04/03/2021    (Thursday) 13:00-14:00 E21B-G002

Reaching for the stars: DingTalk and the Multi-platform creativity of a ‘one-star’ campaign.

The rapid development of social media and mobile technologies has given rise to numerous forms of creative practices in China’s digital environment. One of the characteristics of this environmment is how users engage across platform constituting a dynamic and interconnected media environment in which technology, language and cultural forms are mobilized to create a carnivaleque and kaleidoscopic digital environment. In this talk, we examine a ‘one-star’ campaign to illustrate the various forms of creativity on and across Chinese social media. In February 2020, in response to delays to resuming normal classes due to the COVID 19 pandemic, DingTalk, a Chinese educational platform, launched a new feature called ‘Zaixianxuexi’ (online learning) which was then used across the country. Users were critical of the platform and in response mounted a ‘one-star’ campaign to give the platform one-star ratings in the AppStore. In response the producers of DingTalk released a short-animated video (the video literally begged users to give it more stars) and promotion campaign through Weibo and Bilibili, rather than the DingTalk platform. Adopting a social semiotic multimodal analytical approach, we examine the mediated interaction between users and producers of DingTalk across three social media platforms. In examining the way both users and producers utilised technological and cultural resources across different social media platforms, we highlight the creativity that characterises the Chinese social media environment and that this environment is embedded within an evolving cross-platform ecology, which in turn generates new innovative creative spaces.

Dr. Wu is a Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Communication, University of Macau. She has published in SSCI journals Media, Culture and Society, Discourse, Context and Media, Language and Intercultural communication, Discourse Studies, Social Semiotics and Babel in the areas of Chinese media discourse and translation studies. She is currently guest editing, with Richard Fitzgerald and Todd Sandel, a special issue of Discourse Context and Media on Chinese Social Media due in August 2021.