Culture’s impact on WeChat
Every morning I use my mobile phone to check Facebook and WeChat. I use Facebook to connect with my non Chinese friends and use WeChat to stay in touch with my Chinese friends. By May 2016, WeChat has 1 billion registered users and 700 million active users. (the population of Europe was 740 million by 2010).
Due to Great FireWall, the Chinese online community is separated from the rest of the online world. WeChat is barely the exception. Its main content language is in Chinese. Chinese culture influences its product design, content view points and even the emoticon design.
Emoticon by South Korea mobile chat application
Emoticon by Facebook. Are you able to articulate the differences between Asian emoticons and US emoticons?
One thing very unqiue about WeChat is that it goes beyond being someone’s personal photo album and address book. Every user can create a public account which he/she can use every day for publishing purposes. Therefore WeChat becomes 1 billion people’s individual publishing platform. In my view, it replaces official newspaper which only has one view representing the government. People actually trust WeChat publishings more. They read news from WeChat not from official paper newspaper which people view as old fashion and very boring. The power structure is flattened out quickly with people more and more daring to challenge authorities.
WeChat Cutlure on me
I rely on WeChat to maintian connection with Chinese speaking community. I left China in 2000 but thanks to WeChat, I maintian my Chinese identity by keep on reading about news in China and interacting with my Chiense friends on mobile phone. Wechat also is an alumni network tool. People who went to the same calss in primary school, high school and university organised WeChat communities . Even I am living in UK and studying with a Canadian centric program, I feel a very strong connection with my familiies and old friends in China.
But WeChat changed my behavior and my cognitive ability. I read less, check mobile phone more often. I am more impatient on Wechat than on emails in terms wanting responses from people. WeChat becomes my extended memory. I bookmarked good restaurant list, travel guides on my WeChat so I only need to remember what I have on phone rather than the content itself.
I am not entirely sure if this is a good thing or not. But WeChat is a culturally embedded technology product and it is hugely impacting the Chinese culture and my individual life. It strengthened my personal identity. That is just a matter of fact.
Sources of pictures