For those of you already teaching in China, you will know exactly what WeChat is, and chances are you will have used it dozens of times today. For those of you who are soon going to be joining us over here, I recommend that you download the app now… and get ready to transform the way you communicate to your friends, family, colleagues and manage your social media.
With social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube being banned by the government, the Chinese had to come up with their own unique system of communication which acts as a hybrid of the three, and boy did they manage to achieve that … as of 2013 WeChat had over 300 million official users.
Here are 5 useful things you did not know about WeChat:
1) Instant voice messaging – Why waste time typing away when you can send a more personable message through the WeChat voice messaging service. Quick, easy and convenient to use…even your mate Messi can do it
2) Finding locations – One of the biggest struggles when in China is finding locations, whether it be a friend’s house, bar, restaurant or the school you are teaching at. By pushing the plus sign in a conversation and selecting either send location (you type in the desired address) or real-time location (where you are at that exact moment) you can find your way around unfamiliar areas with ease, so start coming-up with other reasons for telling your friends why you are late!
3) Keeping in touch with friends – WeChat provides several ways to keep in contact with friends and colleagues and you can select the one which is most convenient for you and wherever you may be at the time. You can simply type your message or leave recorded voice messages, but you can also use the ‘walkie talkie’ function which is exactly as it sounds. You just hold down a button to speak and release when you have finished speaking. Also, you have the capability to make free calls, and also free video calls which work extremely well and rival the likes of Skype and facetime for ease of use and quality of call.
4) Moments – Moments is a very similar concept to your wall and feed which you are used to seeing on Facebook. Use this to share your pictures, news articles, and links to offers and events that are happening in your city, share music….the list is pretty much endless. Of course you can like moments and comment on them, however one difference than Facebook is that you can only read the comments of those that you have shared your contact information with, so if you see random comments on posts don’t worry…the person isn’t going crazy.
5) Finding new friends – If you are looking to meet new people whilst in China then there are also plenty ingenious ways to do so.
• Shake – You have the option to ‘Shake’ your phone, literally shake your phone and it picks up the details of someone who is doing likewise
• Drift a bottle – Wrap your message or voice message in a bottle and watch it float away, then wait for someone to reply. You can also reply to the bottles others have drifted
• People Nearby – looking to meet someone who lives near you? Then this is a great option. The people are listed in descending order of distance from you, then just select the person you wish to talk to and then message away. P.S for those of you interested in dating and potential romance then you can select just male/female users to appear
By Oliver Gorman, Personal Placement Consultant at Teaching Nomad
About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education Recruitment Company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at www.teachingnomad.com/job-search for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!