Browsing Tag


China Techies Unleash an Army of Pinterest Clones

You know you’ve arrived when you’re being cloned in China. Pinterest has, of course, arrived — here and in China. Yesterday, Chinese tech company Taobao launched a photo-sharing, social media site that is modeled almost exactly after Pinterest.

The name of the new social network is Wantu (translation: mischievous rabbit). The site can be accessed through Taoboa’s website at:

Hardly the first in the Pinterest-cloning market in China, another tech company named Mogojie also launched a Pinterest clone (they’re actually considered to be the “biggest indie Pinterest clone”).  And two months ago, tech powerhouse Renren launched their own version of Pinterest. To date, China has 18 Pinterest clones.  Here’s a list of 16 Chinese Pinterest clones by accumulated by Idea-Stack

Clearly, China takes its Pinterest-cloning seriously.




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Why Elk Creek, Nebraska, Should be the Next Social Media Superstar

You’ve probably never heard of Elk Creek, Nebraska.  If you have, you probably don’t know much about it.  It sounds like one of those sleepy towns featured in a Warner Brothers teen, angst vampire drama (thanks to Warner Brothers, any town that has “creek” in its title is pretty much full of vampires or desperately horny, misunderstood teenagers).

I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Elk Creek myself.  But, after learning about the town’s recent turn of luck, this is one town I wish would join social media so that they can share their rags-to-riches story.

Why the “Charlie love” for Elk Creek?

1.   Several months ago Elk Creek was discovered to possess the world’s largest deposit of rare earth minerals (the very materials used to produce the gadgets we love like tablets, laptops, cell phones, etc., among other valuable uses).   That makes Elk Creek extremely valuable because the only other location in the world with large enough deposits of rare earth minerals to meet the demands of the world is China.  According to

“Deposits of these minerals are usually quite small meaning mining them is expensive and time consuming. Areas with high concentrations worth mining also seem to be quite rare, with China being the main area where mining is done. That’s not a great situation to be in as China holds around 97% of the market at the moment, so there’s ongoing exploration to find new locations worth mining elsewhere in the world.”

In other words, if there were a Mining for Minerals Monthly magazine, Elk Creek would be the hot centerfold.

2.  Because of this discovery of large deposits of rare earth minerals, Elk Creek (until now virtually untouched and unnoticed by the rest of the world) will become a major player on the scene not just competing with China but, according to experts, possibly toppling China’s dominance in the rare earth minerals game.  A fitting analogy is, the Middle East has oil and China has rare earth minerals.  If Elk Creek delivers on the rare earth minerals, it will mean we won’t need to depend on China.  Which in turn will create much-needed jobs here.  It takes an Elk Creek to topple China.

2.  With only has 112 inhabitants, Elk Creek is the epitome of of small-town America (there were more than 112 people online at my local Starbucks this morning).  That makes their turn of fortune all the more intriguing.  With big money being funneled into the Elk Creek community by mining companies and the government that will make all 112 townsfolk filthy stinking rich, there’s no doubt their new fortune will bring with it wonderful experiences of dreams fulfilled and tragic regrets (not to mention the death of small town innocence).  Or maybe I’ve just been watching too many Hollywood movies.  The point is, this would be a fascinating process to watch unfold in social media.

Social media was created for us to connect and learn about each other.  With social media, like the rare earth minerals discovered in Elk Creek, everything hidden eventually comes to light.  Elk Creek is like that old country bumpkin cousin nobody talks about who might visit the big city once every 20 years but who never experiences much more in life beyond that.  What would happen if that cousin suddenly hit the lotto for hundreds of millions of dollars and actually became famous for being unique?  Welcome to Elk Creek, Nebraska.

Dear Elk Creek, please join social media and follow me (I’ll follow back).

Elk Creek, we see you!  (Google Maps image)

Chinese Officials Get Schooled in Social Media

Let’s face it.  No one wants to be the dateless, fat kid at the prom.  Lagging woefully behind other world leaders and government officials in their understanding and usage of social media, Chinese government officials are clearly sitting on the sidelines of the social media party (even as its own citizens master the use of social media tools in powerful and innovative ways).

Singapore’s Straits Times, is reporting that Beijing government officials are about to be schooled in how to be cool.  Social media has been enthusiastically embraced by the Chinese population (who often surpass their Western counterparts in social media usage).  Government officials in Beijing will be trained extensively in social media in order to engage and communicate thoughtfully with its citizens (or to control and spy on them – take your pick).

According to Straits Times:

“The city’s Communist Party school is offering the training to ‘bureau-level leading cadres’ to help ‘leaders catch up with Internet currents”, the Legal Evening News said.

The training will ‘raise cadres’ understanding of information dissemination, and social and public sentiment in order to better respond to sudden crises,’ it said.”

I would pay big bucks to watch a communist leader be trained in social media (my suggestions to Fidel Castro on updating his blog can be found here).  You can follow other world leaders’ official Twitter accounts here.

The question is, considering their politics, will this new endeavor prove successful for Beijing officials or will it be an embarrassment?  Can social media topple communism?