Why request a divorce from your wife in person when you can tweet it?

[WEIBO-AHED]

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576357271321894898.html?mod=ITP_AHED

If you thought that breaking up with your boyfriend through a text message or email is bad, then how about through a mass Twitter message. This is the story of Wang Gongquan, a billionaire investor from China, that recently informed his wife, friends, family, and millions of others that he is getting a divorce and going to marry his mistress. He used a Twitter like online blog called Weibo to say “I am giving up everything and eloping with Wang Qin. I feel ashamed and so am leaving without saying goodbye. I kneel down and beg forgiveness!”. This message was reposted over 60,000 times within 24 hours.

Twitter may be banned in China, but they have Weibo that successfully launched only 21 months ago. Weibo allows their users to post messages, photos, and videos. There are currently over 140 million users and approximately 20 million new users per month. The Chinese government censors all of the posts, but they do not deny people the right to express their feelings on pop culture, gossip, or vulgar banter.

Our class discussions have spanned from the appropriate use of social media to the limited freedoms of China. This post acknowledges that China is starting to embrace the world of social media, but with extreme censorship. The Chinese government does not forbid the use of crass or immature messages, but they do not tolerate postings that contain threats or demeaning politcal opinions.

With the exponential amount of growing users in social media, do you beleive that the people of China will ever revolt from their goverment having complete control over their freedom of virtual speech?

While we are speaking of this article…. Do you think that it is okay to break up with your significant other using social media?

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5 thoughts on “Why request a divorce from your wife in person when you can tweet it?

  1. Loved this article- particularly interesting that it also made the front page of the WSJ. I thought this article fit in perfectly with our conversation around social media in historically conservative countries such as China. I think this article demonstrates the power of social media in that regardless of how strong government hold over media has typically been, it is nearly impossible to put full restrictions around social media which individuals can access globally.

  2. Although the Chinese government is censoring information, it still gives people the freedom of lighter material via social media. However, the question is whether or not the Chinese people will eventually get fed up with no freedom of speech about politics and other important issues and revolt?

    I think it is totally inappropriate to break up with a significant other via social media. Have the guts to say it to their face and the heart to not broadcast it to the world to see.

  3. Looking at your first question of whether people in China will ever revolt against China’s censorship ban. I think they have already started revolting. There is a fear of the government in China and I think some have been brave enough to test the government’s censorship abilities. As the technology increases over time I think China will have a difficult time controlling what information is released out of China and what information is entering China. The information walls are beginning to fall and so it’s only a matter of time when China will have difficulty censoring anything on the internet. I view the government as holding on as long as they can, but they probably know that they can only strike fear into people because it will be very difficult to track everyone down.
    As for your second question as whether I deemed the action of the billionaire as appropriate. I don’t believe it was the right way to handle the situation, but it again shows that if you’re going to open up the gateway you have to be willing to live with everything that’s going to flow through.

  4. The fact that the person using a Twitter like medium to break up with his wife was billionaire, one of China most famous investor, a known person, make me think that there are hidden motives. He is probably a smart person and for sure he knew what was going to happen.

    If I don’t have the courage to break up with my partner in person why would I tell it to 60,000 people at once? To me this is just another example of a person using the power of social media to put his name out there, I don’t think there is much difference between posting a video of yourself singing and breaking up with your wife. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Wang was looking for a career change.

    Having said that I think the article is extremely interesting for the censorship aspect in China. There is a general believe, especially after the events in North Africa and the Middle East, that social media can really influence the political path of a society. I believe that is true, social media is a huge public square where people can virtually meet and express themselves, this combined with the power of technology that grows at a fast speed, can be very difficult to control and stop, maybe even with censorship filters in place…

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