Comunicar Journal Blog

Some thoughts related to the new trend in the studies of the Internet and emotion

In this day and age, the Internet sphere has become a habitual place for the everyday communication. The article Internet and Emotions: New Trends in an Emerging Field of Research. Serrano-Puche (2016) mapped out different research areas where the Internet and emotions converge within Media and Communication. It introduced some studies focus on the analysis of a specific emotion including empathy, annoyance, envy or jealousy, resentment and hope; the latter part emphasized the analysis of emotions in relation to the social networks, where Lasén argued that rather than a means of communication, the digital realm is a space that we inhabit and that it inhabits us. (Lasén, 2014)

Under the guidance of Serrano-Puche’s article, I found that the large-scale emotion contagion, which is described as the viral spread of content in the digital realm, is closely linked to emotion marketing, a popular marketing tactic utilized by the online TV drama producers in mainland China.

Online drama series have never been as trendy as in recent age in mainland China. 2015 witnessed the success of Surprise and Go princess go in mainland. The latter one, a time travel series launched in December 2015 by the LeTV, has attracted more than 1.53 billion clicks for episode 1 and heatedly discussed across different social media platforms (Weibo, Wechat, forums, etc.). As the plot and the criticism spread widely, more and more netizens joined the parade of commenting and watching, leading to an increase of more than 500 thousand on the membership of the website of LeTV in a short period and brought a direct profit of 10 million yuan to its producer and distributor.

This adaptation based on an online novel and is a no-brain episodes (easy-to-digest program) for relaxation in comparison to other dramas on the list. The colourful scene settings, weird costumes and props are prepared delicately by the film crew for the purpose of creating feelings of surprise, self-mockery and joy. As the topic of this TV series meets the requisite of sharing, it produced an extraordinary amount of buzz online. To put it in a more post-90s way: they created gag lines to arouse more bullet curtains. That means the registered members can comment while watching the video with their commentary creating a visual effect of a series of barrage on the screen, and this is a Japanese term originated from one kind of shooting game.

In fact, audience were induced by the marketing team to comment on the plot. Post 90s and 00s are netizens inhabited by such kind of culture, and they are willing to create punchlines by themselves. Commenting on the scene or reposting articles that share the same view will provide the person with more comments from friends and clicks on the like button in social media platform like Wechat, and that would bring him/her the feelings of satisfaction and drive him to produce more content and enjoy the same felling again and again. When a person is commenting on or reposting articles about a media product, the interaction is from human to the machine directly, which means it is simple and private that there is no need to hide his/her emotion. As the same sentiment is contagious in the Internet sphere, it then becomes popular, and a series of commenting and reposting made up an action of large-scale communication and auto promotion for the product.

Emotion marketing is a habitual tactic for LeTV and there is no exception for Go Princess Go, with which LeTV grabbed audience’s attention and money before they rationally awaken to it. We can tell, from this case, that the market potential of netizens in mainland are huge and the tactic to stimulate them still needs further studies.

the hat of royal doctor is a parody of Chanel



  1. Serrano-Puche, J. (2016) Internet and emotions: New trends in an emerging field of research, Comunicar, 24, 19-26.
  2. Lasén, A. (2014). Introducción. Las mediaciones digitales de la edu- cación sentimental de los y las jóvenes. In I. Megía Quirós, & E. Ro- dríguez-San-Julián (Coords.), Jóvenes y comunicación. La impron- ta de lo virtual, 7-16. Madrid: Fundación de Ayuda contra la Drogadicción.
  3. Xu Fei, Conversation with the Supervisor Gan Wei: Marketing team did a good job, and we are not a team in poverty(对话《太子妃升职记》监制甘薇:营销立大功 剧组真不穷) [online](2016, Jan 14). Retrieved from
  4. Tai Zi Fei Sheng Zhi Ji internet program (太子妃升职记网络剧) (2015, Dec 24). We got the doctor a hat! [Microblog post]. Retrieved from





Review of “Initium in the whirlpool”

“What I claim is to live to the full contradiction of my time, which may well make sarcasm the condition of truth.” —Roland Barthes, Mythologies

屏幕快照 2015-10-12 下午2.26.35

The Chinese population all around the world share the same language. But when you ask a Taiwanese and a mainland Chinese about who contributed most in the anti-Japanese war, the answers could be totally different. If you search for the keywords online, you will be overloaded with the results and opinions from netizens, media and other resources.

What is trustworthy in such an information whirlpool? Initium is trying to react to such situation. As a new media organization set up in August 2015, Initium intends to offer insights into Greater China region and international affairs with scrupulous reports and data analysis in Chinese. Its major platforms includes an app, a website, SNS accounts(Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and a newspaper to be published later on according to Annie, the executive editor of the Initium.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Initium aims at audience in Greater China region. But in reality, it was blocked in mainland China only 12 days after its launch, which means its content is regarded as harmful to the political authorities or threatening the social stability. In Hong Kong, citizens suspect that the company is financially backed by the Chinese government. Hence, whether Initium serves as the throat of Chinese government is under debate, because people have no idea who the largest investor is. According to Annie, the boss will show up in late 2015.

