Xinyuan Wang

Xinyuan Wang

Postdoctoral Researcher at UCL. The author of 'Social Media in Industrial China' and co-author of 'How the World Changed Social Media'.

Activity

  • Hi Violeta, I found your observation of yourself "choose not to show certain spaces in my house and cancel the video" very interesting, which exactly shows how you treat your smartphone like your 'home' where you feel you can change things and have the capability to put things under your control.

  • Thank you Noreen for sharing this very interesting case in Philippines!

  • nice spotting lol

  • Hey Annabel, true, the smartphone study, young as it is, already has a history! Yes, we included some previous studies also to depict this ongoing history and inspire some comparison between 'then' and 'now' as you rightly noted.

  • Hi Manduhai, your observation about your mum's use of the smartphone is very interesting. It is also common to see such a complicated relationship with regard to the use of the digital - it is on the one hand empower people, on the other hand, may make people feel helpless and frustrated. The focus on ageing/health is more in line with the common concern of...

  • Hi Xinyue, I would agree with you that the urban/rural divide is huge in China in many aspects, including older people's use of the smartphone

  • That's true Sofia, surveillance is ubiquitous, but neither the party-state nor the social media company has the full 'control'. the use of social media is also under the control of users, and in many cases, the users 're-design' social media.

  • good conclusion Hilary

  • Hey Emma, thank you for your question. I took the MSc course of 'digital anthropology' at UCL department of Anthropology which continued with PhD at the same department. Five of us in the team took our PhD at UCL department of Anthropology. I hope these two links will provide you with more detailed information: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/anthropology/;...

  • Interesting, so do you think they 'hide' the aspects of their offline lives which you know in purposes?

  • This is really interesting - the interpretation of sharing password, the hidden friends and secret chat room. Thank you for sharing these with us Elena!

  • It is a very interesting observation Deborah! '

  • Thank you Paula for sharing your experience from a teacher's point of view! And I would recommend the book "It's complicated" to you http://www.openculture.com/2014/03/download-a-free-copy-of-danah-boyds-book-its-complicated-the-social-lives-of-networked-teens.html

  • and Catherine your grandchildren's use of tablets worried me as it sounds a bit like addiction. Do you know what do they do with their tablets? game? I hope this article may help you:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/family/how-to-unplug-your--ipad-addicted-child/

  • Hi there, thank you for your great discussion here which also inspired me. I believe what is central to anthropology is to show empathetic respect for what people are doing and why they do it, and my evidence is that from their point of view there are grounds for rejecting the tendency to see online is a mere 'virtual' place or online is not 'real life'....

  • Hi Sujith, the case of the 'mother mediated WhatsApp conversation' is very interesting, and yes it showcased how the same 'new' technology can be used in totally different ways for different purposes.

  • Hi Cristina, actually with 'SM become more and more embeeded in our lives' the concept polymedia will be more and more applicable as polymedia is exactly talking about the situation where there is a range of available media in daily life.

  • That's right Konstancja here we extended our discussion of social media to the internet in general.

  • Hi Rob, I am very impressed by your Yin-Yang model which renders the situation in a very comprehensive manner. Thank you.

  • Yes Kristin you tackled a key point of the discussion - how do we define or judge 'education' by standardized tests, prospects of employment? or something more.

  • I agree Ricky - FutureLearn can be considered as a social media platform as it allows users to connect with each other and exchange information. And FutureLern is truly a great example of how social media can so positively contribute to education.

  • Thank Gail for sharing your personal experience with us. And like you, I also enjoyed reading all the comments here - it presents such a touching and rich world.

  • brilliant, I will take a note of this meme. Thanks Ricky

  • This is a very interesting observation of the manipulation of social media in your country. Thank Sergei. Which country do you come from Sergei? and if it is possible could you give us an example of the ways the government used social media to channel the people back to traditional value?

  • It is a very neat metaphor Dominic. Thanks

  • What you did is actually very common in China too.

  • Yes Paula, as you rightly spotted what is 'good' (the social norms) guide they to carefully choose different social media platforms for different social groups.

  • Thank you Eduardo for giving us a very interesting and reveling case. and actually it is also to do Polymedia - which way is more suitable for expression private feelings?

  • That is very true Sally -you will have 'digital tattoo' online. Having said so, the subtle movement here was Huang Ling actually wanted to be seen by others, especially her ex in order to send the message. What she wanted to avoid was the involvement of the senior family members.

  • Hi Eduardo, Think about what kind of media you use to communicate with people. Do you use letter, text message, telephone, social media, or video call? Polymedia refers to not only social media platforms, but the whole range of communicative tools available in your daily life.

  • Yes in this case a WhatsApp message will be more appreciated as it regarded as 'more personal and intentional'. Thank you Christann for giving us a very good example of the use of Polymedia

  • Hi Monique, thank you for your comment. For social media developers there is certainly a hope that there are groups of target users and they will find their niche in the market. However there is another side of the story - that users won't necessarily use the media in the ways the developers assumed or hoped, they actually creatively 'reproduce' the use of the...

