TOTAL NUMBER OF BLOGGERS
(Up to November 2007)
(Up to the end of 2006)
The first thing that entered Chen Mei's mind when she heard about the Sichuan quake on May 12 was how she could help.
"I hoped to be a volunteer in the disaster-affected areas at that time, so I tried my best to get information on how to go about it," said Chen, 37, who works at a Beijing-based website.
She went online and found the most effective way to get information was to read the blogs of other volunteers who already arrived in the quake-hit areas. "They would write about traffic hold-ups, and since government-organized rescue works were not available, volunteers were most needed. What volunteers should do for themselves before leaving are both material and psychological preparation," Chen said.
Although she eventually didn't make it as a volunteer because of work commitments in Beijing, she did manage to post some useful information on her own blog about volunteering, hoping it would help others.
Like Chen, hundreds of millions of Chinese netizens glean and provide information about the earthquake through blogs. On the Internet, information about the disaster was disseminated in double quick time. Many survivors posted the pictures that they took during the quake in their blogs that show the pain of the suffering people, cracks in the earth, collapsed buildings and blocked roads.
A blogger in South China's Yunnan Province with Shuo Lai Hua Chang as Web name at sina.com, one of the leading portals and major blogging service providers in China, posted a blog about the quake only four minutes after the first tremor, which is said the first blog on the event.
The variety of blog entries were most imaginative. Some bloggers updated the casualty list, some initiated online mourning for the dead, while others gave information about what to do in the event of aftershocks. Also found were the concerns about the fate of the pandas, pictures of Wenchuan County, the epicenter, before the quake, and contents about the brave folk who moved the nation by their heroics.