Friday, March 23, 2012

463 People Like This

Look at this picture of a flower I took! Like like like like like like like like
I don't have time for a full-on post tonight, even though I have more to say on the last post's defense of Taiwanese men.

So, a quick observation.

I have quite a few Taiwanese friends on Facebook, as can be expected after five years, and I've noticed that as Facebook has gotten less popular with my friends back home, it's gotten far more popular in Taiwan. Most, but not all, of my friends in the US have Facebook profiles, but not that many actually use it. Of all of my Washington, DC friends, maybe three use it regularly: two if you don't count the friend who always "Likes" the status updates of people, groups and pages she's subscribed to but never comments on what her friends say or posts her own updates. Other American friends use it more, but I've noticed a gaping chasm between how much content they generate vs. my Taiwanese friends.

I mean, if I post a picture of a pretty flower, even a picture that isn't as good as this one ("here is a pedestrian, plain photo of a very common flower!") or a picture of something extremely common, like a Taiwanese onion pancake or an update like "I'm at Eslite!", my Taiwanese friends will like it and my American friends will ignore it. Posts I make in Chinese, in both languages or in "accessible" English always, regardless of how interesting even I think they are, will always get more action than posts in more complex English, and most (but not all) of it comes from my Taiwanese friends.

If my Taiwanese friends, with their 90-99% Taiwanese networks, post a picture of a boring flower, an onion pancake or say "I'm at Eslite!!", I swear within a half hour "28 people like this" and "18 comments" will already be up.  I think some of them have friends who like just about everything (and all of my friends who like basically everything I post are Taiwanese, although not all do this).

I guess I just feel that overall they're much more active - I'd probably have to post "hey, I just got a raise" or "I just got published" to get that many "Likes". It feels like how Facebook must have felt five years ago in the USA*, when people were more gung-ho and not as "over it". I wouldn't say the USA is totally over Facebook, just that we use it in more moderation, which is probably saner. I think the "I'm sitting in a chair!" "87 people like this" phenomenon will also die down in Taiwan as people start treating it more as a normal, more passive part of life rather than something one does to be 'cool'. Of course, since I believe about  80% of all Facebook updates in Taiwan are made during work hours, quite possibly as a form of rebellion-by-dawdling against the insane hours people are asked to work** in this country, it may not die down quite as much.

Being in the middle is interesting - I post a lot less than many of my Taiwanese friends, but a lot more than most of my American friends, who probably think I'm crazy, like I've got Facebook microchips in my blood or something. I don't - I'm just posting at a rate more in line with my local friends - in fact, even less than that. My Taiwanese friends are generally not that young (32-45 or so), so I can't say it's youth, either.

*I wasn't on Facebook quite 5 years ago, although I'm nearing that anniversary

**Seriously, my Taiwanese coworker said that she's "on call 24/7", seriously, they can call her anytime, and she HAS to pick up or give a good reason why she didn't do so. She'll get flak for not calling back quickly (no allowances for being, say, in the shower or at the gym or uncomfortable on the toilet). I told her, "OK, what I'd do, honestly, is tell them the truth regarding why I didn't pick up. 'Why didn't you answer that call? You didn't call back for a half hour!' 'Yeah, sorry, I was having sex.' or 'I was taking a dump and it took awhile, sorry.' They will NEVER ask you again."

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