This weekend marked the appearance of the most viral story since the start of Chinese social media platform Weibo: actor Wen Zhang’s apology letter after news about him having an affair and the response from his wife.
We don’t have the dirty details of the “celebrity affair”, but we are, however, stunned by the social media record hits. On March 31, Chinese celebrity Wen Zhang publicly posted an apology letter addressing his wife and the public on Weibo and netizens soon got involved in the conversation; within 10 hours, his apology letter to wife and the public has been shared more than 1 million times and attracted over 2.5 million comments, breaking both retweet and interaction records on Weibo.
Soon after, this was followed by his wife’s response. Ma Yili answered: “Cherish what you have at the moment (且行且珍惜)”. This is now already a new Internet meme and the second most shared online post, with over 1.6 milion upvotes, over 600.000 reshares/forwards, and over 850.000 comments.
As of 1.00 p.m. on Monday, five of the top 10 topics on Weibo were dedicated to the affair, with an estimated user total well past 10 million.
Offbeat China analyzes the social media side of this story:
“Media observers in China also call attention to the fact that despite all the hype about how the rise of Wechat (China’s most popular IM app) has brought to an end to Weibo’s popularity, Weibo is still the No. 1 social media platform for reaching a broad audience in China.
Chinese sociologist 陈里 commented: “Wechat, as a social app, wins over users because it allows private and personal networks. Weibo, however, is an open platform that makes use of weak social links to spread news like wild fire.”
More interesting is the bitter realization that traditional media in China don’t stand a chance to beat social media.”
The “celebrity affair” story had more online hits and shares than any of the most important news of the month, like: the search for flight MH370 or the protests in Taiwan.
All hail social media!
By Andreea Dragut
[Photo via Weibo]