Helen plays around with the various social platforms on her smart phone. It’s in Chinese, but she shows me how they work. Some of these features aren’t in Facebook or Twitter.

Here are features from Weixin (called “WeChat” in English):

1) Create a personal QR Code. Here’s her QR code. Not just a boring square: it’s a cute cat image. If a US social platform added this feature, it’d spread like wildfire. Cats, dogs, flowers, whatever: let kids choose their image.

2) Message in a Bottle: You write a short message and send it. It goes to a randomly-selected person, who can choose to reply. This stirs up conversations.

3) Near Me: It shows you other members who are nearby. Again, this stirs up connections and conversations.

4) Voice Tweets: I don’t know what to call this, since we don’t have it in the US. It’s like Twitter where you send short sound messages. You get sixty seconds to say something. It can be you, your friends all yelling, the sound of the music playing, and so on. You can attach photos, video, etc. to the voice tweet. It also allows others to add modules for other kinds of things. It’s pretty popular. It spreads virally; one sends to a few friends, who all start using it, so it cascades to yet more friends.

Weixin (owned by TenCent, a mega Chinese platform, which also has QQ) has over 100 million members.