Weixin, or WeChat, as it’s known to us English-speaking folk, is truly a revolutionary piece of technology. I’d heard about it for a couple of years from friends and was urged to download it and join the craze, but up until now I’ve never had a smart phone or tablet. Now that I do, I thought why not give it a whirl.
When I first managed to turn it on, it somehow located a whole load of Chinese friends that I hadn’t spoke to in years. I don’t know how it did this as most of these people weren’t in my email or phonebook, and I hadn’t linked it up to my QQ (which I don’t use anymore.) After a quick catch up and struggling to get used to the “hold to talk” button (many of my messages were broken up as I often released my thumb on the button) I then discovered the “look around” tool. That’s where it got interesting.
Weixin is known in Chinese as the “one night-stand tool,” and after using “look around,” I could see why. If you’re not familiar (though I’m sure you are) the “look around” feature locates people within your near vicinity; people who are up for a chat with random people, and maybe a little more. I had a good laugh with my friend in a bar as the minute I logged on I got messages almost instantaneously from both random men and women. The fact that you’re able to filter men and women on the search option for the “look around” feature nails it for me, and it’s clear proof that Weixin is a cheeky little tool indeed.
Moving on, and we come across this bizarre feature called “drift bottle,” where you can either type a message or record a message and chuck it into this imaginary sea where you pray that someone else will answer your call a-la message in a bottle. For some reason, you can only search for other people’s “bottles” a few times a day, and I’ve only ever found messages containing creepy voice messages that seem to come from people who have way too much time on their hands.
Needless to say, it’s a truly ingenious invention that is great fun to play with and offers a wonderful (and free) alternative to texting and calling. I hope it does stay free, and I also hope that if and when I return home that I am able to contact my friends here easily. Long live Weixin!
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To say true, Wechat is both good and bad, maybe the bad outweighs the good. The good is, if you are looking for chances, you can have a look around and if anyone replies you, game on. Also, it is convenient to talk to friends without wasting money on SMS fees. If you have interest groups, such as sports teams, you can create chat groups and everyone can have a say and its quite useful. The bad is, If you use this like a Facebook or QQZone type tool, people using the "Look Around" Function can use this to stalk others. Let's say you went to a night club and danced with a girl, only later to find out that she was using you to escape her brute boyfriend. If he finds out and then sees your "Zone" photos or avatar, and you suddenly show within 100meters, trouble could be brewing. Furthermore, sexual predators, robbers, and other scum could use this to seek out victims. While the GPS is not 100% accurate all the time, it is often accurate enough and could put lives in critical danger. Likewise, QQ Mobile also has a similar function where you can check the GPS and see who is online nearby your position. While the details are not quite as accurate as Wechat's, it can be a bit uncomfortable if one day you are walking down the street with your wife in your neighborhood and someone suddenly comes up to her and remembers her face from GPS searches, especially if you are the "foreign devil who stole one of the home girls". Some people are simply up to no good and might try to do something behind your back. Of course, one can block their zone from being viewed by strangers and use fake avatars but then why bother to have it at all?
May 08, 2013 13:10 Report Abuse