I have never really understood the point of Twitter or Weibo or social networking in general and recently reading that Boris Johnson for some unknown reason has a Weibo account sort of reinforced why for me. Probably unrelated to Boris discovering Weibo; if I am right in March new laws came in to play here regarding social networking and real name registration. I believe it is a retrospective law too although I have no idea how they intend to make that work.....hundreds of millions of accounts, how exactly do you decide whether a name is real of not. Anyway, given I stress about how google harvest information from my gmail account I am rather unlikely to voluntarily hand over and continue to do so over the course of many years tonnes of personal information that never gets erased to some monolithic database company who feel it is their right to do whatever they want with you.
Anyway, I was discussing this a while back with a friend and they mentioned that there also appears to have been a change to how Douban allows events to be registered. As in they won't let you do so now unless you can prove you are a promoter or something. Probably the two are not related but this one is a bit of a bummer really. I'm not sure how a young promoter starting out could prove they are legit, sure there are ways but in a place where gluing posters to building site hoardings is somewhat frowned upon it is a further challenge to getting new stuff heard and attended I guess. Douban is an astonishing thing I think - sure it doesn't have the following of the big rubbish sites but I wouldn't be too upset at 50 million regular users. If I had a few million dollars spare and the social network space wasn't already so stuffed up by shite like Facebook I would have a go at reverse engineering it, publishing in English and parking it somewhere nice and friendly along with the gambling sites. From time to time I have to go to Myspace to check something out and it constantly amazes me how someone with the enormous resources that News Corp has manage to create such an unusable abortion. I mean really, you have to consider sacking your CTO when you build a site in Flash at the same time the world is turning to mobile and tablets and the big name in that game refuses to support flash.
Sorry, sort of got off track there yet again......Douban, sure, it has some oddness (like it is in Chinese.......whats that about?) but it works super well and is pretty much the hub of local music. So restricting the way events can be published is a bit worrying. I know at the moment it seems everyone is content to just have a venue load an event but given the big DIY thing here it does seem likely that may not be how the future plays out. Here's hoping I am either wrong about this or there is a simple way of making it work - the big killer for most new ideas is the never ending list of hurdles and I really hope this one is more of a speed bump.
Completely off topic - I am off to Beijing this weekend for Midi, I fucking hate festivals so that is a shock. There is a fantastic series of posts on BeijingDaze about the insanity that is the Beijing festival scene and a great comment about the dilution of each as a result of the silly competition but for me the thing that bothers me in that context is there are only two Shanghai bands playing at these Beijing festivals (one of which lists as a US band). And the Shanghai festivals have a token local content which completely sucks. My opinion for what it is worth is here you have the best way of promoting local music to new audiences and rather than promoting your label/brand/sponsors imagine the long term returns if you promoted the local scene. Easy for me to say I know as I am not underwriting the things but I do wonder why we are not seeing a YYT/Live Bar/696 stage or something like that. I am sure the love stage sponsored by someone or other is a catchy name and everything but if no one knows they can go see this stuff pretty much every weekend in Shanghai as a result I wonder what is actually being achieved.