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ERIC Number: EJ1016944
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0748-478X
The China Connection: Western Institutions Meet Chinese Students and Alumni on the Country's Most Popular Social Media
Ramspott, Becca
CURRENTS, v39 n5 p28-33 May-Jun 2013
As one of the top U.S. choices for international students, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a solid reputation in China and a history of educating Chinese students that goes back more than a century. But the university did not realize until last June that its nickname in China is the "Cornfield Ivy" and that Chinese alumni call themselves "corns." This was discovered when Illinois' flagship campus began using the microblogging tool Sina Weibo--a social media platform with more than 500 million registered users that is often described as China's version of Twitter. In a country where Western social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are blocked and search engine content is routinely censored, institutions such as Illinois are increasingly turning to Sina Weibo ("weibo," pronounced "way-bwoh," is the Chinese term for "microblog") and other Chinese social networks to communicate with Chinese audiences. As the top source of international students in the United States, the U.K., and Australia, China is not only a growing market for student recruitment, it is also home to a rising population of Western-educated alumni and a relatively untapped philanthropic resource. "We're trying to connect with high-profile alumni and to be more strategic about building relationships," says Rebecca Linder Blachly, Illinois' director of advancement for international programs and studies. Through Sina Weibo, Illinois can reach its more than 20,000 alumni living in China. Staff members have learned about alumni interests and how they speak about the university, gathered updated contact information, and generated support and enthusiasm for alumni clubs. In this article, the author describes similar usage of Sina Weibo by the University of Michigan, Monash University in Australia, University of Nottingham in the U.K., Brock University in Canada, Duke University in North Carolina, and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and explains how these institutions are using this form of global communication to expand their international outreach.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Canada; China; District of Columbia; Illinois; Michigan; North Carolina; United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A