Dave's experiment is brilliant. It probably takes this kind of situation to open up new practices across virtual spaces, which even though technically just a click away, tend to seem as far away as Mars.
In a nutshell, he's got a tutorial for non-Chinese readers to sign up to a Chinese twitter-clone called fanfou, in order to start having a dialogue with Chinese folks who can speak English, regarding the current Tibetan protests. Imagine if conversations get started that will continue into the future.
I've signed up for fanfou and got myself a home page, but it's not intuitive, even for someone who reads Chinese. Dave is now my only fanfou friend, and I used Twifan,
which appears to search across multiple microblogging apps in Chinese, to search for tweets on Tibet and 西藏 (there are a lot more using the Chinese characters, but this will not help those who need to communicate in English). It's not clear what could happen next. Maybe the problem is that it's 4:30 in the morning on the mainland. We'll see.
Dave is translating Tibet-related tweets here.
So microblogging and online videos are being brought squarely into the fray. Roland Soong writes about what's happening on Youtube:
There is a propaganda war going on YouTube because this is clearly one of the top video news sites. In a propaganda, you win the share of voice and then you can win the share of hearts and minds. Therefore, you want the videos that favor your narrative to dominate. You also want unfavorable videos to be drowned out. Therefore, you mobilize your people to post as often and as much as possible....The point here is that using YouTube to track Tibet developments is low-yield, high-maintenance work.