In my opinion, after browsing all sorts of news platforms in everyday life, I can tell the dedication and professionalism of its staff through their works. Its news articles, approximately 800 to 1000 words in length, emphasize the original investigating reports and data-based research. On the left corner of its Facebook page, it highlights a video In Praise of Fai Ching (廢青頌)[1]. It is their most successful video so far, liked and reposted by more than 700 people. It has drawn such wide attention that below the video there are diversified and polarized comments. Annie said, it hits the emotional point of Hong Kong youngsters and got spread quickly online regardless of who the video producer is. Against the backdrop that Hong Kong youngsters have to face the increasingly unaffordable living cost, the video well responds to this cruel reality. Every story has its own life and character, and the audience is the judge of its value and newsworthiness.

In the age of Internet, media industries in different countries have witnessed the fading of printed media. With the popularity of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and WeChat (China), to certain extents, people have got used to fragmented news and infographics. But can we proclaim the death of investigative journalism? Can lengthy but profound reportage still attract audience and wield clout in the current age? Seeing from the case of Initium, I would say, content is still the king. The popularity gained by the video and long-form articles signifies that an inviting topic accompanied by engaging narratives can still win respect from audience.

The fading or transformation of printed media is neither simply removing the contents from paper to screen, nor mixing words with images alone. There should be a more complicated and discursive process embedded in the concrete social context. Standing along among the blossom of all sorts of new media platforms, Initium, aiming at producing serious news stories, provides an interesting case for us to ponder.

Though Initium is in an embarrassing position, Annie is positive about its future. The website traffic is more than 1.5 billion and around 60 thousand people downloaded the app in the first month. Personally, I would rather describe Initium as a social innovation lab than merely media company. Let’s wait and see what kind of chemical reaction it will create in the center of whirlpool.

Website of Initium:

[1] Fai Ching (廢青):A transliteration of wasted young persons in Hong Kong. Originally, it refers to the losers in school and workplace, unable to afford a flat in Hong Kong but like joining anti-government protest to vent the grievances. Having been approved by netizens in a popular local website( since October 2014, it is changing into a polysemous word of self-mockery, ridiculing and sacarsm.

Issue 45 “Communicating in an Ageing World” is out!

45  Comunicar 45 “Communicating in an Ageing World” has been recently published. The Journal has also  a monographic section and a wide variety of items in its miscellaneous section. All articles are available full text and free of charge on our official website.

01 Uses and Gratifications of Computers in South African Elderly PeopleTanja Bosch, Ciudad del Cabo (South Africa) | Bronwyn Currin, Ciudad del Cabo (South Africa)

02 Use, Consumption and Knowledge of New Technologies by Elderly People in France, United Kingdom and Spain Cristina González, Castellón (Spain) | Carlos Fanjul, Castellón (Spain) | Francisco Cabezuelo, Valladolid (Spain)

03 Internet and the Elderly: Enhancing Active Ageing Carmen Llorente, Madrid (Spain) | Mónica Viñarás, Madrid (Spain) | María Sánchez, Madrid (Spain)

04 Active Ageing and Access to Technology: An Evolving Empirical Study Raquel Casado, Burgos (Spain) | Fernando Lezcano, Burgos (Spain) | María José Rodríguez, Salamanca (Spain)

05 New Elders, Old Divides: ICTs, Inequalities and Well Being amongst Young Elderly Italians Fausto Colombo, Milán (Italy) | Piermarco Aroldi, Milán (Italy) | Simone Carlo, Milán (Italy)

06 From Digital Divide to Psycho-digital Divide: Elders and Online Social Networks Begoña Peral, Sevilla (Spain) | Jorge Arenas, Sevilla (Spain) | Ángel Francisco Villarejo, Sevilla (Spain)

07 A Mobile Augmented Reality Assistive Technology for the Elderly Rafael Saracchini, Burgos (Spain) | Carlos Catalina, Burgos (Spain) | Luca Bordoni, Ancona (Italy)

08 EyeTracker Technology in Elderly People: How Integrated Television Content is Paid Attention to and Processed Elena Añaños, Barcelona (Spain)

09 Design Patterns to Enhance Accessibility and Use of Social Applications for Older Adults Huizilopoztli Luna, Zacateca (Mexico) | Ricardo Mendoza, Aguascalientes (Mexico) | Francisco Javier Álvarez, Aguascalientes (Mexico)

10 Using Technology to Connect Generations: Some Considerations of Form and Function Mariano Sánchez, Granada (Spain) | Matthew Kaplan, State College (United States) | Leah Bradley, Rockville (United States)

11 The framework of Media Education and Media Criticism in the Contemporary World: The opinion of International Experts Alexander Fedorov, Rostov (Russian Federation) | Anastasia Levitskaya, Taganrog (Russian Federation)

