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China's internet phenomenon: the sudden popularity of 'Jia Junpeng'
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11:08, July 22, 2009

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On July 16 2009, tens of thousands of people became internet friends with Jia Junpeng.

In Baidu's "World of Warcraft Forums," a topic titled "Jia Junpeng, your mother is calling you home for dinner" was visited by 390,617 netizens and received 17,028 comments. By the morning of July 18, the post had received over 8 million views and 300,000 comments.

At 1:38 pm on July 20, the post was 10,421 pages long and had received 315,649 comments, reaching the forum limit, preventing further comment.

However, nobody know whether Jia Junpeng exist or not. Maybe, he is just a name created by a joking netizen.

Virtually overnight, Jia Junpeng, went from unknown to internet star. A lot of these netizens found out about him through Baidu or Sina's iask.com, and even more took part in an internet "meme" called the massive "Jia Junpeng Family." Some netizens jokingly call the Jia Junpeng story "a homicide triggered by a call to dinner."

After "Jia Junpeng" gained notoriety and various websites started posting about him, several netizens who were not World of Warcraft players started to visit the forums to see for themselves, and even more people began to propagate the internet "meme," even posting their own versions of the "Jia Junpeng story."

On the Tianya Forum website, a netizen named "TYbanzhuchiG8" uploaded more than ten doctored parody pictures about Jia Junpeng. Many netizens changed their user names to "Jia Junpeng's mother," "Jia Junpeng's grandpa," "Jia Junpeng's aunt," "Jia Junpeng's second aunt," and so on. All of these make up the massive Jia Junpeng Family.

Now, "Jia Junpeng" has a different meaning, and has become a part of internet "meme" culture.

Inner voices revealed through the Jia Junpeng phenomenon

Whether we know him or not does not matter. What is important is that Jia Junpeng brings us home. All this began with a sentence- "Jia Junpeng, your mother is calling you home for dinner."

This sentence was often heard while we played in the street during our childhood. Although it seems familiar and humorous, it can dredge up a series of bittersweet memories from deep within our hearts. A kind of reliable friendship underlies the words, bringing us closer to others in so many ways.

Simple messages represent the privacy and trust that exists between friends. Everyone can find meaning in these twenty characters, which serve as a call from a friend.

After this unprecedented Internet skyscraper surpassed 6,000 pages, a follow-up by many netizens said: "what we were following was not the post, but loneliness."

Expert opinion

Hu Jiqing, associate professor from the College of Journalism and Communications at Nanjing University, said this post has no predecessor in popularity. "Your mother is calling you home for dinner," a sentence full of common sentiments, strikes a chord that causes people to reflect. Netizens who are addicted to Internet games actually harbor a sense of guilt about their families, which he takes as the main reason for the early popularity of the post.

Although, there were a certain amount of netizens who paid attention to the original post, the follow-ups exponentially grew. And then, not everyone did it out of guilt, some people just joined in for fun. The follow-ups became more and more ridiculous and meaningless, and turned the whole affair into a typical "group consciousness" activity.

As to where the post is leading, there are two possibilities in Hu Jiqing's eyes. Firstly, he is afraid that it will give rise to the phenomenon of an internet mob and some websites will have to be closed; secondly, the original activity will be commercialized and in several days, Jia Junpeng will be a registered trademark.

Baidu.com contributes to this story.

By People's Daily Online

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