Virtual Gifts and Guanxi: Supporting Social Exchange in a Chinese Online Community
|Title||Virtual Gifts and Guanxi: Supporting Social Exchange in a Chinese Online Community|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Yang, J, Ackerman, MS, Adamic, LA|
|Conference Name||Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer–Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW’11)|
|Keywords||Chinese culture, gift, guanxi, inter-cultural studies, online community, reciprocity, social exchange, social interactions, virtual points|
Significant cultural differences persist between East and West. Software systems that have been proven to operate efficiently within one culture can fail in the context of the other, especially if they are intended to support rich social interactions. In this paper we demonstrate how a virtual currency system, not unlike ones employed by many US-based websites, evolved within a thriving Chinese online forum into an essential medium for extremely diverse and culturally specific social exchange activities. The social interactions reflect the traditional Chinese idea of guanxi, or interpersonal influence and connectedness, while at the same time incorporating the norms of a new generation of Internet users.