Chinese netizens shocked the world when they flooded President Obama’s Google+ Page. Nine out of ten comments were written in simplified Chinese, which somewhat bewildered American readers. What’s more, the U.S. media made it more chaotic with their funny interpretations.


Picture by Sandy Qin

Media: “They talked about occupying the furniture and bringing snacks and soft drinks”.

Readers: What? There is a huge demand for furniture in the Chinese market?

Sandy: “Sofa” means to be the first to comment. It‘s a Chinese Internet meme. There were some video parlors showing porn in China in 1990s. Since the rooms in video parlors were small, the first that arrived could sit on the sofa, the second might sit on a chair, and the last could only sit on the floor. When the generation who were teenagers in 1990s grew up, they brought this term into the Internet.

Social media muse: The biggest part of Chinese netizens are young people. Universities students of this part are more open to new media like Google+. They are the market to please.

“Please free us”

Picture by Sandy Qin

Media: “Some more extreme comments urged President Obama to work ‘to free’ the Chinese people”.

Readers: The comments placed on President Obama’s site are genuine pleas for help.

Sandy: This is a common humor of Chinese netizens. Because Chinese citizens have to be careful about words used in daily lives, they enjoy the freedom of anonymous online communities. They celebrate this freedom with ironies and jokes.

Social media muse: Chinese favors anonymity, because they can say whatever they like. Google+ which seems powerful after it somehow circumvented the censorship in China, makes Chinese users more audacious.

“We have no chance to occupy our president Hu, he hates internet an dhas no account on any website, so we can just occupy Obama, forgive us…”

Picture by Sandy Qin

Media: “It’s not exactly clear why these new users have chosen President Obama’s official reelection campaign page as their rallying point”.

Readers: I didn’t know President Obama is so popular in China.

Sandy: For Chinese Netizens, it doesn’t matter whose page it is, as long as it’s a top famous person. President Obama became the lucky one because most Chinese netizens don’t care much about his approval rating. They only care about the big names.

Social media muse: Chinese netizens are willing to “occupy” their own leaders if they are given a social media platform to do so, sneakily.

Chinese netizens feel sorry for commenting in simplified Chinese. However, I think this phenomenon will go on, as many Chinese netizens don’t even take a look at the President’s posts, they just reply for fun.