Saturday, July 22, 2006

How information is distributed






Walking through a Russian shopping district in Beijing (Russians come to buy clothes in this part of the city to the extent that much of the signage is in Russian), I saw something that Tara Tranguch had mentioned. (Tara had been introduced to me by Professor Jing Wang , and she has been working in data tracking and telecom industry for 9 years here in China.) We were talking about how the Internet came to be used and grow in popularity here. China right now is the second largest user of the Internet after the U.S. How did people find out about it, I asked. Part of the way word spread was via handbills offering services posted to local bulletin boards––all analog baby. We are just starting to look into this now, but it’s possible that the close community structures that one finds here, even traditionally with urban dwellers made some difference in how info was disseminated on this. Need more info myself on houton (roughly “neighborhoods”) concept and practice.

Shanghai self-service:
On the mobile information side of things, in Shanghia, one can sms to the Guanxi (which can be translated as “network” or “juice”) service the name of a destination, say Pier One “lifestyle” club-restaurant-bar w/ boutique hotel out back…hum, yes, that is how people are living it up in that town. Guanxi will text you back within moments in English or Chinese address, number. It will even specify whether you’re looking for the Minx club in that complex or Mimosa restaurant…or the Monsoon bar. Much handier than 411 in the States.

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