(Oh hold-on…I’m getting a WeChat message from a Chinese student right now…)
Okay I’m back.
It’s safe to say that technology has developed in China allowing individuals (through social media) to connect with people all over the world. According to Biztechday, “There are 879,000,000 mobile subscribers in China, 66% of users access the web through their cell phones, and 70% of Chinese say they can’t live without their mobile phones” (Biztechday Website, 2013). The numbers are continuing to grow.
It is known that while China is rising as a global superpower it plans to remain a communist state with strict governmental regulations. However technology and social media has opened the door for freedoms of thought and speech.
Restrictions:No Facebook, No Twitter, No YouTube…and sometimes No Google. I’m guessing you can already tell that I had problems posting due to various restrictions.
(www.goldenfrog.com offers the best assistance in those moments. It’s a site that confuses the server and makes it seem like you’re in the country of your choice).
Outside of the obvious restricted Internet sites, I also learned that sites are easily shut down at any moment. While having dinner with a few American teachers who relocated to Shanghai, I was informed of a controversy with an American news site. The teachers shared, “The site expressed a comment about China that seemed negative and the next day it was shut down.”
Many individuals feel that the regulations hinder them from receiving accurate information and find ways around the “Great Internet Wall”. Some of them shared with me their Facebook account. Overall the two main social media sites among young college students are: WeChat and QQ.
QQ is one of China’s favorite free online instant message software developed by Tencent. QQ boasts online users of over 100 million people ever day. WeChat is another mobile text and voice messaging service also developed by Tencent. It offers a great opportunity for groups to remain connected. It is clear that as mobile users continue to grow in China, various social media sites will continue to flourish as well. The goal is to ultimately connect individuals of various cultures and countries around the world. It’s happening. On my first day in China I had 1 WeChat connection…now I have 50. Looking forward to remaining connected to an amazing group of people in China.