Weibo is known as China’s Twitter, a reputation it has resisted because it offers so many more features than Twitter’s simple interface. “Weibo” is actually the Chinese word for microblog, meaning a platform with mini-sized blog content (shorter messages, individual pictures, etc.). Weibo has over 2.2 billion users, so if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of what people are talking about in China, getting a Weibo account is a must.
Here’s how you can get started on Weibo:
1. Go to http://www.weibo.com/signup/mobile.php?lang=en-us. You can also choose to register using Facebook, but you’ll have to use the Hong Kong Weibo site (http://hk.weibo.com), since that option isn’t available on the US version.
2. Input your information. You can choose to sign up using an email address, but Weibo will still require you to verify with a phone number. Unfortunately they also only provide a limited list of locations where you can do this, so I guess you’d have to use the Facebook sign in if you didn’t have a mobile phone number in any of the listed countries.
3. Complete your profile and start looking for social media fiends!
4. You can select your interests to start following accounts in those categories recommended by Weibo. I selected five, which meant that I was already following 66 accounts by the time I finished the process.
5. Yay! Your account is set up.
6. But before you’re allowed to post anything or follow anyone, you have to activate your account using your email.
7. Have fun and start exploring the fascinating world of Chinese social media!
There were a few things that made the process difficult for me. Although the help menu is translated into English on the signup page, it links to articles in Chinese, so I guess you’d have to learn Chinese (or use a translation site, harhar) if you run into trouble. I had a lot of problems loading things when I tried to sign up while I was connected to my VPN, so I would recommend turning that off before you start. Lastly, I found many of the posts on my feed irrelevant when I finished signing up, so I would suggest not selecting interests if you don’t want to manually unfollow all the accounts later. You can always find interesting accounts later using the Discover section or by asking your friends. Good luck and happy micro-blogging!