What is WeChat?

WeChat, We-what?

How to WeChatMany of you many already feel very comfortable using the big social networks that dominate the U.S. market, but have you ever thought about social networking in other countries? You may have heard of a WeChat? It’s a social network dominant in China. Have you ever wondered how it works? One of my very smart and talented students, Fann Liu, has created a quick little video to explain it.

There are many cool features which our trusty Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Google+ (ahem), and YouTube should consider to enhance the user experience on each of these platforms. Let me tell you about some of them here:

WeChat Features You Might Enjoy

  1. Message Recall – On WeChat, you can recall a message you’ve sent within 2 minutes. This could be very useful if you send something by mistake. Remember that text you sent to our Mom which was actually meant for your new love? That could have been saved with a recall button.
  2. Sending Money – We have this on Facebook and Snapchat, yet very few people are using it yet. Do you use it? And, what do you use it for?
  3. QR Code Connecting – It’s on Snapchat, but it seems easier to use on WeChat.
  4. Chat Groups – You can chat with up to 500 people at the same time. Yes, 500! That’s a lot! This may be similar to a live video on Facebook, Instagram or Periscope. Furthermore, it could also be reminiscent of the days of listservs and forums, but it seems like an excellent way to communicate with large groups of people. Think about inviting people to events and forming social movements.
  5. Easy Privacy Settings – Moments, like stories on Snapchat, and now Instagram and Facebook, don’t have to be shared with everyone. You can easily block and allow any selection of friends to view your content.
  6. English Version – There is an English version of WeChat, but it only includes about one fifth of the features available on the Chinese version. Wow! Are you experiencing any FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) yet? Download the iPhone app here.
  7. Payment Features – WeChat enables multiple forms of payment and many businesses in East Asia are connected to WeChat. This allows you to pay via the app and QR codes. I’m betting Facebook and Snapchat would love for people to start using their apps for payments. Afterall, when something helps me with my money, it is extremely valuable to me.

Where do we go from here?

As with many technologies, we in the U.S.A. may not be at the forefront of all advancements. I believe it’s crucial to stay informed about what people in other countries are doing especially on their mobile devices, because we’re in a time of prolific innovation in the mobile space. If we remain open-minded to cultural differences and technological progress in other countries, we can push the bounds of our own apps, websites, and businesses processes.

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