Prepare to be impressed
With well over 340,000,000 million visits to his blog, he is most certainly the owner of the most popular blog in the world. Meet Han Han.
One of the great things about the ongoing Google vs China spat, is that it has given me a reason to further explore some of China’s usage of social media. I found my way onto one of Han Han’s popular blogs, trying to discern what it was all about, and who this guy was anyways?
Han Han, 28 years old, is a Chinese professional rally car driver, best-selling author(14 books), singer, China’s most popular blogger, magazine publisher, music producer … and also owns and operates his own online bookstore. Wow. Mini mogul alert!
“MR. Han has been reinventing himself since he dropped out of high school and promptly went on to become one of China’s best known writers. His first novel, “Triple Door,” plumbed the adolescent angst of those withering under the pressures of family and school. With two million copies in print, it is the best-selling book of the last 20 years“(*3).
So, youngish and certainly talented. What is more interesting is the content of his blog follows a similar pattern, “Since he began blogging in 2006, Mr. Han, 28, has been delivering increasingly caustic attacks on China’s leadership and the policies he contends are creating misery for those unlucky enough to lack a powerful government post. With more than 300 million hits to his blog, he may be the most popular living blogger in the world“(*3).
For those about to rock, we salute you
The most popular blog in China could be categorized as a dissenting voice to the government’s policies. Some of his posts are in fact censored by the government, but, in a country where freedom of speech is not at the forefront, his wildly popular blog remains largely intact, and allowed to continue.
For one, “Mr. Han is partly insulated by his celebrity, but also by his avoidance of the most politically charged topics.
“He uses humor and wit to laugh at the injustices he sees,” said Mr. Ran, whose own blog is blocked in China and available only to those with the technical means to hop over the Great Firewall. “Perhaps the reason he’s tolerated is because he does not name names directly and he doesn’t go after the heart of the problem, which is China’s one-party dictatorship.”
His other trump card is his financial independence. With 14 books to his name and a successful career as a race car driver, he is not susceptible to pressures that constrain other critics, many of them academics or journalists whose jobs tend to evaporate when their public musings cross an invisible line.”(*3)
Furthermore, “when his anti-establishment writings began to affect his parents’ state-run jobs, Mr. Han encouraged them to retire early, offering to support them financially”(*3).
In a way, this is perhaps the best example of how content trumps flash on the internet. You need things to be attractive, pizazzy, yes; but it is the content, the story, that will keep people coming back.
Living the dream
“Despite the sarcasm and griping, Mr. Han is an optimist at heart. The Internet, he says, will eventually prod China toward greater openness. No army of censors can completely constrain free expression. “I think the government really regrets the Internet,” he said, pausing for effect. “Originally, they thought it would be like the newspaper or the television — just another way to get their view out to the people. What they didn’t realize is that people can type and talk back. This is giving them a really big headache“(*3).
Nice work Han Han!!! … you are our Zen Master. Respect.
2. Han Han, Wikipedia.
3.Heartthrob’s Blog Challenges China’s Leaders, NYTimes.com, Mar.12, 2010