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Can Internet accurately gauge public opinion?

By Zhang Yin  (People's Daily)

08:56, October 29, 2011

Read the other part of the article:
Who is shaping China's online public opinion?

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

Reporter: The number of netizens in China has exceeded 480 million. To what extent does Internet public opinion represent all netizens, and to what extent does Internet public opinion represent the public opinion of society as a whole?

Ye Qing: I think the degrees of such representations are growing day by day because more and more people use microblogs. Behind each of them, there may be a family or a group. Therefore opinions expressed by them must not be ignored.

Chen Changfeng: On the other hand, I think the current Internet public opinion is still not exactly the same as real public opinion. For example, the current microblog is weakening the virtualization by means such as the real-name authentication. On most occasions, the social strata are also reflected on the micro-blog. For example, currently, the most popular microblogs belong to celebrities of the cultural, entertainment, commercial and political circles. The number of these celebrities is not large, but their influence is powerful.

After the earthquake and tsunami occurred in Japan, the "salt scare" appeared in many cities of China. According to my random statistics, about 95 percent of the microblog comments on the incident were refuting the rumor and discussing the issue in a rational way. However, actually, people in many places were still rushing to buy salt. Therefore, the real public opinion is still somewhat different from the network public opinion.

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Leave your comment1 comments

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wende at 2011-10-2971.125.85.*
internet opinion may not be accurate but it is a gauge of what is in people"s mind. It is better than no opinion expressed. true democracy is to consider people"s opinion. Add these opinion with more intelligence accessible only to them, officials can have a better grab of the situation.

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