Circulation Project and Reflection

Chinese and American millennials depend heavily on the internet, and due to culture, differences arise and similarities remain throughout the experience. I wanted both parties to see these nuances in online culture. Why? With the internet becoming the major form of communication, I believe understanding how the two parties use different methods on the same medium will give insight to culture and how we can communicate with each other despite differences.

This leads to the format of my circulation project.

error detected: fliers don’t work
error detected: fliers don’t work

Initially I used fliers as everyone else did. The flier in mandarin encourages international students to write down their most commonly used websites and vice versa for the American students. These were posted in the elevators of apartment complexes such as Sherwood Towers, Saxony Apartments, Craig Manor, and Schenley House because those buildings are popular amounts international students.

After checking in after 3 days these fliers are still blank, and I realized most people usually don’t have a pen on their hand when they’re off to class. But not only that, even if they had a writing utensil the fliers were corny as hell, and in retrospect was probably a dumb idea.

Instead, I used the medium that suits the project best: the internet.

In place of Facebook, Chinese people use a phone-only app called WeChat that has a newsfeed, messaging, groups, and forums. On one of the groups, I explained my project as a homework assignment and asked if any international students can send me a few links of their most commonly used websites. If this says anything, it would be they are more vocal online than in person.

Some simply gave me their entire search history.
Some simply gave me their entire search history.

Some of the more interesting links were websites such as Sougou Pinyin, an input method editor, and Douban, a website where students can find Chinese versions of their textbook scanned online

Sougou. You can purchase or download free codes, blog themes, free skins, avatars, and misc personalizations.
Sougou. You can purchase or download free codes, blog themes, free skins, avatars, and misc personalizations.
“Douban” is actually a cute play on words. The real word盗版 (Dàobǎn, meaning piracy, is cutefied into 豆瓣 (Dòubàn), innocently meaning watercress. Douban is indeed a pirate website where textbooks and Chinese text gets scanned and distributed for free. Copyright is rolling in its grave. The textbook searched here is the textbook for our Organic Chemistry textbook, but with different covers.
“Douban” is actually a play on words. The real word盗版 (Dàobǎn, meaning piracy, is cutefied into 豆瓣 (Dòubàn), innocently meaning watercress. Douban is indeed a pirate website where textbooks and Chinese text gets scanned and distributed for free. Copyright is rolling in its grave. The textbook searched here is the textbook for our Organic Chemistry textbook, but with different covers.

Then, I made a side by side comparison for the type of websites used by both American and Chinese users and posted them on the WeChat forum.

Apologies to the low resolution: my phone can't take screenshots.
Apologies for the low resolution: my phone can’t take screenshots.

While Google and Youtube is overwhelmingly the dominant search engine and video sharing website, China offers an array of choices. Each search engine are on equal scale, and each offer their own images, news, and video tabs. Thus, the news section is very personalized in the end.

Various search engines used in China
Various search engines used in Chinavideo

In contrast, Americans get there news from major news channels and online newspaper articles, but some sites of entertainment like the Colbert Report and Youtube also count.

america
Most common American websites

america news

Finally, a look at Baidu: China’s version of Google.

Baidu and its many uses
Baidu and its many uses
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