating in China 2: organizatio ns drawn from China Development Directory 6. NGO Sector: Culture and Recreation 1: o rganizations and activities in general and the following key words: arts, communicati on, museum, media, sports, promotion and appreciation of the humanities, preservation of historical and cultural artifacts, and commemoration of historical events which includes historical societies, language associations, reading promotion, war memorials and commemorative funds and associations. Education and R esearch 2: o rganizations and activities administering, providing, promoting, conducting, supporting and servicing education and research. ey words: literacy, primary or
58 secondary education, teaching, study, science, technology, learning, scholarship, research, etc. Health 3: organizations that promote disease prevention, sexual and reproductive health anti HIV / AIDS etc. Social S ervices 4 : organizations that advance human rights and welfare for the following groups: child ren ethnic minorities women, homosexuals, labo r er s and immigrants, elderly sp ecial needs / handicapped, etc. Environment and Ecology 5: environment and animal protection Development and Poverty Reduction 6: o rganizations promoting programs and providing services to help improve communities and the economic and social well bein g of society, including: rural and community development NGO development and capacity building microfinance employment and training, etc. Law, Advocacy and Politics 7: organizations that adv ocate civil rights, justice, political relationship among countries, and public safety. Voluntarism 8: promoting v olunteerism and enrolling volunteers. Religion 9 : promoting freedom of religion and freedom of religious practice. Multiple Purposes 10 : any combination of these sectors Ot her: write down the sector name. Social Media Placement 7. Homepage : i ndicate the presence or absence of social media, interactiv e services or similar applications located in the homepage of an NGO w ebsite Absence 0 Presence 1
59 8. Web section: i ndicate the presence or absence of a separate section in the NGO w ebsite dedicated to introduce and display social media. Absence 0 Pre sence 1 9. Click depth : numeric. Indicate the number of times you have to click (once you are in the homepage of the NGO w ebsite ), in order to reach the first mention or appearance of social media. 0 means it is on the homepage itself. If no social media, l eave blank. Social Media Form a. Social Media Type 10. Blogs: a blog is a w ebsite, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. Absence 0 Presence 1 11. Comments: i ncluding forum, BBS (bulletin board system), and all kinds of online interactive posts. Absence 0 Presence 1 12. Multimedia sharing: including photo sharing, video sharing, audio sharing, or link sharing. Absence 0 Presence 1
60 13. S ocial networking sites: Internet and mobile based tools for sharing and discussing information. Examples of social media includ e Facebook MySpace, Xiaonei and similar media. Absence 0 Presence 1 14. RSS: n ote the absence or presence of RSS (Really Simpl e Syndication) feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an addition to Internet technology that is used to keep people updated on their favorite websites. RSS works in conjunction with XML code, which continuously checks the contents of a website for upda tes. If updates are found, they are broadcast to all the subscribers of the website through a feed. Absence 0 Presence 1 15. Email: e mail can be used in marketing, campaigns, and/or advertising communications. Absence 0 Presence 1 16. Microblog ging : m icro blogging is a form of multimedia blo g that allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group, which can be chosen by the user. and Sina micr oblog ging are two the most mentioned micro blogs in China Absence 0 Presence 1
61 17. Other: write down the name(s) of any other type(s) of social media mentioned. b. 18. Facebook : Absence 0 Presence 1 19. : Absence 0 Presence 1 20. : Absence 0 Presence 1 21. Seve ral others: write the names of specific social media platforms Social Media Function 22. Inform ing and educat ing : i ndicate if social media are used to brief, inform and educate the public about certain issues, to publish event or activity information, or to Absence 0 Presence 1 23. Get ting involved: i ndicate if social media are used to encourage volunteering and e vent participation. Absence 0 Presence 1
62 24. Donation: i ndicate if social media are used to encourage money donation, fundraising, and clothes, as well as giving of goods Absence 0 Presence 1 25. Organization publicity: i ndicate if social media are used missions, history, organization al structure, personnel, etc. Absence 0 Presence 1 26. B uilding s takeholder relationship s : indicate if social media are used to build or maintain relationship s with stakeholders. Stakeholders include: me dia, government, other NGOs, customers, clients, and companies Absence 0 Presence 1 27. Other: any other purposes that social media serve Accessibility of social media 28. Visitab ility of social media: indicate if the social media a n NGO use s is accessible i n mainland China. Code 0 if all types of social media are accessible C ode 1 if any types or platforms of social media are not accessible Accessible 0 Inaccessible 1 29. Number of types that are inaccessible: numeric. Write down how many types of social media the NGO use s which are not accessible i n China. 0 means all social media are accessible.
63 30. Number of platforms that are inaccessible: numeric. Write down how many platforms of social media the NGO use s which are not accessible i n China. 0 means all so cial media are accessible. 31. Inaccessible types: indicate which type(s) of social media are not accessible i n mainland China. (1) Inaccessible type I: indicate whether microblogging is blocked. Accessible 0 Inaccessible 1 (2) Inaccessible type II: indi cate whether social networking site s are blocked. Accessible 0 Inaccessible 1 (3) Inaccessible type III: indicate whether multimedia sharing is blocked. Accessible 0 Inaccessible 1 (4) Several others: w rite down the names of social media types that are not accessible 32. Inaccessible platforms: indicate which platform(s) are not accessible i n mainland China. (1) Inaccessible platform I: indicate whether is blocked. Accessible 0 Inaccessible 1 (2) Inaccessible platform II: indicate whe ther is blocked. Accessible 0
64 Inaccessible 1 (3) Inaccessible platform III: indicate whether is blocked. Accessible 0 Inaccessible 1 (4) Several others: w rite down the names of social media platforms that are not accessible 33. I naccessible content: indicate what kind of information is censored. No information is censored 0 Inform ing and educat ing 1 Get ting involved 2 Donation 3 Organization publicity 4 Building s takeholder relationship s 5 Other: write down the n ame
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73 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Chen Chen was born in Henan Province, China. She received the Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Renmin University of China in 2007. She was awarded an Excellent Student Scholarship in 2006. She served as a project assistant in the Department of Media Operation for the Beijin g Organizing Committees of the XXI Olympic Games where she was honored wit h the Outstanding Employee A ward in 2008.