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Internet and society: Challenge, transition, and development

Peking University, May 27, 2011: Along with the rapid increase of netizen population, Internet has penetrated into every aspect of people's daily life and reshaped their way of social interaction and living. “A new Internet world is emerging,” said William H. Dutton, director of Oxford Internet Institution the recent international conference “Internet and Society: Challenge, Transition, and Development.”


The conference was held at Peking University (PKU) from May 20 to 21, associated with a series of activities to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the PKU School of Journalism and Communication (SJC). Over 100 scholars and experts from across the globe took part in the conference, complemented by several Chinese major central media organizations, including People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency.


Under the theme of “Internet and Society,” the Conference addressed challenges that Internet brought to the society and discussed the coping strategy we should take. The Conference’s five sub-themes were “Development and Social Impact of Mobile Internet,” “Development of Internet Industry and Online Opinion Research,” “Internet Public Opinion Research,” “Social Media Research,” and “Empirical Study of New Media.”



Mobile Internet  

In the session “Mobile Internet,” Professor James E. Katz, director of Center for Mobile Communication Studies of the State University of New Jersey, presented several approaches to use the Internet as a media for citizen participation in public policy. “The lesson drawn from the United States are extrapolated to China,” said Professor Katz.


Professor Liu Dehuan from SJC then shared ideas on a new understanding of Mobile Internet as the link of communication in life. He presented the micro-blog (weibo) phenomenon as an example to show how new media has changed our daily life. Additionally, he put forward the concept of “Semi-mature Society” (Banshu Shehui) and six ideal models for the development of micro-blogs.


Furthermore, Professor Kuang Wenbo from Renmin University of China discussed whether new media had already become the mainstream media based on the quantitative analysis of Mobile Internet.



Internet Industry and Internet Public Opinion 

This session mainly focused on Internet industry and Internet public opinion. Speakers covered hot topics such as the Integration of Telecom, TV, and Internet into One Network (Sanwang Ronghe), and the new changes of Internet public opinion.


Yan Fuchang, director of the SJC Digital Media Lab, made a speech titled “From the disadvantages of copyright to explore the space of copyright,” focusing on the online media licensing mechanism. Luo Yunfeng, associate professor from East China University of Political Science and Law, talked about the normalized mechanism and social change mechanism.



Social Media and New Media 

This session brought about discussion on social media and new media. The scholars’ focus was again on micro-blog, as it has been heatedly discussed in both social media and new media fields.


Among all, Liu Rui, PhD student from Tsinghua University, shared his research on community of journalism and communication in SINA micro-blog. “Resources produced through the interaction of different fields still need acquaintances’ recommendations to be promoted, and the requirement of social trust makes differential order still existing in micro-blog academic communities. Therefore, differential order and group interaction, these two forms of social communications, always coexist," said Liu.



Written by: Chen Meng
Edited by: Li Xiaomeng
Source: PKU News (Chinese)