  • Yes you are right Ricky, it is surely not just about the value of different social groups. However 'the majority of people use' in practice is actually linked with 'collective taste/vaule' and reflects it. In addition, each individual plays different roles in his or her social life - family, friend, colleague, or online stranger. Polymedia describe the...

  • haha, a witty point!

  • Thanks Khan for these questions. Anthropology is surely different from lab science (where right results are supposed to be 100% repeatable and the conditions and variables are totally controllable) as it deals with complicated and constantly changing societies and people. What we learn is the normativity as you mentioned. I would like to recommend you to read...

  • It is a good question Wendy. In a way, I think it to do with the collective 'taste'. Chinese website design has been known for its richer colours and more complicated, cluttered layouts compared to Western websites, which value simplicity far more.

  • Hey Catherine and Monique, the shake shake is a lot fun isn't it? Well to answer Catherine's questions: what happened after saying hello is pretty much what you will with a stranger in offline context - conversation can continue if people like and two strangers can even become friends. And it not only work with people in the immediate proximity - as long as...

  • Thank you for your comment Shuja, yes the urbanization is massive in China and the urban population certainly benefited from the ICT boom much earlier than the rural population. Having said so, both Toms and my research among rural population and rural migrant population show that the rural population is a great beneficiary of the boom of the smartphone and...

  • Hey Monique and Heather thank you for pointing out this confusing bit of the chart - maybe next time to put things in two separate charts would help. Yes the green bars show the global MAU of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter whereas the blue bars show the MAU of these Chinese social media platforms.

  • Thank you very much for your kind words Despina!

  • Hmm, 'is social media making us business like?' good question Ruth. I think that also depends on how you define 'business'. If social networking is a part of doing business, then I would say social media definitely facilitates that process by making social networking much easier. Having said so, it can easily be a 'chicken or egg' question, as the intrinsic...

  • the app 'swish' sounds cool, thank you Shela. So do people use 'swish' to transfer cash to their friends as gift?

  • It's very interesting to know your own experience as a teacher Margaret. Do you use social media to communicate with your students?

  • Very good points Shela. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

  • Thank you Anthea for sharing the situation in Canada with us.

  • btw, I am very impressed by your aunt too.

  • Thank you for your questions Margaret. Actually one reason for those rural population still making a strong link with their homelands is they have real difficulties to really settle down in towns and cities. ‘Floating population’ (liudong renkou), a term in Chinese official discourse, describes the migration pattern of those rural migrants. Peasant workers...

  • haha, I was very impressed by them too Antigoni. Actually some of them in that workshop (not shown in the video) are grandmothers!

  • Hi Gianluca, Thank you for your question. There are a few ways to access this video/content outside the course environment: 1) You can simply download the video by clicking on 'download video' underneath the video box of this page; or 2)You can find the video on our Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/FSzzH-P1uNA (there are over 100 short clips on our WHY WE...

  • Thank you for you question Caroline. According to the 2010 Chinese national census, the males-female ratio was 51.27 : 48.73. China also has the highest male to female sex ratio at birth (SRB) in the world (118: 100), particularly (140:100) in poor rural areas. At the moment there are about 9 million more boys than girls in China. And as Andii suggested the...

  • Nice spot Pual, figures can be misleading! It is worthwhile to note that the definition of ‘rural’ in ‘rural internet users’ is different from the definition of ‘rural population’ in national censuses. In Chinese national censuses, ‘rural population’ refers to people with rural 'hukou' (household registration system), regardless of their current residence....

  • Thank you Brian for you recommendation. For people who are interested, the download link is: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/social-media-in-industrial-china

  • Hi Susana, thank you for your contribution. However I need to point out that Renren is definitely not the largest social media platforms. It is quite common to see the social media site ‘Renren’ described by Western media as the Chinese version of Facebook. This is misleading, however, because in terms of popularity Renren’s market share is not comparable. In...

  • I enjoy reading your observation of 'posed American wedding/family photography'. Thanks Jackie. In a way, photography has never been 100% 'natural' or aspiration-free as the moment you chose to take a photo always reflects certain evaluation/judgment.

  • A good point Candy.

  • Hi Rosalinde, what you observed among your friends was also found in many of the field sites - selfie is more about 'a few friend having a good time'. Selfie is identity not all about self-love.

  • Meanwhile, to answer Revekka's specific question about situation in Turkey/ China I would say according to our research actually the internet censorship plays a much less important role as we assumed in people's daily use of social media. For detailed answers I would recommend you to read the Chapter 6 (The wider world: Politics, the visible and the invisible)...

  • Hi there, yes, a very interesting question, thank you for bringing it up Barbara. I think a previous post on our project blog (by Jo) can briefly answer it: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/global-social-media/2015/03/12/pre-theory-non-usage/

  • Hi Mike, yes social media is definitely used. We updated our blog regularly, and all the team members 'hang out' on Google+ and GotoMeeting at least once a month when we were in the field sites all over the world

  • Yes, the history and significance of 'eating together' (or 'commensality') has been well documented in many anthropological studies of the Chinese society.

