Business / Talking Business

'Public accounts' losing allure on social media

By Lu Haotimg (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-04 09:53

In order to attract readers, content creation, no matter for print media or for a public account, should go through a complete and serious process of planning, writing, fact checking and polishing.

At traditional media organizations, there are editorial policies and systems that try to guarantee content quality and ensure a clear line between reporting and advertising.

But "we media", enjoying more flexibility, relies on individual content producers, which could make creating high-quality content in a sustainable way a big challenge. A public account could be abandoned as the producer gets busy with work and other demands on their time. To earn quick money, it could also easily be used by a company for product promotion purposes.

Some numbers could show how difficult it is to attract and keep readers on public accounts. Among the 8 million public accounts in China, less than 0.3 percent of them have more than 100,000 followers and 97 percent of public accounts have less than 10,000 fans, according to a survey by Beijing Weizhishu Technology Co Ltd.

Will public accounts at WeChat suffer from the same fate as Sina Weibo? The Chinese micro blogging platform gradually lost its popularity after reaching its peak in 2012.

Maybe it is not so pessimistic after all.

The number of WeChat's monthly active users surged 39 percent year-on-year to 549 million by the end of March, which is bigger than the population of the United States. Chinese adults spend 40 minutes a day on average reading information on WeChat, according to a national survey on China's reading habits published by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication in April.

But it will become increasingly challenging for public account operators to compete for readers.

To cut my load of reading, recently I canceled my subscription to at least 10 public accounts.

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