Speak Authentic Chinese – A Guide To Using 新浪微博 (Xinlang Weibo)

By now anybody who is interested in China has heard about 新浪微博. It’s the Chinese version of twitter and it’s huge. If you want to speak authentic Chinese, get an insight into modern Chinese culture or promote your product in China’s rapidly expanding market, then 新浪微博 is a great place to start.

It has similarities to twitter, like you can forward other people’s posts, you follow other people and they follow you, and you are limited to 140 characters per post. It has some differences though, for instance you can include pictures that are embedded in the post (there is no need to click on a link to see the picture). You can comment on other people’s posts and choose whether or not these comments show up in your blog.

The following guide is based around 10 Chinese words which are essential in your understanding and usage of 新浪微博. (You may find it useful to enlarge the screenshot above and refer to it as you read through the following list)

1. 微博

From the words 微小 for tiny or microscopic and 博客 for blog we get 微博 meaning micro blog. Along the bar on the top right you will see the link 我的微博 (my microblog), clicking on this takes you to your blog page. On twitter, this is like going to your profile page and then viewing your tweets.

2. 首页

Also along the top you have the link 我的首页. 首页 actually means home page or main page but in this context its the same as looking at your timeline on twitter – it shows all the posts from all the people you follow.

3. 关注

Also near the top but on the right and below the bar with 我的首页 and 我的微博 you can see a set of three numbers. Below the far right number are the characters 微博 (word number one on this list). This indicates the number of blog posts you have made so far (or in twitter speech your number of tweets). Below the far left number is the word 关注. 关注 means to be concerned with or pay attention to something. Here it means the number of people you are interested in. So if you 关注 somebody you start following them.

4. 粉丝

The word below the middle number is 粉丝。This is a transliteration of the English word ‘fans’. So that number refers to the number of people following you. For most people the higher the better right?

5. 提到

On your 首页 going further down the right hand side you will again see a link to 我的首页 and then below that you see @提到我的. 提到 literally means to mention or refer to something so if you click on this link you will be presented with a list of people’s posts that have mentioned you. Similar to twitter, if you want to mention (@) other people in your posts then first type in the symbol ‘@’ and then start typing their name. An automatic list should drop down from which you can select the person you want to mention. Then make sure you leave a space after their name or the system won’t pick it up.

6. 评论

Below @提到我的 you have 我的评论. Although 我的评论 means ‘my comments’ it doesn’t refer to the comments you have made but rather the comments other people have made on your posts. Additionally on other people’s posts you will see a link called 评论 on the bottom right. If you want to comment on their post click this.

7. 互相

If you want to see who you are following then click on the 关注 link as described in point number 3 on this list. This allows you to see all the people you are following. If you would like to know which of these are following you back then on both the bar along the top of the list and the bar on the right you will see the link 互相关注. 互相 means mutually, each other, one another and so on. In this context it means people you follow who also follow you. Click on it and you will be shown a list of said people.

8. 转发

This is the equivalent of re-tweeting on twitter. 转发 literally means to ‘transmit’ but here a better translation would probably be ‘forward’, like forwarding an email. Below other people’s posts on the right you will see the button 转发. If you tap this you can forward their post to your blog and, if you wish, at the same time you can make a comment.

9. 标签

Go back to your blog page (我的微博). On the right hand column a little way down is your blog name then the characters 的标签. These are best described as your interests. 标签 means label or tag. It’s important to add a few labels in here because this is one way other people will come across your blog. For instance, if you like learning Chinese you could put a label saying 中文爱好者 (literally meaning ‘Chinese hobbyist’).

10. 发布

Despite being last on the list this is perhaps the most important. On your 首页 the box at the top-centre is where you post from. The bottom right of the box says 发布. This means to issue or publish, so we’re sure you can guess that this is the button you press to post your blog. Along the lower edge of this box are various links to include emoticons, pictures and so on. Try and add a picture to each post – your fans will love them!

So there you are. A simple guide to get you started on 微博. So if you haven’t already head over to www.weibo.com and 发布 some 微博’s, make some 评论’s and 转发 some people’s posts. While you’re at it check out ProofReadChina’s 微博 at www.weibo.com/proofreadchina!

There are many more details regarding 微博 than we have mentioned here. If you have other tips please leave them in the comments below. If you would like to see another post explaining some of the more intricate details about 微薄 then please tell us below, or if you have any specific questions we’d be happy to try and answer them for you!

If you liked this post check our other posts in the ‘Speak Authentic Chinese’ series:

On the bus
10 English Band names and their Chinese equivalents
10 English TV Shows and their Chinese equivalents

7 Comments

  1. ummm. how do you say “invaluable” “essential” and “must have” in Chinese?

    • Carl

      haha! Glad you find it useful!

  2. Love this post. Thanks.

    What about a follow up post on all those little labels they give you?
    谈笑风生
    七步成诗
    语惊四座

    That could be kinda cool! Thanks!

    • Carl

      Glad you like it! The labels/badges is a cool idea – we’ll try and do that soon:)

  3. Hi I would just like to know if you can register for SIna Wei Bo if you don’t hold a Chinese passport…

    • Carl

      Yeah you can at the moment.

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