  • Hi Barbara, yes feel free to share the link. Glad you find it useful. Good luck with your creative course.

  • Yes, to voluntarily unfold one's private information is probably one of the most efficient ways to establish bonding, or even loyalty - certainly can work extremely well between celebrities and their fans. As Sakari said, Periscope is another good example, the live streaming creates the ambience of 'feel intimate' and being together.

  • The new trend of 'private' Instagram accounts among teenagers sounds extremely interesting! Thank you for sharing this observation with us Cathy. It also shows even on the same platform people can still adjust the 'scale' of private/public. In addition, it speaks to the previous discussion of why content matters more than platforms per se.

  • It is a very good point Nathalie

  • Hi Anna, it is mixed. On the one hand we tended to cover certain countries (i.e. India, Brazil, China) with massive population and where digital technology plays an important role in terms of social transformation and development, on the other hand the choice of field sites was depended on available anthropologists and their expertise. For instance, the...

  • Hi Marcus, thank you for your question. Under the guidance of ERC research ethic, we are not supposed to tell the exact name of the small town where Tom and I conducted field work. But to give you a brief idea: the southeast industrial China field site locates in Zhejiang province, and the north rural China field site locates in Shandong province.

  • ah yes Heather I can easily imagine this painting video being part of the course of visual sketching!

  • Thanks Richard, glad you enjoyed the video. I also like your metaphor of "closed shop" of the social media.

  • True, in many cases we found that the social media use reflects different life phases (migration, studying abroad, graduation, having a new job, becoming parent, etc).

  • Hi Caroline thank you for your comment. Yes in practice groups can be very mixed. the point is nowadays there is a whole range of available digital media facilitating people to have a better control of their communication among various groups. And 'scalable sociality' is a fluid and flexible concept to describe such phenomenon.

  • Thanks Heather for your comment. Yes we will talk about visual communication in Week 2.

  • Hi Angela, feel free to keep in touch with us. You can find our contact details at our website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/why-we-post/about-us/research-team/ cheers

  • Hmm, To keep your cleaner's telephone number is one thing, to add as fb friend is another thing...think about the 'polymedia' theory in the previous week- how will you get judged both from others and yourself about your media choice.

  • Thanks for sharing your teaching experience with us Dawn, really interesting to know! As a source of information, social media indeed has its weakness, especially in the context of high education. Thus on the one hand, social media offers very accessible knowledge and information for low-income people with low education background, which is very encouraging;...

  • Hi Jenny, it is a very good question. The situation is complicated given the significant diversity of Chinese population and the huge rural- urban divide. Knowing from my own field work, the urban older Chinese people show more interest in keeping up with the 'youth culture'. Having said so, thanks to the increasing popularity of the budget smartphone, more...

  • Xinyuan Wang replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    That is a very interesting observation Kate, thanks for sharing! It seems that users have redesigned the space into a free land to express themselves more freely without worrying about surveillance and judgement from offline social connections. The use of QQ among Chinese young rural migrant workers in my field work is actually quite similar.

  • Thanks for sharing these Dimitris

  • Yes Robert please ask your friends and tell us situation in Africa! I am also very curious

  • Thanks Barry for pointing out this question. In my forthcoming book 'Social Media in Industrial China' I gave some more detailed explanation for this phenomenon. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/social-media-in-industrial-china

  • Thanks for sharing you detailed analysis with us Barry :)

  • or you can say social media helps to keep you young Anthony :)

  • Yes Michael, the self-harm is extreme, but the ways people use different social media platforms to reach/avoid different audience is quite 'normal' in China.

  • Noel and Philip thanks for your concerns about the girl's situation. Even though as a researcher I need to keep her as anonymous, I can certainly tell you that she is all fine as far as I know...and I had several face-to-face talks as well as long QQ chatting (actually she seemed to be more comfortable talking on QQ) with her during my stay in that factory town.

  • Thanks Ivy! It's a good example to showcase- on the one hand, certain norms about specific social media use can emerge immediately, on the other hand, given different personal media use histories and communicative contexts, such norms vary among individuals.

  • Glad to hear this course gave you some idea of the social media use in China Eliana. Why don't you keep your assumption about the relationship between social media and inequality in mind and see whether you will think the same after the whole course :)

  • Great reflection on the relationship between Brexit and social media use Annabelle. Also we have seen how social media has become one of the main information resources for mass media to get access to the fresh first-hand opinions of people; and through mass media different opinions on social media have been amplified; furthermore, reports by mass media about...

  • That is very true Victoria and Felix, there is no cultural and social phenomenon that can be explained by a single factor. In many cases, comparative study, difficult as it is, efficiently helps us to see whether certain specific use of social media is because of social media itself, or people who use it, or both. In next week, when China joins the discussion,...

  • It's great to see this video raised discussion about anthropology - one of the key purposes of the MOOC! Certainly as Corina said a few minutes video (learning from the use of Youtube, the team always made sure each video won't exceed five minutes) can not be as accurate as an academic book. However a slightly generalized talk may hopefully convince people who...