I’m hooked. It took me long enough, but I’m addicted to We Chat. I’m taking pictures of all my meals, the places I go, and the people I see. I’m “hearting” my friends’ posts, and I’m “looking around” all the time, but one of the newest things I’m being forced to do is to write things in Chinese. If I had only learned one character a day since getting here, I would know 6,908 of them by now, or if I had learned one four-word idiom a day, I would now be able to read most books, not to mention being able to better understand the local psyche. So why am I now being forced to write in Chinese? Because many of my foreign friends are doing the same, and it makes me feel like an even bigger fool for not being able to respond in kind, not to mention not being able to understand all their cheeky comments. With more than three hundred million members, We Chat is becoming the king of the mobile universe, and once this thing gets rolling in other countries, I suspect it will topple Zuckerberg’s empire. After all, it is better, and much more convenient.
For those few of you who have yet to download this app, I highly recommend it. After all, you don’t have to check to see if people have tagged you because they can’t, and if you only want to SMS your mom for free, then it’s more than worth it. I was in Japan the other day, and I could find other users by looking around. Not like I was ready to ask them to add me, but I could have if I wanted to. When I got to the U.S., I found a couple other users within a ten kilometer radius. They were Chinese which makes me wonder if they get onto Vine. Vine is my other new passion. It’s made by the folks at Twitter. Vinofiles post six-second videos of anything and everything. It is accessible in China too, albeit a bit slower. I have actually been practicing pulling my phone out of my pocket like a Wild Western gunslinger in case I see something worth recording. What if I’m at Wal-Mart and some fat lady falls out of her Rascal Scooter reaching for a bag of pork cracklings and I don’t catch her shame on video? Would I ever forgive myself? Could I ever forgive myself? Suffice it to say, when the Chinese version of Vine is released, I’m investing the bank in that company.
For all of you “traditional” folks out there who refuse upgrade phones, you’re a bunch of fools. How much does a good new phone cost? Couple thousand RMB? You’re like a coke dealer in the 90s losing all his clients because they were too cheap to get a beeper. Life is way too short to deny yourself from having all the fun there is to be had with all the modern technology out there.
By Tim Hoerle