Wechat is great and text messaging sucks, aka the main thing I learned from 6 weeks in Shanghai

People in Shanghai use Wechat. I’ve sent less than 10 text messages since I arrived. Wechat is awesome.

(to be clear, Evernote is still my gf and that won’t change)

Here are a few thoughts on why. This is after 6 weeks of usage and 30 minutes of thinking, so don’t expect anything groundbreaking.

  • You don’t get spammy messages, like Gmail or SMS (in China you get a whole lot of spammy texts)
  • Group chats are really easy to setup, manage, and log
  • It’s all data, so you’re not paying carrier fees (what the heck gives AT&T the right to charge me $20/month to send texts, and/or 20 CENTS PER TEXT)
  • Emoticons. are. awesome
  • Great logging (or not, if you want to go incognito). I’m BUMMED that I don’t have a central place to view past text messages…ah, the awkward flirty conversations and drunk messages I can no longer re-read
  • Better privacy controls – I can easily block people (in the U.S., I have to call AT&T to block a specific #, and I can only do that by paying a per-month-fee…of course)
  • It’s multichannel (the browser chat is awesome) and I can easily use it across different phones and tablets (think about the pain-in-the-ass of porting phone numbers across carriers and devices)
  • It’s international – I don’t miss out when I cross borders. Now that I’m back in the States it sucks that I missed out on 6 weeks of texts and calls with friends; but I can still hop on Wechat to talk to Shanghai friends
  • Multimedia – easily attach photos, screen grabs, videos
Jon Cusack is on Wechat. Are you?
Jon Cusack is on Wechat. Are you?

There are many other, much-better-informed reasons. For example the walky-talky feature seems to be really popular but I don’t use it much.

I’m not saying Wechat is better than the gajillion other chat apps out there, simply that U.S. carriers need to die, and SMS needs to die, and I’ll stop ranting.

I just miss AIM.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.