It’s not easy being a foreign social media enthusiast in China. China blocks the social media sites that you take for granted. Life without Twitter I can deal with but can you imagine being denied Facebook and YouTube? They even blocked Vimeo and Last.fm. Try running a blog without being able to embed anything but videos from YouKu and Tudou (which is not necessarily a bad thing because they are less censored than YouTube – go figure).
Of course, none of this matters to China’s 360 million Netizens who think foreign social media is inferior anyway (and in many cases they are right). However there is one benefit to living on this side of the Great Firewall of China that you folks will never know; not even my friends in Hong Kong. For while I can use a VPN server to access YouTube when I really need need it, Google’s Music channel in China is something you will only experience on the mainland.
Each morning when I log on I point my browser to http://www.google.cn/music, search for music and decide whether to add to my evolving playlist (and sing along to the scrolling lyrics) or download and send to friend or iPod.
There are prompts to purchase the music although I don’t really know why anyone would, nor for that matter what Google’s business model is, other than a sink or swim retaliation to Baidu’s equally impressive music search, listen and download system.