David Wertime

Today's Most Viral Image: When "Confession Day" Ends in Disappointment

We all need someone. With over 23,000 reposts since its appearance, the image of love and companionship at left is Sina Weibo’s most viral image of May 22, according to Hong Kong University’s Weiboscope. Weiboscope tracks the most widely re-posted images among prominent users.

What is this image?

The image is self-explanatory; more interesting is the appended text, which reads, “I just need one person who won’t abandon me.” {{Chinese}}[[Chinese]]我只是需要一个不会放弃我的人。[[Chinese]]

Where did it come from?

A Weibo account with over 335,000 followers entitled “1001 Nocturnes” (@1001封夜话) tweeted this image on the evening of May 20. The account specializes in soothing and romantic images and appears to target them to forlorn lovers. Its self-description begins, “The night is too long, [and] missing [someone] is a kind of silent sorrow, that can’t be erased.”{{Chn.}}[[Chn.]]夜太长,思念是一种无言的哀愁,无法抹去。@1001封夜话,长长的思念,深深的情怀。。。[[Chn.]] Sheesh.

Why is it so popular?

China’s Confession Day (表白日) took place this weekend, inspiring millions of tweets on Sina Weibo (see this thread here) and, one may expect, millions of confessions delivered behind closed doors, or over coffee, or over beer. The day’s premise: Since the Mandarin pronunciation of  ”5/20″ sounds roughly like “I love you” in the same language, May 20 was the day for unspoken affection to stride boldly forth.

For some love-starved netizens, however, the day might not have brought them what they wanted to hear. An image of love, posted just shy of midnight, was destined to appeal to those beginning to realize that those three coveted words were not forthcoming. Perhaps, they felt, a subtle re-tweet of this image would jog the right person’s memory.


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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.