Differences Between Eastern and Western Social Media

     Social media is a worldwide phenomenon. Citizens all over the world use it to communicate with their friends and family while accessing breaking news and entertainment. However, not all social media are the same. Various social, cultural, and even political norms shape their uniqueness in each country. Here’s what international students at Hun say about social media in their home countries and in the US!

China: Kathy Wang ’21

     Although the functions of social media are similar in China and US, there is a greater sense of “monopoly” in China with one dominating app: WeChat. Some functions on WeChat that are spreaded across various Apps in the US include: sending money (Zelle), ordering food (Doordash), and even getting a taxi ride (Uber). It creates a lot of conveniences while forcing users to accept the strict censorship policies implemented on it. There is also a lack of creativity in some particular Chinese apps. 

Sending money on WeChat. Credit: https://www.hitouch.com/en/news-detail-2332.html

South Korea: Clara Kim ’22

     There’s a much larger sense of privacy among Korean app users compared to those of the US. Many share their social media posts privately in a selective circle. People are hesitant to talk to strangers and careful with even small actions on social media. Despite that, the huge celebrity culture in Korea leads to the frenziness of followers. These differences are caused by the difference between the American definition of community and the Korean one.

KakaoTalk, a popular social media platform in Korea
Credit: https://m.pulsenews.co.kr/view.php?year=2020&no=218180

Japan: Issa Yazawa ’22

     Censorship by the government is more prevalent in Japan compared to the US. The government wants their citizens to be patriotic and feel safe. Therefore, less debates and criticisms about current events happen on Japanese social media platforms. The most popular social media apps are Twitter and LINE, a communication platform similar to Snapchat. 

User interface for LINE Credit: https://linecorp.com/en/pr/news/en/2018/2425

Vietnam: Angel Truong ’21 

     Given the access to the internet, with comparatively less government censorship, a population of Vietnamese, especially those of the younger generations, enjoy access to various social media platforms without the need for VPN. Among the crowd, however, exists the people’s favorite, Zalo, a new market-leading messaging app. Zalo is a homegrown product that allows for better communication experience at the optimal speed in the context of the country. Moreover, Zalo offers an all-round, convenient list of features, including calendar reminder, movie ticket booking, and electric bill notifications. This messaging app, with its native twists, is on the rise to taking over Vietnamese’s hearts.

Zalo. Credit: https://domain.me/zalo-is-vietnams-answer-to-whatsapp-and-its-growing-big/