The normal buzz of we’re-mostly-listening-but-not-entirely stopped dead during Xiaofeng Jin’s presentation on Internet activity and communities in China. For 20 minutes, it felt more like a law school lecture, everyone typing away furiously. That’s how hungry we all were for info on what China’s 123 million Internet users are doing.
The session was live-blogged really well by Josh Ledgard. Note how his first entry after she started begins with “Wow.” That was the feeling the whole time. We need to know more about how the other half lives.
Got me wondering about real-time SMS that translates Chinese to English and back. Imagine an instant cross-cultural chatspace of people under 25 reacting to North Korea’s reported nuclear test. What would we say to each other?
It was also remarkable to hear Xiaofeng and Satya Prabhakar talk about online community behavior in both China and India and get confirmation that the dynamics of communities are, in most but not all ways, the same everywhere. Classifieds, non-mainstream news, the chance to wear different personas (or what Chinese idiom apparently refers to as “the vest”).
Satya talked especially about local content. The fact that India’s massive has its info aggregated by city, that simply locating a physical business is one very popular use, and that the site has been conceived from the beginning as an Indian site, as opposed to a “South Asian” site. Setting an expectation about community from the very start.
For more great notes from the conference, check out all Josh’s OCS liveblogging.