Had the pleasure of a brief chat with Chinese media and Internet professor Qin Lu about the state of social media in both the U.S. and China. We met for a quick coffee at Baked and Wired yesterday after her trip to the FCC to learn about the National Broadband Plan and before her planned visit today to the Washington Post. Dr. Lu told me that “social media [in China] is very popular among business and also academics who are studying if it can be used to change the mind of government.” She is an associate professor and vice dean at China’s Central Party School in Beijing, where she lectures party leaders and other officials on new media and the Internet. They are very interested, she said. But still at the stage of “What is it?” rather than “How can we use it?”. She mentioned Han Han, China’s most popular blogger with 110,000 fans (followers). And noted that microblogging is popular (specifically, Sina microblog) but Twitter is banned. Dr. Lu is in the U.S. for four weeks as an Eisenhower Fellow, soaking up anecdotes and information to take back to her classroom. In the space of a few minutes, she asked me a succession of pointed and astute questions about social media ROI, social media disasters (I mentioned Domino’s Pizza) and Gov 2.0 (I mentioned the TSA blog as one of the best examples). I wish we had had more time to talk. She is hugely knowledgeable and speaks almost flawless English. She has ordered an iPad 3G (“I should wait for second generation but I can’t,” she said) and expects to pick it up and hand carry it back to China later this month. The only thing that stumped her was my blogging engagement with Bill Gates (“How is that going?” she asked). I explained what an April Fool’s joke is. She giggled. I pointed Dr. Lu to the Mandarin edition of The Corporate Blogging Book. She was familiar with my 2007 China Blogging Tour when I visited Beijing and Shanghai.