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[转载] 买买提上WSJ了
[版面:未名文摘][首篇作者:longlive] , 2004年10月26日09:09:15 ,3484次阅读,0次回复
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发信人: longlive (jerry), 信区: Collection
标  题: [转载] 买买提上WSJ了
发信站: Unknown Space (Tue Oct 26 09:09:15 2004), WWW转贴

【 以下文字转载自 ChinaNews 讨论区,原文如下 】
发信人: flyingtiger (飞虎队中国队员), 信区: ChinaNews
标  题: 买买提上WSJ了
发信站: Unknown Space - 未名空间 (Tue Oct 26 08:56:34 2004) WWW-POST

不知道发哪里好,这里人多。

Web Site Helps
Chinese in U.S.
Navigate Life

By LI YUAN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 26, 2004; Page B1

"How can I tell my father, who is coming to visit us soon, not to smoke in my
apartment because my wife doesn't like it?" The question is typical of the
hundreds posted every day on www.mitbbs.com, a Web site popular among the
hundreds of thousands of Chinese students and professionals scattered
throughout the U.S.

Within hours, dozens of fellow Web users offered their advice, and one stood
out as both workable and diplomatic: "Tell him that you signed a nonsmoking
lease. If you violated the rule, you would not be able to take your deposit
back. No Chinese parents will take the risk of losing hundreds of dollars."

Such savvy advice is exactly why use of the site, known as Unknown Space LLC,
is soaring. The online billboard started in 1998 as a place where Chinese
students at American universities could post questions about how to write
computer programs -- and talk about Chinese politics without fearing a
government crackdown. It has since evolved into a virtual family-counseling
service for the increasing numbers of Chinese immigrants who are trying to
navigate a very different life in the U.S. An estimated 300,000 users, most of
whom are college educated, visit the site every month.

Caught between two cultures, the users of the Web site often find they get the
best advice on adapting to U.S. life from each other. In the 300-plus forums
hosted by the site, users want to know how to apply for green cards -- proof
of permanent residency -- and citizenship; how to deal with difficult bosses
and colleagues; where to find the cheapest car insurance; and whether
democracy will work in China.


Web sites founded and frequented by immigrants are flourishing in the U.S.
because they help these groups to adapt to a new environment, says Ram
Mahalingam, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.
"Remember, there used to be about 750 German-language newspapers in the U.S.
in 1900. It's all about communication."

Zhou Shiyi is a typical user of Unknown Space. After graduating in 1998 from
the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Mr. Zhou worked for MCI Inc.,
Sprint Corp. and Trilogy, a technology-consulting firm in Austin, Texas. He
was often one of very few Chinese in his office. "I couldn't even find people
to gossip with," he says.

He tried to participate in discussions on the bulletin boards on CNN.com and
ESPN.com, mostly on topics concerning China. Even so, he found it hard to be
spontaneous. "I would have to think whether I was using the appropriate words
and terms. By the time I finished my posting, the topic had often changed,"
said Mr. Zhou, now a business-school student at Georgetown University in
Washington. He got turned on to Unknown Space when he first moved to
Washington and was looking for recommendations for good Chinese restaurants.

Most of those who frequent Unknown Space write in Chinese, while a small
group, like Mr. Zhou, write in Chinglish, a combination of English and
Chinese.

Initially, the bulk of users were students. But in a development that has
surprised even the founders of Unknown Space, many students have remained
loyal after graduating and setting down roots in the U.S. Now, only 30% of the
users use campus e-mail accounts that end with ".edu."

Unknown Space was founded by Liu Jia in 1998, one year after he came from
China to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study cognitive
neuroscience (hence the university's name in the Web site's address).
Initially, Mr. Liu thought only about providing a forum for Chinese students
to discuss politics publicly and freely -- a luxury in China. He didn't expect
that after two to three years, his fellow Web users would start showing more
interest in discussing their family and career problems than China's political
situation. Although Mr. Liu wanted to quit the site, "it had become public
property among Chinese students and professionals, and I felt that I had the
responsibility to keep it running."

Unknown Space had become such an important part of its users' lives that when
its hard drive crashed in 2001, they donated more than $10,000 to buy a new
one. To keep it going, its founders last year agreed to run online
advertisements, mostly for dating and recruiting services. While some visitors
complained, most don't mind.

"If it will help keeping it up and running, they can stick ads to the end of
every post for all I care," says Xue Jing, a software engineer at Freddie Mac
and a frequent bulletin-board user.

The advertising became an instant success. Phone-card companies and travel
agencies targeting the Chinese community had long coveted the site's large and
loyal user base. Most Web pages are still maintained by volunteers and the
five people involved in running it in Cambridge, Mass., work free. Mr. Liu,
the founder, ended his association with Unknown Space before returning to
Beijing in November 2003 to work for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The company has tried to keep its costs very low, outsourcing programming and
customer-service jobs to Beijing and hiring about a dozen people in China with
the ad revenue. The owners refuse to disclose last year's earnings, but say
more than 20,000 people have registered for their online-dating service for
$14.95 a month.

"The Web site has a very strong mass base because it provides information on
many how-to questions Chinese immigrants are eager to learn," says Eric Li,
owner of a phone-card Web site called eCallChina.com and one of the site's
first advertisers.

Alan Zhou knows exactly what his life would be like without the online
bulletin board. After coming to Iowa State University in 1998 to pursue a
Ph.D. in engineering mechanics, Mr. Zhou has spent on average four hours a day
on Unknown Space in the past six years. As of Sept. 25, he has visited the Web
site 14,053 times and posted 15,245 articles, which, he says, will put him
only in the rank of midlevel fans.

"This Web site is a real community for Chinese" in the U.S., Mr. Zhou said.
"You can actually make friends there." Mr. Zhou and his wife went to Atlanta
over Memorial Day weekend to share cooking experiences at the invitation of
fellow gourmets who frequented the food forum he used to host.

Mr. Liu, the founder, tries to understand why his fellow Web users are so
hungry to communicate with other users about their daily lives. Most users
agree that what makes Unknown Space attractive isn't the opportunity to
communicate in Chinese, but the cultural intimacy it provides.

One of the most popular and recurrent topics is how to handle relationships
with parents and in-laws. "I don't think Americans can understand why we have
to invite our parents and in-laws to the States while complaining [about] the
troubles and inconvenience all the time," said Alan Zhou. "It's just cultural
difference."

Write to Li Yuan at [email protected]



--
※ 来源:.Unknown Space - 未名空间 mitbbs.com.[FROM: 141.156.]
--
※ 转载:.Unknown Space mitbbs.com.  [FROM: 4.19.]

 
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