Dwelling and fleeting encounters: Exploring why people use WeChat - A mobile instant messenger

Yang Wang, Yao Li, Jian Tang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

WeChat is a popular mobile instant messenger (MIM) in China with hundreds of millions of users. Recent literature suggested that MIMs can support users to "dwell" together with their close relationships by constantly exchanging tidbits of their lives. In this paper, we present an interview study to investigate why and how people use WeChat, particularly focusing on its three novel opportunistic social features: Shake, Drift Bottle, and Look Around. Drawing from 25 interviews, our results suggest that WeChat usage was otivated by a wide range of user needs. Notably, we found these social features supporting fleeting encounters among strangers. The seemingly conflicting practices of dwelling with close people and fleeting encounters with strangers vividly co-existed in the WeChat social space. These results suggest that MIMs as a rich design space for supporting divergent social interactions. Copyright is held by the author/owner(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2015 - Extended Abstracts Publication of the 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationCrossings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery,
Pages1543-1548
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450331463
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 18 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2015 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Apr 18 2015Apr 23 2015

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume18

Other

Other33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2015
CountryKorea, Republic of
CitySeoul
Period4/18/154/23/15

Keywords

  • Fleeting interaction
  • Mobile instant messenger
  • Mobile phones
  • WeChat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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