This study tackled the remediated notion of consensus that the state-run media in China seek to reach with the online public through using Weibo - the Chinese equivalent of Twitter - as a platform for distribution and user interaction. The microblogs of three major state media outlets were sampled and the posts were categorized. All were found primarily to disseminate information and pronounce organizational opinions rather than promote their offline offerings. Against the backdrop of Goffman's theory of region behavior, our analysis showed that the state media ritually embraced Weibo's interactive technical features and selectively used netizens as information sources to distance themselves from their offline parents and to make audience visible on the front stage. Further analysis assessed whether these strategic efforts had been successful by examining how audience responsiveness correlates with a post's content and format characteristics. Results suggested that audience participation does not necessarily translate into any gate-keeping power. The offline logic of Communist Party journalism appears to have been carried over to the new medium.
- Audience participation
- impression management