Thursday, March 20, 2008

Comments, Links

It's no secret that the BBS dominates as the main forum (hah) for socialization on the present Chinese internet. If you're a long-term China resident, speak Chinese, and want to understand the Chinese web, it's a good idea to get familiar with the BBSs that you might/should use in your daily life. In this post I introduce a few of mine to get you started.

In the morning, I wake up and get ready for work. Since I'm going to take the metro to school, I might check a couple of forums run by Shanghai subway fans like Ditiezu and Metrofans.

At work, I work of course, but also might distract myself occasionally on the general discussion forums like Shanghai Hotline, or one populated by tech fans but still with many topics like PC Home, or one more directed at stylish white-collars like Metroer. When I'm at work, I actually work, which could involve checking my school's BBS SMIC Voice, or if I was at a Chinese school an education-related BBS in Chinese like the China Education Resources and Services Platform.

I finish work and return to the neighborhood where I live, in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park. If I have any questions about my neighborhood or want to organize some activity, I can find my neighbors reading the Zhangjiang Jiayuan BBS, or if I want a BBS specifically tailored to my specific apartment complex I can look on the SouFun Community-BBS site.

If I'm looking for something very particular about my neighborhood or city and don't have the patience to wait for another BBS poster to answer, I browse to Baidu Zhidao, like Yahoo Answers for China. If it's something that a foreign resident of Shanghai would know better, I could go to a true forum at Shanghai Expat to ask or just to relax in some chatty threads.

In the evening I relax at home and make dinner. Many of the general BBSs have a forum specifically devoted to food where people posts recipes, pictures and tutorials. If I'm looking for more expert advice, I can go to the Betty's Kitchen BBS. After dinner we like to sit on the couch and watch a little Channel Young on TV complemented by a catch-up on the Shanghai Media Group BBS, where fans gossip about their favorite hosts or post the contact details for shops and restaurants featured on shows that night.

We can't relax too much because being a parent is a 24-hour job. When Charlotte is busy with her toys, however, Jodi finds some time to jump onto the very active Parenting sub-forum of the Liba BBS (along with PC Home, supposedly one of Shanghai's biggest) or write a few words on her Yu'er Wang weblog, a weblog community site that also has a small BBS.

Finally, if we're able to find a baby-sitter we might go out for the night. How do we choose our destination? Hop on the net, where the kids on Smart Shanghai and Shanghaining are trading info on what clubs are hot.

Really, I've only scratched the surface so far. There's plenty of other popular forums for other hobbies and interests: pets (hi Poopy), cars (not while we're living in Shanghai), urban exploring (someday)... There's a million of them!

So that's pretty much all of the forums I've found interesting so far. Like I said there's a million of them and they're not all great but with so many I'm sure there will be one or two that might be useful to you.

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