Jessica Beinecke, the host of VOA’s popular English learning blog OMG! Meiyu, spent a little quality time with a very special fan this month, Jun Jun the giant panda.
“Love your videos, and I don’t even speak Mandarin,” one YouTube viewer wrote to Jessica.
The show, which is based entirely on questions sent in by fans, became an Internet sensation following an August 2011 episode called Yucky Gunk, which focused on all the expressions young Americans use to describe the stuff that comes out of your face.
Media interest in Jessica and OMG! led to dozens of newspaper articles and television features about the show and its perky blond American host, who answers her fan questions in fluent Chinese.
Below is a timeline of the show with links to some of Jessica’s media appearances.
July 18, 2011
The first episode of OMG! Meiyu is posted on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. This was launched on Youtube later, which explains the Aug date on the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-Fxl_l4L_8&feature=plcp
August 4, 2011
The famous “Yucky Gunk” OMG episode is posted on Weibo, which now as more than 2 million hits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhUQMrOLyVU&feature=plcp
September 14, 2011
OMG! Meiyu is featured in the Washington Post as “a breakout hit Web show” that “schools Chinese in American slang:”
“The popularity of the show, called “OMG! Meiyu” and produced by Voice of America, has not escaped the notice of the agency’s executives, who recognize that hip and eccentric programming is vital to connecting with youths, many of whom prefer to go online than follow the stiffer, more traditional news and cultural programs the agency transmits through satellite TV and short-wave radio.”
September 18, 2011
Jessica appeared on CNN International to discuss OMG! Meiyu’s growing popularity among her young audience in China and beyond.
October 20, 2011
Jessica speaks at the BBG Pop!Tech about how OMG! Meiyu became a platform that encourages cross cultural communication: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n4AIbx2JIQ
Jessica launches OMG! Meiyu’s “Baijie’s Diary.” OMG! Meiyu fans around the world send in video questions for Jessica to answer about American English, American culture and her personal life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs0SiDuxa00&feature=plcp
Jessica travels to Beijing, China as a guest of the State Department’s 100 Thousand Strong Initiative to promote cross cultural education.
Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas teaches a word to OMG! Meiyu fans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELtJj5vCUs0&feature=plcp
The Beijing-based OMG! Meiyu fan club throws an OMG! Meiyu fan party. More than 100 fans show up and the OMG! Meiyu platform progresses from online communication to face-to-face interaction.
February 8, 2012
The Atlantic features OMG! Meiyu and a Q&A with Beinecke.
Damien Ma was “delighted to discover that, in the age of YouTube and social media, American English lessons have been taken to another level. Meet Jessica Beinecke, a Voice of America journalist who decided that she could leverage all the web 2.0 tools at her disposal to create a show that taught Chinese youth American slang.
“This is how soft power is done, by individuals trying and doing, unencumbered. These efforts add up and they are powerful.”
February 10, 2012
PBS News Hour features OMG! Meiyu, calls Beinecke “China’s newest English language star:”
“Combining the powers of social media and fluent Mandarin, Jessica Beinecke teaches American slang to eager Chinese minds half a world away. Hari Sreenivasan reports on Beinecke’s success with Voice of America’s online video program “OMG! Meiyu” and her role as an ambassador of American culture and language to China.”
June 13, 2012
Beinecke speaks at Personal Democracy Forum 2012 and presents how OMG! Meiyu is bringing people together via young people’s similar interests, otherwise known as “Booger Diplomacy:”
July 18, 2012
OMG! Meiyu celebrates its One Year Aniversary. OMG! Meiyu fans in China send in their videos thanking “Baijie” for teaching them all about American culture and language. http://youtu.be/H5U-Yc1bR8I