Sunday, March 16, 2014

Social Media and China

I've been in China for the last week working on student and faculty exchanges with several universities in Shanghai (especially Fudan University) and Hangzhou, which meant no access to Blogger, Twitter, Facebook, and a variety of other social media. If you know what you're doing, it is apparently easy to get around the government blocks, but what I found is that everyone uses an app called WeChat (though apparently the government is cracking down on that too).

With this absence, I realized how social reading the news has become for me. I don't read anything for the simple act of knowing, but rather immediately think about sharing it and thinking aloud about it. I was still able to access Feedly, but found myself frustrated because I couldn't use Twitter to comment on them. I would see and experience things in China I found interesting, but then could share them only with the small group I was traveling with.

Frequently I hear mention of people "unplugging" from social media for some specified amount of time, which is framed as a virtue. I don't get the logic. Lacking social media doesn't mean I revert to some nostalgic past of "real" communication. Instead, it means I am less social, which is an unpleasant feeling.


Steven Taylor 8:38 AM  

I am with you on the unplugging notion.

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