12 University Teaching with Digital Technologies Carlos Marcelo, Sevilla (Spain) | Carmen Yot, Sevilla (Spain) | Cristina Mayor, Sevilla (Spain)

13 Mexican Children and American Cartoons: Foreign References in Animation Elia Margarita Cornelio, Villahermosa (Mexico)

14 ICT Leadership in Higher Education: A Multiple Case Study in Colombia Gary Cifuentes, Bogotá (Colombia) | Ruben Vanderlinde, Gantes (Belgium)

15 Spanish Journalists and the Loss of News Quality: Professional Judgements Josep Lluis Gómez, Valencia (Spain) | Juan Francisco Gutiérrez, Málaga (Spain) | Dolors Palau, Valencia (Spain)

16 Primary Teachers’ Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge Rosabel Roig, Alicante (Spain) | Santiago Mengual, Valencia (Spain) | Patricia Quinto, Indianápolis (United States)

17 ICT Use and Parental Mediation Perceived by Chilean Children Llarela Berríos, Santiago (Chile) | María Rosa Buxarrais, Barcelona (Spain) | María Soledad Garcés, Santiago (Chile)

18 Children’s Exposure to Advertising on Games Sites in Brazil and Spain Daniel Marti, Vigo (Spain) | Pâmela Saunders, Ceará (Brazil)

19 Telecommunication Industry Contributions to Child Online Protection Mónica Recalde, Pamplona (Spain) | Charo Sádaba, Pamplona (Spain) | Elena Gutiérrez, Pamplona (Spain)

20 Information Literacy Grade of Secondary School Teachers in Spain – Beliefs and Self-Perceptions Juan Francisco Álvarez, Tarragona (Spain) | Mercè Gisbert, Tarragona (Spain)

New media phenomenon or new media culture?

Comments on

Cabalín, C. (2014). Online and Mobilized Students: The Use of Facebook in the Chilean Student Protests [Estudiantes conectados y movilizados: El uso de Facebook en las protestas estudiantiles en Chile]. Comunicar, 43, 25-33. (DOI: 10.3916/C43-2014-02).

In the recent years, following the Occupy Wall Street movement which happened in 2011, large-scale movements occurred around the world. Among the movements with a large variety of topics, the deteriorating survival environment for the college graduates introduced by the enlarging of neo-liberalism makes the distinctive social background to the series of occupy movements. In the same thread, movements with a huge number of young participants outbreak in the following years in European countries (e.g. the 15M in Spain). The students’ movement happened in Chile which was studied by Cabalín-Quijada, also represents a typical example of anti-neo-liberalism in the education arena. These recent movements have witnessed a commonality which refers to the widely use of social media in terms of internal communication and mobilization.


I have been doing research on different movement cases in Hong Kong and Taiwan, where the penetration rate of smart phone among the young people in these two places have reach over a hundred percent. Without much doubt that, social media, especially Facebook has played a dominant role in social movement mobilization. Due to the characteristics of Facebook, such as immediacy and multi-format of presentation, the young people in Hong Kong and Taiwan somewhat actually reveal some similarities to the Chilean youths. In my current research project, I studied how the young activists utilized Facebook in the anti-national education movement in Hong Kong and the anti-media monopoly movement in Taiwan. Similarly to the Chilean counterparts, the youths in the two Asian movements largely relied on Facebook to disseminate the most updated first-hand action information. But different from the Chilean students, who used Facebook as a channel to continually criticize their opponents (e.g. the government), the Hong Kong and Taiwan young activists very often exhibited how paramount the support they got from the public. By highlighting the supports they had got from the ordinary citizens from various social backgrounds, they activists legitimized their movement justice. It seems that, the Chilean student activists legitimized their movement through the “antagonist frame” while the Hong Kong and Taiwan activists utilized the “audience frame”.

However, what draws my further contemplation is far beyond the contents shown on the movement social media. Instead, as said by Cabalín-Quijada, studying the new information technologies could involve three levels of analysis, including the identity politics, different forms of content representation and the media practices in diverse social areas. But it seems that the current study on Chile’s student movement fails to answer the proposed question on “the circulation and construction of cultural identities, representations, meanings and collective commitments in digital media”, simply by categorizing and calculating the contents on FECH’s Facebook. In order to have further understanding on the activists’ preference of posting certain types of contents on social media, one may employ in-depth interview or focus group in order to fill the whole picture. In my own research, I have found that the young activists from Hong Kong and Taiwan have largely acquired the social media logic, in which they care much about what the netizen like to read (e.g. 1/3 words and 2/3 images) and what style of posts (e.g. prominent figures with sound-bite) would draw more attention. Then they tend to tailor make their posts according to the social media logic. And this logic has permeated in people’s everyday life and became the dominant communication culture. As when a couple are dining in a fancy restaurant, the cellphone camera must be the first one getting the first bite of every plate of food.

(Klavier Wong@Hong Kong Baptist University)